Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Friday, February 16, 2018
Santa Anita Park
There’s an nine-race card today at Santa Anita Park, with a first post time of 1:00 PM PST. We’re happy to have Ken Cupples (@KennyCupp) providing horse-by-horse analysis of all the action. Ken’s been a newspaper handicapper in the past, covering northern California racing. He’ll be covering Santa Anita every Friday during their winter meet. Be sure to give Ken a follow on twitter.
Good luck to everyone playing along!
A one mile optional claimer serves as the feature race today at Santa Anita; including a former $2.2m purchase (Air Vice Marshal), a former $1m purchase (Dabster), and a multiple graded stakes placed runner (Donworth). Best of luck to all you following along, hopefully we can hit another big score!
Best Bet: La Force (Race 2)
Longshot Play: Ya Gotta Wanna (Race 8)
Race 1 – 6 ½ furlongs, turf. 4y/o+up. Mdn Spc Wt.
- Kidmon (Baze) – this guy cost $550k two years ago and finally makes his debut, albeit in a downhill turf sprint; he’s been firing in the AM, which is a good sign, but the rail is no bargain; tough call here.
- Moneigh Moproblems (Bejarano) – cuts back in distance after his first decent effort; finally makes a repeat start at a race track after being a vagabond for his first five efforts; steps up in class, which makes him tough to endorse.
- Factorial (Conner) – had a three week break in the works about a month ago; faced a pretty salty bunch for the level last time out and Baltas on the grass is always a tough customer; exotics play.
- Super Terrific (Talamo) – faced a freaky Baffert charge in his last, had a nice work last time out and Talamo returns; throws the shades on today; there’s a lot to like today; a solid contender.
- Escudo Nacional (Gonzalez) – first time gelding; he threw in the towel after half a mile in his debut 18 months ago; I’ll watch one first.
- Impression (Smith) – hit the board in all four starts since coming west; he takes a mini class hike today but fired a big shot in his one downhill effort; playable.
- Conquest Smartee (Maragh) – four downhill efforts, and four times hitting the board; chased a couple of really solid runners in his last one and seems like the one to beat; the pick.
- Oiseau de Guerre (Blanc) – professional moneyburner never seems to find a way to get the job done; that last one was especially puzzling as he just gave up; he’s sizzled in the AM since, but I don’t know how you can trust him at all.
Race 2 – 1 mile, dirt. 4y/o+up, f+m. Alw Opt Clm $40k.
- Demigoddess (Franco) – ran well in her last dirt effort while chasing a pretty nice filly; it’ll take another big step up to compete here though; leaning elsewhere.
- La Force (Smith) – what a race she ran in her last, giving some really nice fillies all they wanted; Drayden is no slouch, but the upgrade to Mike Smith is significant here; the pick.
- Tizway That Way (Roman) – the Hall Of Famer didn’t get that way by spotting his horses where they don’t belong, but it sure looks like she’s outclassed here; she’ll need the lead to win and hope she can hold on, but I’m looking to others.
- Meanie Irenie (Bejarano) – middle of the pack finisher in her last; now she returns for another allowance race against a top-to-bottom tougher group, exotics play.
- Resky Business (Desormeaux) – fired across town in a similar level; she’s won in 3 of her last 4 dirt starts, but that last effort really leaves a bad taste in your mouth if you’re playing her; I’m willing to give her another shot, however.
- Not Now Carolyn (Baze) – third start back from that lengthy break; now she stretches out and seems like she has some more room to improve; exotics contender.
Race 3 – 1 1/16 miles, dirt. 3y/o. Mdn Spc Wt.
- Soltero (Nakatani) – chased an eventual graded stakes winner in his last; stretches out today and should be on the lead today; speed has held well and he should be tough to handle today.
- When Jesus Walked (Sevilla) – hasn’t shown much in his two efforts thus far; gets a significant weight break, but will need much more than that to get there today.
- Aquila (Pedroza) – made a big improvement in his last race; he showed heart throughout against some decent competition and looks primed to take another step forward; the pick.
- Honor Guard (Prat) – slowish drills for the Baffert barn; that doesn’t bode well despite seeing Prat on his back; willing to play against him.
- Goodwillambassador (Roman) – caved after a half mile in last while pressing some pretty fast fractions; you’re taking a pretty big leap of faith in him if you’re expecting a rapid rebound.
- Draft Pick (Bejarano) – he’s had his races spaced pretty far apart, which is somewhat disconcerting; his only start here, he pressed a soft pace and wilted late; admittedly he chased a monster in that route, but I’ll pass here.
- Route Six Six (Maragh) – Koriner is 14% sprint to route; but he finished behind Soltero in his last and that rival should have things pretty much his own way; will take some more improvement.
Race 4 – 6 ½ furlongs, dirt. 3y/o, fillies. Mdn Clm $30k.
- Del Mar Darling (Conner) – toss out her last effort on the turf; her debut was very nice and also at this level today; the problem is that this track is much more speed favoring than LosAl and she has early speed; mixed signals.
- Dixie Bobbie (Payeras) – showed little in both of her efforts so far; nothing that indicates she’ll improve today; pass.
- Summer Down Now (Elliott) – speed and fade in the debut; returns for the same level and adds another 110 yards today; a logical contender today.
- Allie’s Love (Pereira) – her first effort against open claimers was a good one, battled strongly and got a bit tired at the end; should be another contender in a deep race.
- Princess Areni (Roman) – solid connections in Roman and Baltas; however, Baltas is 5% with first time starters and Istan is 6% with first time starters from his progeny; looking elsewhere.
- Strike At Daylight (Franco) – nothing especially noteworthy with bloodlines, connections, or works; let’s see one first.
- See The World (Baze) – faced a freaky winner in her debut, but battled strongly to hold the place; that shows a pretty solid level of professionalism, especially from a first time starter; lets look for bigger improvement today; the pick.
- Midnight Hunch (Pena) – Puype is 10% with firsters, and Midnight Lute is 11% with firsters; this seems like a reasonably soft field to debut against and she had some quick drills across town; possibility.
Race 5 – 1 mile, turf. 4y/o+up. Clm $25k.
- Run Like Rhett (Nakatani) – hasn’t been close in his two efforts against weaker; takes a step up and goes back to turf, although, that’s where his best efforts have come of late; mixed signals.
- Zapana’s Game (Puglisi) – done little to speak of thus far; nothing to suggest improvement; pass.
- Trustworthy (Talamo) – responded very well to the permanent equipment change prior to the last effort; the question is going to be “did he hate the turf” or “was he just too studdy previously to care”; I feel positively here today for this guy’s chances.
- Dark Energy (Espinoza) – he’s done nothing in all recent, however, this is his first venture for a claiming price; looks like he’s going to be around :49 for the half, and that doesn’t bode well for his chances here; pass.
- Mostly Cloudy (Quinonez) – another one who has struggled in all his recent efforts; steps up in class and goes back to the grass; no thanks.
- Iron Alex (Elliott) – rough trip in his last and takes a big drop from starter allowance company to open $25k claiming; wasn’t disgraced in that start and faced a next out winner; seems ripe to win here; the pick.
- Mr. Twinery (Roman) – this guy looked really strong up until the final turn last race; drops in class and exits a productive race; give him another chance today as he tries the grass for the first time.
- Ky. Colonel (Prat) – done little so far in any of his recent efforts; pass.
- Highly Acclaimed (Baze) – makes his first appearance for a tag today; interesting prospect as his one turf mile on this course was a strong effort; could wake up in a big way today.
Race 6 – 1 mile, dirt. 4y/o+up. Alw Opt Clm $62500.
- Dabster (Prat) – dueled into the ground last time in the Malibu; there appears to be a lot of speed in this race, so he may decide to take back and try to rally; he finds a good spot to rebound.
- Donworth (Roman) – just got beat by about 5 lengths by Air Vice Marshal in his last; doesn’t seem like the pace profile suits his running style; he’s full of back class, but he’ll need to summon some of that to get home first.
- Grazen Sky (Talamo) – makes his second start off of a 6 month layoff; hasn’t won in about 20 months, and even on his best day, he wasn’t running against horses this good; pass.
- Air Vice Marshall (Smith) – has responded very well since coming west and gave Hot Sean all he wanted in that last effort; shortens up a bit off that effort and looks like he’ll fire huge today; the pick.
- Image Of Joplin (Pedroza) – he’s blazed in his last two at Santa Anita, and if you take the turf effort off the page, he looks much better; the problem is, he’s facing tougher competition with tons of early foot to battle him; looking elsewhere.
- Play Hard To Get (Maragh) – makes his dirt debut after 25 career races on the grass; I don’t like seeing big changes in horses this experienced, but with that said, his last effort was a big one; leaning against considering the questions.
Race 7 – 6 furlongs, dirt. 4y/o+up, f+m. Str Alw $50k.
- Carrie (Franco) – she sure seems to find her way into the starting gate a lot; she hasn’t really shown much in recent starts and she faces a stiffer challenge today; pass.
- Just Be Held (Prat) – Vallejo off the claim and with a month break? That’s a great angle to play, despite the class raise; a major player.
- Albeit (Ceballos) – shortens up off of a year’s layoff and a lengthy history of routing; she’s had some decent 5f drills in her back pocket; willing to watch one today.
- Party Hostess (Roman) – if you cross out the grass tries, she’s rock solid; she fits the conditions well and gets a weight break and a jockey upgrade; the pick.
- Proper Drink (Maragh) – dropped to the bottom and won last out, Rajiv stays aboard and she seems likely to continue making progress; exotics potential.
- Trap Queen (Conner) – figured to threaten last time, but really just flopped late; adds the blinkers today and figures to be on the lead early, just a matter of how long she holds; looking elsewhere though.
- Princess Dorian (Franco) – appears to be a horse for this course; if you toss out the Del Mar efforts, she fits quite well here; another threat today.
- Outa Here (Baze) – returned to sprinting last time and scored; however, she’d had plenty of opportunities by that point and it took the gradual drops to get her home; the main benefit if you like her is that she’s going to have some pace to chase.
- Khaleesi (Pereira) – didn’t hit the board in her only dirt try career-wise; she will be trying many new things in an effort to change her fortunes; pass.
Race 8 – 1 mile, turf. 4y/o+up. Mdn Clm $50k.
- Big Sky Logan (Baze) – his first try for a tag generated a positive result; he’s got two seconds in three starts since moving west; he fits well and seems very likely to improve in his second start off that long layoff today; the pick.
- Odyssey Explorer (Maragh) – midpack plodder has had a lot of chances with little to show for it; even after being gelded, he hasn’t really responded the way you’d expect; bottom exotic potential only.
- Kinematico (Elliott) – drops again in an effort to improve; two thirds in two starts over this lawn; it’s not a particularly tough bunch he finds today, so he figures here.
- Zipman (Espinoza) – Victor takes a try on this guy to see if he can get figured out; he went from sprint to route two back (albeit on dirt) and he was a non-factor; doubt anything changes today.
- Accreditation (Roman) – shown little so far against state-breds; now tries open company on his class drop; looks like a tough assignment.
- Perfection Tale (Maldonado) – hasn’t been much from this guy in any of his outs; pass.
- Ya Gotta Wanna (Pereira) – first time gelding; D’Amato has been relatively cold lately, but he does excel at these comebacks from smallish breaks; let’s give him a shot in this soft field.
- Vegas Itch (Pena) – done little so far – like many of these – and is marooned out wide today; doesn’t seem likely.
- Rak City (Franco) – finished about a length behind Big Sky Logan in his last effort, which was his first on turf; he’s definitely liable to improve as he’s gaining experience; we’ll see if he has the ability to sit off the pace and close today.
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