Instead of sprinting in Monday’s $100,000 Los Angeles Handicap (Grade III) over six furlongs, six runners opt for today’s third-level $100,000 allowance optional claimer with a purse of $62,000 over the same distance.
Having scored with nearly 50% of his runners in the first month of the meet, Bob Baffert sends 2-to-1 favorite Racing Aptitude and 5-to-1 shot Indian Firewater. The three career wins for each are fewer than the other four in the field.
In his only start over Cushion Track, Racing Aptitude crushed to a 4 ¼-length score while earning a Beyer of 105 in the Yo Eleven last November. That speed figure was 27 points higher than any of his previous main track efforts and the 4-year-old son of Aptitude followed that up by earning an 88 Beyer when running fifth in the Malibu (Grade I) at Santa Anita six weeks later.
Indian Firewater is winless over his last eight starts spanning nearly a year and a half, which includes a fourth-place finish in last year’s L.A. ‘Cap. The 5-year-old son of Indian Charlie’s last win came by a nose over his barn mate Tweebster, who has continually been void of a will to win.
A new horse since being claimed by John Sadler from Mark Glatt last March, Italian Rules is the 5-to-2 second choice having won 3-of-5 for his new connections on the way up the class ladder. The 7-year-old son of Tribal Rule has finished in the exacta in nine straight despite a troubled start in his last that had him off his game at the back of the pack early.
Another consistent sprinter, Smart Spending is 4-to-1 having won four times from five sprints with the only defeat coming by a neck. The 5-year-old son of Smarty Jones won clear in his only try over this main track in a first-level allowance in November and will be rolling from off the pace again.
Bench Points is also 4-to-1 and will be running late in his first start of 2012 with Alonso Quinonez back aboard as Rafael Bejarano lands on Racing Aptitude for the first time. The 4-year-old Cal-bred son of Benchmark has won just once in his last five starts after beginning his career by winning four straight.
We’re off to the races!
Pick 4 -
Leg 1 – Race 5 (ALL) – We have the luxury of using all here in a competitive turf sprint with the aggressive single in the next race.
Leg 2 – Race 6 (4) – The scratch of No. 3 Caffeine High leaves us with a bold single in No. 4 Valentine Boy as lone speed. He did well to break his maiden last time despite not getting the lead and he can improve again as he did last year in his second career start.
Leg 3 – Race 7 (ALL) – A solid group where No. 6 Indian Firewater is the only one who seems unlikely, but we won’t go all but one, especially when it’s the “other” Baffert.
Leg 4 – Race 8 (1,3,5,8) – A much better effort is expected from No. 5 Cragmont after a questionable ride last time, but he’s still lost 16 times so we’ll spread with No. 1 Good Lite, No. 3 Jeffery’s Groove and No. 8 Marshland.
Recap – (ALL) w (4) w (ALL) w (1,3,5,8) – Total cost of ticket = $96
Sunday’s Result – (+$124.25)
Total for current Hollywood Park spring/summer meet – (-$805.40)
Total from 12/26/10-4/22/12 – (+$588.70)
Pick 5 –
Leg 1 – Race 1 (2,3) – No. 6 Kiptiddy Do is the only runner with experience making her fourth start and exiting a runner-up effort, but that race was brutally slow so we’ll figure by attracting the top two riders, either No. 2 Clearly Confused or No. 3 Citizen Bernstein can get the money.
Leg 2 – Race 2 (3,5,6,7) – No. 3 Malibu Love will be a short price off her last, but we’ll try to beat her in a bad race with the trio of No. 5 Love Ya Bye Bye, No. 6 Red Intrigue and No. 7 Warren’s Hope that all stretch out for the first time.
Leg 3 – Race 3 (1,5,6) – We’ve been icy towards No. 6 Linda Lou lately, but on the stretch out she should be lone speed and can wire this field.
No. 1 Going for a Spin and No. 5 Warren’s Got Game hit the wire together in their last and should both be tough right back.
Leg 4 – Race 4 (4,5,6) – Bottom-level maiden claimers and we’ll use the trio of No. 4 Kentucky Tale, No. 5 Awesomekaylee and No. 6 Love My Girl.
Leg 5 – Race 5 (3,4,5,6) – Trim down to half the runners for the Pick-5 using No. 3 Logical Single, No. 4 Jet Blue Girl, No. 5 Pick and Pray and No. 6 Ninth Infantry.
Recap – (2,3) w (3,5,6,7) w (1,5,6) w (4,5,6) w (3,4,5,6) – Total cost of ticket = $144
Sunday’s Result – (+$608.85)
Total for current Hollywood Park spring/summer meet – (+$281.60)
Total from 7/20/10-4/22/12 (+$2,150.80)
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