​Santa Anita Park Horse Racing Picks for Monday 5/31/21

There are nine races on Memorial Day at Santa Anita, including three Grade I races. Which horses should you bet on at FanDuel Racing?

It's a great time to dive into horse racing, and FanDuel Racing gives you the chance to do just that.

Starting at 4:00 p.m. Eastern, we have nine races at Santa Anita Park. Using numberFire’s projections as a guide, here are some of the best bets.

As always, check the program for scratches and changes, and monitor the weather and track conditions.

(I will reference Equibase's Speed Figure in selected races, which tells you how fast a horse has been running in each of its races -- adjusted for track, distances, and conditions.)

Smooth Like Strait, Race 7

FanDuel Racing Odds: 9/5 and 12/1

The trio of Grade I races on Memorial Day begins with Race 7 and the $300K Grade I Shoemaker Mile on the turf. The North American Breeders' Cup Challenge Series also starts with the Shoemaker Mile.

The numberFire data projects Smooth Like Strait (4/5) to win with top turf jockey Umberto Rispoli riding for EPO trainer Mike McCarthy. Smooth Like Strait is a son of two-time Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) winner Midnight Lute. Horse Racing Radar notes he's hit the board in his last five starts -- all Grade I or II races. Three of those were wins and the two other losses were by a neck.

Whisper Not (9/5) has hit the board in all five starts since coming to the U.S. from Great Britain in October. He won a Grade III race last month and finished two lengths in front of third-place finisher Restrainedvengence (8-1).

Say the Word (4/1) has local leading jockey Flavien Prat riding for leading EPO trainer Phil D'Amato. He won a Grade II race at Keeneland last month going 1 1/2 miles and also finished second over this track at 1 1/2 miles to a top talented California turf runner.

Country Grammer, Race 8

FanDuel Racing Odds: 5/2

Race 8 is the $300K Grade I Hollywood Gold Cup at 1 1/4 miles. The numberFire algorithm likes the match-up of Country Grammer (5/2) and Royal Ship (5/2) and picks Country Grammer with leading jockey Flavien Prat to win off his best race and speed figure (112). He raced on the lead for a mile before losing by a neck, going 1 1/8 miles in his first start in eight months.

Guaranteed Tip Sheet picks Country Grammer but notes Royal Ship posted the top last-race speed figure when pressing the pace and beating Country Grammer in the Grade II California Stakes. Also, pacesetters have won more than a third of the dirt routes during the Santa Anita meet, according to Horse Racing Radar.

Express Train (2/1) is the favorite and projected board hitter, and he's finished in-the-money in 7 of 8 races on a fast track, according to Horse Racing Radar. Express Train has a win, a second-, and a third-place finish in four starts since December, coming from off the pace in all those starts.

Going to Vegas and Maxim Rate, Race 9

FanDuel Racing Odds: 6/1 and 5/1

Race 9 is the $300K Grade I Gamely Stakes for fillies and mares going 1 1/8 miles on the turf. The favorite and projected board hitter according to numberFire's data is Charmaine’s Mia (8/5) with top jockey Flavien Prat riding for EPO trainer Phil D'Amato. Guaranteed Tip Sheet picks Charmaine's Mia to win and notes she's three-for-three at Santa Anita.

Going to Vegas (6/1) has four wins and three second-place finishes at Santa Anita and is projected to finish second. But numberFire's algorithm picks Maxim Rate (5/1) to win, and Horse Racing Radar also notes that Maxim Rate has three wins and three seconds at "The Great Race Place."