It’s only fitting after a long string of near misses for nice cashes that six runners on Saturday’s card see their names begin with “Miss” and despite two graded stakes we’ll miss five of the top jocks in the room who are at Oaklawn Park to chase the three-year-old dream in the $600,000 Rebel Stakes (Grade 2).
We are treated to the nation’s leading rider making a cameo appearance at the Great Race Place with Rosie Napravnik in to ride 9-to-5 morning line favorite Joyful Victory in the $300,000 Santa Margarita Invitational (G1) over 1 1/8-miles on the main track. The strapping white five-year-old daughter of Tapit exits a front-running 4 ¼-length score in the $400,000 Houston Lady’s Classic at Sam Houston Race Park on January 26 and doesn’t face any of the runners she saw when running second in the Zenyatta Stakes (G1) here in September.
Her biggest challenge could come from the other shipper, with Brushed by a Star the 7-to-2 co-third choice looking to avenge being left in Joyful Victory’s wake at Sam Houston after previously finishing ahead of her in a pair of Grade 2 events at Churchill Downs. In the exacta in eight of her last nine, including a pair of Grade 2 victories, the five-year-old Eddington mare lands Victor Espinoza in irons for the first time.
The local contingent in the short field of five that have never won a Grade 1 is led by 5-to-2 second choice More Chocolate, who transferred her game to dirt last time for a convincing win in the La Canada Stakes (G2) against four-year-olds. The Malibu Moon filly is back in against her elders today spotting at least six races of experience to each of her four older rivals.
Eight marathoners traverse 1 ½-miles on turf in the co-featured $150,000 San Luis Rey Stakes (G2) and Interaction, a winner just once in his last 12 starts, is the 2-to-1 morning line favorite for 80-year-old Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally. It’s been a remarkable meet for McAnally with his Suggestive Boy capturing a pair of graded stakes on the lawn and this seven-year-old Argentine-bred son of Easing Along flying late for second in the San Marcos Stakes (G2) run over a quarter of a mile less than today’s distance.
Slim Shadey was in his comfort zone in the San Marcos Stakes, allowed to cruise by his lonesome on the lead to give Gary Stevens the first graded stakes win of his comeback.
However, with the streaking Bright Thought making the leap into graded stakes after a pair of devastating wire-to-wire scores in a pair of local turf starts against weaker, it’s likely he’ll be the one playing come and catch me.
We’re off to the races!
Late Pick 4 -
Leg 1 – Race 6 (3,4,5,6,7) – Off a solid runner-up two turn try against tougher, No. 4 Lanida is spotted for a repeat of her score the only other time she tried the hill that came at this $25,000 claiming level.
We’ll spread trying to beat her with No. 3 Tribalicious, No. 5 Suances Flower, No. 6 Promiscuoussuances and No. 7 Brown Is Beige.
Leg 2 – Race 7 (ALL) – Use all five in the short Santa Margarita.
Leg 3 – Race 8 (2,7) – The added distance and likely brisk pace sets things up for No. 2 Interaction, but it’s hard to ignore No. 7 Bright Thought, who for now knows nothing else but streak to the lead and never look back around these parts.
Leg 4 – Race 9 (2,3,4,6,7) – Stagger fest special with bottom-level maiden claimers at seven furlongs and we spread with No. 2 My Yammy Heat, No. 3 Warren’s Flasher, No. 4 Daze, No. 6 Persian Kitten and No. 7 Lady Comic.
Recap – (3,4,5,6,7) w (ALL) w (2,7) w (2,3,4,6,7) – Total cost of ticket = $125
Yesterday’s Result – (-$200)
Total for current Santa Anita meet – (-$194.80)
Total from 12/26/10 – 12/16/12 – (-$2,090.45)
Pick 5 –
Leg 1 – Race 1 (ALL) – Short fields early in this sequence, but difficult races to narrow down and we start with all seven bottom-level female claimers sprinting 6 ½-furlongs.
Leg 2 – Race 2 (2,3) – The local pair of No. 2 Miss Pippa and No. 3 Double Ante hold the recency and familiarity edge against the trio of apparently modest European shippers making their U.S. debuts.
Leg 3 – Race 3 (2,6) – No. 6 Zia Zia Zia has the edge as the only experienced runner in this maiden allowance field, but No. 2 Illicit Affair could be any kind by Midnight Lute out of the $3 million earner Silverbulletlady.
Leg 4 – Race 4 (2,3,5,7,8,9) – A wide-open spin for maiden claimers down the hill utilizing a spread with No. 2 Hard Rockin Girl, No. 3 Paris Affair, No. 5 Don’t Lose Faith, No. 7 Rolanda, No. 8 Hard Buns and No. 9 Joeandbetty’sbaby.
Leg 5 – Race 5 (2,4,5,6) – A cast of losers so we’ll use clear recent maiden winners No. 2 Secret of Success and No. 4 Racy Rosa, along with No. 4 Eula B trying to get out of being stuck in second and No. 6 Sunland Vintage dropping in class on the wheel back.
Recap – (ALL) w (2,3) w (2,6) w (2,3,5,7,8,9) w (2,4,5,6) – Total cost of ticket = $336
Yesterday’s Result – (-$180)
Total for current Santa Anita meet – (+$1,071.40)
Total from 7/20/11 – 12/16/12 – (+$13,891.70)
Best Bet of the Day – Can now be found in the Pros Picks section at www.santaanita.com.
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