The feature race on the Friday card at Santa Anita is the two million dollar Ladies' Classic, that features Royal Delta. The nine furlong race currently has a field of eight and could have the dramatic finish that bettors and viewers love.
Grace Hall is a nice three-year-old that is trained by Anthony Dutrow. In her last start, on October 6, Grace Hall dominated and appeared to remain in good form. In her last work on October 27, Grace Hall worked four furlongs in 47.4. In her best performances, this horse prefers to be near the lead. I also like that she has a win and a third place finish in her starts at the distance.
My Miss Aurelia is the undefeated filly for trainer Steve Ausmussen and appears to be the horse to beat off her record. Despite her stellar record, I'm skeptical of her ability to handle the distance. In her last race, she stalked a slow early pace and narrowly won. I also don't like the fact she's had just two races in 2012.
Class Included is a four-year-old that has won her last four starts, all from just off the pace. I like her form, especially since her work at Santa Anita on October 28 was 47 flat, which was the best of every workout at that distance. Five wins in six career starts at nine furlongs. Despite all that positive information, Class Included is about to get a serious class test, as she's never won a Grade One event before.
Questing wants the lead early but might not have enough left late. Kiaran McLaughlin trains the three-year-old who is coming off a narrow loss in her last race, despite having the lead late. In her lone start at nine furlongs, Questing won by over four lengths over the main track at Saratoga but in a less than impressive 1:50.1.
Awesome Feather is 10 for 10 for trainer Chad Brown and should love the way this race sets up. In her last race at Belmont Park, she dominated the one-mile Nasty Storm, winning by over 11 lengths in 1:33.2. Awesome Feather is undefeated in two career starts at the distance.
Royal Delta is the class of the race, with several Grade One wins, including this race last year. Mike Smith is the jockey for this Bill Mott trained four-year-old. Four wins and two second place finishes in seven career starts at nine furlongs.
Include Me Out is a nice horse, who will probably need some moisture to win. Until her last race, which was the Grade One Zenyatta at Santa Anita, this horse has been remarkably consistent, with four wins and a second in five starts. In the Zenyatta, she never rallied and finished a disappointing third, with talented jockey Joe Talamo. Include Me Out does have three wins over the main track at Santa Anita, which none of the previous horses have.
Love and Pride is going to be the wild card in this feature race. This front-runner that is trained by Todd Pletcher will probably push Questing into significantly faster early fractions. Unlike Questing, who I think has distance instances at nine furlongs, this A.P. Indy sired horse has three wins at the distance, so I don't expect her to quit at the top of the stretch. I absolutely love that John Velazquez will ride her, as he rode her perfectly in the Personal Ensign on August 26th.
I absolutely see Questing being pressured early by Love and Pride. I won't be shocked if they run 23.3 and 47.4 for the first part of the race. Nearly every other horse in the race prefers to be close to the lead but not on in. Royal Delta is probably going to move first, as I can't see Mike Smith doubting her ability to take the lead on the turn and hold off everyone. However, I just don't see Awesome Feather losing.
I think My Miss Aurelia will run gamely but I don't see her finishing better than third. This is a very good field, in fact, it appears to be the deepest field in years. I think Royal Delta will make Awesome Feather work for the win and it will be a close finish. The final time will be 1:48 flat.