Prat, Van Dyke mounts stand out in Santa Anita’s stakes doubleheader

The Grade III, $100,000 Laz Barrera Stakes and the $75,000 Angels Flight Stakes are co-featured on a nine-race Saturday program at Santa Anita. Seven three-year-old males sprint seven furlongs in the former, while 10 three-year-old fillies do battle in the latter. Both races are examined below. Remember to play FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game this weekend!

Santa Anita Race 5 (approx. post time 5:40 p.m. EST)

The Grade III Laz Barrera Stakes

#1 KANTHAKA (9-5, morning-line favorite) was thought to be a Kentucky Derby contender, but two disappointing efforts around two turns convinced his connections to turn him back in the Laz Barrera. KANTHAKA is a perfect 2-for-2 going seven panels and he’ll have Flavien Prat, Santa Anita’s leading rider, in the saddle. However, he’s received some favorable setups in both his seven-furlong maiden win and Grade II San Vicente triumph. There is speed signed on in the Laz Barrera, but they’re not ‘cheap speeds’ that will readily quit.

#4 ZULFIKHAR (5-2) should be lying close to a solid early tempo, as he did when he won his most recent start over #3 MCKALE. He did well at the draw once more, landing outside MCKALE as well as speed merchant #2 CALEXMAN. Martin Garcia should have ZULFIKHAR perfectly-spotted throughout as a result; he’ll just have to ensure he moves before KANTHAKA gets a jump on him.

MCKALE (2-1) broke his maiden with ease before battling early and settling for second behind ZULFIKHAR last time out. His speed figures put him squarely in the mix, and he retains Drayden Van Dyke.

The play: $3 exacta box 1/4, $2 exacta 1,4/3 ($10)

Santa Anita Race 8 (approx. post time 7:18 p.m. EST)

The Angels Flight Stakes

#2 MOONSHINE MEMORIES (5-2, morning-line favorite), a multiple Grade I winner at two, makes her three-year-old debut here. Retaining Prat, she’s a win candidate despite having not raced since finishing seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. However, another rival intrigues more.

#8 TRUE ROYALTY (8-1) tries stakes company for the first time in her fourth career start. She broke her maiden in her second try last year before hitting the shelf for an extended time. Her March comeback win over #7 HIGHLAND LASS was marvelous. She could stride forward off that effort, and that would make her very dangerous in the Angels Flight. Van Dyke remains in the irons.

The play: $4 win 8, $3 exacta box 2/8 ($10)

DFJ analysis: Flavien Prat and Drayden Van Dyke should both have productive Saturdays at Santa Anita. Prat has six mounts, all but two priced at 5-1 or less. That includes stakes race favorites KANTHAKA and MOONSHINE MEMORIES.

Van Dyke starts his six-race Saturday with three straight 2-1 shots in Races 3-5. Later on he rides live longshot TRUE ROYALTY in the Angels Flight.

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