After yesterday’s 11-race Big ‘Cap marathon, we close the week with nine races headlined by a $62,500 second-level allowance optional claimer at 1 1/8-miles on turf that sees several runners dropping from graded stakes competition.
The field of nine males four-years-old and up offers a great betting opportunity with the morning line favorite Fire With Fire all the way at 7-to-2 and winless in 13 straight races. Over that losing streak, the five-year-old son of Distorted Humor has tried four Grade 2 events, including most recently when finishing fourth in the San Marcos Stakes on February 9.
Fire With Fire should sit a stalking trip on the flank of 6-to-1 shot Key Decision, who has been defeated six straight times since winning at this condition in wire-to-wire fashion at Hollywood Park last June. The five-year-old Argentine-bred son of Not For Sale enters off a pair of dismal efforts when beaten by double-digit lengths, one of those coming two races back in the Arcadia Stakes (G2), but could be set for a turn around if allowed to dictate the early tempo on his own.
Three others exit sound defeats in the San Marcos, with 5-to-1 co-fifth choice Huntsville the most attractive if he can revert to the form that resulted in a pair of near-miss runner-up efforts earlier in the meet. The four-year-old California-bred gelding by Unusual Heat has lacked the killer instinct to get to the wire first and his run will have to be timed just right by Corey Nakatani so he doesn’t wait on horses before hitting the wire.
Making his four-year-old debut as the 9-to-2 co-fourth choice, Smart Ellis tackles his elders for the first time while dropping out of a quartet of graded stakes. The best result over that span for the Smarty Jones colt came in a third-place finish over this layout in the Twilight Derby (G2) in November and Gary Stevens takes the call for the first time after a solid series of works since beating just one runner home in the Sir Beaufort Stakes (G2) on opening day.
We’re off to the races!
Late Pick 4 -
Leg 1 – Race 6 (ALL) – A full field of 12 Cal-bred maidens roll down the hillside turf course and we’ll use them all hoping for a whacky result.
Leg 2 – Race 7 (2,4,5,6) – A solid starter allowance sprint over six furlongs where Pete Miller scam horse No. 4 Laugh At Life makes his second start after netting his trainer a six-figure gambling profit on debut.
We hesitate to sue No. 5 Field Report after he’s been the beaten odd-son favorite in his last three, but we’ll add him to the mix along with No. 2 Candy Waltz and No. 6 Prime Number.
Leg 3 – Race 8 (1,4,7,8,9) – Use the four discussed above with No. 4 Key Decision, No. 7 Huntsville, No. 8 Smart Ellis and No. 9 Fire With Fire, along with taking a flier on No. 1 Shaun Washington.
Leg 4 – Race 9 (1,8) – No. 8 Sports Report has only beaten one runner home after a pair of starts, but takes a big drop to the bottom of the maiden claiming ranks and catches a typical lousy group at the level. Four solid works since his last race and a significant upgrade to second leading rider Edwin Maldonado can result in a trip to the winner’s circle at a modest price.
Double up with No. 1 Captain Hadley, who was compromised when breaking from the far outside in his last and is a major player saving ground from the rail with a return to his effort from two back.
Recap – (ALL) w (2,4,5,6) w (1,4,7,8,9) w (1,8) – Total cost of ticket = $240
Yesterday’s Result – (+$55.45)
Total for current Santa Anita meet – (+$136.55)
Total from 12/26/10 – 12/16/12 – (-$2,090.45)
Pick 5 –
Leg 1 – Race 1 (1,3) – No. 3 Senator Bob stretches out off the claim and moves to Tyler Baze looking for a wire-to-wire victory going 1 1/8-miles on turf.
No. 1 Alley Hondro should also be forwardly placed, but let’s hope he tracks instead of challenging our top choice and can get first run on the closers.
Leg 2 – Race 2 (1,2,3,7) – No. 1 Ernie Owl is another moving to much sharper connections off the claim, which could be enough to get him over the hump for his first win in the major leagues.
Spread with No. 2 Honour the Deputy, No. 3 Blake and No. 7 Streets of Heaven.
Leg 3 – Race 3 (1,5,7) – A short field of six $50,000 maiden claiming three-year-old fillies sprinting six furlongs and we’ll side with the trio that have experience with No. 1 Devious Chic, No. 5 Unbridled Wee and No. 7 Julio’s Gold.
Leg 4 – Race 4 (1,2,5,6) – No. 1 Lime Rickey has finished in the exacta in his last seven with three wins and also makes his first start off the claim with a barn upgrade. He’s been out for five months, but retains the services of leading rider Rafael Bejarano.
Add the trio of No. 2 Arraignment, No. 5 Diamondsdiplomat and No. 6 Shadow Runner.
Leg 5 – Race 5 (1,2,4,5,7) – A really rough bottom-level abbreviated 5 ½-furlong sprint for females and we’ll spread with No. 1 Quick Wampum, No. 2 My Miss Megan, No. 4 Backwoods Belle, No. 5 Cha Cha Latte and No. 7 Arinyes Love.
Recap – (1,3) w (1,2,3,7) w (1,5,7) w (1,2,5,6) w (1,2,4,5,7) – Total cost of ticket = $240
Yesterday’s Result – (-$256)
Total for current Santa Anita meet – (+$1,270.90)
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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