Saturday Highlight – Santa Anita Thunder Road Stakes Grade 3 1 Mile Turf Event

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While Concert Tour just may be the headline act in the San Vincente on a 4-stakes palooza at Santa Anita on Saturday, the encore in the Race 8 Thunder Road Stakes might be the best betting race of the quartet. The Grade 3 turf mile has a field of 8 and follows directly on the card after the San Vicente Stakes for the ever-popular sophomore set.

CAMPAIGN and SOMBEYAY are Grade 3 winners, while BOB AND JACKIE and HEMBREE are Grade 2-placed and AWARD WINNER is Grade 3-placed. Arguably BOB AND JACKIE and CAMPAIGN have consistently kept the strongest running lines, along with RESTRAINEDVENGEANCE.

AWARD WINNER and BOB AND JACKIE break next door in posts 6-7 and are the only runners with interest in the front consistently. SOMBEYAY and RESTRAINED VENGEANCE should be forward from inside draws. This looks like a very comfortable pace for a turf mile and projects to be won near the front.

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Horse-By-Horse Analysis:

#1 Sombeyay – Ridden by Juan Hernandez and trained by Peter Miller. Had a very nice wire-to-wire victory last time out against some good turf horses going a mile here at Santa Anita. Earlier in his career he was very good winning the Grade 3 Canadian Turf, and finishing 2nd in multiple other graded stakes. He then lost his form a little bit, but after a layoff he seems to be finding his best stride again. If he is back to his prior level he will be very dangerous in here.

Sombeyay
Sombeyay

#2 Hit the Road – Ridden by Umberto Rispoli and trained by Dan Blacker. He has not done too much wrong so far in his 7 race career. He has 4 wins, and 2 of those have come on the Santa Anita turf going 1 mile. He is absolutely going to need to some speed up front in order to get this done, and it looks like there is some speed signed on here. The last 2 races, which are both wins, he has come from off the pace, and in this 8 horse field he will likely be sitting close to last. With that being said he has the best turn of foot of the horses in this race which makes him dangerous if the speed falls apart up front. Also of note, Rispoli and Blacker are currently teaming up to win 26% of their races together.

HitTheRoad

#3 Restrainedvengence – Ridden by Rueben Fuentes and trained by Val Brinkerhoff. He has 8 wins in 26 career starts, and a few of those have come at Santa Anita so he is certainly a capable longshot in this field. I just think this spot is too tough for a horse coming off a 4 month lay-off. Last time out he was no match for the #7 horse in here Bob and Jackie. I think it would be very difficult for there to be a large form reversal. He could certainly be near the lead, and maybe even hold 3rd place, but that could be the ceiling here.

#4 Border Town – Ridden by Flavian Prat and trained by Richard Mandella. All 3 career wins have come on the Santa Anita turf, but none have been against this level of competition. They tried to take this horse longer than the mile race and it didn’t work out. Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella decided to return this horse to the mile trip and he came away with a very nice victory. He has been working well coming into this race, but I keep coming back to the competition. I don’t believe he will be able to stand up to these.

#5 Campaign – Ridden by Tyler Baze and trained by John Sadler. Has strictly been running in graded stakes racing since 2019. He was able to come away a pair of grade 3 victories, and then stepped up the game against tougher competition and found it to be a little too tough. I don’t believe this field will be too tough for him, but I think the trip will be. He will likely be dead last, and even if the pace does fall apart I don’t believe he will be good enough to beat #2 Hit The Road.

#6 Award Winner – Ridden by Abel Cedillo and trained by David Hofmans. This horse is interesting in here because of the versatile running style. He may not be a threat to win, but he could help shape how the race turns out. In the beginning of his career he was a speed horse, and had some success. They then tried to take this horse off the pace, and it just never went well for him. David Hofmans claims him and in the first start off the claim puts him right back on the lead, and runs a great race finishing in 2nd. Award Winner could very well try to go to the front and put some pressure on the other speed horses.

#7 Bob and Jackie – Ridden by Heriberto Figueroa and trained by Richard Baltas. Just missed last time out in the San Gabriel trying to go wire-to-wire. That race is run at 1 and 1/8 mile and he just couldn’t get the final 1/8. He shortens back up here, and even if he doesn’t get the lead he will be able to stalk very easily. Bob and Jackie will be sitting top 3 throughout the race, and is a definite use on all bets. This one is consistent as you can get, and I expect another tough run here.

Hembree

#8 Hembree – Ridden by Joel Rosario and trained by Peter Miller. This is another horse that will be sitting off the pace, and hoping the speed comes back to him. Hembree has won 2 starts in a row and the last one was going 6.5 furlongs on the turf here at Santa Anita. He is used to running at 1 mile on the turf having 18 tries at the distance, but just 2 victories in those 18 races. I like some of the other closers better in this race, but he is certainly capable.

The Picks:

1: #7 Bob and Jackie
2: #1 Sombeyay
3: #2 Hit the Road
4: #5 Campaign

Direct to Thunder Road Stakes

Saturday Highlight – Santa Anita Thunder Road Stakes Grade 3 1 Mile Turf Event
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