The Big ‘Cap and San Felipe Stakes Previews

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March 10th 2017 – Updated March 11th 2017

A big day of racing is scheduled tomorrow at Santa Anita Park with the San Felipe Stakes for Kentucky Derby hopefuls and the Santa Anita Handicap for older division horses (4 years-old and older).

The San Felipe Stakes pays out 50 Kentucky Derby points for first place. So the race winner is essentially assured a starting sport in the Run for the Roses.

The Santa Anita Handicap is an early test for Breeders’ Cup Classic hopefuls. Nicknamed “The Big ‘Cap” since it was the first horse race to offer $100,000, its purse was lowered from $1 Million dollars down to $750,000 this year. The Big ‘Cap has had trouble attracting the top thoroughbreds like it once did due to the competing Dubai World Cup that offers a $10 Million dollar purse. However, it is still a very prestigious race to win. Previous winners include great names from the past like Seabiscuit, Affirmed, John Henry and Spectacular Bid.

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Below are the entries, jockeys, post-positions and morning line odds. I rushed a bit to get this blog out so I will update this tomorrow with more commentary.

The San Felipe Stakes – 1 1/16th Mile – Race #5 at Santa Anita Park – Post-Time: 4:04 PM CST.  Televised by TVG

Post Position/Horse/Weight/Jockey/Trainer/Odds
1. Term of Art (122) – Baze/O’Neill – 20/1
2. Vending Machine (120) – Arroyo/Miller – 20/1
3. Ann Arbor Eddie (120) – Gutierrez/O’Neill – 8/1
4. Mastery (124) – Smith/Baffert – 6/5
5. Gormley (124) – Espinoza/Shirreffs – 9/5
6. Iliad (120) – Prat/O’Neill – 5/2
7. Bluegrass Envy (120) – Radosevich/Creque – 50/1

Race Commentary:  Mastery is the fastest horse in this field. However, he is coming off a 91 day layoff. That is concerning as it sometimes takes one race after a long layoff for a horse to back into the flow. Mastery’s stiffest competition is Gormley, so a 4,5 Boxed Exacta is probably your safest bet.

I like Ann Arbor Eddie better than Iliad to round out the Trifecta. Iliad received a 96 Beyer Speed Figure in his last start in the San Vicente Stakes. But that was at 7 furlongs and this race is 8 1/2 furlongs. This will be Iliad’s first two-turn race. Ann Arbor Eddie has already raced two-turns at 8 1/2 and 9 furlong distances. He won at this very same 8 1/2 furlong distance at Santa Anita in the California Cup Derby in late January.

My predicted order of finish: 1) Mastery, 2) Gormley, 3) Ann Arbor Eddie, 4) Iliad, 5) Term of Art, 6) Vending Machine and 7) Bluegrass Envy. However, for Superfecta bets, I would probably play it safe: 4,5 over 4,5 over 3,6 over 3,6. A $1 Superfecta bet of this type would cost $4.


The Santa Anita Handicap  – 1 1/4th Mile – Race #10 at Santa Anita Park  – Post-Time: 6:44 PM CST.  Televised by TVG

Post/Horse/Weight/Jockey/Trainer/ Odds
1. Midnight Storm (122) – Bejarano/D’Amato -8/5 
2. Gangster  (115) – Gutierrez/O’Neill – 30/1   
3. Shaman Ghost (122) – Castellano/Jerkens – 2/1 
4. Isotherm (119) – Prat/Weaver – 12/1
5. Hard Aces (119) – Espinoza/Sadler – 15/1
6. Follow Me Crev (116) – Desormeaux/Cerin – 8/1  
7. Twentytwentyvision (116) – Smith/Mandella – 12/1
8. Hi Happy (116) – Domingos/Souza – 12/1
9. Imperative (119) – Gallardo/Hess – 5/1

Race Commentary:  This will be an interesting race. Midnight Storm is the fastest horse in the field but he drew the dreaded rail. Melatonin shocked the Big ‘Cap crowd last year from the #1 post-position. However, this is a 10 furlong (1 1/4th mile) race and Shaman Ghost is an equally talented horse and more accomplished at this distance. Remember that he finished 2nd in the Pegasus World Cup behind Arrogate at this same distance.

Hard Aces was given 15/1 morning line odds which I think are way too long for a horse that likes distance. Yes he is inconsistent but he fares much better at 10 furlongs or longer. In last year’s Santa Anita Handicap, Hard Aces finished 2nd and Imperative finished 4th.

A potential sleeper to hit the board is Hi Happy, an Argentinian horse who is making his third start in North America. He has primarily raced on turf but has raced impressively on dirt before in a 1 1/2 mile (2500 meter) race in Argentina (shown below). He doesn’t have outstanding closing speed but does have stamina, consistent speed and just enough kick at the end to potentially slip into the top four finishers.

Overall, I think this race comes down to Midnight Storm and Shaman Ghost. I like Imperative, Hard Aces and Hi Happy to round out the other exotic bets. For a Superfecta bet, I like a 1,3 over 1,3 over 5,8,9 over 5,8,9. A $1 Superfecta bet of variety would cost $12. I doubt that it will pay back a huge amount if the 1st and 2nd live odds favorites finish 1-2. So you may want to try a larger 1-3 Boxed Exacta.


On the docket…

My next blog will include updated Kentucky Derby contender rankings which I will post by Monday evening.

–Michael

California Chrome and Dortmund set to clash in the upcoming San Diego Handicap. Updated 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings

July 17th 2016 – Updated July 21st 2016

California Chrome is at the Del Mar Fairgrounds working out in preparation for the San Diego Handicap this coming Saturday July 23rd. His most recent workout is shown below. 

Although the San Diego Handicap only carries a $200,000 purse, California Chrome will receive some stiff competition. Below is the starting field, post-positions and the mornign line odds.

San Diego Handicap – 1 1/16th Mile – Race #9 at Del Mar – Post-Time: Saturday July 23rd 8:10 PM CST

Post Position/Horse/Weight/Jockey/Trainer
1. Hard Aces (118) – Gonzalez/Sadler – 8-1
2. Dortmund (121) – Stevens/Baffert – 2-1
3. Soi Phet (115) – Desormeaux/Powell – 12-1
4. Crittenden (114) – Garcia/Harty – 20-1
5. Follow Me Crev (116) – Quinonez/Cerin – 20-1
6. California Chrome (126) – Espinoza/Sherman – 4-5
7. Win the Space (116) – Smith/Papaprodromou – 8-1

Chrome’s stiffest competition may come from Dortmund who has won 8 out of 10 career starts and was originally in my 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic watch list. However, Dortmund hasn’t raced since November 28th of last year. He may be a bit rusty coming off a long layoff but will have Gary Stevens as his jockey instead of Martin Garcia.

I will post a blog by Friday analyzing the race. Below is my updated 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic contender rankings.


Updated Top 12 Breeders’ Cup Classic Contenders:

1)  California Chrome – With his Dubai World Cup win in March, he became the all-time leader in race earnings with $12.5 million dollars. He is expected to be an entry in the Breeders’ Cup Classic and the Pegasus World Cup next January. He is training extremely well and is set to return to racing in the San Diego Handicap.

Career: 21 Starts 12-3-1-1  Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 5
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 5 Starts  3-1-1-0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>1st
Sire: Lucky Pulpit  
Trainer: Art Sherman 
Jockey: Victor Espinosa (2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winner)
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 1:59.93 (calculated) – 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic
Best Beyer in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 113 – 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic
Career Beyer Speed Figure: 113 – 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic

2) Frosted  He has set two track records thus far as a 4 year old. The first came at Meydan in the 1900 meter Al Maktoum Challenge in February. His most recent came in the 124th running of the Metropolitan Handicap with a time of 1:32.73 that resulted in the highest Beyer Speed Figure (123) of his career and the highest of any thoroughbred thus far in 2016. So now the question becomes, should he be entered in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile or The Classic? He was always viewed as a horse who like distance and never a “miler” prior to his stunning performance in the Met Mile. His next start appears to be in the Whitney Handicap at Saratoga on August 6th.

Career: 16 Starts 5-6-1-2  Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 2
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 4 Starts  0-0-1-1
Last 3 starts: 1st–>5th–>1st
Sire: Tapit
Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin (2006 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winning Trainer)
Jockey: William Buick
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 2:02.05 (calculated) – 2015 Travers Stakes
Best Beyer in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 103 – 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 123 2016 Metropolitan Handicap

3) Melatonin– The surprise winner of the 2016 Santa Anita Handicap. He proved his Big ‘Cap performance was no fluke by finishing 2nd behind Effinex in the Oaklawn Handicap and completing the Big ‘Cap-Gold Cup Double. His win in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita assures him a spot in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic. He is trained by David Hofmans who won the Breeders’ Cup Classic in 1996 with Alphabet Soup. 

Career: 13 Starts 5-3-3-1  Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 2
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 2 Starts  2-0-0-0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>2nd–>1st
Sire: Kodiak Kowboy
Trainer: David Hofmans (1996 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winning Trainer)
Jockey:  Joe Talamo
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time:  1:59.79 – 2016 Gold Cup at Santa Anita
Best Beyer in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 109 – 2016 Gold Cup at Santa Anita
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 109 – 2016 Gold Cup at Santa Anita

4) Beholder After a stunning performance in the 2015 TVG Pacific Classic (shown below), she was #1 in many Breeders’ Cup Classic rankings last year. Beholder was entered in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic but was unfortunately scratched due to a fever. After a long layoff, she bounced back with an impressive win in the Adoration Stakes. But her last effort, although a win in the Vanity Stakes, may indicate that she has slipped a bit off her 2015 form because she seemed to labor to produce a winning of 1:35.97 in this one mile race. Her next start will come in the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar on July 31st.

Career: 22 Starts 17-3-0-2   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 10

Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 1 Starts  1-0-0-0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>1st
Sire: Henny Hughes
Trainer: Richard Mandella (2003 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Gary Stevens (2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winner)
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 1:59.772015 Pacific Classic
Best Beyer in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 114 – 2015 Pacific Classic
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 114 – 2015 Pacific Classic

5) Effinex – He finished 2nd to American Pharoah in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic. For 2016, he has a 3rd place finish in the Santa Anita Derby, a win in the Oaklawn Handicap, a head-scratching 6th place finish in the Stephen Foster but bounced back with a big win in the Suburban Handicap (shown below).

Career: 24 Starts 9-2-4-3  Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 7 Starts  3-1-2-1
Last 3 starts: 1st–>6th–>1st
Sire: Mineshaft
Trainer: Jimmy Jerkens 
Jockey: Mike Smith (1997, 2009, 2011 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winner)
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 2:01.04 – 2016 Suburban Handicap
Best Beyer in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 112 – 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic
Career Best Beyer Speed: 112 – 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic

6) Nyquist  – The 2016 Kentucky Derby winner missed the Belmont Stakes due to spiking a fever shortly after the Preakness Stakes. He is doing fine, back in training and probably will be an entry in the Haskell Invitational on July 31st.

Career: 9 Starts 8-0-1-0  Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 5
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 1 Start  1-0-0-0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>3rd
Sire: Uncle Mo  
Trainer: Doug O’Neill 
Jockey: Mario Gutierrez 
Fastest 1 1/4th Mile Time: 2:01.31 – 2016 Kentucky Derby
Best Beyer in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 103 – 2016 Kentucky Derby
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 103 – 2016 Kentucky Derby

7) Exaggerator His disappointing 11th place finish in the Belmont Stakes was a head-scratcher. Trainer Keith Desormeaux believes that Exaggerator didn’t take well to the sandy Belmont surface. His future plans are the Jim Dandy Stakes on July 30th as a prep race for the Travers Stakes on August 27th. But since he excels on a sloppy, off-track, I would love to see him entered in a turf race because usually these type of horses make great turf runners. And his closer style would fit well there too.

Career: 12 Starts 5-3-1-1  Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 2
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 1 Start  0-1-0-0
Last 3 starts: 2nd–>1st–>11th
Sire: Curlin (2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winner)
Trainer: Keith Desormeaux
Jockey: Kent Desormeaux 
Fastest 1 1/4th Mile Time: 2:01.51 (calculated) – 2016 Kentucky Derby
Best Beyer in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 101 – 2016 Kentucky Derby
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 103 – 2016 Santa Anita Derby

8) Win the Space  He has bounced between dirt and turf and finally has found a home on dirt. His 2nd place Gold Cup performance proved that this 4 year-old colt was a diamond in the rough and is extremely talented. He produced a 2 minute mile and a quarter (very uncommon) and did so in 90 degree heat. In his start previous to the Gold Cup, he produced a lightning quick 8 1/2 furlong (1 1/16th mile) time of 1:41.55 as a closer. But in the Gold Cup race, Gary Stevens pressed him up on the pace and it paid off. So he proved that he is versatile in running style as well as fast. 

Career: 11 Starts 3-1-2-0  Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 1 Starts 0-1-0-0
Last 3 starts: 2nd–>1st–>2nd
Sire: Pulpit
Trainer: George Papaprodromou
Jockey: Gary Stevens (2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winner)
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time:  2:00.03 (calculated) – 2016 Gold Cup at Santa Anita
Best Beyer in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 107 – 2016 Gold Cup at Santa Anita
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 107 – 2016 Gold Cup at Santa Anita 

9) Hoppertunity – He finished 4th in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita. Bob Baffert admitted before the race that he wasn’t sure that he had him completely ready. Previous to this start, he finished 3rd (and just a neck from 2nd) in the Dubai World Cup. He is extremely consistent and probably would finish in the top 4 in any race no matter the talent in the field because he has never finished below 4th place in a graded stakes race. 

Career: 20 Starts 5-6-4-4 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 4 Starts  0-1-1-2
Last 3 starts: 1st>3rd–>4th
Sire: Any Given Saturday
Trainer: Bob Baffert (2014 & 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Flavien Prat
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 2:00.16 (calculated) – 2016 Gold Cup at Santa Anita 
Best Beyer in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 104 – 2016 Gold Cup at Santa Anita
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 108 – 2016 San Antonio Stakes

10) Mubtaahij His 2nd place finish in the Dubai World Cup was a surprise performance for this enigmatic 4 year old colt who has yet to win a Grade 1 stakes race on US soil. He was transferred to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin for his US campaign in April. He opened up his US racing campaign in 2016 with a 3rd place finish in the Suburban Handicap.

Career: 13 Starts 4-2-1-2   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 4 Starts  0-1-2-0
Last 3 starts: 4th–>2nd–>3rd
Sire: Dubawi
Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin (2006 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Christophe Soumillon
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 2:01.28 (calculated) – 2016 Suburban Handicap
Best Beyer in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 101 – 2016 Suburban Handicap
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 101 – 2016 Suburban Handicap

11) Bradester* – Although he has never raced beyond 1 1/8th mile, Bradester has qualified for the Breeders’ Cup Classic with a win in the Stephen Foster Handicap. He is 2-for-2 in 2016. He competed in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and had a disappointing 9th place finish. 5 of his career 9 wins have come at the 1 1/16th mile distance. So one wonders if he is better suited to for the 1 1/8th mile Pegasus World Cup than the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Career: 23 Starts 9-6-2-1  Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 0 Starts  0-0-0-0
Last 3 starts: 9th>1st>1st
Sire: Lion Heart
Trainer: Eddie Kenneally
Jockey: Joe Bravo
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: N/A (Estimate from Stephen Foster projected out: 2:01.53)
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 109 – 2015 Salvator Mile Stakes

12) Hard Aces – Still competitive as a 6 year-old. He finished 6th in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic after qualifying with a win in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita. He is a closer and performs best when the opening fractions are fast. And he is running well this year at Santa Anita–producing a 2nd place finish in both the Santa Anita Handicap and California Stakes to go with his most recent 3rd place finish in the Gold Cup race. The 105 Beyer he received in the Gold Cup was a career best. He will throw a clunker in along the way and is not an early Vegas favorite to win The Classic but he has “hit the board” potential if the race sets up well for his closing style.

Career: 32 Starts 8-6-5-3  Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 6 Starts  1-1-1-1
Last 3 starts: 7th>2nd–>3rd
Sire: Hard Spun
Trainer: John Sadler 
Jockey: Mario Pino
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 2:00.15 (calculated) – 2016 Gold Cup at Santa Anita 
Best Beyer in 1 1/4 Mile Race: 105 – 2016 Gold Cup at Santa Anita
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 105 – 2016 Gold Cup at Santa Anita


Dropping out of my Top 12 rankings:

Songbird – Songbird drops out of my rankings, not due to performance reasons, but due to the fact that her ownership no plans to race her against the boys this year. Right now, she is being pointed towards the Breeders’ Cup Distaff this fall. She is expected to be an entry in the 1 1/4 mile Alabama Stakes at Saratoga on August 20th. A great performance in that race may change their minds but it appears to be highly unlikely. The good news, they do plan on her racing next year. And if she performs well, they will probably take a shot at the boys somewhere along the way. Her next start will come in the 1 1/8th mile Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga on Sunday July 24th.

Career: 8 Starts 8-0-0-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 4
Career in 1 1/4 Mile Races: 0 Starts  0-0-0-0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>1st
Sire: Medaglia d’Oro
Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer
Jockey: Mike Smith (1997, 2009, 2011 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winner)
Best 1 1/4 Mile Time:  N/A
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 99 – 2015 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies

Below are the key upcoming races with “Win and You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Classic races in bold font:

July 23rd – San Diego Handicap – Del Mar – 1 1/16th Mile – Purse: $200,000
July 30th – Jim Dandy Stakes* – Saratoga – 1 1/8 Mile – Purse: $600,000
July 31st – Haskell Invitational* – Monmouth Park – 1 1/8 Mile – Purse: $1,000,000 – NBC
August 6th – Whitney Handicap – Saratoga – 1 1/4 Mile – Purse: $1,250,000
August 20th – Pacific Classic – Del Mar – 1 1/4 Mile – Purse: $1,000,000
August 27th – Travers Stakes* – Saratoga – 1 1/4 Mile – Purse: $1,250,000 – NBC
September 3rd – Woodward Stakes – Saratoga – 1 1/8 Mile – Purse: $600,000 – NBCSN
October 1st – Awesome Again Stakes – Santa Anita – 1 1/8 Mile – Purse: $300,000 – NBCSN
October 8th – Jockey Gold Cup – Belmont Park – 1 1/4 Mile – Purse: $1,000,000 – NBC
*****

November 5th – Breeders’ Cup Classic – Santa Anita  – 1 1/4 Mile – Purse: $6,000,000 – NBC

* – 3 year olds only


–Michael

The 2016 Gold Cup at Santa Anita Race Preview and Analysis

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June 24th 2016

Coming tomorrow evening on NBC Sports (7 to 8 PM CST) is another very interesting “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Classic with the Gold Cup at Santa Anita. Although it lacks a big name entry like a California Chrome or Frosted, this should be a very entertaining race that has an extremely competitive field top-to-bottom. There are also a few new shooters in this field that are intriguing. Plus, the Gold Cup will shed some more light on who the Breeders Cup Classic contenders are since this race will be run on the same track (Santa Anita) at the same distance (1 1/4th mile) as The Classic.

Two of the horses in this field–Hoppertunity and Melatonin–are ranked in my latest Top 12 Breeders’ Cup Classic contender rankings at 7th and 9th respectively. Will Melatonin put them to sleep again like he did in the Big ‘Cap? The defending Gold Cup champion Hard Aces is another entry. Hard Aces appeared in my Breeders’ Cup Classic contender lists last year and he finished 6th in 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The Gold Cup at Santa Anita – 1 1/4th Mile – Race #9 at Santa Anita Park – Post-Time: Saturday June 25th 7:30 PM CST

Post Position/Horse/Weight/Jockey/Trainer/Odds
1. Bal a Bali (120) – Prat/Mandella – 9-2
2. Second Summer (120) – Gutierrez/Eurton – 4-1
3. Hard Aces (122) – Gonzalez/Sadler – 6-1
4. Lieutenant Colonel (120) – Garcia/Hollendorfer – 8-1
5. Win the Space (120) – Stevens/Papaprodromou – 20-1
6. Hoppertunity (120) – Smith/Baffert – 3-1
7. Melatonin (124) – Talamo/Hofmans – 7-2
8. Imperative (117) – Bejarano/Howard – 6-1

Race Analysis

Hoppertunity – Record at 1 1/4 Mile: 3 starts 0-1-1-1. The Baffert-trained 5 year old is probably the most proven and experienced horse in the field heading into this event. He finished 3rd in the Dubai World Cup and is extremely consistent. He has never finished below 4th in a graded stakes race. But he rarely wins and especially after a layoff. Put him in your Trifectas and perhaps your Exacta bets. Show bets on Hopps are probably a sure bet here but won’t pay out very much.

Melatonin – Record at 1 1/4 Mile: 1 start 1-0-0-0. If he runs like he did in the Santa Anita Handicap back in March, then he will win this one. He proved to me with his 2nd place finish to Effinex in the Oaklawn Handicap that his Big ‘Cap win wasn’t just a fluke performance. Key him to win along with Hard Aces in your Trifectas and Superfectas.

Second Summer – Record at 1 1/4 Mile: 0 starts.  He is 4-1 for the morning line odds and I think those odds are way too short. He would have been beaten by Hard Aces in the California Stakes had it been 1 1/4 mile race instead of 1 1/8th mile. A 4th place finish in this field would be a great effort for this horse.

Bal a Bali – Record at 1 1/4 Mile: 0 starts on dirt. Another South American project from highly respected trainer Richard Mandella. He did wonders with a Argentinian horse named Catch a Flight last year. Bal a Bali is a turf horse from Brazil making his first start on dirt. He is fast and should be a front runner in this race. In his last start on turf at 1 1/4 mile, he faded to a 4th place finish. I don’t expect anything different on dirt and think he is probably a better candidate for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

Hard Aces – Record at 1 1/4 Mile: 5 starts 1-1-0-1. Last year’s Gold Cup winner. There is enough speed in this field to aide his closing style. Don’t be surprised if he wins again.

Imperative – Record at 1 1/4 Mile: 8 starts 0-0-3-1. He finished 4th behind Melatonin, Hard Aces and Effinex in the Santa Anita Handicap. I really feel that this horse’s best distance is at 1 1/8th mile. So I don’t see him as a serious threat to finish 1st or 2nd here. Consider him for your Superfectas.

Lieutenant Colonel – Record at 1 1/4 Mile: 0 starts. He got nipped for 2nd at the wire by Hard Aces in the 1 1/8th mile California Stakes. Before this race, he finished 4th in the The Tokyo City Cup. So distance is not a problem, just the talent he will have to deal with in this field. I wouldn’t put him in any of my trifectas.

Win the Space – Record at 1 1/4 Mile: 0 starts. At first glance, he is probably the worst horse in this field. He has bounced between turf and dirt and only has 4 starts on dirt tracks. However, in his last start, a 1 1/16th mile allowance race at Santa Anita on May 15th, he finished 1st and produced an impressive time of 1:41.55. That was faster than Melatonin’s 1:41.97 that he ran in a 1 1/16th mile allowance race at Santa Anita the race before he won the Santa Anita Handicap. And he has Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens as his rider. He is a closer and I feel that closers will have a shot in this race. So don’t discount the 20-1 longshot.

Overall, I feel this race is wide-open, there is no heavy favorite so expect better payouts than your average race. I am leaning towards a $10 Boxed Exacta of Melatonin, Hard Aces and Hoppertunity (7,3,6) but I have a feeling that we may get a surprise, unexpected result like we did in the Santa Anita Handicap back in March. I recommend seeing the live odds and how the horses look on the track around post-time before making any bets on this one.

–Michael

 

 

Santa Anita Handicap and San Felipe Previews

March 6th 2015 – Updated March 11th 2016

With the mass exodus of many of the top handicap division horses to Dubai for the $10 Million World Cup race on March 26th, Jimmy Jerkins’ Effinex (2nd place finisher in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic) is the odds-on favorite for this year’s Santa Anita Handicap coming up on Saturday March 12th. The San Felipe Stakes for 3 year-olds will be a support race at Santa Anita Park that same day and will be a very important prep race on the Kentucky Derby trail. Below are expected entries in both races.

Santa Anita Handicap Entries

1) Point Piper – The Jerry Hollendorfer-trained 6 year old finished 6th in the San Pasqual Stakes at Santa Anita back in January. In his last start, he finished 3rd at the Fairgrounds in the Mineshaft Handicap behind Majestic Harbor and Eagle. He has never raced beyond 1 1/8th mile distance. However, if you like longshots, he won the Harry F. Brubaker Stakes last August at Del Mar at 30-1 odds. He was also nominated for the San Luis Rey Stakes turf race to be run on Sunday.  

Career: 20 starts 4-5-3-0, Win Pct: 20%, Top 3 Pct: 60%, Top 4 Pct: 60%
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: N/A
Best Finish in a 1 1/4 Mile Grade 1 Stakes Race: N/A
Last Three Beyer Speed Figures: 97, 93, 94 – 94.73 Average
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 102 2015 Big Bear Stakes
Career Earnings: $172,135

2) Melatonin – He doesn’t have much experience racing past 6 1/2 furlongs. In his only start racing past one mile on dirt–a 1 1/16th mile at Santa Anita (incidentally his last start)–he turned in an impressive time of 1:41.97. Maybe he needed to be stretched-out all along. A sleeper? No pun intended, we will see.

Career: 10 starts 3-2-3-1, Win Pct: 30%, Top 3 Pct: 80%, Top 4 Pct: 90%
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: N/A
Best Finish in a 1 1/4 Mile Grade 1 Stakes Race: N/A
Last Three Beyer Speed Figures: 97, 87, 91 – 91.7 Average
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 97
Career Earnings: $168,552

3) Donworth – A lightly raced 4 year-old trained by Doug O’Neill that seems to be coming into his own. He produced his career best Beyer Speed Figure of 104 with his 3rd place finish in his last start in the San Antonio Stakes. Although he seemed to lack the kick necessary in final furlong of that 1 1/8th mile race, it was his first start stretching out past 1 1/16th mile. He does has a pedigree for distance with his sire Tiznow having won the 2001 Santa Anita Handicap and the 2000 & 2001 Breeders’ Cup Classic. And his damsire Street Cry who won the 2002 Dubai World Cup.

Career: 5 starts 2-1-2-0, Win Pct: 40%, Top 3 Pct: 100%, Top 4 Pct: 100%
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: N/A
Best Finish in a 1 1/4 Mile Grade 1 Stakes Race: N/A
Last Three Beyer Speed Figures: 104, 95, 93 – 97.3 Average
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 1042016 San Antonio Stakes
Career Earnings: $164,000

4) General a Rod – The Todd Pletcher-trained 5 year-old competed in all three Triple Crown races in 2014, finishing 11th in the Kentucky Derby, 4th in the Preakness Stakes and 7th in the Belmont Stakes. He received a career best Beyer Speed Figure of 105 in his last start–a 1 1/16th mile race at Gulfstream Park on January 28th. He has never won a graded stakes race and has only competed in three races at a distance of 1 1/4th mile or longer (best finish being a 7th place finish in the 2014 Belmont Stakes).

Career: 14 starts 4-2-1-2, Win Pct: 28.5%, Top 3 Pct: 50%, Top 4 Pct: 64.3%
Best Finish in a 1 1/4 Mile Grade 1 Stakes Race: 11th — 2014 Kentucky Derby
Last Three Beyer Speed Figures: 105, 82, 92 – 93 Average
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 105 – Allowance Opt. Claiming Race at Gulfstream Park 1/28/16
Career Earnings: $513.570

5) Effinex – You can make a valid argument that Effinex is really the top older male horse entering 2016 by his last two starts in 2015. In the Breeders’ Cup Classic, he finished 2nd and ahead of Honor Code, Keen Ice, Tonalist, Frosted and Hard Aces. Then he won the Clark Handicap in November, besting Hoppertunity and Keen Ice (for a second time).

Career: 20 starts: 7-2-3-4, Win Pct: 35%, Top 3 Pct: 60%, Top 4%: 80%
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 2:01.11 (calculated) – 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic
Best Finish in a 1 1/4 Mile Grade 1 Stakes Race: 1st – 2015 Gold Cup
Last Three Beyer Speed Figures: 104, 112, 92 – 102.7 Average
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 1122015 Breeders’ Cup Classic
Career Earnings: $2,112,950

6) Cyrus Alexander – Another Jerry Hollendorfer-trained colt. He has only competed in two graded stakes races with his best finish being a 4th place in 1 1/16th mile Affirmed Stakes at Santa Anita Park in June of 2015. He has never stretched out past 1 1/8th mile in his career.

Career: 12 starts: 3-4-2-1, Win Pct: 25%, Top 3 Pct: 75%, Top 4%: 83.3%
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: N/A
Last Three Beyer Speed Figures: 97, 98, 92 – 95.7 Average
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 97
Career Earnings: $175,090

7) Hard Aces – He finished 4th in last year’s Big ‘Cap and produced his career best Beyer Speed Figure of 104 with his 6th place finish in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic. The John Sadler-trained 6 year-old has a reputation of being lazy in workouts but with his win in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita Park last year, he has proven that he can win the big race.

Career: 28 starts 6-3-7-3, Win Pct: 21.4%, Top 3 Pct: 57.1%, Top 4 Pct: 67.9%
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 2:02.01 (calculated) – 2015 TVG Pacific Classic
Best Finish in a 1 1/4 Mile Grade 1 Stakes Race: 1st – 2015 Gold Cup
Last Three Beyer Speed Figures: 98, 95, 104 – 99 Average
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 104 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic
Career Earnings: $619,645

8) Imperative – He has two 100+ Beyer Speed Figures (104 & 102) at Santa Anita Park in 2016 already. The 6 year-old gelding hasn’t fared well in previous Big ‘Caps, finishing 7th and 8th respectively in 2014 and 2015. But he is gaining a nose for the finish line, having finished 2nd in his last three starts to Dortmund, California Chrome and Hoppertunity.

Career: 29 starts: 3-8-3-3, Win Pct: 10.3%, Top 3 Pct: 48.3%, Top 4%: 58.6%
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 2:01.01 (calculated) – 2014 Santa Anita Handicap
Best Finish in a 1 1/4 Mile Grade 1 Stakes Race: 3rd – 2014 Gold Cup & 2014 Pacific Classic
Last Three Beyer Speed Figures: 105, 102, 97 – 101.3 Average
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 1052016 San Antonio Stakes
Career Earnings: $1,833,120

9) Class Leader – He has bounced between turf and dirt races recently. He has competed in a big graded stakes race at this distance before–the 1 1/4th mile  TVG Pacific Classic at Del Mar last August and finished 7th. He is likely a backmarker in this field. He was also nominated for the San Luis Rey Stakes turf race to be run on Sunday.  

Career: 18 starts: 3-2-4-2, Win Pct: 16.7%, Top 3 Pct: 50%, Top 4%: 61.1%
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 2:02.09 (calculated) – 2015 TVG Pacific Classic
Best Finish in a 1 1/4 Mile Grade 1 Stakes Race: 7th – 2015 TVG Pacific Classic
Last Three Beyer Speed Figures:  93, 94, 93 – 93.3 Average
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 98
Career Earnings: $208,689

Past Performances can be accessed HERE.

Commentary: I expect this year’s Big ‘Cap to be an exciting race if the San Antonio Stakes is any indication of what is in store. As far as betting advice, right now I like a 5-8-3-7 Superfecta (Effinex-Imperative-Donworth-Hard Aces) but I also like a big 5-8 Exacta and a 5-8-3 Trifecta Box. Stay tuned….


The San Felipe Stakes

This year’s San Felipe Stakes, a tune-up race for the Santa Anita Derby, will feature four key horses on the Kentucky Derby trail with four former Kentucky Derby-winning jockeys riding them. Smokey Image will put his undefeated mark on the line against his stiffest competition to date in Mor Spirit, Exaggerator and Danzing Candy. These four horses represent 1/3rd of my Top 12 Kentucky Derby Contenders currently. The winner of San Felipe the past two years have went on to finish in the top 3 of the Kentucky Derby (California Chrome 2014 winner, Dortmund 3rd place finisher in 2015).

The San Felipe Stakes Entries – Race #7 – Post Time 5PM CST

1) Uncle Lino  – The Gary Sherlock-trained 3 year-old finished 2nd in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes behind Mor Spirit. He has fired two 90 Beyer Speed Figures in his last two starts.

Career: 4 Starts 1-2-1-0
Sire: Uncle Mo
Jockey: Fernando Perez
Best 1 Mile Time: N/A
Best 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:43.45 (calculated) – Robert B. Lewis Stakes
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 90 – Robert B. Lewis Stakes

2) Danzing Candy  – He has won his last two starts but will be stepping up in class for the San Felipe Stakes and going an extra half furlong than he has raced to date. Still, he is a talented horse to keep an eye on.

Career: 3 Starts 2-0-0-0
Sire: Twirling Candy 
Jockey: Mike Smith (2005 Kentucky Derby Winner)
Best 1 Mile Time: 1:36.73 – Allowance Optional Claiming Race at Santa Anita Park 
Best 1 1/16th Mile Time: N/A
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 92 – Allowance Optional Claiming Race at Santa Anita Park  2/4/16

3) Mor Spirit  – Bob Baffert’s best 2 year-old colt. Winner of the Los Alamitos Futurity and Robert B. Lewis Stakes (winning time of 1:43.21). I feel he has been a bit overrated thus far as his times are way off what Dortmund produced last year in these two races. A win in this race will move him way up my contender list.

Career: 5 Starts 3-2-0-0
Sire: Eskendereya 
Jockey: Gary Stevens (1988, 1995 and 1998 Kentucky Derby Winner)
Best 1 Mile Time: 1:37.48 – Santa Anita Park MSW – Race #5
Best 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:43.21 – Robert B. Lewis Stakes
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 93 – Robert B. Lewis Stakes

4) Cupid  –  Another Bob Baffert-trained 3 year -old, Cupid is a half-brother to Mohaymen having shared the same sire Tapit. He won his last start impressively by 5 1/4 lengths at Santa Anita Park on February 7th.

Career: 3 Starts 1-1-0-1
Sire: Tapit
Jockey: Martin Garcia 
Best 1 Mile Time: N/A 
Best 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:43.78 – Maiden Special Weight at Santa Anita Park 2/7/16
Best Beyer Speed Figure:  88

5) I Will Score – A Jerry Hollendorfer-trained 3 year -old. He  finished 3rd in his last start, the Robert B. Lewis Stakes behind Mor Spirit and Uncle Lino.

Career: 3 Starts 2-1-0-0
Sire: Roman Ruler 
Jockey: Rafael Bejarano 
Best 1 Mile Time: N/A
Best 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:43.53 (calculated) – Robert B. Lewis Stakes
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 90 – Robert B. Lewis Stakes

6) Smokey Image  – The Carla Gaines-trained 3 year-old is undefeated in six starts, but five of his wins were at the 7 furlong distance or shorter. His win in the California Cup Derby only generated an 83 Beyer Speed Figure but he won it with ease by over 8 lengths. This Cal-bred may be a Kentucky Derby sleeper on the verge of breaking out. I like his future regardless.

Career: 6 Starts 6-0-0-0
Sire: Southern Image 
Jockey: Victor Espinoza (2002, 2014 & 2015 Kentucky Derby Winner)
Best 1 Mile Time: N/A
Best 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:43.49 – California Cup Derby
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 85

7) Exaggerator  The Desormeaux brothers colt finished 4th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and then followed this effort with a win in the Delta Downs Jackpot with a 92 Beyer Speed Figure and giving Mohaymen a good battle in the San Vicente Stakes. Exaggerator’s sire was Curlin (2007 Preakness Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner). 

Career: 7 Starts 3-2-0-1 
Sire: Curlin (Finished 3rd in 2007 Kentucky Derby)
Jockey: Kent Desormeaux (1998, 2000 & 2008 Kentucky Derby Winner)
Best 1 Mile Time: N/A
Best 1 1/16th Mile Time: 1:43.43 (calculated) Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity
Best Beyer Speed Figure: 98 – San Vicente Stakes

Commentary: This race appears to be a battle between Mor Spirt, Exaggerator and Smokey Image. So right now I like a 3-6-7 Boxed Exacta.

I will update this blog by Saturday March 12th. And I will also be attending these races and will provide updates Friday evening March 11th.

I am also overdue for a Kentucky Derby Contenders update which I will post by Tuesday March 15th at the latest. I want to see how the San Felipe Stakes and Tampa Bay Derby races turn out as I feel five of the top twelve Derby contenders will be in action this coming Saturday.

–Michael

 

Effinex to race in the Santa Anita Handicap. Is he the top active thoroughbred in the world?

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Effinex wins the Clark Handicap – Photo Credit: Reed Palmer/Churchill Downs

March 4th 2016

With a number of the top North American thoroughbreds like California Chrome, Frosted, Keen Ice and Hoppertunity making the trek overseas to Dubai this year for the $10 million Dubai World Cup, it has put a damper on the potential field for what once was the richest horse race in the world–The Santa Anita Handicap. The ‘Big Cap is a prestigious race, the very first to offer $100,000 purse and one that has attracted some notable great horses like Seabiscuit, Citation, Affirmed and Spectacular Bid.

Yesterday, Effinex was confirmed as an entry in the 79th running of the Santa Anita Handicap. Trainer Jimmy Jerkens contemplated taking Effinex to Dubai for the World Cup race but wisely opted to stay “home” and focus on winning the one of the crown jewels of horse racing.

With the retirements of American Pharoah, Honor Code, Liam’s Map, Tonalist, et al, you can make a valid argument that Effinex is really the top older male horse entering 2016, especially by his last two starts in 2015. Honor Code won the Eclipse Older Male award for 2015. Effinex finished 4th in the voting behind Honor Code, Liam’s Map and Tonalist. But in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Effinex finished 2nd and ahead of Honor Code, Keen Ice, Tonalist, Frosted and Hard Aces. Then he went on to win the Clark Handicap in November (shown below), beating two Dubai bound horses in Hoppertunity and Keen Ice (for a second time).

Effinex can be temperamental and act up on occasion. He is sort of the Rodney Dangerfield of thoroughbreds as Wynn Las Vegas had him at 30/1 odds to win the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic in their last update. But the Jimmy Jerkens-trained 5 year-old has proven that he is a fighter and has beaten some of the best. I consider him along with Beholder and California Chrome as one of the top three 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic contenders. A Santa Anita Handicap win could push him to #1 on my list.

Effinex – Career: 20 starts: 7-2-3-4, Win Pct: 35%, Top 3 Pct: 60%, Top 4%: 80%
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 2:01.11 (calculated) – 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic
Best Finish in a 1 1/4 Mile Grade 1 Stakes Race: 1st – 2015 Gold Cup
Last Three Beyer Speed Figures: 104, 110, 95 – 103 Average
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 1102015 Breeders’ Cup Classic
Career Earnings: $2,112,950

Effinex is expected to be joined by Imperative, up and coming Donworth and last year’s Gold Cup winner Hard Aces in the Santa Anita Handicap. Other nominations can be found HERE. I expect this year’s Big ‘Cap to be an exciting race if the San Antonio Stakes is any indication of what is in store.

Imperative – Career: 29 starts: 3-8-3-3, Win Pct: 10.3%, Top 3 Pct: 48.3%, Top 4%: 58.6%
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 2:01.01 (calculated) – 2014 Santa Anita Handicap
Best Finish in a 1 1/4 Mile Grade 1 Stakes Race: 3rd – 2014 Gold Cup & 2014 Pacific Classic
Last Three Beyer Speed Figures: 105, 102, 97 – 101.3 Average
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 1072015 Charles Town Classic
Career Earnings: $1,833,120

Donworth  Career: 5 starts 2-1-2-0, Win Pct: 40%, Top 3 Pct: 100%, Top 4 Pct: 100%
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: N/A
Best Finish in a 1 1/4 Mile Grade 1 Stakes Race: N/A
Last Three Beyer Speed Figures: 104, 95, 93 – 97.3 Average
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 1042016 San Antonio Stakes
Career Earnings: $164,000

Hard Aces – Career: 28 starts 6-3-7-3, Win Pct: 21.4%, Top 3 Pct: 57.1%, Top 4 Pct: 67.9%
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 2:02.01 (calculated) – 2015 TVG Pacific Classic
Best Finish in a 1 1/4 Mile Grade 1 Stakes Race: 1st – 2015 Gold Cup
Last Three Beyer Speed Figures: 98, 94, 104 – 98.7 Average
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 104 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic
Career Earnings: $619,645

–Michael

 

Songbird and Keen Ice highlight a Big Day of Racing

February 5, 2016

Tomorrow–Saturday February 6th–there are four key races to watch. Three of which are at Santa Anita Park in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes that features Bob Baffert’s Mo Spirit, the Las Virgenes Stakes with the star filly Songbird and the San Antonio Stakes that has many quality repeat runners from the San Pasqual Stakes that was won by California Chrome last month. And then “The Donn” at Gulfstream Park that includes Keen Ice and a few potential budding older horse division stars.

Robert Lewis Stakes – 1 1/16th Mile – Race #4 at Santa Anita – Post Time: 4:00 PM CST

PP horse (weight) jockey/trainer/Odds
1. Let’s Meet in Rio (119) Desormeaux/Baffert – 6/1
2. I Will Score (119) Smith/Hollendorfer – 5/2
3. Dressed in Hermes (121) Bejarano/Armstrong – 6/1
4. Laoban (119) Baze/Guillot – 12/1
5. Mor Spirit (124) Stevens/Baffert – 8/5
6. Path of David (119) Talamo/Mulhall – 8/1
7. Uncle Lino (119) Perez/Sherlock – 5/1

Prediction: I like a 5/1 Boxed Exacta. Let’s Meet in Rio is a closer who should make this an exciting finish. I Will Score is undefeated in two starts but has never raced longer than 6 1/2 furlongs. Maybe you place a 5-1-2 (Mor Spirit-Let’s Meet in Rio-I Will Score) Straight Trifecta.

Las Virgenes Stakes – 1 Mile – Race #5 at Santa Anita – Post Time: 4:30 PM CST

PP horse (weight) jockey/trainer/Odds
1. She’s a Warrior (118) Prat/Eurton – 20/1
2. Land Over Sea (118) Guterrez/O’Neill – 8/1
3. Street Fancy (123) Espinoza/D’Amato – 6/1
4. Jade Princess (118) Garcia/Baffert – 10/1
5. Decked Out (118) Desormeaux/Desormeaux – 20/1
6. Songbird (123) Smith/Hollendorfer – 1/5
7. Merirosvo (118) Van Dyke/Gallagher – 30/1

Prediction: Songbird will wire this field. It will be interesting to see if she wins this with a sub 1:36 time. You won’t win very much money on a win bet with Songbird so try a 6-3 Straight Exacta.

Donn Handicap – 1 1/8th Mile – Race #13 at Gulfstream Park – Post Time: 4:53 PM CST

PP horse (weight) jockey/trainer/Odds
1. Madefromlucky (116) Rosario/Pletcher – 5/1
2. Closing Bell (114) Lezcano/Mott – 15/1
3. Mshawish (117) Velazquez/Pletcher – 7/2
4. Valid (117) Juarez/Vitali – 6/1
5. Mexikoma (115) Lanerie/Dilger – 8/1
6. Keen Ice (121) Castellano/Romans – 5/2
7. Itsaknockout (118) Saez/Pletcher – 4/1
8. Financial Modeling (115) Ortiz Jr./Brown – 6/1

Prediction: With a $500,000 purse, this is always attracts good older horses. Keen Ice headlines the field and is the morning line favorite. But he doesn’t excel at this distance. This is probably the toughest race of the four to predict. Mexikoma has the highest Beyer Speed Figure of any horse thus far at 107 that he received at Gulfstream Park in the Sunshine Millions Classic. Mshawish made the transition from turf quite well and should factor in the money. Itsaknockout, Valid and Madefromlucky are all good horses.

San Antonio Stakes – 1 1/8th Mile- Race #7 at Santa Anita – Post Time: 5:30 PM CST

PP horse (weight) jockey/trainer/Odds
1. Cat Burglar (119) Bejarano/Baffert – 4/1
2. Donworth (119) Gutierrez/O’Neill – 6/1
3. Cyrus Alexander (119) Garcia/Hollendorfer – 6/1
4. Hard Aces (121) Talamo/Sadler – 10/1
5. Hoppertunity (119) Prat/Baffert – 3/1
6. Blingo (119) Solis/Sheriffs – 20/1
7. Imperative (119) Smith/Baltas – 5/2
8. El Kabeir (119) Stevens/Terranova – 6/1

Prediction: Another race for older horses with a $500,000 purse, a Hoppertunity Place bet is pretty safe here. I also like a 5/7 Straight Exacta.


Check back tomorrow for an update.

–Michael