Miller-trained trio headline Daytona Stakes

The Daytona Stakes, a Grade III, $150,000 turf sprint, is the Saturday feature at Santa Anita. A field of seven older grass runners, three of which are trained by sharp local conditioner Peter Miller, will go about 6.5 furlongs on the unique downhill turf course at “The Great Race Place.” The Daytona, Race 4 on a 10-race card, has an approximate post time of 5:00 p.m. EST. In addition to watching and wagering, feel free to try out FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!

#5 CALCULATOR (5-2) unveiled a new dimension to his game last time out, taking the Clocker’s Corner Stakes despite setting a torrid early pace under Flavien Prat. One of the aforementioned Miller trio, CALCULATOR has been working bullets leading up to this and once again gets Prat. CALCULATOR has other speeds to deal with, namely barnmate #4 CONQUEST TSUNAMI (4-1), but his affinity for the course (3-for-3) should carry him to a Daytona score.

#7 STORMY LIBERAL (2-1, morning-line favorite), last year’s Daytona Stakes winner, makes his 2018 debut for Miller with Joel Rosario. These connections pulled an incredible upset in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Del Mar last November off extended rest. The two-month vacation should be no problem, and STORMY LIBERAL loves the downhill course at Santa Anita (7-for-12). He should get the trip he prefers sitting just off the speed.

#2 TOMBELAINE (8-1) intrigues shipping across coasts for this. He typically gets more ground to work with but was last seen in a five-furlong sprint at Gulfstream. He was clearly given too much to do late; perhaps the 6.5 furlongs will be to his liking. Mike Smith picked up the mount last time and sees fit to climb aboard again. TOMBELAINE will need to prove that he belongs here, as he was 7-3-2-0 last year but missed the board in both stake starts, so demand fair odds if backing him to win.

#6 PERFECTLY MAJESTIC (6-1) is no stranger to picking up minor awards in spots like this. He was 6-0-2-1 in 2017, completing the exotics behind CALCULATOR and STORMY LIBERAL one time each, and began his 2018 campaign with a third-place effort behind the former in last month’s Clocker’s Corner. Kent Desormeaux maintains the assignment.

The play: $1 trifecta 5,7/2,5,6,7/2,5,6,7 ($12)

DFJ analysis: Flavien Prat looks like a good pickup this Saturday. He has a chance to sweep both the Daytona and Wishing Well Stakes with CALCULATOR and Samba Inc (5-2 favorite). Prat has four additional mounts, one of which is favored (Gift of a Star in Race 2).

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