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Santa Anita Park Picks | Baffle Stakes 2024
Stay Hot (Justin Fine/Eclipse Sportswire)

Santa Anita Park Picks | Baffle Stakes 2024

Trainer Peter Euton’s classy Stay Hot cuts back in distance off of an impressive graded stakes win at one mile on turf and heads a competitive field of seven sophomores going about 6 ½ furlongs down the Santa Anita Park one-of-a-kind hillside turf course in Saturday’s $100,000 Baffle Stakes.

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

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A one mile maiden turf winner three starts back at Santa Anita Park on Oct. 7, Stay Hot was then 10th, beaten 5 ½ lengths in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Mile Turf on Nov. 3 and subsequently rallied from off the pace to take Del Mar’s Grade III Cecil B. DeMille Stakes by a neck at one mile on grass Dec. 3.

A Kentucky-bred ridgling bred by the late Brereton Jones, Stay Hot is by the War Front stallion Summer Front out of the Smart Strike mare Etsu. Purchased for $130,000 as a yearling, Stay Hot is owned by Burns Racing, LLC, Exline-Border Racing, the Estate of Brereton Jones, et al.

While no one in the field has run down the hillside turf, Stay Hot has the advantage of having routed in his last three starts and will hope to have a legitimate pace to exploit late on Saturday with regular rider Antonio Fresu up.

With two wins from five starts (the first two on dirt), Stay Hot has earnings of $116,940.

Hronis Racing’s Heart Headed was claimed out of fifth place finish in his debut, a maiden $50,000 sprint at six furlongs three starts back on Oct. 13 at Keeneland.

Currently trained by John Sadler, Heart Headed came back to take a restricted maiden race at seven furlongs Nov. 9 at Churchill Downs, going gate to wire and winning by 2 ¾ lengths at 9-1.

In his Southern California debut at Santa Anita Park on Jan. 15, Heart Headed took a first condition allowance by 1 ¾ lengths going 6 ½ furlongs under Flavien Prat.

Although he’s won his last two starts, he’ll be trying the turf for the first time on Saturday and be ridden for the first time by Juan Hernandez, as Prat is riding in New Orleans.

A $135,000 Keeneland September Yearling, Heart Headed is by Oscar Performance out of the English Channel mare La Malaguena. With two wins from three starts, he has earnings of $76,553.

Trainer Phil Oviedo’s Charge for Gold, most recently second by two lengths in the one mile turf Eddie Logan Stakes Dec. 29, led to deep stretch two starts back when fifth, beaten 2 ½ lengths by Stay Hot in the Grade III Cecil B. DeMille Dec. 3, and merits serious consideration as he too, cuts back in distance.

A first-out maiden five furlong turf winner Aug. 24, Charge for Gold, was then an even seventh, beaten 5 ¼ lengths after breaking slowly at the same distance in the Speakeasy Stakes here on Oct. 7.

A Kentucky-bred colt by Omaha Beach out of the Hennessy mare Gasp, Charge for Gold, who is owned by John Warren, was purchased for $60,000 out of the OBS 2-Year-Old in Training Sale last April.

With a win and a second from his four starts, he has earnings of $71,700 and will be ridden by regular rider Ricky Gonzalez.


Race 7 of 9 | Approximate post time 3:30 p.m. PT

  1. Heart Headed—Juan Hernandez—120
  2. Final Boss—Kazushi Kimura—120
  3. Stay Hot—Antonio Fresu—124
  4. Hedwig—Umberto Rispoli—122
  5. Always on Cay—Lanfranco Dettori—120
  6. Boltage—Mike Smith—120
  7. Charge for Gold—Ricardo Gonzalez—120