OffTrackBetting.com - The Grade 2 Charles Whittingham Memorial Stakes comes our way this Sunday, May 29 from Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California. A purse of $200,000 will be on the line for horses three years old and upward willing to go 1 1/4 miles on Santa Anita's turf track.
A field of 10 will give it a go in the Charles Whittingham - race 8 on Santa Anita's Sunday card. Post time is 5:30 PM. Here is a peek into the past performances of all 10 entries for this competitive Grade 2 stakes.
2016 Charles Whittingham Stakes Race Preview at Santa Anita Park
Bal a Bali - Brazilian Triple Crown winning 2014 Brazilian Horse of the Year Richard Mandella trainee has an impressive 13 wins, a second and four third place finishes in 19 career starts. He won his last eight races at home (6 group stakes) before debuting in North America with a nice win in the Grade 3 American Stakes at Santa Anita last May. He went on to a pair of disappointing fifth place finishes - the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Santa Anita in June and the Grade 2 Del Mar Mile in August. He has been better in four starts since - three straight third place finishes ahead of this race including the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile last time out at Golden Gate April 30, in the Grade 3 Frank E Kilroe Mile here March 30 and in the Grade 2 San Gabriel Stakes January 2. Before that was a respectable second in the Grade 2 Seabiscuit Handicap at Del Mar November 27 and an Allowance Optional Claiming score on that same track October 30. Bal a Bali has been competitive virtually every time out but chases his first graded stakes win over a year. He departs from post 5 with Flavien Prat in the irons.
Quick Casablanca - Chilean bred Ronald McAnally was terrific at home placing in all 11 starts including a win in the Group 1 Asociacion Latinoamericana in 2012. He was OK once he arrived in North America - a win in the Grade 3 Last Tycoon Stakes in April, 2014 and a second in the Grade 2 San Juan Capistrano Stakes two months later being the best results. He failed to place in five starts in 2015 but has been much better in 2016. Last time out was a win in the Grade 3 San Juan Capistrano April 10 which followed a second in the Grade 2 San Luis Rey Stakes March 13 and a third in the Grade 2 San Marcos Stakes in February. Quick Casablanca has been seriously trending upward and should be in the mix Sunday. Tyler Baze has the mount from the outside gate 10.
Royal Albert Hall - British bred Doug O'Neill trained gelding has just two wins in 18 career starts to go along with six seconds and five third place finishes. He has placed in seven of his last nine starts however - a third in the Grade 2 Elkhorn Stakes last time out April 23 followed an Allowance Optional Claiming score March 25, a second in a similar race March 5, an ugly thirteenth in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby November 28 and a third in the Grade 2 Twilight Derby October 24. He also had a second in the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby September 6 and a third in the Grade 3 La Jolla Handicap in August. Royal Albert Hall looks for his first stakes score Saturday in decent from - from gate 6 with Rafael Bejarano guiding him.
Finnegans Wake - Peter Miller trainee has seven wins, four seconds and four third place finishes in 33 career starts and was on fire at the beginning of 2015 when he placed in five straight starts (four wins) - a win in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs May 2 followed a second in the Grade 2 San Luis Rey Stakes and a three straight victories - the Grade 2 San Marcos Stakes February 7, the Grade 2 San Gabriel Stakes January 3 and the Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup here November 27. He hasn't been all that great since - a sixth last time out in the Grade 3 Thunder Road Stakes here April 9 followed a third in the Grade 1 Eddie Read Stakes in July and consecutive fourth place finishes - in the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita June 27 and in the Grade 1 Manhattan Stakes at Belmont Park June 6. Finnegans Wake has looked good in works leading up to this week as he looks for his fifth graded stakes score and first in over a year from post 7 with Victor Espinoza in the reins.
A Red Tie Day - lightly raced Richard Baltas trainee has three wins and four third place finishes in 13 career starts. He made his stakes debut last time out and finished a respectable fourth in the Grade 2 Elkhorn Stakes at Keeneland April 23. That result followed an Allowance Optional Claiming score at Santa Anita March 3, an eighth in a similar race February 7 and 16 months away from the track. He also had a two race win streak against lesser competition in June, 2014. A Red Tie Day has been just OK so far in his career and looks for a statement win from post 3. Mario Gutierrez rides.
Si Sage - French bred James Cassidy trainee was at his best in the late 2013/early part of 2014 - a second in the Grade 2 San Marcos Stakes followed a third in the Grade 2 Sir Beaufort Stakes in December, 2013. He failed to place in six races after that but had a nice win last April 25 in the Grade 3 Last Tycoon on this track. Si Sage was sent to the sidelines for a year and has two starts since - a fourth last time out in the Grade 3 American Stakes May 6 followed an eighth in the Grade 3 Thunder Road Stakes April 9. He now has just four wins, six seconds and a third place finish in 25 career starts and will look to turn things around from post 7 with Mike Smith in the reins.
Patentar - French bred Simon Callaghan trainee had two wins and three third place finishes in 11 starts in Europe and has four starts in North America. Last time out was a good win in an Allowance Optional Claiming on this track February 7 after an eighth, a third and a seventh respectively in Allowance Optional Claiming races at Del Mar. He makes his stakes debut off a career best effort and steps up from the outside gate 2 with Alonso Quinonez in the saddle.
Blingo - John Sherreffs trained gelding enters off an OK third in the Grade 3 Tokyo City Cup here April 3 after an eighth place finish in the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes on this track February 6 and consecutive fifth place finishes - the Grade 2 San Pasqual Stakes on this track January 9 and an Allowance Optional Claiming November 21. Before that was a ninth in the Grade 3 Knickerbocker Stakes at Belmont Park October 10 and nearly 20 months away. Good results include a third in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap in March, 2014 and a good win in the 2014 San Antonio Stakes a month before that. He has failed to place four of his last five starts before this week and looks for his first win in over 26 months Sunday - from the rail with Alex Solis aboard.
Montego Bay - Neil Drysdale trained gelding made his graded stakes debut April 39 and finished sixth in the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile at Golden Gate April 30. Before that he posted four wins and two runner-up finishes in 13 career start and placed in four of his previous five starts - a Claiming score April 3 at Santa Anita April 3 followed a second in a similar race February 2, a fourth in the minor Joseph T. Grace Handicap at Santa Rosa in August and an Allowance Optional Claiming score at Del Mar in July. Montego Bay will be after his first stakes score and will have Drayden Van Dyke aboard from gate 4.
Play Hard to Get - Eric Kruljac trained gelding has just three wins in 16 career starts. He enters having failed to place in his last seven starts overall including a sixth last time out in an Allowance Optional Claiming here May 12 and a seventh in the Grade 3 Thunder Road Stakes on this track April 9. He has yet to place in stakes company and looks as though he'll be in over his head in this one too. Kent Desormeaux rides from gate 8.
2016 Charles Whittingham Stakes Entries & Odds
Race 8 on Santa Anita's Sunday card with a Post Time of 8:30 PM.
||A Red Tie Day
||Drayden Van Dyke
||Bal a Bali (BRZ)
||Royal Albert Hall (GB)
||Si Sage (FR)
||Play Hard to Get
||Quick Casablanca (CHI)