Horse Racing Picks for Sunday, March 22: The Sensational Star Stakes at Santa Anita

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Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images.

Saturday’s Louisana Derby card was an overall success, cashing a couple of big win tickets on By My Standards in the New Orleans Handicap and on Wells Bayou in the Louisana Derby, but other than some chalky trifectas at Oaklawn and Santa Anita we couldn’t get more than two consecutive wins in our Pick 3, 4 or 5 tickets, and gave some additional profit back on single-race exotics.

The racing schedule on Sunday is much leaner: There’s just one stakes race scheduled in the U.S., The Sensational Star Stakes (aka Race 8 at Santa Anita), which is planned for 7:09 p.m. ET.

And it’s an exciting betting race.


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Sunday’s Betting Menu

Santa Anita Park

Race 8 (Sensational Star Stakes)

7:09 p.m. ET

This is a wide-open 5 1/2 furlong race on the turf for older (4 years old and up) California-breds

It has an exciting mix of horses, with a couple of mares running against males for the first time, some horses switching over from dirt, and others taking a significant turn back in the distance for this sprint.

This race could also have a fast pace up front, with the No. 9 Stealthediamonds (5-1), who has gone gate to wire in her two starts off of the claim, expected to be on the lead. The second flight is loaded, including No. 1 Grinning Tiger (10-1), No. 8 Castle (8-1) and potentially more runners if some of the horses turning back in the distance go for the lead.

The morning line favorite No. 7 Lieutenant Dan (7-2) is versatile and not necessarily pace dependent, so he looks like the cleanest shot to hit the board.

But I’m not interested in taking that short of a price on top in such a balanced field.


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I do expect a relatively hot pace, and of the mares, I prefer the No. 4 Just Grazed Me (4-1), who should be able to work out a good stalking trip and come with a late kick.

A late runner who will go off at a price is the No 5 Tigre Di Siugo (12-1), who is moving over from dirt but has an excellent turf pedigree.

But my preferred option is the No. 3 Brandothebartender (5-1) in his third start off of a layoff. He shows up every time, with tactical speed and a strong late kick, and I’ll be betting him across the board at 4-1 or better, and keying him in exotics.

The No. 6 The Hunted (10-1) should also be running late, but his form is questionable on the significant cutback in the distance — and I’m pretty much against the No. 2 Wound Tight (6-1), who I think is a pure two-turn horse and too short in price.

Pick: 3 over 7, 4, 9

[Bet now at TVG and get your first bet risk-free up to $200.]

Race 9

7:39 p.m. ET

This is a one-mile dirt race for older horses

The No. 3 Indy Jones (5-2) towers over this field with a 70 last-out Beyer speed score, and he’s the only other horse with two scores above 65 in his last three starts.

He placed in each of his past two starts and now looks set to finally reach the winner’s circle against a lesser field.

I’ll single him on the back end of a Daily Double with my top three choices in Race 8.

[Bet now at TVG and get your first bet risk-free up to $200.]

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