Mopotism stands out in Santa Margarita

The Grade I Santa Margarita Stakes puts some of the west’s best distaffers in the spotlight this Saturday. A field of 10 will go 1 1/8-miles on Santa Anita’s main course in pursuit of a $400,000 purse. Post time for the Santa Margarita, Race 9 of 10 on the day, is 7:00 p.m. EST. In addition to watching and wagering, feel free to check out FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!

#9 MOPOTISM (7-2, morning-line favorite), winner of the La Canada Stakes two-back, has the edge on this Santa Margarita field. She was fortunate to avoid Unique Bella (sidelined with an illness) and drew a post conducive to her stalking style. The distance increase also works to her advantage, and she’s hit the board six times in seven starts at Santa Anita. MOPOTISM’s latest work for Doug O’Neill was strong and Mario Gutierrez maintains the assignment. The Santa Margarita would be MOPOTISM’s first Grade I victory.

#3 MENDED (6-1) nearly wired the La Canada field off a steep class hike when last seen. She proved her mettle that day under Ricardo Gonzalez but will be asked to go an extra furlong in the Santa Margarita. This, combined with the pace presence of #2 TURKISH TABBY and #8 BISHOP’S POND, could hinder her but she’s too talented to dismiss. MENDED should take these a long way up front.

#1 LA FORCE (6-1) got up for third at a big price in the La Canada two-back before getting her elusive second career win last time out. Mike Smith was aboard last month and will have the call once more. LA FORCE isn’t the most consistent runner in the field based on speed figures but her best effort puts her in the hunt.

The play: $5 exacta 9/1,3 ($10)

DFJ analysis: Joel Rosario returns to his former stomping grounds this weekend. And while ECCENTRIC SPINSTER offers him little hope of winning the Santa Margarita, Rosario still looks poised for a big day at Santa Anita. Six of his seven mounts are 5-1 or less, and several of them have serious win claims, including Easter Morn (Race 6, 5-2 favorite), River Boyne (Race 8, the Pasadena Stakes, 3-1) and Coil Me Home (Race 10, 3-1 favorite).

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