Since it’s a day off for me and I’ve recovered from a brief bout with the Arkansas Flu (given to me by one of two visiting friends who crashed at my humble Los Angeles abode this past week), I’ve opted to take a ride inland to Santa Anita for their special Monday program (plus dollar sodas and hot dogs!). As such, I’ve written up a few multi-race tickets for those of you playing the races in Arcadia, and here they are!
$0.50 Pick Five: Race #1
96 Bets, $48
This is a very tough Pick Five, and if you’re playing on any sort of a budget, you need to take a stand somewhere. I opted to do so right off the bat in the opener, a $25,000 claimer on the turf. #10 CURLY’S WATERFRONT showed some real talent as a 2-year-old, when he ran fourth in a pair of stakes races. I’m not holding his most recent race against him, as that came off a long layoff going shorter than he probably wants. He drops down in class, and I think he’ll take a sizable step forward.
The second leg is a $12,500 claimer on the dirt, and your likely favorite, #7 STIR FRY, hasn’t run in more than a year. She could win, but I needed coverage elsewhere. #2 BESIDES THE POINT comes back to dirt and drops down in class, while #8 FLOWER HEART DEER ran pretty well two back and gets reacquainted with Evin Roman.
I took a stand in the third against horses coming out of the September 1st race at Del Mar. That was a very slow race, and I just don’t want any part of the ones who ran in it. #4 BOSS MOVE and #7 TWISTED ROSIE were both impressive second-out winners, and this doesn’t seem like an imposing spot in which to try winners for the first time, so I’ll use them both.
I’m four-deep in each of the last two legs, neither of which are easy to handicap. #8 ZURI CHOP will probably be favored in the fourth, but he’s 0-for-11 at Santa Anita, including many tries at this level. I’ll use him, but am by no means confident (especially at his likely price). My top pick is #4 TAIMA THE HAWK, who has several strong races down the hill against higher-class opponents. 8-1 is a very square price on a horse like that, and I think he’s got a big shot. I’ll also throw in #1 YES YES YES and #6 AMERICAN LEAGUE, both of whom have also shown ability coming down the hill.
We finish with a wide-open 2-year-old race. #7 PADDOCK PICK was beaten less than three lengths in a live race at Del Mar and may go favored, but this isn’t an easy spot. Fellow second-time starter #9 SPANISH BAY is bred to be a good one and should improve at second asking, while #5 TALENT SCOUT is a Bob Baffert firster with a good work tab and #6 BEER TAP has too many flashy drills at Santa Anita and San Luis Rey to be 12-1. I think this sequence has the potential to pay very well, and hopefully, we can get this $48 ticket home.
$0.50 Pick Four: Race #6
84 Bets, $42
This ticket likely won’t cost the full $42, given that #13 GOODTHINGSTAKETIME is an also-eligible in the ninth and needs luck to draw in (if she does, chances are it’s because another horse we used scratched). That said, my thinking here is to build around my best bet of the day, which comes in the eighth.
I’ll start by going three-deep in the Zuma Beach. #6 COUNT ALEXANDER is my top pick coming down from Woodbine, where he chased a very talented horse (Untamed Domain) that will take money in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. He was beaten just two lengths that day and merits respect here. I’ll also use #1 RESTRAINEDVENGEANCE, who freaked last time out for Val Brinkerhoff, and #8 MY BOY JACK, who ran into Encumbered twice and gets the services of Kent Desormeaux in this spot.
I’m four-deep in the seventh, a tricky maiden claimer. #11 WILLOWS BABE may be favored adding blinkers for Richard Baltas, but it isn’t like she’s set the world on fire to this point, so I want coverage. I’ll get that with #2 INNYMINNIEMINEYMOE, #6 FLY AS A FALCON, and #9 DREAM PROOF, the last of which is a big price. She showed significant zip last time out in her second start, drops down in class, and figures to be prominent early.
My best bet of the day, as mentioned, comes in the eighth, where I will be stunned if we get 5-1 odds on #5 VIBE. At first glance, his 4-for-13 record doesn’t look exceptional. However, if you focus solely on dirt route races, he’s 4-for-8, and one of those losses came in the Grade 3 Ohio Derby, where he had no business running against the likes of Irap and Girvin. He loves Santa Anita, beat slightly-higher-level competition last time out, and looks like the one to beat if he runs his usual race in this spot. Here’s hoping we get the morning line price, but 5/2 or 3-1 is probably more accurate.
If you’ve got a bigger budget than I do, you may want to punch the “ALL” button in the Surfer Girl, which doubles as the Monday finale. I’m going at least six-deep, maybe seven-deep if the aforementioned #13 GOODTHINGSTAKETIME draws in. My top pick, though, is the other Leonard Powell trainee, #11 FATALE BERE. She flashed plenty of talent in three starts overseas and chased a very good filly named Mission Impassible last time out in a one-mile stakes race. The post position isn’t ideal, but she gets Lasix for the first time and would be tough if she brings her European form to the Santa Anita turf course. That said, I have very little conviction in this race, and my advice is to go as deep as you can.