While gamblers consider whether Charlatan or Nashville will win the Grade 1 Runhappy Malibu Stakes on opening day at Santa Anita Saturday, they can be sure of this: one of them will be the odds-on wagering preferred.
Charlatan has been odds-on in the last two of his three career races; Nashville has been odds-on in all three, and each has earned a Beyer figure over 100 in five of their six outings.
All that publicity hubbub aside, that didn’t discourage Michael McCarthy from getting in Self-reliance Hall in the seven furlong race for 3-year-olds as Santa Anita begins its 84th season of world-class racing with six added-money events, two others also ordained with G1 status, the La Brea Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs and the American Oaks, also for 3-year-old fillies however at 1 1/4 miles on grass.
Self-reliance Hall, winner of four races including the G3 Nashua by 12 1/4 lengths going a mile at Aqueduct as a 2-year-old on Nov. 3, 2019, was ridden to victory by Mike Smith last out at Del Mar on Nov. 8, however Joel Rosario goes back to ride for the Malibu.
The future Hall of Famer has ridden the kid of Constitution twice formerly, winning his debut race at Parx on Sept. 21, 2019, and completing an eventful 5th in the G1 Florida Derby on March 28 of this year.
“We have Rosario back, he’s delighted to ride him and we enjoy to have him,” said McCarthy, arranged to have a hectic opening weekend with stakes performers.
McCarthy’s numerous graded stakes winner Smooth Like Strait is set for Saturday’s G2 Mathis Brothers Mile, cutting down from the 1 1/8 miles of the G1 Hollywood Derby in which he was second by a head under Umberto Rispoli, who retains the install on Saturday.
On Sunday, Altea and Rideforthecause make their Southern California launchings for McCarthy in the G3 Robert J. Frankel Stakes for mares and fillies three and up at 1 1/8 miles on grass. “They’re both training like nice fillies,” McCarthy said. “I have actually had them considering that early November.”
Altea is a well-traveled 5-year-old French-bred child of Siyouni, a leading sire of two-year-olds in Europe, who has raced at nine various tracks in her last nine races: Aqueduct, Gulfstream, Tampa, Fair Premises, Churchill Downs, Keeneland, Saratoga, Monmouth and Belmont Park.
Rideforthecause is a 4-year-old Sweet Trip filly with four wins in 11 career begins, nearly all of them at Woodbine where she captured the G2 Canadian on Sept. 12. Rideforthecause worked five furlongs Saturday in 1:01.60, while Smooth Like Strait went four furlongs in 50 flat.
Meanwhile, McCarthy expects his two G1-winning fillies, Ce Ce and Speech, back at Santa Anita from Kentucky “in the middle of January,” together with Pat Day Mile winner Rushie.
Santa Anita’s conventional opening day is filled with stakes, six in all, three of them G1’s: the $300,000 Runhappy Malibu; the $300,000 La Brea for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs; and the $300,000 American Oaks for three-year-old fillies at 1 1/4 miles on grass.
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