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Express Train Full Steam Ahead in San Pasqual

Santa Anita hosts the Grade II race

A small but select field lines up in the San Pasqual Stakes at Santa Anita, including defending champion Express Train.

Horse racing bet markets are expected to have Express Train listed as the favorite following his win in the San Antonio Stakes, but it’s a classy field

Express Train Full Steam Ahead in San Pasqual
NOVEMBER 06: Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. rides Golden Pal to victory in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint at Del Mar Race Track on November 06, 2021 in Del Mar, California

All six runners have a legitimate shot to win the $200,000 feature race on Saturday.

All Aboard the Express Train

Express Train won the Grade II San Antonio Stakes in fine style when beating Hot Rod Charlie and Eight Rings, so it’s stellar form.

The 5-year-old son of Union Rags is the defending champion after beating the likes of Tizamagician and Idol last year, so he’s the one they all have to beat.

He followed it up with a second placing in the Santa Anita Handicap, which is his primary goal next month, but he’s better suited to this race.

Co-owner Lee Searing was pleased with the last-start result.

“He’s a really good horse when he is a stalker and gets to the outside,” Searing told BloodHorse. “Today finally he got it at the end there.”

The only thing missing from his record is a Grade I victory. He has placed in the Malibu Stakes, Santa Anita Handicap, Santa Anita Gold Cup and the Awesome Again Stakes.

He can’t achieve the feat in the San Pasqual Stakes, but he can deliver for bettors. The sportsbook will have him firm in the market and we wouldn’t leave him out of selections.

Law Professor Could School Them

Law Professor hasn’t faced this level of opposition, but the 4-year-old has looked impressive so far.

The son of Constitution broke maiden grades at Santa Anita in March before running fifth in the Santa Anita Derby behind Rock Your World and Medina Spirit.

Having form behind Kentucky Derby runners is excellent and he followed it up with a third placing at Santa Anita and a win in the Grade II Mathis Brothers Mile.

He already has a Grade II win under his belt and trainer Michael McCarthy believes he’ll be a good horse when it puts it all together.

“He is a little bit on the difficult side,” said McCarthy. “He hasn’t quite totally figured it out yet. I thought his last win at Del Mar was very professional. I was looking forward to running him on the grass today, I also thought about running him on the dirt at Los Alamitos. I thought he broke well here when he broke his maiden, but he really hasn’t put it all together yet, when he does, I think it will be very exciting.”

Betting online markets could have Law Professor at generous odds, so he’s worth including to boost payouts.

Eight Rings Seeking Fourth Win

Eight Rings is another classy runner who is good enough to turn the tables on Express Train.

Despite finishing behind Express Train in the San Antonio Stakes, he has Grade I-winning form on his side. He won the American Pharoah Stakes in 2019, and although he has won only once since at allowance level, the class is there.

He ran fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile behind Life is Good, which has since been franked in the Pegasus World Cup.

The son of Empire Maker has the Bob Baffert polish and he’s getting close to breaking through for an important win.

It could pay to watch for market moves with Eight Rings as we wouldn’t be surprised if he was heavily backed on race day.

Pick: Express Train

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