The entries are as light as the jockey colony, with the penultimate week of racing for Santa Anita’s winter/spring meet beginning with a whimper and things not looking much better into the weekend. The top local jocks seem to be on to something, fleeing the scene for extended stays at Keeneland and Oaklawn ahead of the final major preps for the Kentucky Derby.
The Bluegrass Stakes and Arkansas Derby, both Grade I’s, are on Saturday, but Keeneland also runs the $300,000 Vinery Madison (Grade I) for older females over seven furlongs on Polytrack today.
Leading riders Joel Rosario and Rafael Bejarano ride Home Sweet Aspen and Sugarinthemorning, the top two finishers from January’s Santa Monica (Grade I) conditioned by John Sadler and Ron McAnally, respectively.
Garrett Gomez, who will again stay through the Keeneland meet, had his mount scratched out of the Vinery Madison, but gets the call on Bob Baffert’s Midnight Crooner in the Blue Grass Stakes.
Rosario will stay at Keeneland through Saturday when he rides Holy Candy for Sadler in the Bluegrasss Stakes, while Bejarano heads south to Oaklawn to ride tomorrow and then has the mount aboard Secret Circle for Baffert in the Arkansas Derby.
Mike Smith got his trip to Oaklawn for Baffert off on the right foot yesterday by winning the Fantasy Stakes (Grade II) with Mamma Kimbo and will be aboard Bodemiester for the first time in the Arkansas Derby. He also rides 5-to-2 second choice Salty Strike for Ken McPeek in today’s $75,000 Carousel Stakes.
Meanwhile, Corey Nakatani has also packed up for now, taking first call at Oaklawn for Steve Asmussen, who had little success with his string at Santa Anita this meet, but continues to click at above 20% everywhere else. The duo looks to get Sabercat back on the winning track in the Arkansas Derby.
We’re off to the races!
Pick 4 -
Leg 1 – Race 5 (3,5,7,8) – No. 7 Late Night Sky will be a short price in his first outside of allowance company, bur after back-pedaling through the stretch in each try and likely to have company on the front early, we’ll spread with No. 3 Animaux Del Viento, No. 5 Big Man in Black and No. 8 Bi Flash.
Leg 2 – Race 6 (3,6) – Another dropper, with No. 6 Big Tsimmis plummeting off a win, but she should sit a perfect trip just off the speed. If the race falls apart, No. 3 Flashy Traveler could run them down if she’s sharper in her second off the long break.
Leg 3 – Race 7 (ALL) – Just five runners in the feature with the scratch of Baffert’s Brigand, and we’ll use them all with each exiting a solid effort in their last.
Leg 4 – Race 8 (2,4,5,6,7) – Five more in the finale with No. 2 Mr. Newton, No. 4 Dr. Nip, No. 5 Hidden Quest, No. 6 Run for Miles and No. 7 Alworth.
Recap – (3,5,7,8) w (3,6) w (ALL) w (2,4,5,6,7) – Total cost of ticket = $100
Sunday’s Result – (-$112.50)
Total for current Santa Anita winter/spring meet – (-$2,635.50)
Total from 12/26/10-12/18/11 – (+$3,512.05)
Pick 5 –
Leg 1 – Race 1 (2,4) – No. 2 Royal Meridian is one of two five-year-old geldings making their second start and he will be over bet, so we’ll try to beat him with No. 4 Sequoia Warrior, who makes his first start for Baffert.
Leg 2 – Race 2 (4,5) – Things look chalky here with No. 4 Valkyrie Missile and No. 5 Position A.
Leg 3 – Race 3 (1,2,6,7,8) – Down the hill with No. 1 Huntington Harbour, No. 2 Elusive Spirit, No. 6 Platinum Mine, No. 7 Three Cuties and No. 8 Babeneau.
Leg 4 – Race 4 (3,5,6) – No. 6 Silent Sue faced some nice runners as a two-year-old and returns realistically placed off a long layoff. We’ll try her as the Best Bet despite negative marks from the morning clockers.
No. 3 I Sense Your Luck and No. 5 Backwoods Belle knock hard to top connections.
Leg 5 – Race 5 (3,5,7,8) – Same four as the late Pick-4.
Recap – (2,4) w (4,5) w (1,2,6,7,8) w (3,5,6) w (3,5,7,8) – Total cost of ticket = $120
Sunday’s Result – (+$46.75)
Total for current Santa Anita winter/spring meet – (-$2,628.90)
Total from 7/20/10-12/18/11 (+$1,513.90)
Best Bet of the Day (ROI based off $2 WPS bet)
Race 4 – #6 Silent Sue (9/2 ML) –She came out running to start her career and the company she’s faced has continued to run well into their three-year-old season. She’s stakes placed on dirt after running third at Pleasanton last July before hitting the shelf.
Sunday’s Result – Place peanuts with Confucius Junior (-$.40)
Total for current Santa Anita winter/spring meet – (-$124.40)
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For more Santa Anita action check out Jarrod Horak’s Pick 6 Blog.