The San Antonio Stakes Betting Preview and FREE PLAY- Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020

The Grade II, $200,000 San Antonio Stakes will run as Race 7 on the Dec. 26 card at Santa Anita Park.

The event for 3-year-olds and up will cover 1 1/16 miles and include names like Mucho Gusto, Sharp Samurai, and Extra Hope among the field of eight.

Here is a look at the top runners set for the San Antonio Stakes.

Betting Preview: Mucho Gusto, Sharp Samurai

The morning-line favorite coming in at 2/1 is Mucho Gusto, owned by HRH Prince Faisal Bin Khaled. The 4-year-old Mucho Macho Man colt is trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert.

He has a career record of 6-2-2 from 12 starts and earnings of $3,941,800. In 2020, he has one win from two outings.

His most-recent performance was a fourth-place finish in the Feb. 29 Saudi Cup at King Abdulaziz Racecourse, which followed a victory in the Jan. 25 Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes (G1) at Gulfstream Park. The latter resulted in a 112 Speed Figure.

Mucho Gusto will have to overcome the outside post 8 under jockey John Velazquez.

He will be up against the 5/2 Sharp Samurai, owned by Red Baron’s Barn, Rancho Temescal and Mark Glatt. The 6-year-old gelding from First Samurai is trained by Mark Glatt.

He is 8-6-3 from 23 career starts with earnings of $1,111,270. His 2020 performances include three seconds and two thirds from five outings.

He is coming off a third-place effort in the Nov. 7 Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) at Keeneland, which followed a runner-up finish in the Oct. 3 City of Hope Mile Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita. The latter resulted in a 116 Speed Figure. He also took second in the Aug. 22 TVG Pacific Classic Stakes (G1) at Del Mar

Sharm Samurai will break from post 4 under rider Flavien Prat.

Betting Preview: Extra Hope

Another runner deserving of attention is Jay Em Es Stable’s Extra Hope, coming in at 5/1. The 4-year-old Shanghai Bobby colt is trained by Richard E. Mandella.

He is 4-2-3 from 14 career starts with earnings of $294,831. In 2020, he has two wins from three starts.

Those victories came in the Nov. 21 Native Diver Stakes (G3) last time out at Del Mar, where he registered a 113 Speed Figure, and a Sept. 26 allowance optional claiming race at Santa Anita. His other 2020 performance was a fifth-place run in an Aug. 22 allowance optional claiming race at Del Mar.

Extra Hope will break from post 3 under rider Juan Hernandez.

The rest of the field (post, morning line) is set to include: Take the One O One (Post 1, 15/1); Kiss Today Goodbye (Post 2, 15/1); Combatant (Post 5, 12/1); and Idol (Post 7, 5/1).

Free Betting Pick

A lot of eyes are going to be on Mucho Gusto as he returns after a 10-month layoff. Despite this, his 2020 campaign has been impressive so far with two races, which include the Pegasus World Cup Invitational victory. Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert is using this as a springboard for the bigger stakes races for older horses, such as the Saudi Cup, towards the beginning of next year.

Spooky Express Free Pick: Mucho Gusto

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