Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Friday, February 23, 2018
Santa Anita Park
There’s an eight-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 mild card today at Santa Anita, the feature being a downhill turf optional claimer in Race 5. There is a Pick 6 Jackpot tomorrow in excess of $126k, and as always, there is a $300k guarantee in the late Pick 4. I’ve hit both the best bet and the longshot play for the last two weeks, so let’s see if we can get something home for some nice payouts today!
Best Bet: Super Patriot (Race 1)
Longshot Play: Wasatch Wonder (Race 4)
Race 1 – 1 mile, turf. 3y/o, fillies. Mdn Clm $75k.
- Sweet Congrats (Gonzalez) – she cost $160k at auction, but was dead on the board in her debut and ran to those odds; of all the tracked angles, Blacker is best on grass and with a sprint to route angle; shades come off today and drops in for a tag; worthy of another shot.
- Prairie Citizen (Roman) – finished 4 lengths behind Paved in her last, and she just beat the boys in the El Camino Real Derby; finds a much softer field today and she figures to throw a good one.
- Sudden Light (Pereira) – she woke up a bit since dropping in for the tag, but she tackles tougher opponents today; showed an affinity for the surface in her last; the class test will ultimately be the main factor here.
- Princess Fran (Pena) – vet scratch on Jan 20, which left a one month gap in recorded activity; she came back with slow drills after that break; looking elsewhere.
- Mongolian Window (Bejarano) – even effort going short facing some solid horses for the level; stretches out and drops in for the tag; should be a solid contender in this spot.
- Super Patriot (Van Dyke) – smashed An Eddie Surprise in his last, who then shortened up to graduate; he pressed the pace and was still game at the end in that race; the pick.
- Seattle Drop (Baze) – faded late down the hill, now stretches out and gets level going; finds a good level today; can’t exclude.
Race 2 – 1 mile, dirt. 3y/o+up, f+m. Opt Clm $62.5k.
- Americana (Bejarano) – she’s been the pace for each of her three routing efforts, but now she’s coming off a layoff to do it; there looks like plenty of other front end heat here to compromise her style, pass.
- Lake Time (Nakatani) – zipped home against similar going shorter two back; now stretches and faces some inside pace heat; the distance will be the main impediment.
- Demigoddess (Franco) – gave Dalsaros all she wanted three back, but she hasn’t lifted her feet since; that was her only decent effort on the form and she was pace pressure the entire way; doesn’t seem likely today.
- Dalsaros (Prat) – puts blinkers on for the first time; she was much improved in her second try off this layoff; she should have some pace to aim at and Prat stays on; the pick.
- Mistressofthenight (Desormeaux) – she’s the one definite closer out of this group; if the pace melts down up front, she’ll definitely be ready to pick up the pieces; she should be fit and ready to roll today.
Race 3 – 6 furlongs, dirt. 4y/o+up. Mdn Clm $50k.
- Red Obsession (Maragh) – interesting trainer change from Baltas to Mulhall; second career start and he only finished about 4 lengths behind Bad Boy Leroy in that race; seems to have every right to improve today; should contend here.
- Duke Of Fallbrook (Gutierrez) – drops back in for a tag; he ran OK for this level in his career debut across town; could complete the exotics at a price.
- Bear Down Cats (Gonzalez) – first time starter for a trainer who currently is winless from that grouping; sports reasonable drills for the level; wait and see.
- Jerry’s Thunder (Frey) – toss out the turf try and he looks like he belongs at this level; he’s been away for 9 months but has fired fresh before; a major player.
- Mor Candy (Roman) – first time gelding; showed speed before going on the shelf against tougher; finds a good spot to return and should have every opportunity to crush here; the pick.
- King Darius (Pena) – faded pretty badly in all four starts, however, he was only three lengths behind his outside rival in his last; hard to see continued improvement though.
- Bad Boy Leroy (Baze) – solid effort in his debut; he’s had some strong workouts since that race and he returns at the same level; strong connections bring some serious weight here.
Race 4 – 1 mile, dirt. 3y/o, f+m. Mdn Clm $20k.
- Shining Armada (Roman) – three starts, three on the board finishes; now she stretches out and should be able to set a solid pace on the rail; should be good to go today; the pick.
- Misty Slew (Espinoza) – plodding sort manages to keep getting a slice of the purse; drops to her lowest level yet and still retains a significant weight break; exotics potential.
- Lookingforthewire (Fuentes) – done little so far and there doesn’t appear to be much hope today; pass.
- Partyatmidnight (Bejarano) – did little in her debut, although she had some support at the windows; the experience gained in that effort could pay off today; potential.
- Victoria Falls (Gonzalez) – she’s ran once in the last 15 months, and that effort left a lot to be desired; trainer does have a 17% win rate from this type of layoff, but it’s hard to envision this being successful today.
- Millie Joel (Franco) – she qualifies here as a 3y/o, but she’s giving up a significant amount of maturity to her rivals today as she tackles older mares for the first time; drops in class today but she looks pretty outclassed due to the experience.
- Solar Corona (Bednar) – flopped pretty badly last time, and that makes this really hard to figure; she showed some reasonable before that, so if you’re willing to excuse that last race, she could hit the board.
- Wasatch Wonder (Falgione) – another one who’s facing older mares for the first time; drops in class, moves to dirt and gets a significant weight break; however, if she was ready to roll, we’d likely see Baze on top today; potential.
Race 5 – 6 ½ furlongs, turf. 4y/o+up. Alw Opt Clm $62.5k.
- The Critical Way (Desormeaux) – sizzled two back on this course against cheaper; gets some class relief, but he’s burdened with the rail; tough to see on top considering the amount of horses who’ve already won for allowance in here.
- Double Touch (Prat) – a lot of things to consider here, including the layoff, class drop and cut back in distance; Blacker normally isn’t sharp off the bench, but the presence of Prat can’t be ignored here; wait and see.
- Incensed (Baze) – this guy finally broke through last time to get his picture taken and he did it in a pretty quick time also; gets tested for class today at a tougher allowance level but he fits these conditions pretty well.
- Desert Law (Van Dyke) – returns to turf today; he had shown some pretty solid skill two and three back; sire is 10% on turf; he hasn’t lost much fitness given the continual work pattern; a contender.
- Cimpl Man (Maragh) – found stakes company too tough last time out, but two back he beat this same level; he’s pretty much been all or nothing of late; mixed signals.
- Eric The Trojan (Roman) – he’s going to need a significant pace up front to give him his best opportunity to score; he did draw well however and keeps the weight break; a contender.
- Aristocratic (Fuentes) – sire is 10% on turf; look at those company lines though – he gave Edwards Going Left all he wanted three back; if he handles the turf, he should be tough to handle today.
- Tristan’s Trilogy (Elliott) – nipped Incensed in his last, but he hasn’t been seen in the afternoons since; he has a closing kick to like here, but there are others that look like they have more gas late; leaning elsewhere.
- B Squared (Gutierrez) – seems like sprinting against second tier groups is what this guy prefers the most; he’s actually won a stakes on this hill and should have a good spot to strike; the pick.
Race 6 – 5 ½ furlongs, dirt. 3y/o, fillies. Mdn Clm $50k.
- Oh My Soul (Roman) – dead on the board for the debut and ran like it; makes her first appearance for a tag and gets a weight break with Roman; she’s going to have to show some speed early or she’ll get buried again today.
- Whacked (Gutierrez) – good try in her debut at huge odds while being on the rail; now she’s got some experience to fall back on as well as a filly with no early speed inside her; big player today.
- Whatyouciswhatuget (Franco) – her race three back wasn’t bad at all, but she hasn’t followed it up with much to get excited about; she did get the bullet three weeks ago but hasn’t been seen in the AM since; hard to figure.
- Lily Be Good (Talamo) – first time starter who has had a decent work tab to prepare; sire is poor with first timers and barn has been cold, though; looking elsewhere.
- Quizlet (Payeras) – badly beaten in the debut and went on the shelf for 6 months; returns with blinkers on and a weight break; no thanks.
- Calimonco Action (Fuentes) – rare that you see one stretching out to 5 ½ furlongs, but that’s what we have here; she’s back off an 8 month break and drops in for a tag; exotics potential.
- Lucky Lula (Nakatani) – relished the class relief last time out; didn’t skip a trick in the AM after the race and she’s found a very soft spot to fire back; the pick.
- Mixed Emotions (Espinoza) – speed and fade in her debut; comes back against cheaper and she looks to be ready to go here; a major threat.
- Tacy (Conner) – beaten a long way in her debut, but the winner there was a class dropping favorite; she has every right to improve today at the same level that she just competed admirably at.
- Champagne Honey (Baze) – beaten badly in the debut in a race that some others in here also exit; she’ll be marooned out wide and it will take a significant improvement to get there today.
Race 7 – 1 mile, dirt. 4y/o+up. Clm $6.25k.
- Midnight Cello (Pena) – up close and faded in his first effort in California; he ended up beaten pretty badly by a few others in here today, but he may improve in his second start over the track; a possibility.
- Mr. Louis (Franco) – has really been performing poorly since being claimed a year ago; he flopped at the bottom last time and returns today; pass.
- Storm Comin Thru (Pereira) – his race last time wasn’t as bad as it looks on paper, as there were a lot of class droppers in there at a level that is already far above today’s level; the drop may be what wakes him up today; the pick.
- Rprettyboyfloyd (Gutierrez) – drops again while searching for that winning level; flopped as the chalk last time but he finds a softer field today; a contender.
- Tribal Jewel (Gonzalez) – aired against this level two back and looked gassed when he returned a week later; now he’s had a two week break and returns; mixed signals.
- South Texas Lingo (Espinoza) – won twice in a row at open $8k but then had a claim voided on him from the veterinarian; now he returns at a lower level about three weeks after; tough call here.
- Winning Causeway (Baze) – on again, off again sort flopped badly last time and returns to the bottom again; he hasn’t won in a long time and there doesn’t look to be much hope to expect that changes today.
- Harrovian (Franco) – makes his first start for a barn who primarily focuses on quarter horses; soundly beaten in his last and doesn’t appear much more hopeful today.
- Rafter One (Garcia) – big class drop today, from allowance all the way to the bottom; its usually never good to see that, but he did win against conditional $8k claimers four back and fought well against some salty ones at that level three back; consider.
Race 8 – 1 1/8 miles, turf. 3y/o+up. Str Alw $50k.
- Bacoli (Conner) – flopped on dirt in his last and returns to his favorite surface today; he’s faced similar competition recently and hasn’t been disgraced; fits well here and should fire a big shot.
- Big And Loud (Baze) – steps up in class and tries the grass for the first time; sire isn’t especially known for his turn progeny and this guy also faces older foes for the first time; pass.
- Principal Bob (Gutierrez) – finally graduated in his last and now comes right back without the claiming tag associated with him; seems to be on the improve; consider.
- Winning Element (Prat) – O’Neill and Prat are 21% together and he makes his first start as a gelding; they’ve given him plenty of time to acclimate and improvement is likely; a contender.
- For Him (Maldonado) – a major dud in his last; the problem is even If you toss it out, it’s been awhile since he’s been a factor; looking elsewhere.
- Bob’s All In (Pereira) – another one trying turf for the first time; he’s also jumping in class today; looks unlikely.
- Rainbow Squall (Maragh) – his last effort was a breakthrough; Rajiv stays aboard which is always a good sign; not out of the question to see him continue progressing.
- Lauren’s Ladd (Desormeaux) – accomplished little of late; burned a lot of money in that last effort, but in fairness, it was his first off the layoff; willing to give him another shot given that lengthy layoff previously.
- Acker (Nakatani) – gets a great post switch today for his running style; the long run into the first turn will give him some time to evaluate how and where; downside is that Prat went elsewhere; another contender.
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