Picks and Ponderings: 2018 Santa Ynez Stakes Preview

Saturday’s card at Santa Anita features the first chance for the Derby-bound to get points in 2018, with the Grade 3 Sham Stakes.  Sunday, however, is all about the fillies: the day’s feature, the Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes, is the first Kentucky Oaks points race of the year.

As with so many stakes races at Santa Anita, this race takes its name from a place on the map.  Santa Ynez, California, a valley town about 135 miles northwest of Santa Anita racetrack.  Inaugurated in 1952 as a six-furlong sprint, it has varied in distance between six and a half furlongs and seven since 1954.  Through most of its recent history it has covered seven furlongs; for 2012-2016 it shortened up to six and a half, but last year it returned to its current trip.  In addition to shares of a $200,000 purse, the Santa Ynez also offers Road to the Kentucky Oaks points, apportioned 10-4-2-1 to the top four finishers.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my preview of the Santa Ynez Stakes, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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