03/10/2017 7:36PM

Bernier: How I'll play Santa Anita on Saturday, March 11

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The Saturday card at Santa Anita is as exciting as it gets from a racing standpoint; five stakes fill the card, with three of them being of the Grade 1 variety. Not to go overlooked is the Grade 2 San Felipe for 3-year-old males, as well as the China Doll for 3-year-old fillies rounding out the card. There are a couple of horses I’m intrigued with in the final two races of the day; I’ll look to be alive to each of them in doubles. Here are the plays:

RACE 9

The Grade 1 Kilroe Mile is a fantastic race featuring a competitive field of seven. A number of these runners exit the Grade 2 Arcadia on Feb. 11, and I plan on keying in on two of them. CONQUEST ENFORCER (6) loomed rounding the far turn but didn’t produce his customary kick down the lane. After the race, trainer Phil D’Amato discovered that Conquest Enforcer had developed a quarter crack during the race, and perhaps that dulled his turn of foot a bit. With that issue behind him, he should be in prime position to right the ship here. RING WEEKEND (5) is a classy turfer who made a mild bid toward the end of the Arcadia, and if he’s able to sit a bit closer to the pace in the Kilroe, he’ll have a big chance turning for home.

RACE 10

The Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap looks to feature a legitimate threat to wire the field in MIDNIGHT STORM (1), but he may find the 10-furlong distance of the Big Cap too demanding. If he comes up wanting, I think there’s a scenario in which HI HAPPY (8) takes over the lead and holds off the rest of the field. A Group 1 winner on dirt in his native Argentina, Hi Happy adds Lasix for the first time and projects to sit a few lengths off Midnight Storm throughout. He’s far from the likeliest of winners, but I certainly want to be alive to him in doubles.

RACE 11

At first glance, the China Doll Stakes goes through SIRCAT SALLY (5); she’s 3 for 3 lifetime and is proven on both turf and dirt. She’s arguably the horse to beat, but it’s hard for me to ignore the late kick BEAU RECALL (10) displayed in her North American debut for trainer Simon Callaghan. There appears to be plenty of pace signed on in this event, and as long as Joe Talamo can get Beau Recall navigated in the clear turning for home, she should have every opportunity to get the job done.

THE PLAYS

Double R9/R10: 5,6 / 8
Double R10/R11: 1,8 / 10