Three-year-old fillies get one more shot against restricted company in Santa Anita’s New Year’s Eve feature; the American Oaks. A Grade I event worth $300,000, the 1 1/4-mile turf heat drew a field of 13. It’ll go as Race 8 on a nine-race program, with post time estimated at 7:00 p.m. EST. The American Oaks will offer plenty of points toward FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game; be sure to get involved!
#10 SHEEZA MILKY WAY (12-1) looks best suited to take advantage of a potentially soft turf course with significant rain in the forecast. This will be her first start since May for Peter Eurton, who got on the board at the young Santa Anita meet with a win Monday’s San Simeon Stakes with Betty’s Bambino, who hadn’t raced in nearly two years. SHEEZA MILKY WAY owns two in-the-money finishes in three tries over a course labeled less than firm and gets a rider upgrade to Brice Blanc. She also shows a bullet work in her latest AM move. Several contenders are suspect at this elongated distance, so SHEEZA MILKY WAY seems like a good longshot alternative.
#7 DECKED OUT (4-1) should be rolling late under Kent Desormeaux. Her latest effort in the Rodeo Drive was a poor one, but she has considerable back form to run to, including a romp in the Providencia earlier this year at Santa Anita on a yielding course.
#2 STAYS IN VEGAS (7-2, morning-line favorite) has made a habit of fading late and stretches out in distance today. That’s usually not a recipe for success, but she should be close to what projects to be a moderate tempo. She also loves this course (3-2-0-1 record at Santa Anita) and gets Flavien Prat back in the saddle.
#6 SASSY LITTLE LILA (9-2) invades from Belmont Park, with regular rider Luis Saez shipping in as well. This will be her first graded stakes try but she could be dangerous if left alone up front.
The play: $5 win/place 10 ($10)
DFJ analysis: The wealth is spread out fairly evenly on Saturday, but Flavien Prat ($9,500) could have a leg-up on his competitors. In addition to STAYS IN VEGAS, Prat has four other mounts, one of which is favored (Irap in Race 6).
As usual, it’s hard to leave out Rafael Bejarano ($10,000) this week. He rides in seven races, five of which he has the call on a horse less than 10-1 in odds. #1 LADY VALEUR (15-1) is his mount in the American Oaks.
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