Having notched the first win in his comeback with his first dirt mount yesterday, Gary Stevens makes his return to stakes action aboard 8-to-1 long shot Tale of a Champion over 1 1/8-miles on turf in the $150,000 San Gabriel Stakes (Grade 2). The jockey turned actor turned broadcaster rides four today indicating that he is back where he wants to be in the saddle full-time.
After winning 4-of-5 starts in Florida, Tale of a Champion has finished off the board in four graded stakes tries locally. The five-year-old son of Tale of the Cat should be forwardly placed stretching out to the furthest distance of his career, but will likely employ stalking tactics with the blinkers coming off and another runner intent on the early lead.
That speedster is 3-to-1 third choice Chosen Miracle, who stretched out with success in his last to wire a solid group of high-priced allowance optional claimers at Hollywood Park on December 8. There were no winner’s circle celebrations for Joe Talamo on his birthday yesterday, but that can change today if he can slow the early tempo aboard the five-year-old son of Ghostzapper.
Slim Shadey should also be in staking mode today as the 2-to-1 second choice returning to his favorite turf course where he’s won half of his six starts. The five-year-old British-bred son of Val Royal catches the weakest field he’s seen in quite a while with 9-to-5 favorite Jeranimo the only more decorated animal in the bunch.
The lone millionaire and Grade 1 winner of the group, Jeranimo should be rolling late getting the services of Rafael Bejarano, who suffered only a minor wrist injury after a dangerous fall yesterday. Since capturing that Grade 1 in the Shoemaker Mile last June, the now seven-year-old son of Congaree came up a bit short in three straight against top class company.
Today’s birthday boy is Bob Baffert, who looks to celebrate with 2-to-1 morning line favorite Distracting and 4-to-1 third choice Candrea in the $75,000 Paseana Handicap.
Baffert also sends a trio of promising three-year-olds in a maiden allowance over seven furlongs on the main track, re-uniting with Stevens aboard 4-to-1 co-third choice Tiz the Truth.
We’re off to the races!
Late Pick 4 -
Leg 1 – Race 6 (1,4,7,8,9) – Five maiden with prior turf experience using No. 1 Nicegirlsfinishlast, No. 4 Devious Chic, No. 7 Majestic Jewel, No. 8 Poster Girl and No. 9 Ocean’s of Money
Leg 2 – Race 7 (2,3,4,5,6,7) – Six bottom-level claiming sprinters using No. 2 Afleet Deal, No. 3 Classic Crusader, No. 4 Arresting Officer, No. 5 Mark of a Warrior, No. 6 Hidden Blessing and No. 7 Chinese Praise.
Leg 3 – Race 8 (4,6,7) – No. 6 Chosen Miracle is the one to catch and No. 4 Slim Shadey and No. 7 Jeranimo can do just that.
Leg 4 – Race 9 (3,5,7,10) – No. 10 Rader the Rat has speed and should relish the softer competition, while No. 7 Duke Street King cuts back from a route and can mow them down late.
No. 3 Got Heem has run well both times without blinkers and No. 5 Great Friends Rule shows a steady work tab for his return.
Recap – (1,4,7,8,9) w (2,3,4,5,6,7) w (4,6,7) w (3,5,7,10) – Total cost of ticket = $180
Yesterday’s Result – (-$108)
Total for current Santa Anita meet – (+$279.60)
Total from 12/26/10 – 12/16/12 – (-$2,090.45)
Pick 5 –
Leg 1 – Race 1 (6,8) – Stevens looks to capture the first race on the card in consecutive days with No. 6 Spirit of Lindy debuting for Mike Mitchell.
No. 8 Bio Pro had lots of trouble and was soundly beaten in both tries over this main track, but his other efforts make him much the best in here.
Leg 2 – Race 2 (3,8,10) – With three wins in five spins down the hill, the ultra-consistent Cal-bred No. 3 Relentless Heat is back at home after not enjoying a torn up main track at Hollywood Park in his last. There should be ample early speed in front for him to make his run from mid-pack under regular rider Joe Talamo.
No. 8 Summer Hit returns from a long layoff looking for his fifth win in his seventh career start and No. 10 Guest Star broke his maiden by four lengths in his last over this layout in October.
Leg 3 – Race 3 (1,4,7) – Along with No. 1 Distracting and No. 7 Candrea for Baffert, add No. 4 Snow Fall with a big shot at improvement stretching out in her second off the layoff.
Leg 4 – Race 4 (1,2,4,6,8) – Five promising three-year-old maidens with No. 1 Major Affair, No. 2 Tiz the Truth, No. 4 Battled, No. 6 Del Mar Sunset and No. 8 Demonic.
Leg 5 – Race 5 (4,5,6,7,8) – No. 4 Exclusive Story is another Florida shipper for Vladimir Cerin realistically placed off a nice enough win at Calder.
Add the local quartet of No. 5 Sense of a Woman, No. 6 No Name Needed, No. 7 Sultry Season and No. 8 Cavalla.
Recap – (6,8) w (3,8,10) w (1,4,7) w (1,2,4,6,8) w (4,5,6,7,8) – Total cost of ticket = $225
Yesterday’s Result – (-$270)
Total for current Santa Anita meet – (+$4,363.15)
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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