Santa Anita News
A terrific Saturday program begins with an abbreviated sprint for maiden claiming $30,000 3-year-olds that looks fairly wide open. #1 Patriotic Lion ran very well under similar conditions two runs back and if he breaks cleanly from the rail he should be a strong pace factor throughout. #10 Givinaway chased tougher in his debut after being well backed and tries easier company today for a barn that generally does well with second time starters. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics; you may find the need to go a bit deeper.
The Friday opener is a downhill turf sprint for $40,000 claiming fillies and mares and serves as an illustration as to how trainer Mike Mitchell so successfully plays the claiming game.
We’re into the final three weeks of the season beginning with a Thursday program that offers a few wagering opportunities, mostly in rolling exotics. As usual, short fields with heavy morning line favorites occupy the early portion of the card.
The opener is a $16,000 claiming sprint that finds #1 Tempted listed at even money pretty much by default. She exits a race at this level against older company and today finds a much easier band restricted to 4-year-olds only. Gomez should have her on the front end throughout but she’ll certainly be at underlay odds in a field of just five.
As this is penned, the rains haven’t yet arrived at Santa Anita but we’re told they’re coming. Unsure of the type of race track we’ll be dealing with, our best advice is to tread lightly.
The Saturday program begins with a $32,000 claiming sprint for 3-year-olds. #3 Jack O Lynn moves up a notch following a solid win here last month from off the pace and looks tough right back. He gets an extra half furlong to work with while retaining Bejarano and the Mullins barn has been red hot of late. The one to fear most may be the recent runaway maiden claiming winner #5 Always the Same, though he is facing considerably more early heat today and may be vulnerable if he can’t establish the same kind of clear lead that he did last time out.
The “free Friday” program begins with a $16,000 claiming sprint for 3-year-old fillies that could be won by anyone of three. #1 Hannah Me Hannah represents inside speed and is a candidate to shake loose early and never look back, though you may have to hold your breath in the final sixteenth of a mile. #2 Sense Your Luck is a first-off-the-claim for Mitchell (34%, flat-bet profit) so considerable improvement is likely. And #4 Dustin’s Magic is a route-to-sprint, turf-to-dirt class dropper with speed figures that can beat this field.
There’s a $94,093 Pick-6 carryover to make the Thursday program enticing.
The opener looks chalky with #3 Si Mar’s Dear and #6 Memo to Kathy likely to get the bulk of the action. The former returns to her claim level after failing as the favorite without mishap against $10,000 sellers last time out and may not be one to trust, though she clearly has back numbers that would win in this league. The latter hasn’t been punching it in lately but hits the bottom today and looks like a player by default. There’s not much to work with here.
The Sunday program will include no turf racing, and as this is penned the condition of the main track is unknown. There’s a strong possibility that the hard seal that has existed on the main track since yesterday will be cut open should management determine that additional rain during the afternoon is unlikely.
Heavy overnight rains have rendered the main track sealed and sloppy and have forced the cancellation of turf racing. There’s a Pick-6 carryover of $81,796 to entice players.
There’s little that can be done with the early Friday daily double. Five meet in the opener, a bottom rung $8,000 claimer restricted to 4-year-old fillies, and on paper it looks like a match race between #3 For You My Heart (4/5) and #4 Queenie Marini (6/5). The former is a first-off-the-claim for Belvoir (29% with a flat bet profit) while the latter gets a break in the weights with the switch to bug boy Flores and has an edge in speed figures. Take your pick.