The Grade I, $300,000 American Oaks highlights opening Saturday at Santa Anita Park. The 1 1/4-mile turf test will see eight three-year-old fillies go postward. The American Oaks is scheduled as the eighth of 10 races, with an approximate post time of 6:34 p.m. EST. As always, be sure to take part in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!
#9 CALIFORNIAGOLDRUSH (5-2, morning-line favorite) gets a tepid nod in a contentious renewal of the American Oaks. She was last seen snaring September’s Grade II Sands Point over a yielding course at Belmont Park. CALIFORNIAGOLDRUSH returns to the site of her first two career victories off a brief freshening and keeps Flavien Prat as she attempts to stretch out. She’s consistently fast and should get a great stalking trip. The breeding says she’ll be just fine at this distance too.
#6 PAVED (3-1) rarely runs well outside Santa Anita, so the return trip here is well-advised (5-2-1-2 career record). She nearly beat Vasilika in the Rodeo Drive over this course and distance two-back. If she can replicate that effort, PAVED could post a mild upset. Drayden Van Dyke takes the call.
#8 COMPETITIONOFIDEAS (4-1) didn’t care for the dirt in the Winter Memories last time out, so toss it. Her two turf starts at the Belmont fall meet were very strong, and she lures Joel Rosario here. Being by Speightstown, she may not truly want to go this far, but Chad Brown places his horses with the best of them.
#4 AMANDINE (4-1) took Wednesday’s one-mile Lady of Shamrock Stakes with a decisive late kick under Van Dyke. The pedigree says she should handle 10 furlongs, but off a quick turnaround like this, she could be in too tough. AMANDINE wasn’t Van Dyke’s choice here, but Mike Smith has the assignment if she runs.
The play: $4 exacta 9/6, $2 exacta 9/4,8, $2 exacta 6/9 ($10)
DFJ analysis: Joel Rosario made his presence known at the Santa Anita winter meet early on with two strikes on opening day, including an upset victory in the San Antonio atop Gift Box. He’ll look for similar success in the American Oaks with COMPETITIONOFIDEAS. Rosario has five other mounts on Saturday (two favorites), all at single-digit odds.
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