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Santa Anita Park Preview: Friday’s Return to Action Attracts Nearly 100 Entries
American Code galloping at Santa Anita Park (Credit: Ernie Belmonte)

Santa Anita Park Preview: Friday’s Return to Action Attracts Nearly 100 Entries

ARCADIA, CA – Nearly 100 thoroughbreds entered Friday’s nine-race card at Santa Anita Park, the first day of live racing at The Great Race Place since the track temporarily ceased in late March.

Field sizes range from nine to 14 across six dirt and three turf races. The final event is a 12-horse maiden special weight that includes a pair of high-priced colts from the Bob Baffert stable.

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Race 1

Track officials wasted no time putting horses back onto the turf, sending 10 3-year-olds to the lawn in this 5 1/2-furlong allowance/optional claiming sprint. Trainer Peter Miller has a pair of runners, including the field’s lone filly, #6 She’s So Special, who broke her maiden over this course and distance on January 11.

Race 2

The largest number of entries (14) were submitted to this 5 1/2-furlong dirt sprint for maiden fillies and mares 3 and up carrying a $50k tag. Gary Barber privately purchased the morning line favorite #4 Miss Ryleigh (7/2) after she finished a fast-closing second in her debut, a 5 1/2-furlong synthetic sprint at Golden Gate Fields last November.

Race 3

This 5 1/2-furlong allowance/optional claiming dirt sprint for eight males 4 and up features a pair of 4-year-olds who were well-regarded as juveniles. #3 Galilean (2/1) won a pair of California-bred stakes at the beginning of his career and made a brief Kentucky Derby Trail pass, and #9 Tale of the Union (8/5) won his debut on August 26, 2018, by 8 lengths – but has not been seen since.

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Race 4

A field of 10 fillies and mares ages 3 and up will try to find victory for the first time in this 6-furlong dirt sprint. Favoritism among those entered with a $20k tag is on #1 Stick Up (3/1), who nearly got the job done last time out at Los Alamitos while running for double the price.

Race 5

Friday’s second turf race will be its first around two turns when 10 fillies and mares 4 and up cover a mile on the lawn in this allowance/optional claiming event. The British-bred #11 Gypsy Spirit (7/2) makes her North American debut for trainer Leonard Powell and jockey Flavien Prat, who have won 11 of 37 mounts together (30%) in the past two years.

Race 6

Nine battle-hardened veterans will compete over 6 furlongs on the main track while attached to a $25k tag. #9 Adens Dream (9/5) has won 7 of his 34 career starts, including two last year over this course and distance.

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Race 7

A field of 10 maiden fillies ages 3 and 4 risked for $20k will cover 6 furlongs in this race. Trainer Dan Blacker is removing the blinkers from the 3/1 favorite #5 Civil Suit while putting her on dirt and dropping her to the claiming ranks for the first time.

Race 8

Perhaps the day’s deepest field top to bottom lies in this allowance/optional claiming group of 11 fillies and mares 3 and up covering a mile on the lawn. #1 Quick (5/2) stretches out after finishing third in a pair of local turf sprints, which were the British-bred filly’s first North American starts.

Race 9

The most anticipated race concludes the day’s events when 11 maiden males 3 and up sprint 5 furlongs on the main track. Hall of Famer Bob Baffert has a pair entered in #4 Big Mel (4/1) and the favored #6 American Code (5/2), the latter’s sire being American Pharoah, whom Baffert trained to win the 2015 Triple Crown.

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