News and STORIES

As Time Goes By Heads Betting For Santa Maria Stakes At Santa Anita This Weekend

Author: Ryan Knuppel
Published: Friday May 21, 2021
It is a quieter weekend of racing action following the excitement of the Preakness Stakes last weekend. However, there is still some graded action for fans to look forward to. There is graded action at both Churchill Downs and Santa Anita this weekend, and we will have a look at the featured grade 2 at Santa Anita below.

As Time Goes By Clear Favorite For Santa Maria Stakes

Grade 2 action will be the second race on the menu at Santa Anita on Saturday, as a small field of four goes to post for the Santa Maria Stakes. The race will get underway at 1:35 PM ET, but it looks to be less of a competitive renewal following the decision of connections to pull Last First Kiss out of contention. The field of four will cover a distance of 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita, and the clear favorite for the race is currently As Time Goes By.

It looks unlikely that the Bob Baffert-trained horse will be displaced at the top of the betting, as she is currently very heavily odds-on at 2/5.  Mike Smith takes the ride this weekend, as Baffert looks to put another difficult week behind him with a big winner. The Hall of Famer was this week suspended from making entries in the New York area, which means that he will be taking no runners to the Belmont Stakes.

However, As Time Goes By looks like a very good thing for the Santa Maria Stakes this weekend. She comes into this race in excellent form, having recently won the Santa Margarita Stakes at Santa Anita. It is a track that she seems to enjoy, as she has won two from four starts and has finished second on the other two occasions. She also recently finished second at the track in the Grade 1 Beholder Mile Stakes, which shows that the trip and conditions will not be an issue this weekend.

Ce Ce Looks To Be Closest Rival

Ce Ce looks to be the only horse near her class in this field, as she has produced strong runs in graded races over the last two years. The Michael McCarthy-trained horse won both the Grade 1 Beholder Mile Stakes and Grade 1 Apple Blossom Stakes last season, before finishing third in the Santa Maria last year. She followed that up with a place finish in the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes and a fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Ce Ce looked impressive on her return to the track as she won an allowance race at Santa Anita in April, but this will be a big step up in class off the back of that.

The quality of the top two in the betting is emphasized by the prices of the two other contenders in the race. Both This Tea and Miss Stormy D are priced at 20/1 and 15/1, respectively. This Tea finished strongly to finish second in the Santa Margarita Stakes last time out, which was a progressive run after finishing fifth in the Beholder Mile Stakes in March. Miss Stormy D finished back in seventh in the Beholder Mile Stakes but was more impressive in the Grade 3 La Canada Stakes in January, as she finished in second. She has struggled for wins since winning an allowance at Santa Anita in February of last year but has placed on two of her previous four starts.

However, the Santa Maria Stakes this weekend looks to be a battle between the top two in the betting, and it will be fascinating to see which way it goes.

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