It was a gorgeous Big ‘Cap Saturday at The Great Race Place! Five out of the eleven races were stakes, including the much anticipated San Felipe Stakes which granted 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the winner. Here are some scenes from my afternoon at Santa Anita:
The field for the San Felipe was filled with some impressive three-year olds, however Mike Smith and Danzing Candy took the lead, set the pace and finished over Baffert-trained Mor Spirit by two lengths. The lightly raced colt is now seen as a strong contender on the 2016 Kentucky Derby trail, gaining 50 qualifying points and securing one of the 20 spots for the Derby. As of now, trainer Clifford W. Sise, Jr. is pointing Danzing Candy towards the next big Kentucky Derby prep race, the Santa Anita Derby on April 9th.
Of course in between the races, I had to make time to socialize and take part in some of the other festivities taking place around the track. It’s always great to connect with friends and colleagues, not to mention my favorite activity: The Guest Chef Series in the Chandelier Room. This weekend’s event was equipped with a Bourbon Whiskey Tasting!
By far, the most exciting (and surprising) race of the day was the $1M Santa Anita Handicap. There was no rest in sight for Melatonin, who at 16-1 cruised to victory over favorite Effinex, who came in third under Hard Aces (23-1). Melatonin was packed with early speed and carried it with ease the entire race finishing by 4 1/4 lengths. Who had that exacta?! Needless to say, it was a very unexpected win leaving many with this look on their face:
Though a fantastic day of racing, I couldn’t help but remember where we were a year ago, cheering on Shared Belief as he won the Big ‘Cap. It’s hard to believe he’s gone!
— Ciaratoga (@Ciaratoga) March 13, 2016
/ xo, ci /