Brandon A. Quick | Sat 17/03/2018 - 13:47 EDT

2018 Santa Margarita Stakes Odds, Predictions

2018 Santa Margarita Stakes Odds, Predictions

Distance A Key Factor

None of the ten fillies or mares in the Santa Margarita have won a dirt race at today's distance of 1 1/8 miles and only two - Mopotism (0/2) and Bishop's Pond (0/1) - have attempted it. That makes Fault (4/1) an even more interesting commodity as the Phil D'Amato trainee switches from dirt to turf. The surface switch would be interesting enough as D'Amato connects at a solid 20% clip with such runners, but Fault, a winner of the Grade 2 Buena Vista Stakes last out at a mile on the grass, also owns a 1 1/8 mile victory in the Grade 3 Pucker Up Stakes last August on the lawn. 

Fault's dirt workouts look encouraging including a sharp four furlong move in 48.02 seconds March 1 at Santa Anita - the 15th quickest drill of 116 horses to work at the distance that morning. Fault is coming off a career-best 96 Beyer Speed Figure and as a daughter of 2010 Breeders' Cup Classic winner Blame, should handle the dirt. 

Meet the field 

  1. La Force (6/1)
  2. Turkish Tabby (15/1)
  3. Mended (6/1)
  4. Dalsaros (12/1)
  5. Mistressofthenight (8/1)
  6. Majestic Heat (6/1)
  7. Bishop's Pond (6/1)
  8. Eccentric Spinster (15/1)
  9. Mopotism (7/2)
  10. Fault (4/1)

Morning line favorite Mopotism exits a second-place finish in the February 10 Santa Maria Stakes where she had the misfortune of running up against the freakish Unique Bella. Mopotism earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 95 despite being beaten 9 lengths and has been consistent in three starts this year, earning a win and a third to go with the runner-up performance in the Santa Maria. Her two prior starts at 1 1/8-miles were both in grade 1 events - the Kentucky Oaks and Breeders' Cup Distaff. 

Turkish Tabby, Mended and Bishop's Pond figure to be involved in the battle for the early lead in a race where an honest pace seems certain. Those early fractions will benefit horses like Mopotism and Fault in addition to La Force - a distance-oriented filly who may relish the extra ground. La Force has hit the board in each of her last five starts since being converted from turf to dirt and will be handled by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith. 

The Picks

Fault could go in the gate anywhere from 5/2 to her morning line price of 4/1. Anything closer to the latter represents excellent wagering value. This is a decent field, but it's not overly difficult by grade 1 standards. Fault appears to be thriving physically and this is a great spot for. 

On pick 3, pick 4 and pick 6 tickets, I'll cover La Force, Mopotism and Fault. These are also my three picks for the race, but trifecta and superfecta bettors should account for the fading speed of Mended - who I think can stick around longer than expected.

  • 1st: Fault 
  • 2nd: La Force
  • 3rd: Mopotism
  • 4th: Mended

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