A race named in honor of Hall of Fame jockey Bill Shoemaker, the Shoemaker Mile is a must-see race at Santa Anita Park on Monday.
Despite attracting a field of only six runners, it should make for an exciting contest over the mile.
Taking most of the money is Smooth Like Strait, but hot on his heels is Whisper Not, which could make a loud noise.
The online racebook has always odds available and that’s evident with our top pick.
When: Monday, May 31, 7:18 p.m, ET.
Where: Santa Anita Park
Conditions: 3YO+ Open
Shoemaker Mile Top Pick – Whisper Not
Trainer: Richard Baltas
Jockey: Geovanni Franco
The four-year-old son of Poet’s Vanity has had only four starts, winning two and placing in the other two. He comes off back-to-back wins and we can’t overlook that form.
He defeated Keeper ofthe Stars in the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile, and that form could be franked later on the card in the Gamely Stakes.
Richard Baltas has him running well and he has every chance of running down odds-on favorite Smooth Like Strait. He only needs a good run in transit to be in the thick of the action.
“He’s got a lot of natural speed,” Baltas told Daily Racing Form. “I don’t know if he’ll rate as good as he did. If he makes the lead and doesn’t go too fast, I think he’ll be okay.
“He’s a horse that shows a lot of talent. The last work was very strong. I’m not sure he’s completely settled down. He went quick last time in the beginning of the work.”
The +350 odds for a runner with his promise is worth taking and Whisper Not goes on top of our Shoemaker Mile selections.
Pick: Whisper Not +350
Shoemaker Mile Next Bet – Smooth Like Strait
Trainer: Michael McCarthy
Jockey: Umberto Rispoli
We couldn’t leave Smooth Like Strait out of calculations. He’s the odds-on favorite for a reason and there is little wrong with his recent form.
The son of Midnight Lute comes off a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Turf Classic at Churchill Downs, which followed a second placing in the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile.
He got the better of Whisper Not when winning the Mathis Brothers Mile last year, which followed a second placing in the Hollywood Derby.
Big result for Smooth Like Strait today shipping in from California to take the War Chant @ChurchillDowns under @ljlmvel for Cannon Thoroughbreds @mcln7777. Big thanks to @jjc_louisville for keeping him sharp. pic.twitter.com/gffsR4kKuQ
— Michael W. McCarthy (@mwmracing) May 24, 2020
Smooth Like Strait hasn’t done much wrong throughout his career and his worst finish is a fourth in the Eddie Logan Stakes. He is unlikely to finish worse than fourth in the Shoemaker Mile and we wouldn’t overlook his chances.
We thought Whisper Not was better value, but Smooth Like Strait is the biggest danger.
Pick: Smooth Like Strait -115
Shoemaker Mile Best Roughie – Say the Word
Trainer: Philip D’Amato
Jockey: Flavien Prat
A +600 runner isn’t a “roughie” but with the two favorites dominating the market, bettors get value with the six-year-old.
Hailing from the D’Amato stable, the son of More Than Ready won the Grade 2 Elkhorn at Keeneland earlier this month and that win rates highly.
He was considered good enough to run in the Pegasus World Cup Turf, where he finished 11th. However, his entry into the big purse race came after a win in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer and placing in the Hollywood Turf Cup.
Running third behind Arklow is a terrific form guide and he should figure in the finish on Monday. Don’t forget to take a look at our sportsbook before make your online bets.