Handicapping Picks for 02/25/2012

Race #7 - Rating = 2
#6 Sway Away - Fair odds 2/1
#3 The Factor - Fair odds 2/1

For pick 3 and 4 tickets also consider #1 Canonize and #2 Amazombie

Amazombie is a Breeders’ Cup winner making his first start since then, with that almost always being a race a horse isn’t fully cranked up for. That has been the pattern for many years, particularly this year, and I would be picking him on top without a doubt if he had one race this year under his belt. As it is, and particularly because he’ll be overbet, I am taking a stand against him as a win contender (for win betting purposes) although I will use him on some pick 3 or 4 tickets played.

Sway Away makes his first start as a 4 year old, last year making the Derby Trail but proving he is not a two-turn horse by any means. After a 12th place Preakness try, he shortened up to this 7 furlong trip and won by a neck with a career best 112 Equibase Speed Figure, excellent for a 3 year old in June. He missed by ¾ of a length last year in the San Vicente (run last weekend) to The Factor and as a fresh horse with an outside post has a good shot to post the mild upset today over that nemesis. The Factor came back nicely from nearly 2 months off to win the Malibu Stakes on opening day, albeit versus his own age group only, but as he won the Pat O’Brien Stakes last August at this 7 furlong trip versus older there’s really not an issue there. He earned the same 112 in the Malibu as Sway Away did in his last start before the layoff, and he certainly has room to improve as a four year old as well, likely to be in front from the start (unless one of the other four wants to commit pace suicide) so perhaps very tough to beat once again.

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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, Keeneland Select and TVG handicapping stores.