Handicapping Picks for 10/02/2011

Race #8 - Rating = 2
#4 Candrea - Fair odds 2/1
#10 Charm the Maker - Fair odds 4/1
#5 My Gi Gi - Fair odds 4/1
#8 Weemissfrankie - Fair odds 4/1
#2 Self Preservation - Fair odds 5/1

Although five horses are listed as contenders with some probability of winning this year’s Oak Leaf Stakes, one stands out, that being Candrea, who is a perfect 2-for-2 in her career and who improved from an 89 Equibase Speed Figure in her debut to a 100 figure in her 2nd start when easily winning the Phil D. Shepherd Stakes last month at Fairplex. She’s got more improving to do and Baffert’s #1 winning jockey Martin Garcia rides as he did in her 3 ½ length debut win so she’s the one to beat here as she doesn’t really need to improve to win, but should improve just the same, with eh next best last race speed figure of 93 (My Gi Gi) suggesting that Candrea is about 4 -5 lengths faster at this point in time.

Charm the Maker dominated in her racing debut on 8/31 at Del Mar to win by 4 ¼ lengths, then was flattered when the 3rd horse came back to win her next race. Hall-of-Fame trainer Ron McAnally knows she’s this good and with an 88 figure to improve upon this gal who should adore this two-turn trip as a daughter of Empire Maker has a shot at posting the upset if she does take a big step forward.

My Gi Gi is one of only two horses in the field with prior two-turn experience, having missed by a head on the wire last out in the Happy Ticket Stakes in Louisiana at a mile on turf. Earning a 93 figure with that effort, a big improvement off the 61 earned in her debut win, My Gi Gi is another that might take two steps forward and win the Oak Leaf.

Weemissfrankie and Self Preservation finishes one-two in the Del Mar Debutante one month ago, Weemissfrankie winning for the 2nd time in two starts and Self Preservation running well from 10th to 2nd in her U.S. debut and first start after 2 ½ months off. Both horses could run better off those efforts but it must be noted that those efforts earned fairly light Equibase Speed Figures, 83 for the winner and 81 for the runner-up, so even though impressive they are not within range of the first three listed contenders without considerable improvement, not out of the question for lightly raced 2 year olds.

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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.