Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Saturday, September 30, 2017
Saturday’s the biggest day of the Santa Anita fall meet. They’ve got FIVE grade 1 stakes on the schedule, all of which serve as preps for the upcoming Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar. First post time is scheduled for 12:30 PM PDT.
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! Robert did an excellent job with his thoughts on Del Mar racing on Saturdays throughout the meet, and we’re glad to have him back at Santa Anita. Be sure to give him a follow on twitter!
Take it away, Robert!
Santa Anita returns in grand style with FIVE Grade Is on their opening Saturday program. The first of 11 scheduled races will go off at 3:30 p.m. Eastern. Let’s get to work on this terrific card!
Race 1: 8-10-12
#8 INSCOM showed little after encountering early trouble in his debut at Los Al but could “wake up” switching to the grass. He is well-bred for turf (by Distorted Humor out of a Lemon Drop Kid mare), cost $850k at auction, and lures Prat (who had many choices in here). He also has a lightning-fast tune-up work to report. #10 PUBILIUS SYRUS rallied from far back for fourth in the Del Mar Juvenile Turf Stakes; dangerous dropping back in with maidens. #12 DIGNITAIRE was a respectable third on debut but loses Prat for Espinoza and drew poorly.
Race 2: 7-5-6
#7 BOLSTER improved considerably in his first start of the year in August and will now tackle winners for the first time. If he can replicate his speed figure from his latest outing he’ll be hard to beat. #5 HANDFUL OF STRIPES was a decent third in his comeback race at this level; consider. #6 HAWKS PEAK overcame a long layoff to break his maiden when last seen; best of the rest.
Race 3: 6-9-10
#6 INSTILLED REGARD cost over $1 million at auction and nearly caught St. Patrick’s Day in his debut run despite breaking slowly and going wide on the turn. The all-important experience edge makes INSTILLED REGARD imposing in this spot. #9 PEACE is bred to be precocious but may need a start, as most Mandella runners do. The worktab is respectable. #10 MOURINHO might still be a work in progress at the gate (four straight gate works) but many of his AM drills for Baffert are outstanding.
Race 4: 5-8-11-13
#5 BIG BUZZ made my trips column after his unveiling, which came before he tried deeper waters in the Del Mar Juvenile Turf. Returning to the maiden ranks, BIG BUZZ should get his first career win. #8 PITCHING ran third behind next-out stakes winner Encumbered in his California debut; one to watch for late. #11 RESTRAINEDVENGENCE gets a trainer upgrade to Brinkerhoff for his second career turf start; he was a game second going five furlongs in his debut. #13 PAIL HIGH is a threat if he can build on his runner-up performance in his debut run but must draw in off the AE list.
Race 5: 4-1-6
The Grade I Zenyatta Stakes
#4 PARADISE WOODS has put up two clunkers since her dramatic Santa Anita Oaks score but will be a heavy favorite in the first Grade I of the day. She gets back to her favorite course, where she’s been training lights-out, so it seems like a logical spot for PARADISE WOODS to bounce back in. #1 FAITHFULLY didn’t get the cleanest trip last time out and may have found the one-mile distance just a bit short. She could easily turn the tables on #6 SHENANDOAH QUEEN, but getting to the top choice is another story. SHENANDOAH QUEEN steps up after taking the Tranquility Lake, her first ever stakes, at 20-1 last time out. This will be her first start at Santa Anita, and she seems to have taken to the track nicely in the mornings. She’s a trifecta player for sure.
Race 6: 11-8-9
#11 BUCKYS PICK nearly wired a group like this at Del Mar despite setting a blazing pace; lone speed on paper. #8 KENCUMIN bested a couple of these on Aug. 12 at Del Mar and was Bejarano’s preference; main danger to the top choice. #9 RITZY A. P. lures Prat and gets blinkers on; would not be a surprise.
Race 7: 2-3-7
The Grade I Chandelier Stakes
#2 ALLURING STAR did well to beat a strung-out field in her debut. She’s also working like a monster in the mornings for Baffert. This $850k daughter of Exchange Rate is the one you want if you’re trying to beat #3 MOONSHINE MEMORIES. MOONSHINE MEMORIES topped what looked like an uninspiring Del Mar Debutante field by a diminishing half-length; not entirely sold on her but must respect. #7 PIEDI BIANCHI was gaining on MOONSHINE MEMORIES in the Debutante; the additional ground could help her today.
Race 8: 4-8-1
The Grade I FrontRunner Stakes
#4 BOLT D’ORO was given a fast pace to work with in the Del Mar Futurity when he defeated #1 ZATTER but was off slow and lost ground while four-wide on the turn. His route pedigree is strong, so he may not even need an ideal trip against this group. #8 SOLOMINI earned a big figure in his debut triumph for Baffert; the tune-up work was solid and he lures Prat. Being by Curlin, he should appreciate the added ground. ZATTER may have been compromised by racing close to the lead in the Futurity but the inside post does him no favors in a race loaded with early speed. He’ll likely have to wait for his shot at redemption.
Race 9: 10-7-3
The Grade I Rodeo Drive Stakes
#10 GOODYEARFORROSES was slammed with a bad post while returning from a layoff in the John C. Mabee but made a race of it late. She draws wide once more but should be better prepared with that start under her belt. #7 BEAU RECALL was just nosed out by east coast invader Dream Dancing in the Del Mar Oaks while breaking from a wide post. She draws more favorably today for her first try against older. #3 RESPONSIBLEFORLOVE, Talamo’s choice over BEAU RECALL, successfully changed her racing tactics when taking a minor stake at Del Mar from off the pace last time out. Her ability to stay the distance should help her land a share.
Race 10: 4-8-5
The Grade I Awesome Again Stakes
#4 CURLIN RULES has been a new horse since switching to Prat, improving from start to start while nearly beating #8 CUPID in August’s Brubaker Stakes at Del Mar. The way he galloped out in front of CUPID suggests he could top that foe at today’s 1 1/8-mile distance. Expect him to inherit the lead from a fading #3 MIDNIGHTSTORM and fight off CUPID late. CUPID took the Brubaker despite going three-wide on both turns and is 2-for-3 over this course, including a tour-de-force victory in the Santa Anita Gold Cup two-back; hard not to like. #5 BREAKING LUCKY has yet to win at this distance in nine tries (two places and four shows) and hasn’t won on dirt in over two years. However, he frequently collects checks at this level at lures Smith.
Race 11: 5-3-10-4
The Unzip Me Stakes
#5 STORM THE HILL’s two lifetime efforts on the downhill course are good; a win and a third in a minor stake after being sent too early. Nakatani should be able to work out the right kind of trip on this live longshot. #3 KENDA returns to the downhill course, where she’s never missed the exacta in four starts; Prat’s pick. #10 KATHY’S SONG cuts back after winning an allowance-company turf route; training much too sharply to ignore. #4 TAPPED may find these conditions to her liking based on her two-back effort going five furlongs at Del Mar.
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