Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Saturday, December 17, 2016
Today at Los Alamitos, California Chrome takes to the track before a hometown crowd, in his final prep before the Pegasus World Cup in late January at Gulfstream Park. To commemorate the occasion, we’ve got free picks & analysis for the whole card from Robert Criscola (@itsgoodtobeking)!
We encourage you to give Robert a follow on twitter; not only will he be handicapping Southern California racing every Saturday, he’ll be contributing a column every week highlighting notable trips all over the country.
Take it away, Robert!
Race 1: 10-9-6
#10 PARLIAMENTARIAN gets the call based on superior speed figures. His effort from September over this course would be sufficient. #9 SRIRACHA CAT was eliminated at the start in his latest, so toss it. His prior efforts at the claiming level are competitive and he’s a healthy 15-1 on the morning-line. #6 IN CONTROL is in peak form and takes a slight drop in class; best of the rest.
Race 2: 3-5-4
The Soviet Problem Stakes
#3 SIRCAT SALLY would decimate this field with a repeat of her career debut. The tune-up work for this was sharp. #5 HOW ABOUT ZERO’s last race (on turf) should be dismissed. Her effort two-back, a victory in a state-bred stakes, makes her the logical choice for second. #4 CASH PRIZE sheds a bit of weight for this; will take them as far as she can.
Race 3: 1-8-7-2
#1 BARBARA JO’s two starts in May were uninspiring but she makes an intriguing move to the Baffert barn today. She’ll race with Lasix for the first time and drilled a bullet in preparation for this. Third time should be the charm as she faces easier. #8 TAWNY stayed on decently for third in her debut last month, reasonable alternative. #7 FORTHE LOVOF PATTY had a decent unveiling but it occurred it April and she hasn’t been seen since; slotting underneath. #2 MORGAN’S RAID showed good speed before putting it in reverse vs. tougher at Del Mar in her debut; might have more to offer today.
Race 4: 6-2-8
#6 PRINCESS TIZNOW’s first start at this level was a good one, as she was second to next-out winner She’s a Ten. PRINCESS TIZNOW has the leg-up on several of these having already proven she can negotiate a mile. #2 EMPRESS SUIKO drops in class and may appreciate the added ground, consider on the switch to Arroyo. #8 ANGEL ON POINT tries a new low for her first start on dirt; wild card.
Race 5: 3-6-2
#3 SUCCESS RATE takes another slight step up as he tries to make it four straight wins. His streak started over this course and distance; giving the nod. #6 BOONE DOCKS drops in class and cuts back; main danger. #2 LUCKARACK should get enough pace to close into and may have found a field he can make an impact against.
Race 6: 6-1-5
#6 BIG ENERGY could be the value of the race. He ran big in defeat two-back despite a wide journey, gets class relief returning to his preferred surface, and projects to work out a great stalking trip. #1 BIG CHAMPION goes first off the claim for O’Neill (21%) off a blowout win over maidens. He faces a tall order trying to wire this bunch, but is not impossible. #5 FOREST BLUE will likely be favored and looks intimidating based on back class, but 1-for-13 record is a red flag.
Race 7: 4-3-10
#4 AMERICANIZE received a big speed figure when he ran second in his debut for Baffert. He hasn’t been seen since then (June) but returns as a first-time gelding and appears to be in shape based on the worktab. #3 SCORPIOUS hasn’t raced in over a year but turns back, adds blinkers and runs as a first-time gelding; respect. #10 LORD SIMBA, the “other Baffert,” lures Espinoza for his second start. The $300k son of Discreet Cat has fired several bullets for his first start since September.
Race 8: 4-2-1
#4 INDYGO HOLIDAY is another value play in a wide-open start to the late double. He should be able to get the lead as only #7 TOUGH BUT NICE may go out with him (but that one tried to ration his speed the last time he ran at a route distance), and INDYGO HOLIDAY nearly wired a similar field in his last start here two-back. Arroyo sees fit to the ride. #2 CURLIN ROAD fits on speed figures but 1-for-15 record is a concern. However, his three-furlong bullet work suggests he’ll be a bit keener early on and may work out an ideal trip behind the frontrunners. #1 HOFFENHEIM hasn’t been seen since March and displayed some hanging tendencies before finally breaking his maiden last time out. Espinoza stays and the works are sharp; consider.
Race 9: 10-7-4
The Winter Challenge Stakes
#10 CALIFORNIA CHROME towers over this field on both class and speed standpoints; should boss these before heading to next month’s Pegasus World Cup. #7 AVANTI BELLO can round out the exacta; he beat a solid group of Allowance/OC foes last time out and shows up nearly every time. #4 POINT PIPER is not the most consistent horse there ever was but is no stranger to hitting the board in spots like these; best of the rest.
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