Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Friday, May 25, 2018
Santa Anita Park
Santa Anita Park kicks off Memorial Day weekend, and Gold Cup weekend, with an eight race program. The first post time is 12:30 PM PDT. That’s a half-hour later than it’s been in the past.
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 season. Be sure to give Ken a follow on twitter.
Good luck to everyone playing along!
Small fields greet you for a Friday card at Santa Anita, but despite the lack of field size, there is a great deal of competition amongst the entrants. The feature is an Allowance Optional Claiming event down the hill for fillies and mares, and in that event, there is a solid mixture of back class, early speed and late foot.
Best Bet: Mischievous Lass (Race 2)
Longshot Pick: Pyscho Sister (Race 7)
Race 1 – 5 ½ furlongs, dirt. 3y/o+up, f+m. Clm $6.25k.
- Foxy Fresh (Franco) – figures to press the pace and she’s certainly found a spot at the lower claiming levels; her speed ratings and company lines stamp her as the one to beat today but she’s going to face a lot of pace pressure.
- Tuscany Beauty (Gutierrez) – was the inside pace pressure in her last and couldn’t hold off her inside rival; posts switch with that one today and with it, the task becomes much tougher.
- I’m No Patsy (Figueroa) – shortens up off of three routes; she wasn’t doing much against sprinters either; hard to like today.
- Autumn Twilight (Ocampo) – makes a significant class drop today, and she’s second off the layoff; trainer has had some success with runners off that kind of layoff and if she’s right, she will be a big threat in the lane.
- Southern Treasure (Hernandez) – she’s 2 for 2 in her recent starts at this level; she looks to be right on the pace and has proven the ability to close into that pace; trainer is 3 for 3 with starters off this kind of layoff; the pick.
- Parasail (Ceballos) – gets class relief, she’s one of a few in here who will be gunning for the lead; she’ll appreciate the cutback in distance, but she’ll need to take a step forward to get there.
Race 2 – 6 ½ furlongs, dirt. 3y/o+up, f+m. Mdn Clm $20k.
- Candy Coated World (Harvey) – did little against weaker across town and she’s done even less here at Arcadia; pass.
- No Honey Money (Espinoza) – beaten badly in her debut at this level when she took money; returns after two months away; she’ll need to take a big step forward today.
- Mischievous Lass (Conner) – returned to sprinting and acted like it’s what she’s been wanting to do all along; almost won that effort despite a rough trip so she looks set to graduate today; the pick.
- Stella Sweeper (Pena) – done little in all three starts; cuts back in distance today but it’s hard to see anything changing today.
- Topaz Time (Frey) – she had a nonthreatening 4th in her most recent start; she’s hit the board once in nine starts, but she’s never faced a field this bad; a big threat today.
- Grecian Fort (Vergara, Jr.) – done nothing in her two starts and doesn’t look like she’s improving today; pass.
Race 3 – 6 ½ furlongs, turf. 3y/o+up. Alw Opt Clm $75k.
- Sycamore Lane (Pedroza) – he’s really struggled since being claimed; he’s a first time gelding, but at this advanced age, I’m not sure how much that’ll positively change him; leaning elsewhere.
- Anatolian Heat (Desormeaux) – honest sort always seems to give a good effort; he’s experienced down the hill and gets a solid jockey for the course; class relief comes today and he’s ready to score; the pick.
- Adens Dream (Stevens) – he’s 1 for 6 on turf and shifts to that surface today; faced a quick winner in his last who came back to win a stakes on the Preakness undercard; not impossible.
- Fabozzi (Van Dyke) – his efforts sprinting on the turf have been much worse than his routing tries; solid connections give cause for hope, but it will take another step forward to get there.
- Cistron (Baze) – he’s graded stakes placed, which is more than you can say for most of these; he looks to be the only speed here, and because of that, you’re going to have to respect his chances significantly.
- Wanstead Gardens (Elliott) – shades on today; this marathoner looks to be using this race as a way to get some fitness in; he’s certainly classier but again, this looks like a prep for things down the road.
Race 4 – 1 mile, dirt. 3y/o+up. Clm $25k.
- Eagle Screams (Desormeaux) – the old campaigner gets saddled for his 65th start; his last effort was solid, but it was a soft race for the level; this veteran can’t be ignored, but he’ll need his absolute best today.
- Hollywood Angel (Pereira) – continues dropping in class while searching for a winning level; he’ll likely show speed and will take them as long as he can; he should be more fit today, but how good that’ll be is up for debate.
- Mercer Island (Elliott) – Miller claimed this guy right back and that’s a great sign; he didn’t get disgraced in that last effort, and he looks like a strong contender right back in this smaller field.
- Just Kidding (Stevens) – Carava is 20% off the claim, but this guy was beaten pretty badly in the effort he got claimed from; he’s had sharp workouts since that effort, so if you put that factor together with Carava’s stats, there are things to like.
- Sanavi (Franco) – he will lay back and make one run; he’s going to need pace up front and that appears like it could be there today; the problem is that he has faced many of his rivals today and hasn’t beaten many of them.
- Out Of Patience (Pena) – first off the claim today for Lopez; he certainly fits on class and numbers, but he hasn’t proven that he can pass horses to win; the pick in a tough field.
Race 5 – 6 ½ furlongs, turf. 3y/o+up, f+m. Clm $40k.
- Roseannadana (Payeras) – she’s a maiden against thoroughbreds, and she shows up in a pretty tough spot; hard to like here.
- Twirling Apples (Pereira) – Cerin is 47% first off the claim, which immediately gets your attention; she cuts back in distance, and steps up in class today; she looks ready to go; the pick.
- Christy Jackson (Desormeaux) – she’s struggled in her three efforts on the turf; the addition of Kent is nice but the AM work is still suspect; leaning elsewhere.
- Red Shelby (Espinoza) – she’s going to take them as far as she can; she’s going to need the ability to go slower early, because if the pace is quick, she backs up late; a likely pace casualty today, though.
- Lethal Legacy (Franco) – she’s done little since venturing west; she failed up north and now comes south for a run against tougher foes down the hill; pass.
- Diva La Mousse (Van Dyke) – Baffert isn’t known for his turf prowess, but he still sports a 21% win rate on the surface; this gal looks a little cheap, especially considering she’ll be battling Red Shelby for the early lead.
- Operandi (Gutierrez) – set pretty slow fractions in her last, where she just barely held; if she moves forward from that effort, then there is potential – but it’s hard to see it today.
- Lil Bit Dangerous (Conner) – done little since moving to the grass; Cassidy is 4% off of a layoff of this length; pass.
Race 6 – 6 ½ furlongs, dirt. 4y/o+up. Clm $25k.
- Don’t Stalk Me (Pedroza) – nice closing win against open $20k and now takes the step up to conditional $25k; Jacobson is only 13% off the claim, but he hits at 35% with Pedroza on; speed figures are solid; a contender.
- On The Rocks (Maldonado) – his lone positive effort was routing, and he’s sprinting today; he will need a significant step up in ability to make this work today.
- It’s Tiz Time (Talamo) – speed figures are good, despite being beaten significantly in overall margin; makes his return to the races for a lower class level; if he’s fit, he figures – but McAnally isn’t known to fire fresh.
- Fender Bender (Franco) – was all out to hold in breaking his maiden and now tries winners at a step up in class; there’s a lot of pace pressure working against him today, and he’ll need a big improvement to get there.
- Surfside Sunset (Espinoza) – found the class drop much to his liking in his last; speed figures are very strong comparatively and the pace projects to give him first run on the early leaders; the pick.
- Bad Boy Leroy (Baze) – logical spot for a return; he crushed higher level maidens and then something went amiss; his works, while not sparkling, are suitable and he looks ready to fire a big shot today.
Race 7 – 6 ½ furlongs, turf. 3y/o+up, f+m. Alw Opt Clm $62.5k.
- Quebec (Conner) – made a nice late run in her last to hit the board; she now runs second off the layoff and has experience down the hill; she should be a major threat with another move forward today; the pick.
- Nine Point Nine (Desormeaux) – showed a new dimension in her last, rallying from off the pace to get the win while cutting back in distance; positive jockey switch down the hill; she’s a factor with a repeat effort.
- A Little Bit Me (Frey) – she’s taken all the heat in her last two starts going down the hill and still been there at the end; she draws outside her inside rival (who outfinished her last time) and looks like a threat if she can ration that early foot.
- Painting Corners (Ceballos) – returns to the races after being away for 6 months; she’s 2 for 3 over this course and in her last downhill effort, she was sub :43 at the half; for all of Miller’s success, winning off the layoff isn’t his biggest strength; consider.
- Pyscho Sister (Elliott) – set good fractions in her last but ultimately, just got swallowed up by the very soft turf and the tougher competition; shortens up and finds a much more reasonable spot; she should be sitting off the pace and have the ability to rally if she’s good enough.
- Gone To Bali (Baze) – returns after a lengthy absence in a reasonable spot; considering that she’s primarily ran in routes, this is likely just a fitness test for her; leaning towards others.
- Bernina Star (Espinoza) – gets class relief and should have a quick pace to run into; however, she’s another one who’s first off the layoff; mixed signals.
Race 8 – 6 ½ furlongs, dirt. 3y/o+up. Mdn Clm $20k.
- Advantageous (Conner) – shades are off and he tries claiming ranks for the first time; he’s taken no money in either of his starts, but this is a significantly weaker group than he’s used to; a threat with an improved effort.
- Calimonco Flyer (Fuentes) – beaten badly in his last effort, which was his first attempt sprinting; he’ll have to improve to hit the board.
- Jerry’s Thunder (Espinoza) – has shown the ability to go for the lead, but it’s a matter of whether he can hold on; shades come off in an effort to try and ration some speed; potential.
- Downside Up (Maldonado) – he’s an 18-start maiden, however, he’s hit the board in 11 of those efforts; he certainly fits classwise, it’s just a matter of whether this guy wants to win.
- John And Montan (Ceballos) – returns off the layoff for a lower class level; assuming that he minds his manners and has improved physically, this looks like a nice spot for him to return; consider.
- Red Obsession (Gutierrez) – shortens up and exits the same race as Jerry’s Thunder, who only outfinished him by less than a length; third start off the layoff and he should make his presence felt in this spot.
- Johnny Ray (Baze) – shades come on and the class comes down; he initially was well meant as a part of Wesley Ward’s contingent last year; he’s the prime contender in a spot like this; the pick.
- Brag Dude (Garcia) – hit the board twice in twelve starts, he comes back to dirt and puts the blinkers back on; seems like a bit of an awkward position for him.
- Soft Trip (Linares) – soundly beaten by Downside Up in his last, despite a ground saving trip; pass.
- Lucky Sun (Franco) – last race was a clunker, because he’s faced horses much stronger than that and fared much better; if you take the position of tossing his last effort, he’s a big threat today; hard to figure.
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