Posts Tagged ‘Santa Anita Park’

Breeders’ Cup Saturday Recap

Thanks to everyone for purchasing my 2013 Breeders’ Cup full card analysis. Saturday was another profitable day. Saturday’s full card is posted below, along with highlights.  I will be doing BC full cards next year again, along with 2014 Triple Crown, but Fair Grounds analysis is up next.

Breeders' Cup 2013 logo

Upcoming Full Card Schedule:

Fair Grounds Saturdays (Nov. 23, 30Dec. 7, 14, 21, 28Jan. 4, 11,18, 25Feb. 1, 8, 15, 22March 1, 8, 15, 22, 29)

My Saturday Fair Grounds full cards will be available to purchase on my Today’s Racing Digest Handicapper page. If you are not a Digest member, you can create a free account.

Click here to visit my Today’s Racing Digest Handicapper page.

Breeders’ Cup Saturday Full Card Highlights:

SA 1 Richies Party Girl/Toowindytohaulrocks Exacta ($26.60)
SA 3 Pontchatrain (best bet #1, $6.60)
SA 5 BC F&M Turf – Dank/Romantica Exacta (best bet #3, $11.60)
Double (races 5-6, $19.40)
Pick 3 (races 5-7, $49.60)
SA 8 BC Juvenile - New Year’s Day ($23), Exacta w/Havana ($53.90)
Double (races 7-8, $116.00)
Pick 3 (6-8, $278.30)
SA 10 BC Sprint – Secret Circle ($7.00)
Double (races 10-11, $12.60)
SA 12 BC Classic – Mucho Macho Man ($10.00)
Double (races 11-12, $19.20)
Pick 3 (races 10-12, $38.80)

Breeders’ Cup Saturday full card analysis from Santa Anita (11-2-13)
By Jarrod Horak (,
: Partly cloudy. High 82.     
Best Bets
(races 3, 4, 5, 7, 9)

SA 1 (Juvenile Turf Sprint, 6.5T) #9 TOOWINDYTOHAULROCKS (5-1) graduated down the dip and early-pressing types from outer posts perform well at this trip. #8 Love in the Desert (2-1) is an overseas transplant now trainer by Callaghan. She was competitive in all four turf sprints and Bejarano takes the call. #2 Richies Party Girl (5-2) graduated in a Belmont turf sprint and competed in turf routes in his last pair. Early-pressing turn backs do well down the dip. THE PLAYS: #9 to win, Exacta 9/2-8, Exacta 2-8/9 

SA 2 (Damascus Stakes) #1 FLASHBACK (2-5) found a great return spot. He runs well fresh and does not have to be fully cranked to beat these four rivals. #5 Anillo (8-1) will likely set the pace under aggressive pilot Maldonado. He is 1-for-1 at 7f and might have enough left in the tank to complete the exacta. THE PLAYS: Exacta 1-5

SA 3 (G3 Senator Ken Maddy, 6.5T) #13 PONTCHATRAIN (6-1) easily won the Unzip Me over the hillside course. I love outside early-pressing types down the dip and Stevens strings along. #12 Qiaona (6-1) finished strong in a downhill victory Oct. 12 and figures tough if able to duplicate that effort. #10 Unusual Hottie (8-1) was sharp earlier this year in turf routes at BHP and DMR. The gem of consistency can fire off the shelf and is a competent turf sprinter. #11 A Time to Love (15-1) was a fine 2nd down the dip Oct. 4 and can spice up the exotics. THE PLAYS: #13 to win, Exacta Box 12-13, Exacta 12-13/10-11

SA 4 (G1 BC Juvenile Fillies) – Horse comments and wagering strategies below.  

Post Time – 3:05pm eastern

#4 SECRET CMPASS (6-1) – Wore down She’s a Tiger in the local G1 Chandelier and is reportedly training great for this.

#7 Untapable (5-1) – Won both starts under the Twin Spires including G2 Pocahontas. She is also training forwardly.

#1 Artemis Agrotera (3-1) – Won both NY starts including G1 Frizette but was very fortunate when Sweet Reason blew the break last time. Inside speed always dangerous at Santa Anita.

#9 Sweet Reason (5-2) – Skipped over the Saratoga slop in first two outings including big late running score in G1 Spinaway. Clearly second best after bad start in G1 Frizette and can tag these but needs a clean trip on a fair surface.

#6 Concave (15-1) – Colonel John’s daughter lost for first time in G1 Del Mar Debutante but was not disgraced in rallying show finish. First dirt and two turn start.

#10 She’s a Tiger (6-1) – Is fast and game but needs to distribute her energy better. She is working well for this but looks like a sprinter at this stage.

#2 Rosalind (8-1) – Versatile filly handles dirt, synthetic, and turf. Her late run could spice up the exotics.

#8 Scandalous Act (8-1) – Queen of Calder must prove that she can run the same race away from her home venue.

#3 Designer Legs (30-1) – Failed to fire in G1 Alcibiades and G1 Spinaway. Her previous fast dirt sprint form was strong.

#5 Ria Antonia (30-1) – Lone win in Woodbine sprint. Non-threatening 5th in G1 Frizette.


Win: #4

Exacta: 4/1-7-9, 1-7-9/4

Trifecta: 4-7/1-4-7-9/1-4-6-7-9-10

Superfecta: 4/1-7/1-7/ALL, 4/1-7/ALL/1-7, 4/ALL/1-7/1-7

SA 5 (G1 BC F&M Turf) – Horse comments and wagering strategies below.  

Post Time – 3:43pm eastern

#2 ROMANTICA (6-1) – Classy Juddmonte filly loves firm turf and 10f.

#1 Dank (5-2) – Smashing G1 Beverly D winner is a fresh, classy contender.

#3 Tiz Flirtatious (7-2) – Consistent CA-bred filly is in career form.

#6 Marketing Mix (7-2) – Can compete with the best when on her game. 2nd in this event last year and will get first run under Stevens.

#5 Lady of Shamrock (20-1) – Failed to match her stellar 3yo campaign this year. She can still finish late and grab a piece on her best day.

#7 Laughing (8-1) – In career form with four graded wins from as many tries this year.

#9 Qushchi (20-1) – Marathon specialist will run out of ground in this spot.

#4 Alterite (10-1) – 3yo filly just missed in Keeneland’s QEII. Probably not good enough to beat these at this stage.

#10 Kitten’s Dumplings (10-1) – QEII winner meets too many classy older rivals.

#8 Emollient (12-1) – G1 winner on synthetic and turf really moves up on Keeneland’s Polytrack.


WIN – #2

Exacta – 2/1-3, 1-3/2

Trifecta – 2/3/ALL, 2/ALL/3

Superfecta – 2/1-3/1-3/ALL, 2/1-3/ALL/1-3, 2/ALL/1-3/1-3

SA 6 (G1 BC F&M Sprint) – Horse comments and wagering strategies below.  

Post Time – 4:21pm eastern

#12 SWEET LULU (8-1) – Close Hatches was the first filly to finish in front of her, and that was a Grade I route. She is 3-for-3 sprinting and early-pressing types from outer posts can be dangerous in extended sprints. Training forwardly.

#2 Book Review (5-1) – Loves seven panels and is a classy, sharp, fresh, and dangerous finisher for Bejarano/Baffert.

#5 Teddy’s Promise (6-1) – Brilliant at times and exits smart local win. Loves this course but cannot always be trusted to deliver a top effort. She was 8th in this event last year but is in better form this time.

#11 Groupie Doll (5-2) – Easily won this last year but her three 2013 numbers (2 losses) are not close to that level. Can she rediscover her greatness?

#4 Dance Card (8-1) – Did she get enough out of distant show finish in G2 Gallant Bloom to be competitive here? Obviously talented but might want more ground.

#6 Ismene (20-1) – The one to catch and enters in decent form but has dropped six straight. 2-for-2 on fast dirt and can hang around for a share.

#8 Dance to Bristol (5-1) – Had her 7-race win streak snapped at Belmont last time. She likes 7f and should sit decent stalking trip.

#9 Judy the Beauty (6-1) is a different filly at Keeneland and I doubt that she can duplicate her G2 TCA synthetic win on this track.

#7 Summer Applause (15-1) – 1-for-1 at 7f but has been on a steady route diet and probably won’t be able to keep pace with these.

#3 Starship Truffles (15-1) – She can be very good at times but is inconsistent. Likes connections and she would be a bigger threat in Florida.

#10 Great Hot (20-1) – Was 9th at 50-1 in this last year after finishing 2nd in LA Woman. She was 2nd in that race last time and looks like 50-1 again.

#1 Renee’s Titan (30-1) – Post 1 no bargain at 7f and her win against Beholder earlier this year was a fluke.


Win: #12

Exacta: Box 2-12, 2-12/5-6

Trifecta: 2-12/2-5-11-12/2-5-6-8-11-12

Superfecta: 12/2-6/2-6/ALL, 12/2-6/ALL/2-6, 12/ALL/2-6/2-6

SA 7 (G1 BC Turf Sprint) – Horse comments and wagering strategies below.  

Post Time – 5:05pm eastern

#14 UNBRIDLED’S NOTE (8-1) – Tough beat as my top in this last year. Ran well off the shelf in local prep for this and he runs great from outer posts at this trip.

#4 Reneesgotzip (5-1) – Fastest filly in the land was 3rd in 2012 BC Sprint. She is razor sharp and might not look back this year.   

#12 Mizdiection (4-1) – Defending champ won this off the shelf last year and is 5-for-5 down the dip. Smith has options with the versatile sort.

#3 Chips All In (5-1) – Likes downhill course but wish he drew outer post.

#6 Boat Trip (8-1) – Packs a big late kick in turf sprints and just missed by a nose in G3 Eddie D.

#5 Caracortado (8-1) – Solitary start since Jan. 2012 was an encouraging one. Would be a great story if the comeback kid captured this.

#11 Spring to the Sky (30-1) – Early-pressing type in decent form and can hang around for a small share.

#2 Rock Me Baby (30-1) – Troubled 7th in local prep for this. Have to believe that he will find trouble again from inner post.

#13 Dimension (12-1) – Inconsistent 5yo set the pace in lone 2013 win and he won’t get the early lead in this spot.

#10 Havelock (10-1) – Keeneland 5.5f specialist won’t run these down.

#1 Jeranimo (12-1) – Tough draw for deep closer. Turf router will pass tired foes but not enough to make an impact.

#7 Tightend Touchdown (12-1) – Adds speed but probably won’t be able to match strides with Reneesgotzip.

#9 Capo Bastone (8-1) – Tough spot to make turf bow. Will pass tired rivals.

#8 Handsome Mike (30-1) – Likes to get involved early but is not nearly fleet enough to keep up with these at 6.5f.


Win: #14

Exacta: 14/4-12, 4-12/14

Trifecta: 4-12-14/4-12-14/3-4-6-12-14

Superfecta: 14/4-12/4-12/ALL, 14/4-12/ALL/4-12, 14/ALL/4-12/4-12

SA 8 (G1 BC Juvenile) – Horse comments and wagering strategies below.  

Post Time – 5:43pm eastern

#4 NEW YEAR’S DAY (8-1) – Beat next out G1 FrontRunner hero Bond Holder at Del Mar. Like his pedigree and Baffert is known for striking with his longer priced entrant.

#13 Havana (5-2) – G1 Champagne hero has talent to overcome outside draw. He is the fastest horse in here and looks better than these on paper.

#2 Dance With Fate (8-1) – Nice distance progression and in fine form. Can definitely be used underneath, especially after favorable draw.

#3 Mexicoma (12-1) – Freaked in Delaware maiden win for Team Valor, and runner-up came back to score. Intriguing price play despite the fact that he reportedly has the stride of a turf horse.

#6 Tap It Rich (6-1) – Lost a ton of ground but still easily won first time out around two turns here Oct 12. Is he good enough to overcome inexperience? Reportedly not training great.

#5 Bond Holder (8-1) – He improved with added ground, just like his breeding suggested. Look for him late but I am tabbing underneath.

#11 Medal Count (20-1) – Can be used in exotics. Looked great in dirt debut and had traffic woes in G3 Bourbon.

#12 Diamond Bachelor (12-1) – Showed speed in all three turf routes (2 wins, 1 2nd). Decent enough dirt breeding but Havana is the better early runner.

#14 Strong Mandate (6-1) – Flopped in Champagne and drew a tough post in here. Rosario might have no choice but to send.

#10 We Miss Artie (8-1) – G1 Breeders’ Futurity looks weak and he was distant 2nd in lone dirt try.

#1 Smarty’s Echo (20-1) – Finished 2nd in slow renewal of G1 Breeders’ Futurity.

#7 Cleburne (12-1) – 2-for-2 but G3 Iroquois number wasn’t much.

#8 Conquest Titan (30-1) – Had some trouble in Breeders’ Futurity. Faded in lone dirt try.

#9 Rum Point (30-1) – 9th in Del Mar Futurity and 4th in Breeders’ Futurity.


Win: #4

Exacta: Box 4-13, 4-13/2-3

Trifecta: 13/2/ALL, 13/ALL/2

Superfecta: 4-13/2-3-4-13/2-3-4-6-13/2-3-4-5-6-11-12-13

SA 9 (G1 BC Turf) – Horse comments and wagering strategies below.  

Post Time – 6:22pm eastern

#7 THE FUGUE (3-1) – Rough trip 3rd as my top in 2012 F&M Turf. Exits back-to-back Group 1 wins and should beat these with smooth sailing.

#9 Indy Point (9-2) – Mandella always dangerous in BC races at SA. G2 John Henry winner right there every time except G1 Arlington Million fiasco.

#10 Big Blue Kitten (6-1) – One of 2 contenders for Chad Brown. Late run can net a share but The Fugue is in a different class.

#12 Real Solution (8-1) – The higher priced of the Brown runners. He is usually in the mix and is a must use in exotics.

#6 Point of Entry (4-1) – Give connections credit for getting him ready after injury. He is very talented but cannot see him beating The Fugue off the shelf.

#4 Little Mike (6-1) – Have never been on his bandwagon. Won this last year and exits G1 Turf Classic tally at Belmont, stalking the pace both times. Key to success is his ability to rate.

#11 Magician (8-1) – Flopped in Group 1 when last seen in June. He has talent but have never been this far and must reverse form off the shelf.

#1 Vagabond Shoes (15-1) – Has turned into useful turf marathon runner for Sadler. An underneath finish is possible.

#3 Twilight Eclipse (20-1) – Should love the firm SA turf. A cut below the best but I will use in Tri/Supers.

#2 Teaks North (30-1) – Was a decent horse at one time but was claimed at the Spa and was 5th in local prep for this.

#6 Tale of a Champion (30-1) – Flopped in G2 John Henry. Needs easier company and 10f.

#5 Skyring (30-1) – Stole G2 Dixie earlier this year but rarely threatens this type. He will probably set the pace.


Win: #7

Exacta: 7-9

Trifecta: 7/9/ALL, 7/ALL/9

Superfecta: 7/9-10-12/9-10-12/1-3-4-8-9-10-11-12

SA 10 (G1 BC Sprint) Horse comments and wagering strategies below.  

Post Time – 7:01pm eastern

#9 SECRET CIRCLE (4-1) – Looked great in his allowance return and is 4-for-4 sprinting. He can rate and is a major player if able to avoid a bounce, and his recent works are encouraging.

#7 Private Zone (3-1) – Takes pace pressure and keeps on fighting. Like his post and he can make it three straight.

#1 Justin Phillip (4-1) – Rallying 5th in 2012 BC Sprint. Having a productive season but inside post is a negative. Minor award not impossible.

#6 Bahamian Squall (10-1) – Wide 5th in G1 Vosburgh. He can close ground and is an interesting exotics threat.

#5 Sum of the Parts (12-1) – Followed up G3 Phoenix win with a 4th in this event last year. Comes in off G3 Phoenix win again.

#4 Gentlemen’s Bet (8-1) – Early-pressing type got bumped at the start in G3 Phoenix. He usually fires in fast track dirt sprints.

#10 Wine Police (30-1) – A win would shock but he is versatile and can pass tired foes. Can be used underneath.

#4 Majestic Stride (20-1) – Lightly raced and has some talent but this is a very tough spot for a speed horse.

#8 Fast Bullet (6-1) – Last year’s 6th place Sprint finisher is brilliant at times. Hard to back after G1 Forego flop in the Saratoga slop.

#2 The Lumber Guy (12-1) – 2012 BC Sprint runner-up not the same horse since.

#11 Trinniberg (8-1) – Won this at 13-1 last year. Went to Dubai in March and didn’t do much there or here since. Local effort on 10-5 was terrible.

#12 Laugh Track (20-1) – Always fires on synthetic/turf but lone dirt start was a bust. He can pass horses.


Win – #9

Exacta – Box 7-9

Trifecta – 7-9/1-6-7-9/1-4-5-6-7-10

Superfecta: 7-9/1-7-9/1-6-7-9/ALL

SA 11 (G1 BC Mile) Horse comments and wagering strategies below.  

Post Time – 7:40pm eastern

#5 OLYMPIC GLORY (4-1) – Consistent overseas G1 winner enjoyed blinkers last time. He handles any ground and might be this good.

#8 Wise Dan (1-1) – Defending champ has not lost a turf race in quite some time. He will stalk, pounce, and try to hold off late runners.

#7 He Be Fire N Ice (15-1) – Has turned into a decent flat mile turf runner for Sadler. The patient sort can spice up the exotics.

#10 Za Approval (15-1) – Nice win in G3 Knickerbocker and was 2nd to Wise Dan before that. Gets pace to chase and can land a share.

#1 No Jet Lag (8-1) – Won both U.S. flat mile turf starts including local prep for this. Well-posted and might be good enough for a share.

#4 Obviously (10-1) – Did not get early lead and disappointed in local prep for this. Connections say he will be in front this time and he was 3rd in 2012 BC Mile.

#2 Silentio (20-1) – Consistent, versatile colt runs well fresh.

#3 Silver Max (5-1) – Upset Wise Dan on Polytrack last time. He likes to set the pace but that spot will be occupied by Obviously.

#6 Bright Thought (20-1) – He is fast/talented but this is a tough return spot (off 7+ months).

#9 Cristoforo Columbo (15-1) – Both overseas wins at 6f and this is his third start since Oct. 4.


Win – #5

Exacta – Box 5-8

Trifecta 5-8/1-5-7-8-10/1-5-7-8-10

Superfecta 5/7-8/7-8/ALL, 5/7-8/ALL/7-8, 5/ALL/7-8/7-8

SA 12 (G1 BC Classic) – Horse comments and wagering strategies below.  

Post Time – 8:35pm eastern

#6 MUCHO MACHO MAN (5-1) – 2012 BC Classic runner-up easily won the local prep for this, the G1 Awesome Again. He’s a fresh, dangerous stalker under hot rider Stevens.

#9 Game On Dude (8-5) – Last year’s beaten Classic favorite has never been better, winning all five starts this year. He’s reportedly training super.

#11 Ron the Greek (8-1) – Surprisingly ran away with G1 JCGC. Won G1 Big ‘Cap here in 2012 and can rally for at least a share on his best day.

#10 Will Take Charge (12-1) – Blinkers off did the trick in Jim Dandy (2nd), Travers (1st), and PA Derby (1st). Improving 3YO rates a look.

#7 Fort Larned (6-1) – Defending BC Classic champ won his final prep for this and seems to be a need-to-lead type this year. Training aggressively with final three works in nine days.

#5 Declaration of War (10-1) – Classy overseas runner liked this trip on overseas synthetic and turf footing. KY-bred could handle dirt based on pedigree (War Front – Gone West).

#8 Palace Malice (10-1) – Distant 2nd to Ron the Greek in JCGC. G1 Belmont Stakes hero owns fine tactical speed but still must prove himself against older.

#12 Flat Out (12-1) – 3rd in this event last year. Belmont Park specialist is not as sharp this year, coming off a distant show finish in the JCGC.

#2 Paynter (12-1) – Ambitious placement for G1 Awesome Again runner-up. Dirt Mile might have been a better spot for the 2012 Haskell hero and Belmont Stakes runner-up.

#1 Last Gunfighter (20-1) – Grade 3 type couldn’t hang with the big boys in the JCGC.

#4 Moreno (15-1) – Much improved since adding blinkers in June. Early runner has never faced quality speed horses like Fort Larned and Game On Dude.

#3 Planteur (20-1) – Finished 3rd in Dubai World Cup in March. Bred in Ireland and all races on synthetic (3 starts) and turf (20 starts).


Win: #6

Exacta: Box 6-9, 6-9/5-11

Trifecta: 6-9/ALL/11

Superfecta: 6/9-11/9-11/ALL, 6/9-11/ALL/9-11, 6/ALL/9-11/9-11

Double/Pick 3/Pick 4/Pick 5 contenders – in order of preference


1   (9-8-2)
2   (1)
3   (13-12-10-11)
4   (4-7-1-9)
5   (2-1-3)
6   (12-2-5-11)
7   (14-4-12-6)
8   (4-13-2-3-6)
9   (7-9)
10 (9-7-1-6)
11 (5-8)
12 (6-9-11-5)

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Analysis

I am offering full card analysis for both Breeders’ Cup Days. I have included a free play of Friday’s Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf below.

Each full card costs $10 and includes analysis of all races on Fri-Sat, horse-by-horse analysis of each Breeders’ Cup entrant, wagering strategies for all races, and suggested Pick 6 Tickets using DRF TicketMaker.

Both full cards are complete and ready to purchase on my Today’s Racing Digest Handicapper page. If you are not a Digest member, you can create a free account.

My colleague Mike Shutty is also selling his informative Super Screener product again. Check it out at

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Click here to purchase my Breeders’ Cup 3013 analysis.

SA 7 (G2 BC Juvenile Turf) – Horse comments and wagering strategies below.  

Post Time – 5:25pm eastern

#4 OUTSTRIP (4-1) – Ran well in all four 7f turf starts in GB for Godolphin.

#5 Bobby’s Kitten (5-2) – Freaked in G3 Pilgrim for Chad Brown and I like his running style versatility.

Poker Player

Poker Player is an interesting exotics player at a price – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

#11 Poker Player (12-1) – Packs nice late punch on turf/synthetic for productive Hill-Catalano team.

#2 Giovanni Boldini (7-2) – 2-for-2 in overseas synthetic races at 7f. 3rd of 5 in lone turf try.

#13 Bashart (6-1) – Consistent Pletcher runner owns early-pressing versatility.

#8 Bon Accord (20-1) – Rallied for show in G3 Bourbon (off the turf). Won lone turf try (Calder).

#7 Aotearoa (12-1) – Smart win in Zuma Beach but these are better.

#3 Got Shades (30-1) – 2-time LAD turf stakes winner finished 3rd in Zuma Beach.

#12 Shamshon (12-1) – Won a pair of 5f overseas turf sprints but did not have answer at 6f last time.

#9 Wilshire Boulevard (8-1) – Busy 7-race overseas campaign produced two wins.

#6 Home School (30-1) – Former Ireland runner was 3rd in OT Juvenile Turf and 4th in Zuma Beach.

#10 Ontology (30-1) – Oak Tree Juvenile Turf runner-up is still a maiden after 5 starts.

#1 All Cash (30-1) – Finished a troubled 4th in the G3 Bourbon and was 3rd in both turf starts. Lukas runner is a maiden after four starts. aroaalist flopped in lone dirt try. at Pants On Fire in Penn Mile. Strub Series. llying show finish.


Win: #4

Exacta: 4/2-5-11, 2-5-11/4

Trifecta: 4-5/2-4-5-11/2-4-5-11

Superfecta: 4-5/2-4-5-11/2-4-5-11-13/2-3-4-5-7-8-11-13

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile 2012 analysis – Fortify can surprise

Saturday’s 8th race from Santa Anita Park is the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile for 2-year-olds traveling a mile and a sixteenth on the main track.

Check out my Saturday (Nov 3) Breeders’ Cup analysis (available now) at Upcoming analysis – Breeders’ Cup from Santa Anita (Nov 3) and Churchill Saturdays (Nov 10, 17, 24).

Derby Wars

Play Saturday’s $30k BC November Shootout at

SA 8 (G1 BC Juvenile, 8.5f)


1. Title Contender (6-1) – Rode SA speed bias to sharp wire job Sept 29.
2. Speak Logistics (8-1) – Back-to-back wire jobs at Monmouth & Calder.
3. He’s Had Enough (20-1) – Late runner never fired in G1 Breeders’ Futurity.
4. Shanghai Bobby (2-1) – 4-for-4 in one turn NY races.
5. Monument (12-1) – Crawled home in Cal Cup Classic win.
6. Dynamic Sky (12-1) – Improving colt landed place in Breeders’ Futurity.
7. Capo Bastone (15-1) – Rallying show finish against the bias in G1 FrontRunner.
8. FORTIFY (9-2) – Lasix-free colt was no match for Shanghai Bobby in NY.
9. Power Broker (5-2) – Smartly earned diploma in FrontRunner romp.


#8 FORTIFY owns an ascending numbers pattern and is bred to improve as distances increase. Dominguez got to know him last time and his grinding tactical style should play well around two turns. The no lasix rule won’t hurt him and the price should be right.

#9 Power Broker sat an outer tactical trip in the G1 FrontRunner and the $360k purchase sure took to conventional dirt that day. He should sit a similar trip today and a G1 win at this course/distance makes him the one to beat.

#1 Title Contender beat next out winner Code West (also Baffert) Sept 29 and he ran faster than FrontRunner hero and stablemate Power Broker. He might flee the rail and forget to stop under Martin Garcia, and he rates higher if early speed is strong.

#4 Shanghai Bobby has done everything right so far. He started his career in April and his seasoning edge should start to evaporate in the near future. He has to ship across country without lasix and go two turns for the first time at underlaid odds. He deserves the 2yo title if he wins this.

#7 Capo Bastone finished a better than appears 3rd over a speed friendly surface last time. He rates a longshot look underneath if he gets pace help over a fair surface.


#8 to win

Exacta 8/1-9

Exacta 1-9/8

Trifecta 1-4-8-9/1-4-8-9/7

I’ll Have Another, Done Talking Win Key Kentucky Derby 2012 Preps

The West Coast 3-year-olds completed their path to Kentucky Derby 2012 on Saturday and I’ll Have Another got the bob over Creative Cause in the 75th running of the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby.

G1 Santa Anita Derby (4-7-12): 94 BSF (I’ll Have Another)

I'll Have Another nips Creative Cause in the SA Derby - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

42-1 Baffert bomber Blueskiesnrainbows surprisingly coasted on an easy lead through splits of :23.11, :47.11, and 1:11.14. I’ll Have Another stalked on the outside and Creative Cause was relaxed along the rail.

Blueskiesnrainbows still held the advantage after a mile in 1:35.36 but I’ll Have Another and Creative Cause were gaining fast. The two favorites crossed the line noses apart with I’ll Have Another narrowly getting the job done under Mario Gutierrez. Baffert’s longshot pacesetter was another 1/2 length back in 3rd.

Paynter finished 4th, and was followed by maiden Brother Francis, Liaison, Midnight Transfer, Senor Rain, and Longview Drive.

I’ll Have Another, trained by Doug O’Neill, competed his nine furlong journey in 1:47.88 and paid $10.20. The son of Flower Alley picked up $450k in graded earnings and heads to Louisville riding a 2-race graded route win streak.

Creative Cause removed the hood and ran well from post one. He qualified for the Kentucky Derby on graded earnings long ago and received a useful prep on Saturday.

I have always thought the Southern California 3-year-olds were a cut below the top Florida runners and continue to hold that belief following the SA Derby.

Kudos to I’ll Have Another for proving me wrong on Saturday but he figures to fall short on the first Saturday in May. Creative Cause always runs his race and is the more serious Derby threat.

Santa Anita Derby Grade: B- (82 out of 100)

In the $500,000 Illinois Derby at Hawthorne, Done Talking rallied to an upset victory for sharp Maryland connections Hamilton Smith and Sheldon Russell.

G3 Illinois Derby (4-7-12): 85 BSF (Done Talking)

The pace was honest with Frankie Is Rock and Our Entourage leading through splits of :23.94 and :48.64. Morgan’s Guerilla made a wide middle move and was up to 2nd after six panels in 1:13.94.

Morgan’s Guerilla struck the front under Rosie Napravnik in the lane but Done Talking and Hakama were finishing fast. In the end, it was Done Talking by 3/4ths of a length over Morgan’s Guerilla with Hakama another length and a half back in 3rd.

Saturday Launch was a rallying 4th and was followed across the line by Ring It Up, Skyring, Frankie Is Rock, Pretension, Z Rockstar, Currency Swap, Fastestwhogetspaid, Romancing the Gold, and Slamit.

This looked like a weak Derby prep on paper and did not impress visually while earning a mediocre number.

Illinois Derby Grade: C- (71 out of 100)

Santa Anita Derby 2012 Preview – Creative Cause a slam dunk?

Southern California’s top Kentucky Derby 2012 contender Creative Cause is the strong 6-5 morning line favorite in Saturday’s Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. Is he worth trying to beat in Santa Anita Park’s showcase event?

Creative Cause

Creative Cause looms large in SA Derby - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

#1 Creative Cause (6-5) has been a major Derby top ten player since I began my list last September and he continues to go strong for trainer Mike Harrington.  The tactical gem of consistency removes the hood and the only weakness he has is losing focus and goofing around in the stretch. He qualified for the Kentucky Derby on graded earnings long ago and does not need to win this. The main thing is to keep his mind on business and finish up strong with a quality top three performance.

#8 Midnight Transfer (10-1) is capable of giving the aforementioned favorite a scare if he improves off his San Felipe show finish. He is training well for this and has the numbers to make a dent if he handles today’s added ground. Not sure he really wants to go this far but he projects a decent tactical trip under new rider Mike Smith and the price figures to be right.

#2 Liaison (8-1) capped off a productive juvenile season with a game win in the G1 CashCall Futurity but everything has gone wrong this year. He clipped heels and fell in the G2 Robert Lewis and got no pace help in G2 San Felipe 4th place effort. He reunites with winning pilot Bejarano and should offer value.

#4 I’ll Have Another (5-2) surprised off the shelf in the G2 Robert Lewis at 43-1 but that race has not been productive and he offers no value at 5-2. The fresh colt is an early-pressing player at the very least.

#5 Longview Drive (12-1) is 0-for-3 in the graded ranks and will probably be aggressively handled by Russell Baze, who rides him well.

#3 Holy Candy (8-1) makes his third start in five weeks for Sadler. The promising son of Candy Ride looked good in local flat mile graduation run March 23 but he shows up in a tough spot and is light on numbers. Does Drew Brees have a Kentucky Derby horse?

#10 Brother Francis (20-1) is a stakes placed maiden trying to make the Derby cut. He does not have the numbers to win but another minor award is not out of the question. Garrett Gomez ends up here.

#6 Paynter (6-1) looked good graduating against three rivals at 5.5 furlongs at Santa Anita Feb 18. The Baffert trainee is probably not up to this type of company at this stage but is worth following.

#7 Senor Rain (15-1) exits an optional claiming extended sprint tally here and should make his presence felt from the outset. He seems a cut or two below the best in here.

#9 Blueskiesnrainbows (20-1) is a Baffert outsider. He removes the hood and should stalk the pace before throwing in the towel.

The Plays:

$20 to win #8

$10 Exacta Box 1-8 ($20)

Grading the Kentucky Derby 2012 Preps: Creative Cause Wins San Felipe

The West Coast sophomores moved one step closer to Kentucky Derby 2012 on Saturday and Creative Cause emerged victorious in the G2 San Felipe.

G2 San Felipe (3-10-12): 102 BSF (Creative Cause)

Creative Cause

Creative Cause now has $686,000 in graded earnings - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Creative Cause sat the perfect tactical trip at the Great Race Place on March 10 and he wore down a game Bodemeister to grab the $180k top prize. Mike Harrington’s winner was gawking and wandering in the stretch and needs to get rid of those bad habits before the first Saturday in May. He is now a 2-time graded route winner and looks like the best of the west at this point.

Bodemeister probably ran the best overall race at Santa Anita Park on Saturday. He did all of the pace dirty work in his first start against winners. He was also an unraced juvenile so the Baffert trainee was giving up a huge seasoning edge to the winner. He owns dangerous early-pressing speed and looms a serious threat in the Santa Anita Derby if he goes that route.

Midnight Transfer did well to land the show in his first two turn test. I am not sure how much further he wants to go but he deserves a shot in the Santa Anita Derby.

Liaison rallied to finish an even 4th and was followed across the line by Rousing Sermon, Blingo, American Act, Tiz Point, Empire Way, and Groovin’ Solo.

San Felipe Grade: B


San Felipe 2012 Preview: Creative Cause vs. Bodemeister

The Southern California road to Kentucky Derby 2012 heats up on Saturday with the Grade 2 San Felipe and morning line favorite Creative Cause is back around two turns at the Great Race Place.

Creative Cause Kentucky Derby 2012 contender

Is Creative Cause the best out west? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

#7 Creative Cause (5-2) has fired Trifecta shots in all six career outings and exits a needed show finish in the G2 San Vicente at seven panels. He won the G1 Norfolk at this trip and projects a decent tactical journey under Rosario. He has dropped two straight and three of his last four and has plenty of graded earnings for the first Saturday in May. The obvious contender will not offer much value on top.

#4 Midnight Transfer (6-1) looked great in his last two local sprint wins including a minor stakes tally in the San Pedro on Jan 22. Carla Gaines is a sharp conditioner and he figures to stalk the pace under new rider Victor Espinoza. He is an interesting player if able to navigate two turns.

#3 American Act (8-1) beat Creative Cause and Bodemeister in his last pair and looms a pace factor at the very least under Pedroza. He is bred to go this far and might get brave if able to shake loose early.

#1 Blingo (8-1) is training well for Shirreffs. The lightly raced colt graduated in his turf route bow and ended up a respectable 6th of 13 in the G1 CashCall Futurity on Dec 17. He has not been seen since but is training well for this and can rally for a share under Mike Smith.

#2 Bodemeister (3-1) was clearly second best behind American Act in his local sprint bow and ran off the charts in his local flat mile maiden win Feb 11. He will need to earn better Pace Ratings to make a dent in his first start against winners but the promising son of Empire Maker might be up to the task for Baffert.

I was not impressed with the G2 Robert Lewis so I will toss all four rivals exiting that heat. #5 Groovin’ Solo (20-1) was disqualified for causing #6 Liaison (6-1) to clip heels that day but the latter was going nowhere fast prior to going down. #8 Rousing Sermon (8-1) was placed 3rd but had a flat performance and might be better on synthetic. #10 Empire Way (6-1) rallied for the place and is slowly improving for Harrington. Royal Delta’s late striding brother needs to get away from this speed conducive oval.

#9 Tiz Point (20-1) exits a local turf route entry level wire job. He will need a new rider because Garrett Gomez called off his comeback yesterday after experiencing pain in his heel.

The Plays:

$18 to win #4

$10 to win #3

$1 Trifecta 3-4/7/ALL ($16)

$1 Trifecta 3-4/ALL/1 ($16)

Grading the Kentucky Derby 2012 Preps: San Vicente

Sunday’s Grade 2 San Vicente at Santa Anita marked the much anticipated return of Kentucky Derby 2012 hopeful Creative Cause but Drill spoiled the comeback party.

San Vicente Stakes (2-19-12): 94 BSF (Drill)

Drill horse

Drill got back on beam in San Vicente - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

The San Vicente was reduced to a compact field of four after scratches and American Act made the running with Drill tracking the pace. Creative Cause was wide in last but raced within striking range throughout.

It was basically a two-horse race throughout with Drill wearing down American Act. Creative Cause found his best stride late and Let’s Get Crackin completed the quartet.

Drill beat Creative Cause in the G1 Del Mar Futurity last summer but lost to that rival in the G1 Norfolk. He tailed off badly in four subsequent stakes starts but got back on the beam for the recently hot Martin Garcia/Bob Baffert team. I once considered Drill a Derby hopeful and it was nice to see him rebound but he seemingly has distance limitations and took advantage of a perfect situation on Sunday.

Creative Cause was the overwhelming favorite and probably should have captured the San Vicente even if he was not fully cranked. On the other hand, this extended sprint was just a starting point to his sophomore campaign and he was already is great shape on the Derby graded earnings list. He finished up well and galloped out strongly in a useful prep for bigger spring goals.

American Act ran well in his first start vs. winners for Jack Carava. He beat highly regarded Baffert runner Bodemeister in his maiden breaker and is on the upswing.

San Vicente Stakes Grade: C

San Vicente Stakes 2012 Preview: Creative Cause Looms Large

G1 Norfolk hero Creative Cause, last seen landing the show in the G1 BC Juvenile, begins his road to Kentucky Derby 2012 in Sunday’s G2 San Vicente at Santa Anita Park.

Creative Cause

Creative Cause is the 3-5 San Vicente favorite - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

#2 Creative Cause (3-5) ran well in all five juvenile starts and makes his much anticipated return in this extended sprint. He captured the G1 Norfolk at Santa Anita Park last fall under today’s pilot Joel Rosario. The son of Giant’s Causeway is sitting pretty on the Derby graded earnings list and he has bigger fish to fry but seemingly does not meet much and figures to fire a big shot at miniscule odds.

#5 American Act (4-1) is an intriguing contender for Jack Carava. He beat impressive next out winner Bodemeister in a local sprint Jan 16 and might get brave if able to shake loose early under Martin Pedroza.

#1 Let’s Get Crackin (6-1) has been part of the Trifecta in all seven conventional dirt outings and was last seen landing the show in the local San Pedro Stakes. The obvious exotics threat projects a ground saving tactical trip (blinkers off).

#4 Smoking G (8-1) looked good in hillside maiden win Jan 28. The pace player sports a bullet for this and can contend for a placing if he handles conventional dirt.

#3 Drill (9-2) traded decisions with Creative Cause in the G1 Del Mar Futurity and G1 Norfolk but it has been all downhill since. He has flopped in his last four stakes outings and needs a sudden reversal of fortunes to compete here.

#6 Captain Obvious (15-1) showed ability on turf/synthetic in Ireland and finished 4th after a slow beginning when last seen in the Real Quiet Stakes. He dons the hood and attracts longshot jock Gutierrez but is not bred for dirt.

The Plays:

$10 to win #5

$16 Exacta 2-1

$8 Exacta 2-5

$2 Exacta 5-2

$1 Trifecta 4-5/2/1-4-5 ($4)

Robert Lewis Stakes 2012 Preview: Four-bagger for Liaison?

The Kentucky Derby 2012 trail heats up in Southern California on Saturday with the G2 Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita Park and morning line favorite Liaison seeks his fourth straight win for Bob Baffert.


Is Liaison beatable on Saturday? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

#2 Liaison (9-5) landed the show in his flat mile bow and Del Mar and it has been all smiles ever since. He graduated in a seven panel event at Santa Anita Park, and proceeded to win back-t0-back stakes races in the Real Quiet and G1 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park. The hard knocking Baffert trainee owns fine tactical speed and is training well for this. This is a starting point to his sophomore campaign and he is already sitting pretty on the graded earnings list so he does not have to win this at low odds.

Liaison’s stablemate #5 Sky Kingdom (6-1) was my top choice in the aforementioned CashCall Futurity and he was hardly disgraced in a 4th place finish. He exits a facile allowance route win at the Great Race Place and appears poised to make a splash in the graded ranks.

#6 Rousing Sermon (5-2) finished 2nd to Liaison in the Real Quiet and CashCall in his last pair. He won the CalCup Juvenile at Santa Anita and will be finishing under Talamo. He needs a fair racetrack and some pace help.

#8 Chips All In (6-1) has a nose for the wire and should sit a decent outer tactical trip if he can avoid getting hung out to dry. The Mullins runner gets tested for class.

#7 Empire Way (6-1) is slowly improving for Mike Harrington. Royal Delta’s brother tries conventional dirt for the first time and will try to get involved late under Rosario.

#3 Groovin’ Solo (12-1) took to the local oval like a duck to water in his recent flat mile graduation run Dec 30. He sports two local bullets for this and is getting better but class is a cloud.

#1 Isn’t He Clever (6-1) is a New Mexico shipper with a hint of ability. The gelded son of Smarty Jones will probably flash speed from the rail under Nakatani. He will get a distance and class challenge.

#4 I’ll Have Another (12-1) would appreciate a speed favoring oval. He ran well in a pair of synthetic sprints last summer and has not been seen since struggling in the Saratoga slop last September.

The Plays:

$20 to win #5
$8 to win #8
$1 Trifecta 5-8/2-5-6-8/2-5-6-8 ($12)


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