You could do a lot worse than to play 2007 Santa Anita Derby winner Tiago in today’s $1 million Santa Anita Handicap. The half-brother to 2005 Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo is coming up to the race perfectly for trainer John Shirreffs, who didn’t have the 4-year-old Pleasant Tap colt fully cranked for the San Fernando or San Antonio but has a horse today who is sitting on a win.
No horse in today’s field has won more than the $1.3 million Tiago has earned. He won three major stakes races last year — the Santa Anita Derby and Goodwood Breeders’ Cup Handicap at Santa Anita and the Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park, and he beat the Big ‘Cap morning-line favorite, Awesome Gem, in the Goodwood. He’s 2 for 4 on synthetic surfaces, finishing second and third in the two races he didn’t win.
This track, which has been a graveyard for front-runners since its renovation, should suit Tiago’s late charge to a tee. If he gets clear sailing in the stretch, Mike Smith will get him up in time for his fifth victory in 12 career starts.