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Mandatory Pick 6 Payout Highlights Big Memorial Day Card at Santa Anita

Three Grade I Stakes Headline Great Race Place Showcase

Three Grade I stakes and a mandatory payout in the .20 Rainbow Pick 6 highlight the Memorial Day card at Santa Anita on Monday. The Shoemaker Mile, a win-and-your-in the Breeders’ Cup race, starts the sequence in Race 5 (post time: 6 p.m. ET) while the Gamely Stakes is Race 10. The Pick 6 pool could approach $5 million. The Hollywood Gold Cup is Race 4 with Royal Ship (6-5 morning line in the horse racing odds) battling Stiletto Boy (7-5) and three others. A potential value play also looms in the Texas Derby for 3-year-olds at Lone Star.

Smooth Like Strait Tries To Defend Shoemaker Mile Title

Smooth Like Strait could find himself on the lead as he tries to defend his Shoemaker Mile title. That was his last win, though, with four seconds and a third since. Flavien Prat picks up the mount on Smooth Like Strait (4-5, post 5). Three-time Eclipse Award winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. has seven mounts on the card, including Count Again in the Shoe. The confirmed closer will be at the mercy of what could be a slow pace. Count Again (5-2, post 2) won the Grade I Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita in March before finishing sixth in the Maker Mile at Keeneland, losing by 1¾ lengths. Smooth Like Strait was third by a nose and a neck that day. A potential price play could be Masteroffoxhounds (5-1, post 1), who could have first crack at Smooth Like Strait.

Memorial Day Card at Santa Anita
Rob Carr/Getty Images/AFP

Waters Could Prove Tough While Navigating The Space Between

Race 6: The two first-time starters drew the outside posts in the 6½-furlong race for maiden $50,000 claimers. Warren’s Queen Bee (8-5, post 3) makes his 10th start and may have finally found a field he can handle. Tequila Tigre (6-1) could offer value. She was claimed for $20,000 by Steve Knapp after her last and has a license to improve – especially with a clean break.

Race 7: Eight $100,000 maiden claimers go postward in what shapes up as a wide-open one-mile turf race. Isola Mia (5-2, post 2) is the favorite, but does not stand out. Violet Storm (8-1, post 6) could upset this field. She makes her third career start after enduring trouble in her first two. Trainer George Papaprodromou hits at 27 percent with second-time Lasix users.

Race 8: First-time starters will likely be two of the three betting favorites as Recall and Reload (2-1) and Show Time (3-1) join Famous Star (9-5) in the six-horse field of maidens going six furlongs. Another firster – Still On The Books (6-1) – could offer value when betting online. The Doug O’Neill trainee is by Practical Joke, who hits with 19% of his first-time starters.

Race 9: Eight come barreling down the hillside turf in this 6½-furlong test for allowance horses. Lansdowne (3-1), ridden by Ortiz, tries the unique run after winning at this distance on the main turf course in his last. A longshot to consider is Adare (10-1), who has the potential to unleash a strong closing kick under jockey Joe Bravo in a field loaded with early speed.

Gamely Stakes

Phil D’Amato holds a pair of aces in the Gamely Stakes at 1⅛ miles on the turf. Going Global (8-5, post 6) is 3-for-3 at the distance and will be ridden by Flaven Prat. Going Global comes off a 1¾-length victory in the Royal Heroine Stakes at Santa Anita last month. Going Global, 8-for-13 lifetime, pressed the pace that day in a four-horse field, but will likely be farther back in the Gamely. Going to Vegas (3-1, post 1) picks up Ortiz and should be closer to the pace than her stablemate. Neige Blanche (6-1) offers an upset chance from post 7. Neige Blanche has raced in four straight Grade III races – all at longer distances, winning three.

Strike Hard Can Spring Upset in Texas Derby at Lone Star

The Texas Derby features a field of eight 3-year-olds, including some who appeared on the Kentucky Derby trail. One of those is Strike Hard, who drew the rail and is 4-1 on the morning line. Strike Hard lost by 6½ lengths to Classic Causeway in the Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs and by 8¼ lengths to White Abarrio in the Florida Derby at Gulfstream. Both those horses raced in the Kentucky Derby.

Strike Hard bounced back to win an optional claimer at Gulfstream, sitting back and pouncing on the tiring speed. It appears a similar trip is in store for Jose Alvarez, a 21% jockey at Lone Star who picks up the mount. Others in the field who appeared on the Derby trail include Win The Day (7-2), 13 lengths behind Taiba in the Santa Anita Derby, and A.P.’s Secret (5-2), 5¼ lengths back of Mo Donegal in the Wood Memorial. Check the racebook for live odds prior to the 1 1/16-mile race. Post time is 8:01 p.m. ET.

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