The Sham Stakes Betting Guide

The Sham Stakes offers an early look into the horses that could line up for the Triple Crown races. It is a race that attracts some of the biggest names in the sport at Santa Anita, and you can learn more about the thrilling race here.

The Sham Stakes Event Details


The Sham Stakes is held annually in January at Santa Anita Park. It typically takes place on the first weekend of the new year and was staged in 2021 on January 2nd. Three-year-old horses can enter the race, which is a Grade 3, and run over a one-mile distance. Connections often send horses to the race, as there is a $100,000 purse, as well as vital Kentucky Derby qualification, points up for grabs.

The Sham Stakes Preview


As one of the first races with Kentucky Derby qualifying points in the New Year, it is an essential race that gamblers watch with an eye towards the Triple Crown races later in the year. Entries for the illustrious race are made in late December, and the most recent winners of the Grade 3 include:


  • Life Is Good (2021)

  • Authentic (2020)

  • Gunmetal Gray (2019)

  • McKinzie (2018)

  • Gormley (2017)


Bob Baffert trains the winner of the most recent winner of The Sham Stakes, as Life Is Good was a very eye-catching winner on his second start back in January. It was an excellent performance by the three-year-old on the day, and many expected at that point that he would be a solid pick for one of the Triple Crown races. However, victory in The Sham Stakes wasn’t followed up with a run in a Triple Crown race.


After winning over a mile, he was stepped up to 1 1/16 miles for the G2 San Felipe, which he won from Medina Spirit in March. His first victory before The Sham Stakes came in a maiden at Del Mar, as he beat Wipe The Slate and Santos To Wilson in a time of 1:15.30.


One of the most successful winners in the recent history of The Sham Stakes was Authentic, who won the race in 2020 for trainer Bob Baffert. The three-year-old continued to show his talent after winning a maiden at Del Mar, like Life Is Good, to win the Grade 3 at Santa Anita from Azul Coast and Zimba Warrior.


His dominance continued as he later won the Kentucky Derby and was second in the Preakness Stakes. He also recorded victories in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic and G1 Haskell Stakes before being sent to stud at the end of 2020.


Gunmetal Gray was one of the upset winners of The Sham Stakes, as he won the race in 2019 for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. The victory saw Mike E. Smith tie the record for most winners in the race, as he held off competition from Sueno and Much Better to win the only graded race of his career.


Unlike many contenders for the Grade 3, The Sham Stakes was one of the final races that Gunmetal Gray ran. His final two runs came when finishing second in the G3 Robert B. Lewis and fourth in the G2 Rebel Stakes. He came into the race at Santa Anita with proven form at graded company, as he was second in the G1 America Pharoah and fifth in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

The Sham Stakes Event Information


The Sham Stakes has attracted future stars throughout its history, with the first renewal taking place in 2011. Its first renewal was won by Bob Baffert-trained Wise and Wise before it was upgraded to a listed race the following year. It became a graded race for the first time in 2006, as it was given Grade 3 status. The race typically takes place on dirt but was run on the all-weather surface on three occasions between 2008 and 2010.


Nowadays, the race covers a distance of one mile, and that has been the case since the 2012 renewal. The current distance speed record is held by Out of Bounds, who set the record of 1:34.56 in 2012. However, Authentic was the most dominant winner of the Grade 3, as he won by seven and three-quarter lengths in 2020. Four jockeys are tied for the most wins in this race, with Mike E. Smith, Victor Espinoza, Garret Gomez, and Alex Solis all winning on four occasions. Bob Baffert is the leading trainer. His victory with Life Is Good in 2021 was his seventh success in The Sham Stakes.

The Sham Stakes Betting Information


The Sham Stakes is one of the most popular betting races in January. Some of the potential Kentucky Derby stars will be on display, which means betting on the race is popular. The following betting markets can be used to make wagers on the action for the Grade 3.


  • Win: Placing a wager on the winner of The Sham Stakes is the most prominent way to stake money on the race.

  • Place: Gambles can also be made on a horse that will finish in the first two places.

  • Trifecta: Gamblers can make a Trifecta. Winning selections must include the correct three horses that finish first, second and third.

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