Get a flying start with Covfefe at Santa Anita

Covfefe with Javier Castellano wins the Miss Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore, Maryland on May 17, 2019. (Photo by Evers/CSM/Sipa USA)

He is four from five this year, and if getting to the lead will be hard to pass.

In the Turf Sprint, old timer Stormy Liberal attempts to go back-to-back for trainer Peter Miller. The seven-year-old is rarely out of the money and having run a cracker in his warm up for this, he can again get into the shake up.

For many the idea of the banker on the card is Omaha Beach, trading at a shade of odds-on with Hollywoodbets in the Dirt Mile.

What resonates with this horse is the fact he is trained by Richard Mandella, whose Breeders’ Cup winners have all come at Santa Anita. Furthermore he was gameness personified in resisting Shancelot in the Santa Anita Stakes here last time out.

In the Filly & Mare Turf, the Europeans have a decent shot, even though Magical has been retired to the covering sheds. While Sistercharlie dominates the market and could go off odds-on, Fleeting has a definite claim to take down the favourite.

She has been unlucky on more than one occasion, especially behind Star Catcher at Ascot, and has the wherewithal to land the spoils under Ryan Moore.

In the Sprint, Mitole can lay a glove on some well regarded foes to deliver for the powerful Steve Asmussen barn. The selection might have only scraped home against Firenze Fire at Saratoga, but he is the kind of horse that knows where the winning post is.

The Mile is wide open, but the one to be with is Go Stormy, if the word on track this week is anything to go by. The Mark Casse-trained runner came up short at Woodbine when a heavily-backed favourite, but is more than capable of bouncing back.

In the Distaff, Dunbar Road stands out and is definitely one to back. Trainer Chad Brown is adamant she is way better than her third to Blue Prize at Keeneland. She is a capable filly that can turn the tables on the big occasion.

There is no Enable in the Turf, while Arc winner Waldgeist did not show up and Magical stayed in Ireland after running a temperature. It adds up to a depleted field, in which Old Persian can take advantage for the Charlie Appleby arm of the Godolphin operation.

The Sheema Classic winner enjoyed a profitable Meydan Carnival before netting that Group One, and though flopping in the Coronation Cup has benefited from being let down mid-season.

Appleby freshened him up to return with a pleasing place finish in the Grosser Preis Von Baden In Germany, followed by a win in the Grade One Northern Dancer at Woodbine. The Americans probably have one of their best chances of lifting this with Bricks And Mortar, but that one is stepping up in distance, which is a source of worry.

On the book there is little to choose between Vino Rosso and Code Of Honor in the Classic. In the Jockey Club Cup here in September, Vino Rosso held on by a nose after getting a more enterprising ride, but Johnny Velasquez will surely be more alert to the need to be handy this time, knowing that Santa Anita is not a renowned track for closers.

Another issue with Code Of Honor is his wide draw, but trainer Shug McGaughey is adamant his charge can overcome that and show how unlucky he was to get ruled out of last year’s Juvenile through a freak setback on the eve of the race.


SANTA ANITA: 6.55 Covfefe, 7.33 Stormy Liberal, 8.10 Omaha Beach, 8.54 Fleeting, 9.36 Mitole, 10.20 Go Stormy, 11.00 DUNBAR ROAD (NAP), 11.40 Old Persian, 12.44 Code Of Honor.

DOUBLE: Dunbar Road and Old Persian.