Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Saturday, October 28, 2017
This is closing weekend at Santa Anita. 11 races are on the schedule, including two stakes races. Next weekend, the racing shifts to Del Mar, for the Breeders’ Cup!
To help you out with all the action, we’re happy to have Robert Criscola (@itsgood2beking) providing FREE picks & analysis of all 11 races on the card! Be sure to give him a follow on twitter.
Please note, by the way, the first race will be at 12:15 PM PDT, a slightly earlier time than usual.
Take it away, Robert!
There are 11 races to consider on the final Saturday of the Santa Anita fall meet, chief among them the Grade II Twilight Derby (Race 9). Before that, there’s the Comma To The Top Stakes (Race 5) that features the return of Hoppertunity. Due to the extra races on the card, first post has been moved up to 3:15 p.m. EDT. Let’s get started!
Race 1: 1-7-2
#1 PISTOL PACKIN ROSE wasn’t able to reel in a 16-1 leader in her latest but might be the fastest from the gate in this field. If she gets loose on the lead she might get brave. #7 CYNTHIANA, who nosed out the top choice when they met earlier this month, has no room for error as she’ll look to close into a slow pace. She may be best, but her 4-0-1-0 record over this course is a red flag. #2 GIO’S LADY has won two straight but steps up in class. She’ll likely get the first crack at the top choice.
Race 2: 2-5-7-6
#2 DESERT DOMINATION returns as a new gelding after running a respectable third vs. similar at Del Mar last time out. He should be up front from the start, which is right where you want to be in a race like this. #5 MIDNIGHT RUN tries a new low and cuts back in distance; consider. #7 LIPSTER fits on speed figures and showed improved stamina last time out; also a win threat. #6 SKAGIT RIVER could take them all the way up front if he moves forward off his debut.
Race 3: 10-1-5
#10 LORI’S ATTITUDE may finally earn that elusive diploma. She tired against cheaper off a sizeable layoff last time out but drew well here and should fire a peak effort with the rust shaken off. #1 CRAYON was a distant second going shorter at Del Mar and drew poorly but must be respected based on speed figures. #5 AMORE GATTINA hasn’t raced since May but was a good second to a next-out winner in her most recent start.
Race 4: 3-1-7
#3 UCANTHANKMELATER was given a lot to do late last time and rallied only modestly but projects to get another fast pace to close into today; worth another chance at a price. #1 JONNY’S CHOICE faded badly in his latest start but went at a suicidal early clip off a long layoff. His back class gives makes him a serious threat. #7 PRIVATE PROSPECT has competitive speed figures; eligible for a piece.
Race 5: 4-6-2-7
The Comma To The Top Stakes
#4 HOPPERTUNITY has been training well for his first start since the Dubai World Cup. He may have been ambitiously spotted in that heat but is honest as they come and loves this course (13-4-4-2 career record at Santa Anita). This heat should serve as a useful springboard toward a spot like the Clark Handicap or even the Cigar Mile, depending on how he takes to this distance (1-for-1 lifetime). #6 CURLIN RULES was a surprising no-show in the Grade I Awesome Again, but it stands to reason he didn’t care for the increase in distance. This is also a much easier spot. Prat understandably chose HOPPERTUNITY over this colt but he’s got a puncher’s chance at an upset against a rusty chief adversary. #2 TOP OF THE GAME is a perfect 3-for-3 over this course but hasn’t been seen since February; prefer underneath. #7 AVANTI BELLO moves up if there’s a scratch.
Race 6: 11-4-6-3
#11 PAINTING CORNERS crushed her competition in two downhill starts at the Santa Anita spring/summer meet before experiencing mixed results at Del Mar. She’s the pick at what’s likely to be a short price as she gets back to her favorite course. #4 G Q COVERGIRL will try to keep the top pick in her sights early; could comprise a ‘merry-go-round’ exacta. #6 JOE’SGOLDENHOLIDAY and #3 ANGEL ALLIE will be rolling late for the minor spoils.
Race 7: 6-8-1
#6 TREASURE HUNTER has flashed brief speed but has failed to contend against tougher in three career starts. He plummets in class and returns as a first-time gelding; the pick. #8 WHAT’S INSIDE was a solid second despite a four-wide trip in his unveiling at Los Al; could easily take the necessary step forward to win this. #1 RODELER was a bit slower than WHAT’S INSIDE but was also second in his debut at Los Al; best of the rest.
Race 8: 6-5-3-8
#6 SHIVERMETIMBERS earned a big speed figure for his third-place effort on debut despite stumbling at the start. He loses Smith today but is clearly best of those who’ve run before. #5 MCKINZIE is the first-time starter with the strongest credentials. His flashy worktab is typical of a live Baffert firster and he lures Smith away from the top choice. #3 ARNO’S MANE MAN rallied smartly for third in his debut at Los Al; key rider change to Roman. #8 CALEXMAN faded badly on debut at Woodbine on synthetic but adds Lasix and has worked well over this course. New trainer Cerin has had a strong meet from limited starters (19-6-4-1).
Race 9: 6-3-4
The Grade II Twilight Derby
#6 SHARP SAMURAI, #3 BIG SCORE and #4 BOWIE’S HERO were separated by no more than a length when they comprised the trifecta in the Del Mar Derby last month. They have some interesting out-of-town competition to face today, but they’ll be the top three selections. SHARP SAMURAI ran his winning streak to three in the Del Mar Derby despite suffering a five-wide trip. He’s 2-for-3 at Santa Anita, so the change in venue shouldn’t be an obstacle. He’s also proven he’s not pace-dependent, which is important as this race isn’t loaded with early speed. BIG SCORE recovered well from a disappointing Belmont Derby effort to finish second in the Del Mar Derby. Yakteen and Prat have been chilly at the meet but are still to be respected. BOWIE’S HERO gets a rider upgrade to Desormeaux after encountering a somewhat uncomfortable trip in the lane when last seen. He won the Singletary Stakes earlier this year at Santa Anita.
Race 10: 10-1-6
#10 BESIDES THE POINT won at this level just three weeks ago, beating #9 CORONADO COOL in the process. She projects to a get another favorable stalking trip, so she gets the nod. #1 SPINYATTA’s latest start on turf should be tossed. Her prior two dirt starts put her firmly in the hunt here. #6 TODOS SANTOS will be involved early; may carry on for a share.
Race 11: 5-8-6-3-1
#5 SAVE GROUND put in a solid rally for third in his debut run at Del Mar; expect improvement. #8 WELL DEVELOPED closed into a quick clip to get second in his unveiling; Van Dyke’s pick. #6 WARREN’S FANDANGO cuts back to a mile, a distance in which he was nosed out of a diploma in his most recent try; longshot appeal. #3 GOSOFAR gets Roman aboard as he attempts to negotiate a route for the first time; factor underneath. #1 BOLD PAPA is best of the rest.
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