Fran’s Valentine Stakes Race Preview, Top Picks and Longshots

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A general view of the racetrack at Santa Anita Park prior to a race. Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images/AFP

With a big Memorial Day holiday weekend and the unofficial start of summer commencing, horse tracks across the country have festivities planned for horse bettors.

Santa Anita in California has five stakes races on its Saturday card and we are focused on the last one of the day, the Fran’s Valentine Stakes, for our best bets.

When Is Fran’s Valentine Stakes?

  • The Fran’s Valentine Stakes will take place on Saturday, May 28th.
  • The venue is the world-know Santa Anita track in California.
  • The post time for the race is scheduled at 08:15 PM EDT.

BMR’s Betting Pulse

Fran’s Valentine was the 1985 Kentucky Oaks winner. The race is a mile on green turf. It’s open for fillies and mares three-year-olds and up.

The morning line favorite is Alice Marble (4-5 odds) which is rather strong.

• Fi Fi Pharoah and Pulpit Rider have also won stakes races in their career and should be threats to win this race.


The race will be a mile on the gorgeous green turf for three-year-olds and up fillies and mares. Currently, post time is scheduled for 8:15 Eastern or 5:15 Pacific and this should close a super day of racing at Santa Anita.

For those curious about who Fran’s Valentine is, no, it’s not a retail card shop in the Los Angeles area, that was the 1985 Kentucky Oaks winner.

What To Watch for in this Race

The morning line favorite is Alice Marble (4-5 odds) which is rather strong, considering she’s a sprinter. However, many previous stakes winners that converted to long-distance have enjoyed success and her full sister, Enola Gray, has put together a great career traveling longer distances.

The only question would be for trainer Phil D’Amato after 10 prior races, “Why Now?”. Because of the added distance, this is Alice Marble’s initial two-turn jaunt.

Other Contenders

Fi Fi Pharoah and Pulpit Rider have also won stakes races in their career and should be threats to win this race.

Fi Fi Pharoah (6-1) has the connection to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and last year, on the same Saturday at Santa Anita, she won the Melair Stakes, which was on dirt. This is just Fi Fi’s second try on the green stuff and is coming off an excellent workout a week ago.

Pulpit Rider (4-1) finished third in the same race a year ago, proving she belongs. What Pulpit Rider needs is the right trip and she’s a bit of a one-trick horse, preferring to be middle of the pack and closing strong when asked to. For this to work, one or more of the six others in this race needs to show early speed to attract others, setting PR to be the closer.

Self Isolation (5-1) had been remarkably consistent, at least by speed ratings, in her past three starts:

  • 78 km/h
  • 80 km/h
  • 80 km/h

The three prior females talked about also have recently had speed ratings in the 80s. A good case can be made for Self Isolation to be on your card, having finished in the money the last four times she’s hit the track. Though steady, is SI ready for others with a bit more speed who are being stretched to a greater length?


Top Picks and Possible Longshots for the Fran’s Valentine Stakes

There are other three horses to consider in this miler:

  • Flying to the Line (30-1)
  • Super Game (15-1)
  • Sassyserb (6-1)

Super Game would appear the best of the longer shots. She’s a known grass sprinter and has shown fairly well when adding distance. But can SG keep up against the better competition?

The betting odds say Alice Marble is the pick and her speed numbers back it up (86-84-89), even though at shorter distances. Yet, with those odds, who wants to bother?

Instead, we’ll start with an AM for an exacta box and include Fi Fi Pharoah. We can see the logic of making this a three-horse exacta box and adding Self Isolation, who keeps cashing.


Exacta Box Picks

  • Alice Marble
  • Fi Fi Pharoah
  • Self Isolation

Since none of the long shots seem capable, Fi Fi Pharoah offers the most value given the current odds.

Horse Racing Pick: Winner: #5 Alice Marble

Horse Racing Long Shot Pick: #3 Fi Fi Pharoah

*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.