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Santa Ana Stakes 2024 | Santa Anita Park Picks
Khinjani (Benoit Photo)

Santa Ana Stakes 2024 | Santa Anita Park Picks

Fresh off a sparkling allowance win in her U.S. debut, Mark Glatt’s English-bred Khinjani rates a big look among a field of eight distaffers going a mile and one quarter over the Santa Anita Park turf in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Santa Ana Stakes. 

First post time for a 10-card on Saturday is at 12:30 p.m. with admission gates opening at 10:30 a.m. 

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Ten lengths off the early lead going the same distance on turf at Santa Anita on Jan. 21, Khinjani, ridden with utmost confidence by Frankie Dettori, found a seam two from the rail turning for home and, under a hand-ride, won going away by one length in an effort that suggests she could have tremendous upside.   

A minor stakes winner over soft turf going a mile and one quarter in her final British start on Oct. 16, Khinjani, who will be ridden back by Dettori on Saturday, is well proven at the distance, winning three, placing twice and finishing third once from eight overall tries at the distance. 

A 4-year-old filly who would obviously relish a fast pace to run at, she owned by Rancho Temescal Thoroughbred Partners, Lordship Stud, Jackpot Farm, et al.  With a lifetime record of 11-3-3-2, Khinjani  will hope to nearly double her bankroll of $67,114. 

Trained by Richard Mandella, front-running marathoner Linda’s Gift shortens up out of two consecutive turf stakes tallies, the ungraded Astra at a mile and one half at Santa Anita on Jan. 21 and the mile and three eighths Grade III Red Carpet at Del Mar. Nov. 23. 

A 5-year-old mare by Arrogate out of the Tapit mare Americana, Linda’s Gift has never been better, as she posted a career-best 91 Beyer Speed Figure in taking the Astra.  Originally based on the east coast with trainer George Weaver, Linda’s Gift made her first start for Mandella this past August at Del Mar and she’s now won three out of her six starts in Mandella’s care. 

Owned by John Cronin, Anthony DiMarco, Michael Mandara, Fred Nicotra and Vincent Varvaro, Linda’s Gift is 12-4-2-2 overall with earnings of $254,936. 

Second, beaten 1 ½ lengths by Linda’s Gift in the Astra Stakes, Phil D’Amato’s Irish-bred Musical Rhapsody, who was also a close second to “Linda” in the Red Carpet at Del Mar, has one win from two Irish starts at the Santa Ana distance and will again hope to be in a position to wear down Linda’s Gift late on Saturday. 

On the improve through four stateside starts, the last two in which she posted identical 89 Beyer’s, Musical Rhapsody, a 5-year-old mare owned by Michael House, has three wins and two seconds from 14 overall starts and will be ridden for the third consecutive time by Mike Smith. 

Much like fellow Irish-bred Khinjani, Phil D’Amato’s Queens Command was most-impressive in her U.S. debut, as she rallied for an eye-catching three quarter length victory going a flat mile on turf here Jan. 7.  Although she’s never been beyond a mile in nine starts, she finished in her most recent like a horse who should be effective on the stretch out. 

A 5-year-old mare by the War Front stallion War Command, Queens Command has two wins and a second from her nine starts and is owned by Atomic Racing. With Flavien Prat unavailable to rider her back, Antonio Fresu gets the honors on Saturday.


Race 7 of 10 | Approximate post time 3:30 p.m. PT 

  1. Queens Command—Antonio Fresu—120 
  2. Leisurewear—Juan Hernandez—120 
  3. Musical Rhapsody—Mike Smith—120 
  4. Customer List—Drayden Van Dyke—120 
  5. Khinjani—Lanfranco Dettori–120 
  6. Linda’s Gift—Tiago Pereira—124 
  7. Duvet Day—Kazushi Kimura—122 
  8. Yerwanthere—Umberto Rispoli—120