2016 La Brea preview

The 2016 La Brea Stakes will fall on the day after Christmas and poses some interesting money making opportunities depending on your flavor. This race is for three-year-old fillies and has a lot of talent involved, but the value might be somewhere in the middle. That is, of course, you prefer the outright favorite.

At 4-1-1 in six starts, Lightstream is entering the 2016 La Brea Stakes with a 2/1 number that pegs her as the favorite. Her performance at the Raven Run, where she went from 8th to 1st like a bullet, is more so indicative of where she is now compared to up-and-down outings in previous races this year.

“We’ve tried to space her races and we don’t run her unless she’s doing good, so fortunately enough she’s been pretty consistent all year,” said trainer Brian Lynch. “The ankle chip could have been a blessing. Sometimes it gives them a chance to mature. Sometimes everything happens for a reason.”

“Ultimately tracks vary from coast to coast,” Lynch continued while acknowledging the strength of the field in the 2016 La Brea. “A lot of time speed doesn’t come back, but there’s plenty of speed in the race. A few could get to banging heads and the race could set up for her or could not.”

One of the biggest threats in the field is Enola Gray, one of the top three-year olds at the lower tiers up until recently. Losing out at the Betty Grable Stakes did a lot to put a dent in her otherwise sparkling reputation. She was a heavy 1/9 favorite in that race but will be a more reasonable 9/2 third choice at the 2016 La Brea Stakes. There are those – such as me – who firmly believe that she is a worthy standalone play. With a record of 4-2-0 in six starts, you’re looking at one of the most consistent performers at this race.

Chao Chom, who upset Enola Gray at the Betty Grable, will be an 8/1 longshot alongside Perfect Pic (6/1), Lunar Empress (20/1) and Coniah (15/1).

The more probably entries include second cohie Finley’sluckycharm who is pretty much being excused for her 7th place finish at her last stakes outing. There’s nothing on her resumé to suggest that the W. Bret Calhoun trainee is worth the gamble.

Same goes for Jerry Hollendorfer’s Constellation who was last out placing 4th at the Cicada Stakes. She had previously won the Ruthless Stakes but there’s little in her body of work to say that Constellation is actually a contender at the next level.

The wisest choice is a pairing of Lightstream and Enola Gray, but standalone’s on either to win is a fine strategy at this post-Christmas race.

2016 La Brea Stakes – Monday, December 26th at Santa Anita
7 Furlongs – 3 Year Old Fillies – $300,000

PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L
1 Lunar Empress (KY) Norberto Arroyo, Jr. 119 Richard Baltas 20/1
2 Lightstream (KY) Julien R. Leparoux 121 Brian A. Lynch 2/1
3 Finley’sluckycharm (KY) Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr. 119 W. Bret Calhoun 5/2
4 Constellation (KY) David Romero Flores 119 Jerry Hollendorfer 6/1
5 Coniah (CA) Tyler Baze 119 Carla Gaines 15/1
6 Chao Chom (CA) Kent J. Desormeaux 119 Gary Stute 8/1
7 Enola Gray (CA) Mike E. Smith 119 Philip D’Amato 9/2
8 Perfect Pic (ON) Santiago Gonzalez 119 James M. Cassidy 6/1

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