Handicapping Picks for 10/01/2011

Race #6 - Rating = 2
#3 Ask the Moon - Fair odds 2/1
#1 Blind Luck - Fair odds 3/1
#6 Ultra Blend - Fair odds 7/2
#7 Zazu - Fair odds 4/1

Ask the Moon is the fastest horse in the field and that has to get her top billing in this year’s Lady’s Secret Stakes. She’s earned back-to-back 113 Equibase Speed Figures winning a pair of Grade 1 stakes races, the Ruffian Invitational Handicap and the Personal Ensign, both at Saratoga, so she has certainly proven she belongs at or near the top of the female division in North America. Both wins came off the trainer change to Wolfson, who smartly goes with a local jockey in Garcia as the mare makes her 1st start on the West Coast, and having won both recent races leading from start to finish and finding a field devoid of any horse other than her that wants the lead she will be tough to beat once again.

Even though she beat Havre de Grace in the Delaware Handicap and even though Havre de Grace came back to beat males in the Woodward Stakes, Blind Luck will probably need to run the best race of her life to win today. Blind Luck earned a 109 figure in the Delaware Handicap, with Havre de Grace flattering her and improving to a 115 in the Woodward. Particularly since she’s been rested 2 ½ months, Blind Luck’s should improve off that race, perhaps back to career best effort last year in the Fitz Cotillion Stakes in which she earned a 121 figure. Just the same, at times Blind Luck has been disadvantaged by a lone frontrunner such as we might have in Ask the Moon in this situation. On the other hand she knows her job and does it very well, evidenced by her stellar career record of 12-7-2 in 21 career starts.

On paper, Ultra Blend and Zazu actually stack up well in this field, enough to be competitive and perhaps to run well enough for either to post the upset win. Ultra Blend is in the best form of her career, and like Blind Luck she’s been an exceptional mare throughout her career, with a record of 11-5-5 in 23 races. She won the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar 2 months ago in a career best effort with a 110 figure, holding off Zazu by a neck at the wire, and with her consistency it’s not hard to forecast another “A” effort good enough to win again. Zazu also earned a career best figure, the same 110, in that Hirsch, her first win versus older foes and following a dominant win in the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks. After a one race absence, Joel Rosario (who rode her to victory in the Oaks) gets back on, and as she’s getting six pounds from the main three contenders because she’s a 3 year old she could use that to her advantage to earn the biggest win of her career.

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You can get my selections and analysis for the entire Santa Anita card at www.equibase.com, www.trackmaster.com as well as at the Xpressbet, Twinspires and TVG handicapping stores.