Impeccable weather shines upon us as we begin Big ‘Cap week with an intriguing affair at a mile on turf for $80,000 allowance optional claimers chasing a $65,000 purse.
Bob Baffert is used to being at the center of attention at the highest level in main track heats, but it’s not as common for him to be in the mix when we hit the turf. Such is the case today with 2-to-1 morning line favorite Causeithertz in search of consecutive wins for the silver-haired wizard and 6-to-1 shot Jaycito making his first start since moving from Baffert’s care to Simon Callaghan.
Regally bred by owner Michael Bello, Causeithertz was still a maiden before moving to Baffert as a five-year-old and winning his first two starts. The six-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway out of the prolific race mare Megahertz snapped a five-race losing streak that followed with an emphatic 2 ½-length win against second-level allowance competition on January 31 and should be stakes bound for the first time with another impressive performance.
After a long string of stakes disappointments on the main track, Jaycito moves to a barn that specializes with turf performers in hopes of taking his career to the next level over a new surface. The five-year-old son of Victory Gallop has won his last two races that have come outside of stakes action, but his supporters cannot be happy to see (really) low-percentage jockey Alonso Quinonez get the call.
Since clearing the second-level condition last summer at Del Mar,Temple’s Door has fallen to defeat five straight times in stakes action with four of those efforts coming in Grade 2 company. That includes a dismal effort in the San Marcos Stakes 19 days ago when today’s 5-to-2 second choice steadied twice in the early going before fading to ninth beaten double-digit lengths in the 1 ¼-mile turf event.
Another runner changing barns is 8-to-1 long shot Oligarch, who was claimed for $40,000 by low-percentage trainer Gus Headley out of a fourth-place finish on February 2. It’s a family affair with Headley’s girlfriend and mother of his child, Kayla Stra, taking over in the irons with the potential to steal away on the front end to a wire-to-wire score aboard the five-year-old son of Congrats, who defeated Causeithertz in that manner when making his local debut over this turf course in October.
We’re off to the races!
Late Pick 4 -
Leg 1 – Race 5 (3,5,7,10) – There should be plenty of heat on early in the mile affair on the turf so we’ll take four horses that can win from off the pace with No. 3 Pocket Prince, No. 5 Keyboard Courage, No. 7 Sanibel Sid and No. 10 Baby Blake.
Leg 2 – Race 6 (4,6,7,8,9) – Cal-bred allowance runners sprint seven furlongs with No. 4 Real Conundrum, No. 6 Macho Dorado, No. 7 Chicsdigtheshark, No. 8 Island Sunset and No. 9 Mel’s Game all in sharp current form.
Leg 3 – Race 7 (1,4,7,8) – If you toss his graded stakes tries, No. 1 Jaycito has performed well lately so we’ll use him begrudgingly with the possibility that Quinonez gets his first turf win of the meet.
Preference goes to the trio of No. 4 Oligarch, No. 7 Causeithertz and No. 8 Temple’s Door.
Leg 4 – Race 8 (2,7,8,10,11) – No. 11 Primed and Ready has trained forwardly for his return, but his better races have come on synthetics so we’ll try to beat him with No. 2 Zippingaroundtown, No. 7 Flew Flicker, No. 8 Warren’s Tyler S. and No. 10 Majestic Desert.
Recap – (3,5,7,10) w (4,6,7,8,9) w (1,4,7,8) w (2,7,8,10,11) – Total cost of ticket = $200
Sunday’s Result – (-$108)
Total for current Santa Anita meet – (+$307.10)
Total from 12/26/10 – 12/16/12 – (-$2,090.45)
Pick 5 –
Leg 1 – Race 1 (1,3,5) – No. 4 Gifted Prince plummets to the bottom after over two years since making his debut and the price should be short with Rafael Bejarano taking the call. However, reports are he’s been unimpressive in the mornings so we’ll go with a trio from low-percentage connections with the best recent form using No. 1 His Royal Highness, No. 3 Cold Bay and No. 5 I Feel Free.
Leg 2 – Race 2 (1,2,3,5,6) – Three-year-old maiden allowance runners go long on the main track and there is always the potential for a star to emerge from these types of heats.
Top national conditioners send promising runners with a pair from both Bob Baffert, No. 1 Taran Taran and No. 2 Spirited Touch, and Steve Asmussen, No. 5 Masaru and No. 6 Python, while Mike Mitchell unveils No. 3 Consurgo.
Leg 3 – Race 3 (4) – Thrown to the wolves for her local unveiling in the La Canada Stakes (Grade 2) five weeks ago, No. 4 Ubelongtomemissy faces much weaker today in this starter allowance with fillies that have never won twice. Off four solid works since, expect a tracking trip behind what should be a contested pace.
Leg 4 – Race 4 (1,2,5,9,10) – Quinonez picks up another live mount with class-dropping 7-to-2 favorite No. 2 Solar Rocket, while second-leading rider Edwin Maldonado flees that one to stick with No. 1 Warren’s Dr. Boo.
No. 10 Vaundell looks for consecutive scores after battling back to win at the beginning of the month in a heat that was visually unimpressive.
No. 5 Kuro is protected off the long layoff by the red-hot Jeff Bonde barn and No. 9 Hidden Blessing has won his last two over a fast dirt main track.
Leg 5 – Race 5 (3,5,7,10) – Same quartet as the late Pick-4.
Recap – (1,3,5) w (1,2,3,5,6) w (4) w (1,2,5,9,10) w (3,5,7,10) – Total cost of ticket = $150
Sunday’s Result – (-$121.50)
Total for current Santa Anita meet – (+$1,892.90)
Total from 7/20/11 – 12/16/12 – (+$13,891.70)
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