Sunday, Santa Anita Race 3 — 1:31 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming $25,000, 7 furlongs, 4 yo’s and up

Possible overlays                     Morning line

#2 Gale in the Vale                         5/2
#6 Keira’s Way                               2/1

On Feb. 13, #2 Gale in the Vale came off an 11-month layoff and showed a bit of speed in a 6-furlong race before fading. This filly has only run three times in her life and early in her 3-year-old year she ran a 62 and a 64 Beyer Speed Figure.

She wasn’t good enough to win the two $75,000 maiden claiming races she competed in, but Gale in the Vale’s figures could have won the average $40,000 3-year-old maiden claimer. Trainer Howard Zucker gave her a couple of good workouts  in January and this horse should be able to run a low-to-mid 70’s Beyer soon.

Her main competition is #6 Keira’s Way. This filly has the running style that wins these type of 7 furlong races.  She’s dropping in class and has run fast enough in her previous races to win a race like this.

I will bet $350 on #2 Gale in the Vale if she is 2/1 to 7/2, and $200 on her if she is 4/1 and up.

If Gale in the Vale is bet below 2/1, then I want $200 to win on #6 Keira’s Way at 2/1 or higher.

Results, Santa Anita Saturday Race 2 — lost $500

Baffert and Gomez tandem is the worst kept secret at Santa Anita

The Baffert and Gomez tandem is the worst kept secret at Santa Anita

I think I need to buy a noise maker, or at least a balloon.

It seems like the only appropriate thing to do at a parade.

Since Feb. 15, I have been watching a procession of maiden chalk march into the winner’s circle at Santa Anita. Roll back your mouse wheel to the last nine races bet on this site and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

If you don’t have time to look back, then I’ll tell you: The winners of six of the last nine races I bet paid a stimulus-seeking $5.20 or less, and three of the nine returned no more than $3.20. 

And, of course, I am left with empty pockets because I would never bet a So. Cal. maiden at 2-to-1 or less.

The paltry payoffs began Feb. 15 with High Note’s $5.20, Shock the Board followed at a hefty $30.70, then it was Mr. Holmes, $4.60; Elusive Chief, $7; Zensational, $3.20; Lady Lumberjack, $3; Scored, $14.60 and in race 2 on Saturday, Turk, $3.

To make matters worse, I finished second at fat prices in six of these races, some of which were tight photos. I had Sangaree at 7/1, Shiksa, Off the Wall and Zephaniah — all at 11-to-1, I Can Here at the respectable odds of 7-to-2, and Monolingual at 5-to1. I won with Elusive Chief at 5-to-2 and was waiting to bet monster longshot Shock the Board, but his odds drifted past 20-to-1 two minutes before post.

The damage has amounted to $2,600 in losses so far. I’m confident that these overbet favorites will start to lose sooner or later, but God only knows when.    

And that, my friends, is why you don’t quit your day job.

My bets on Saturday were $250 on both #2 Monolingual and #4 Great Legacy.

To watch a replay of this race, go to  

1 1 Turk (KY) Gomez G Baffert B 0.50 1
2 2 Monolingual (KY) Bejarano R Sadler J 5.30 2
3 3 Sweet Maker (KY) Talamo J Koriner B 27.70 3
4 4 Great Legacy (KY) Husbands P Harty E 8.60 6
5 5 Fabulous Forum (TX) Rosario J Miller P 15.30 4
6 6 Caspian (KY) Solis A Hendricks D 4.70 5
Pgm Win Place Show
1 $3.00 $2.40 $2.10
2 $3.80 $3.00
3 $4.60
Exotic Payoffs

Saturday, Santa Anita Race 2 — 1 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden Special Weight, 5-1/2 furlongs, 3-year-olds

Possible overlays                       Morning line

#2 Monolingual                               4/1
#4 Great Legacy                            5/1
#5 Fabulous Forum                        12/1

The photo finish camera has not been friendly to #1 Turk, who lost his first two races by a nose. This Bob Baffert-trainee, which is also owned by the trainer, went off at 2-to-5 in his last two races and figures to be less than even money again today. Turk has run Beyer Speed Figures of 88, 86, and 86, so he looks solid here considering the median winning Beyer Speed Figure is an 87. Garrett Gomez takes over for Joel Rosario, who went very wide last time out.

To bet a horse like Turk, you must believe there is no chance he can lose. And, of course, there is always a chance that Turk will run like a turkey — or at least lose another photo because 5-1/2 furlongs is too short. 

One colt that might beat him is #2 Monolingual, who is working out well and has Rafael Bejarano aboard. The owners, Ike and Dawn Thrash, have started two first timers over the last couple of years and both of them hit the board.

Another likely worth a bet is #4 Great Legacy. Trained by Eoin Harty, this colt is out of supersire Storm Cat, whose stud fee is $300,000.

Finally, if either Monolingual and Great Legacy don’t fall into the betting range then I will add #5 Fabulous Forum. This horse has been training down at San Luis Rey Downs with Peter Miller and Joel Rosario rides.

I will bet $250 to win on both #2 Monolingual and #4 Great Legacy at odds of 3/1 to 9/1 only. If the odds rise to 10/1 to 19/1 then my bet reduces to $100. Also, if the odds are less than 3/1 on either of them, then I will substitute for that horse a $100 win bet on #5 Fabulous Forum at 10/1 to 19/1.

MK limits handicapping to Saturday and Sunday during database maintenance

When William Benter was developing his multi-million dollar Hong Kong betting operation, it took him five man-years to organize the data base and create a winning handicapping model.

My system isn’t nearly as sophisicated as Benter’s. But, still, the downside of betting horses using a computer is that a large amount of information needs to be collected and analyzed, which takes up lots of time.

Sooner or later, when research falls behind the bankroll will so south too. So, for the next few weeks I will only handicap maiden races on Saturday and Sunday while I catch up on everthing that I’m tracking.

Star of TV’s “Jockeys” is MK’s most widely searched


Internet searchers seek “Chantal Sutherland nude”

Megan Fox is the most searched woman on Chickipedia

Megan Fox is the most searched woman on Chickipedia

Everyone, it seems, wants to see jockey Chantal Sutherland nude.

I know this because every weekend that the TV show “Jockeys” airs on Animal Planet, I get a surge of Internet traffic from people who type the entries “Chantal Sutherland” and “Chantal Sutherland nude” into Google or other search engines. Maiden King stories appear on search sites and Sutherland seekers get here by clicking on either a You Tube interview with Sutherland that appeared here, or a couple of MK posts telling of winning maidens that Sutherland rode.

It must be very disappointing when searchers seeking nudes arrive on Maiden King because in all cases, Sutherland is fully clothed.

Sorry dudes, no nudes.

I’ve only watched “Jockeys” the first night that it began on Feb. 6, but I am certain that the producers are focusing lots of attention on Sutherland, who was voted one of People Magazine’s 100 Most Beautiful People.

Whatever angle they are taking, it must be working because readers are interested in Sutherland like no other jockey in Southern California. And, although she is riding a respectable 13 percent winners from her mounts, it can’t be because of her performance on the racetrack.

Of the 50 search terms listed on this site by WordPress — mostly names of trainers, jockeys, horses and racing personalities —  the second most frequently used term is “Chantal Sutherland nude.” Elisha Cuthbert, whose photo was used one slow day, is the most searched and the third most searched term is “Chantal Sutherland.” But together, Sutherland has more searches than Cuthbert.

Cuthbert, an actress, is the 34th most widely searched woman on Chickipedia for 2008, so she has a large following already.

All this information arrives from WordPress when you have one of these blogs. Wordpress compiles statistics that tell which posts were clicked on the most for the day, week, month, year and all time. Also, it tells which search engine readers used to find your blog, and what terms they typed to get there.

The only reason Maiden King comes up for people searching for “Chantal Sutherland nude” is because on the day a story ran about Sutherland riding a winner, the “SPORTSbyBROOKS” website on my sidebar had news tellling that girls would be nude in the 2009 Lingerie Bowl. So the search engine picked up the three words: Chantal+Sutherland+Nude.

Anyway, I just wanted to make it clear: Yes, we have pictures of  Chantal Sutherland, but just not nude ones.

This just isn’t that kind of a website.

Results, Santa Anita Sunday Race 4 — lost $350

Trained by Bruce Headley, #4 Scored sat 10 lengths off the pace then came late

Trained by Bruce Headley, #4 Scored sat 10 lengths off the pace then came late

You can’t blame Bob Baffert this time. Sangaree was ready to roll and he went gamely all the way to the wire. But this brother of Congaree lost for the fifth straight time because of either poor racing tactics by Victor Espinoza or bad luck — depending on how harsh you want to be.

Sangaree, who went off at 7-to-1, broke with the leaders but settled into stride a couple of lengths off the pace. As they approached the turn, Espinoza allowed Sangaree to run up to the leading group — the only problem was that he was four paths wide on the whole turn, causing him to lose a ton of ground. 

Throughout the turn, a four-horse wall vied for the lead together, which was an unusual sight to see. On the rail was #6 Stretchdrive, then #3 Lucius Antonius was just outside with #7 Ribald right next door. Sangaree was outside of them all, as the four bobbed heads through a 45.14-second half mile.

Sangaree outran the other pace setters, but his bad trip left him without the energy to hold off first-time starter #4 Scored. Alex Solis took the winner off the early pace by more than 10 lengths, then Scored swung wide entering the stretch and moved like an express train in the lane to get up by a head.

I bet $150 on Sangaree and $200 on #7 Ribald.

To watch a replay of this race, go to

1 1 Wharf Cat (KY) Flores D Marlow M 2.60 4
2 2 His Sisters Mister (KY) Baze M Headley G 56.50 7
3 3 Lucius Antonius (KY) Stra K Green J 39.30 8
4 4 Scored (KY) Solis A Headley B 6.20 1
5 5 Holladay Road (CA) Gomez G Gaines C 6.70 6
6 6 Stretchdrive (FL) Talamo J Biancone P 28.40 10
7 7 Ribald (CA) Rios J Sherman A 5.10 5
8 8 Sangaree (KY) Espinoza V Baffert B 7.00 2
9 9 Lunar Humor (KY) Smith M Carava J 8.30 9
10 10 Adebayor (KY) Bejarano R Gaines C 4.80 3
Pgm Win Place Show
4 $14.40 $7.00 $4.80
8 $6.80 $4.60
10 $5.60
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $49.30 (4-8)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $99.40 (5-5-4)
$1.00 Pick 4 paid $873.40 (1-5-5-4)
$1.00 Superfecta paid $2516.50 (4-8-10-1)
$1.00 Trifecta paid $552.40 (4-8-10)
$2.00 Daily Double paid $90.80 (5-4)

Results, Santa Anita Sunday Race 2 — lost $450

Trainer Julio Canani won with #5 Lady Lumberjack, who paid $3.

Trainer Julio Canani won with #5 Lady Lumberjack, who paid $3.

It didn’t take long for the public to realize who the favorite would be in this race. Somebody (trainer Julio Canani??) must have plunked down $15,000 on #5 Lady Lumberjack because she was 1-to-9 a few minutes into the betting.

I happened to look at the win pool with more than 20 minutes to post, and Lady Lumberjack had $19,000 on her while the other contenders had only $4,000 to $5,000 bet on each of them.

Julio Canani trains Lady Lumberjack and many of his contending horses are so heavily bet that wagering on them is out of the question. Anyway, Lady Lumberjack, who went off at 1-to-2, looked like a solid contender in here, but her odds were ridiculously low. She broke well and stalked #3 Lion Heart’s Bluff down the backstretch.

On the turn, the Bob Baffert-trained #9 Hard Kisses, a 10-to-1 first time starter, was hung out four wide and running well about four lengths back. On the rail, another debuter #7 Shiksa, at 11-to-1,  was in last place preparing to rally.

As the field swung for home, Lady Lumberjack took over from the game 50-to-1 shot Lion Heart’s Bluff and began easing away. But jockey Joe Talamo swung Shiksa off the rail and was closing fast.

In the end, Shiksa ran out of ground and missed by about a half a length with Hard Kisses a length behind the winner, Lady Lumberjack.

My bets ended up being $200 on #4 White Lamb — who made no impact –$150 on #7 Shiksa and $100 on #9 Hard Kisses. 

To watch a replay of this race, go to

1 1 Godfrey Queen (KY) Baze M Guillot E 32.40 7
2 2 Desert Rose Drive (KY) Husbands P Casse M 10.30 6
3 3 Lion Heart’s Bluff (KY) Potts C Rosales R 51.80 4
4 4 White Lamb (FL) Gomez G Harty E 6.00 9
5 5 Lady Lumberjack (KY) Bejarano R Canani J 0.50 1
6 6 Guided Wave (KY) Rosario J Gallagher P 19.90 5
7 7 Shiksa (KY) Talamo J Biancone P 11.20 2
8 8 Smart Tiffany (KY) Valdivia, Jr. J Lobo P 30.70 8
9 9 Hard Kisses (ON) Flores D Baffert B 10.70 3
Pgm Win Place Show
5 $3.00 $2.40 $2.10
7 $6.40 $4.60
9 $4.20
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $12.00 (5-7)
$1.00 Superfecta paid $1043.80 (5-7-9

Sunday, Santa Anita Race 4 — 2:03 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden Special Weight, 6-1/2 furlongs, 4 yo’s and up

Possible overlays                  Morning line

#1 Wharf Cat                               9/2
#7 Ribald                                     5/1
#8 Sangaree                                6/1
#10 Adebayor                            10/1

The key to playing this race is that #5 Holladay Road, a first-time starter, is the morning line favorite and I don’t think that he should be. Garrett Gomez is riding, but according to my records Gomez rode six older horse msw debuters over the last couple of years. Three of them were between 6-to-5 and 9-to-5 and three more were between 5-to-2 and 5-to-1. Only one of them won and it paid $5.60.

The median winning Beyer Speed Figure for these horses is an 85, so #1 Wharf Cat’s 86 BSF fits in well.  Coming off a layoff, #7 Ribald flashed brilliant early speed last summer at Hollywood and it’s now or never for #8 Sangaree — the half brother to Congaree.

Historically, Carla Gaines has done well with second timers. Rafael Bejarano rides #10 Adebayo, who must have talent because he was bet to 5-to-2 in his February 2008 debut. 

I will bet $200 on #7 Ribald at 3/1 or more and $150 on #10 Adebayor at 6/1 or better. Finally, I will play the longer of these two horses that is less than 10/1: #1 Wharf Cat and #8 Sangaree.

Sunday, Santa Anita Race 2 — 1 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden Special Weight, 6-1/2 furlongs, 3 yo fillies

Possible overlays                         Morning line

#1 Godfrey Queen                              15/1
#4 White Lamb                                   5/2
#7 Shiksa                                         10/1
#9 Hard Kisses                                    5/1

Julio Canani trains #5 Lady Lumberjack and she has the kind of standout Beyer Speed Figures that ensure she’ll be overbet. I just hope she doesn’t scratch, because I see several potential money horses in here.

On Jan. 11, #4 White Lamb with Garrett Gomez aboard was stalking the pace on the rail down the backstretch. As the field swung into the turn, Gomez was boxed in behind a three-horse wall with another runner right outside of him. Gomez did his best to run toward a seam, but it closed quickly and he had to steady then was bumped. Gomez, who usually rides his mounts maniacally in the stretch, could find no room for White Lamb and the jockey could never get into this one.

One huge drawback is that this trouble is very obvious on the replay and in the past I’ve seen horses who had huge problems in the stretch get bet too low the next time out. Also, Garrett Gomez will not help the price, so I’ll  likely be looking elsewhere.

Bob Baffert trains #9 Hard Kisses, who has been really rolling during morning workouts and looks live. Other first timers that look like good possibilities include #1 Godfrey Queen and #7 Shiksa.

I will bet $350 to win on #9 Hard Kisses at 7/2 to 9/1 but just $100 at 10/1 to 19/1. Also, I want $100 on #1 Godfrey Queen at 7/2 to 9/1, but $150 at 10/1 to 19/1. My bet on #7 Shiksa, will be $150 from 7/2 to 19/1.

If Hard Kisses is bet below 7/2, or higher than 9/1, then I’ll take $200 to win on #4 White Lamb at 5/2 or higher, with all other potential betting scenarios still in play.

Results, Santa Anita Saturday Race 8 — lost $600

Trainer Bob Baffert and Garrett Gomez combined on #4 Zensational, who paid $3.20.

Trainer Bob Baffert and Garrett Gomez combined on #4 Zensational, who paid $3.20.

No matter what bettors gave the most priority to when handicapping this race, they all landed on #4 Zensational.

For those who play trainers, Zensational had Bob Baffert. For people who follow jockeys, the rider was Garrett Gomez. Workouts? Six quick ones including three bullets. Breeding and confirmation? The owner bought Zensational for $700,000, so the genes are top notch. Speed? Had the lead in his debut.

Even  people who bet nothing but gray horses liked him, as he’s a roan.

Much like Big Brown in last year’s Belmont, this horse looked so good that he couldn’t be bet. Everyone at the track had him, everyone at the Indian casinos loved Zensational and I’m sure the money was pouring through the windows on him in Vegas.

He went off at 60 cents on the dollar, and at that rate Zensational — and horses like him — need to win seven of 10 races to make any money for their backers. If they win six — you lose. And in horse racing, too many things can go wrong to take that price.

Yes, Zensational couldn’t lose and he didn’t. His backers will tell you that they made a quick 60 percent profit in just over a minute, and not even Bernard Madoff promised anything close to that.

But just enjoy the feeling while it lasts folks, and please do me a favor and keep pounding those 3-to-5 shots. Next time, however, just remember that  funny things have been known to happen at the racetrack.

My plays in this race were $200 to win on these three horses: #1 Gold Schleiger at 5/1, #7 Off the Wall at 11/1 and #8 Party Hard at 8/1.

To watch a replay of this race, go to

1 1 Gold Schleiger (FL) Baze M Mullins J 5.30 7
2 2 Ginello (KY) Rosario J Dollase C 16.70 9
3 3 Steel Blue (KY) Rios J Frankel R 31.20 8
4 4 Zensational (KY) Gomez G Baffert B 0.60 1
5 5 Mr. Bossy Pants (KY) Husbands P Barba A 41.30 5
6 6 Arcodoro (KY) Arambula P Guillot E 29.90 6
7 7 Off the Wall (KY) Smith M Headley B 11.00 2
8 8 Party Hard (KY) Talamo J Greely C 8.00 4
9 9 Iron Fortitude (KY) Bejarano R Pletcher T 9.40 3
SCR Brian the Brave (KY) Sutherland C O’Callaghan C
Pgm Win Place Show
4 $3.20 $2.80 $2.40
7 $7.40 $5.00
9 $4.20
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $13.30 (4-7)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $140.40 (2-11-4)
$1.00 Superfecta paid

Saturday, Santa Anita Race 8 — 4:07 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden Special Weight, 6 furlongs, 3-year-olds

Possible overlays                         Morning line

#1 Gold Schleiger                           9/2
#4 Zensational                              5/2
#6 Arcodoro                                  12/1
#7 Off the Wall                               8/1
#8 Party Hard                                 5/1
#10 Brian the Brave                       20/1

All 10 horses in this race are running for either the first or second time. 

I am going to guess that Garrett Gomez will be over bet on #4 Zensational. Why? Because it seems that Garrett Gomez is always over bet no matter who he rides.

Also, Zensational has a marquee name trainer, Bob Baffert, the horse has nothing but great workouts showing, it was bought for $700,000, and it was pounded to 2-to-1 the first time it ran.

Therefore, it will probably be 9-to-5 or less, and if so, then I can’t use it.

However, second timers #1 Gold Schleiger and #8 Party Hard look like they can get the job done, as they ran well in their debuts and have good workouts. First timers #6 Arcodoro, #7 Off the Wall and #10 Brian the Brave could also light up the tote board.

I will bet $200 on #1 Gold Schleiger and #8 Party Hard at 5/2 to 9/1. Additionally, I’ll put $200 on these three horses at 10/1 to 19/1 only: #6 Arcodoro, #7 Off the Wall, and #10 Brian the Brave.

If the public crushes the Todd Pletcher-trained #9 Iron Fortitude which allows #4 Zensational to be 5/2 or better, then I will play $200 on Zensational with the longer odds of #1 Gold Schleiger and #8 Party Hard that are still less than 10/1. However, the potential bets on the first timers will remain intact.

Results, Santa Anita Friday Race 8 — won $100

spare_changeThe good news is my horse won and paid $7.

The bad news is that I played so many horses that I only won $100.

I bet $300 to win on #4 Elusive Chief and got back $1,050 when he rallied better than #5 Stray Cat, as they both ran in lockstep to catch #3 I Am Madison’s near the finish. But I also put $200 on #12 The Emerald King at 7-to-1, $250 on #11 High and Mighty at 9-to-1 and $200 on 8-to-1 shot I Am Madison’s.

If only I left two of those losing horses out on the principle that you can’t bet more than two runners if one of them is less than 4-to-1. Then I would have at least won $500 and I could have put a decent photo with this story. Maybe a round roll of hundreds, or maybe 10 hundred dollar bills folded once and fastened with a shiny, gold money clip.

Instead, the only accurate illustration of the results of this race is a handful of spare change.

To watch a replay of this race, go to

1 1 Big Water (CA) Scott J Pilmer T 101.20 9
2 2 Lago de Oro (FL) Baze T Scolamieri S 18.50 7
3 3 I Am Madison’s (CA) Garcia M Carava J 8.40 3
4 4 Elusive Chief (VA) Bejarano R Hess, Jr. R 2.50 1
5 5 Stray Cat (KY) Rosario J Headley B 2.80 2
6 6 Cut (KY) Linares M Stutts C 64.10 10
7 7 Sur Brio (CA) Delgadillo A Garcia V 39.00 5
8 8 Sky Ruler (CA) Sutherland C Knapp S 15.80 11
9 9 Golden Delight (CA) Talamo J Spawr W 22.40 12
10 10 Degreko (CA) Rios J Pender M 7.60 8
11 11 High and Mighty (KY) Stra K Cassidy J 9.10 6
12 12 The Emerald King (CA) Sorenson D Monteleone F 7.10 4
Pgm Win Place Show
4 $7.00 $3.40 $2.40
5 $3.60 $3.00
3 $5.40
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $11.50 (4-5)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $

Results, Santa Anita Friday Race 1 — lost $150

Jockey Garrett Gomez went wire-to-wire on #9 Belongs to Gotham

Jockey Garrett Gomez wins again, but pays just $4.40

The betting public seemed to be only interested in two horses. They made both #6 One Vote and #9 Belongs to Gotham 6-to-5, while the only other horse less than 10-to-1 was #4 De Brief Me.

Belongs to Gotham sped to a quick lead and dueled with 96-to-1 shot #7 Rockin the City on the backstretch. The difference was that jockey Joy Scott was hustling Rockin the City, but Belongs to Gotham was running  without being asked. By the time they hit the top of the stretch, Rockin the City had enough, but One Vote was making a move on the leader.

It looked like a dramatic two-horse duel was materializing, but Gomez can really shake a horse up in the stretch and he was all over this one. Belongs to Gotham pulled away to win, minus any drama.

I planned to wager on One Vote, but not at less than 2/1 and another one I liked — #8 Jimmy Two Times — was scratched was scratched. Two others were out of my odds zone, so the only bet I made was $150 to win on #3 Panda at 15/1.

To watch a replay of this race, go to

1 1 Today’s Gold (CA) Espinoza V Hess, Jr. R 12.20 6
3 2 Panda (CA) Blanc B Van Berg J 15.90 4
4 3 De Brief Me (CA) Talamo J O’Neill D 5.10 3
5 4 You’re No Good (CA) Russell C Shidaker D 90.30 7
6 5 One Vote (CA) Bejarano R Bell, II T 1.30 2
7 6 Rockin the City (CA) Scott J Byrd A 96.30 5
9 7 Belongs to Gotham (CA) Gomez G Kitchingman A 1.20 1
SCR Wickdanwakyshapiro (CA) Williams D Davis, III J
SCR Jimmy Two Times (CA) Smith M Spawr W
Pgm Win Place Show
9 $4.40 $2.60 $2.10
6 $2.20 $2.10
4 $2.40
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $3.70 (9-6)
$1.00 Superfecta paid $29.60 (9-6-4-3)
$1.00 Trifecta paid $10.90 (9-6-4)

Friday, Santa Anita Race 8 — 4:37 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming $25,000, 5-1/2 furlongs, 4 yo’s and up

Possible overlays                        Morning line

#3 I Am Madison’s                          12/1
#4 Elusive Chief                             5/2
#5 Stray Cat                                 7/2
#8 Sky Ruler                                 15/1
#9 Golden Delight                           12/1
#10 Degreko                                 12/1
#11 High and Mighty                       8/1
#12 The Emerald King                    9/2

This race comes up extremely competitive, so watching the tote board for the proper odds is essential.

The first thing worth noting, is that #12 The Emerald King is the only horse in this race to ever be within a length of the lead at the first or second call in a race less than 7 furlongs. And that is highly unusual in a 5-1/2 furlong maiden claiming race with 12 horses in the field.

However, four of the starters in here have only run one time, so they may show more speed today. Trainer Jack Carava claimed #3 I Am Madison’s out of his Jan. 9 debut at Golden Gate where the horse was 4-wide on the turn, but still gained on the leader. I Am Madison’s earned a 57 Beyer Speed Figure after tiring, and will almost certainly need at least a 71 to beat this competitive field.

Coming back from a six-month layoff, #11 High and Mighty is tied for the best last race Beyer with the 73 he ran against maiden special weights on Aug. 23. Besides the second timers, another that may have hidden ability is #10 Degreko, who is dropping into claiming off three turf races where he faced the best maidens on the grounds.

The morning-line favorite #4 Elusive Chief looks like he’ll be a good bet today. In his last race on Jan. 16, Elusive Chief went 4-wide on the turn and still ran a 73 Beyer. The problem is, he may need to go wide again.

I’ll bet $300 on #4 Elusive Chief if he’s 2/1 to 7/2 only and $200 on The #12 Emerald King at 3/1 or more.

Also, if any of these horses are between 5/2 and 9/1 then I’ll bet the following amounts on them: $250 on #11 High and Mighty, $200 on #3 I Am Madison’s, $150 on #8 Sky Ruler, and $100 on #9 Golden Delight.

Friday, Santa Anita Race 1 — 1 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming $40,000, 5-1/2 furlongs, 3-year-olds

Possible overlays                              Morning line

# 3 Panda                                               15/1
#4 De Brief Me                                         8/1
#6 One Vote                                            9/5
#8 Jimmy Two Times                            5/1

The median Beyer Speed Figure for this type of race is 71 and two runners in here have recently earned a 70: #6 One Vote and #9 Belongs to Gotham.

I give One Vote the edge out of these two because this gelding appears to have better speed, but it’s probably a moot point because both will likely  be bet below 2-to-1.

That leads us to first timer #8 Jimmy Two Times who has a few good workouts on display. I especially like the 59-1/5 second 5 furlongs he worked on Dec. 20, which was the sixth fastest of 104 horses who exercised at that distance.

The connections are also a positive for Jimmy Two Times, as both jockey Mike Smith and trainer Bill Spawr win at decent 16 percent rate. However, the last 24 times Smith rode for Spawr the percentage spiked to 29 percent, as they won seven races together.

Other first times who may be worth a wager if the price is right are #3 Panda, #4 De Brief Me and #5 You’re No Good.

I will bet $300 on #6 One Vote at 2/1 and up and $250 on #8 Jimmy Two Times at 7/2 to 19/1.

Also, I want $150 to win on any of these horses that fall between the odds of 10/1 to 19/1: #3 Panda, #4 De Brief Me and #5 You’re No Good.

Results, Santa Anita Thursday Race 3 — lost $200

Jockey Rafael Bejarano seemed to punch the accelerator at the last minute to get #1 Mr. Holmes up.

Jockey Rafael Bejarano punched the accelerator at the last minute to get #1 Mr. Holmes up.

Really in the late stages of this race, it was Zephaniah’s to lose. But the 11-to-1 shot just couldn’t last.

Zephaniah, who stalked the pace of #6 Dial Four Peace  on the backstretch, began making his move on the turn when  jockey Martin Garcia went to the whip. He took the lead in midstretch and it didn’t look like any of his rivals were making a move.

Even race caller Trevor Denman thought 7-to-5 shot Mr. Holmes was all done. With an eighth of a mile to the wire, Denman gave him a monotoned midstretch courtesy call “Mr. Holmes plugging away from fourth,” while the horse was going nowhere, four lengths behind.

But just about then, #1 Mr Holmes kicked in with a burst of speed and won in the last jump.

I planned to bet Mr. Holmes at 2-to-1 or better, so his odds were too low for me. I ended up with $100 on both #3 Zephaniah and 7-to-1 shot #9 Mustang Aleyna.

To watch a replay of this race, go to

1 1 Mr. Holmes (AR) Bejarano R Mullins J 1.30 1
2 2 Marcade (KY) Smith M Sadler J 6.90 5
3 3 Zephaniah (CA) Garcia M Moger, Jr. E 11.00 2
4 4 Mamoonya (CA) Talamo J Puype M 4.70 3
6 5 Dial Four Peace (FL) Baze T O’Neill D 5.00 4
7 6 Hesitate (KY) Espinoza V Greely C 10.50 6
9 7 Mustang Aleyna (KY) Potts C La Croix D 7.30 7
SCR Warren’s Peanut (CA) Blanc B Van Berg J
SCR Pemba At U. T. K. (CA) Rios J Ho H
Pgm Win Place Show
1 $4.60 $2.80 $2.20
3 $7.20 $4.40
4 $2.80
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Consolation Pick 3 paid $19.90 (3-5-8)
$1.00 Exacta paid $16.80 (1-3)

Thursday, Santa Anita Race 3 — 2:03 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming $32,000, 6-1/2 furlongs, 3-year-olds

Possible overlays                         Morning line

#1 Mr Holmes                                       5/2
#2 Marcade                                         9/2
#3 Zephaniah                                      12/1
#9 Mustang Aleyna                             12/1

Breaking from the rail, #1 Mr. Holmes looks strong today. On Dec. 14, this colt ran a credible fourth behind The Pamplemousse, who won the San Rafael Stakes impressively on Jan. 17. In Mr. Holmes’ last on Jan. 1, it seems like jockey Michael Baze was not trying too hard, as he merely breezed Mr. Holmes throughout the length of the stretch. Finally, trainer Jeff Mullins won with 10 of his last 43, producing $1.72 for every $1 bet, when going from a route to a sprint.

Trainer John Sadler appears to have #2 Marcade ready to run. Jockey Mike Smith rides many of owner Jerome Moss’ first time starters, but he hasn’t had much success with them.

Jerry Hollendorfer claimed #3 Zephaniah for $40,000 from trainer Ed Moger on Aug. 21, then Moger claimed him right back on Sept. 25 for the same price.  On Oct. 17, Zephaniah raced well enough to beat a weak field at this level, so he’s also a threat today.

Finally, #9 Mustang Aleyna could surprise at a big price as this gelding is coming off a long layoff and could be a live longshot. Although, his workouts are slow.

I will bet $300 on #1 Mr. Holmes at 2/1 or more, and $200 on #2 Marcade between 10/1 to 19/1. Also, I’ll take $100 on both #3 Zephaniah and #9 Mustang Aleyna at odds of 5/1 and up.

Results, Santa Anita Monday Race 6 — lost $450

Trainer Mike Harrington lit up the board with 30/1 first timer #2 Shock the Board

Trainer Mike Harrington lit up the tote with 30/1 first timer #2 Shock the Board

In horse racing, winning is so sweet because there are so many ways to lose a race.

And some beats sting a lot more than others.

The laws of probabilities seem to be stacked against  horseplayers in any one race, even if they choose the right contenders and only bet them at good prices.

Of course, it’s easy to shrug off winning horses that are tossed out as non-contenders — whether they are favorites or long shots — because they are going to win their share of races.

You can easily rationalilze those because they don’t win enough at prices that make them profitable in the long run.

But the real pain starts when the odds on a horse you really like dip below your betting zone, so you lay off. Then you sit there and watch it win, while gritting your teeth as others celebrate around you.

You can rationalize those, too, easily enough by looking at the measly prices of $5.60 or $4.80 on the tote board.

But, to me, the biggest punch in the stomach in racing is when the odds on a runner you picked are sitting perfectly in your betting zone, then drift too high at the last minute. You can’t bet, and when the horse wins it’s really a killer.

Which brings us to Monday’s sixth race, where the odds on first-time starter #2 Shock the Board were fluctuating between 16-to-1 to 18-to-1 for all of the pre-race period. I was fully prepared to bet it at anything less than 20-to-1.

But with two minutes to post, the odds on Shock the Board went to 23-to-1.

Mike Harrington trained it, owned it and worked it two bullets. And he did one more thing right with Shock the Board — after seeing the $62.40 price the horse paid, it was obvious that he gave the animal the right name.

I also bet $350 on the Mike Mitchell-trained #3 Morton Owen at 7-to-2, $100 on #4 Gretsky, who was second.

To watch a replay of this race, go to


1 1 Foreign Taurean (KY) Gryder A Knapp S 5.10 7
2 2 Shock the Board (CA) Garcia M Harrington M 30.20 1
1A 3 Fiery Rebel (KY) Nakatani C Knapp S 5.10 9
3 4 Morton Owen (KY) Bejarano R Mitchell M 3.60 4
4 5 Gretsky (KY) Rosario J Drysdale N 5.20 2
5 6 Ben’s Bullet (FL) Potts C La Croix D 22.30 5
6 7 Bradytomoss (NY) Baze T Kitchingman A 9.10 8
7 8 Arm Chair Q B (CA) Talamo J Koriner B 15.40 6
8 9 Dubai Rainbow (FL) Valdivia, Jr. J Ellis R 2.40 3
9 10 Atlantic Victory (CA) Rios J McAnally R 7.20 10
Pgm Win Place Show
2 $62.40 $24.00 $11.20
4 $6.60 $4.00
8 $2.80
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $205.20 (2-4)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $405.80

Monday, Santa Anita Race 6 — 3:05 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming $100,000, 6 furlongs, 3-year-olds

Possible overlays                              Morning line

#2 Shock the Board                                 12/1
#3 Morton Owen                                       3/1
#4 Gretsky                                               5/1
#5 Ben’s Bullet                                        15/1

Trainer Mike Mitchell, who saddles #3 Morton Owen, must always be respected in a maiden claiming race. Morton Owen was previously trained by David Carroll and he rallied nicely to finish second on Dec. 7 at the Fair Grounds.

Mitchell won with 23 of his last 76, or 30 percent, when taking over the training from someone else. 

Trainer Neil Drysdale and jockey Joel Rosario hook up on #4 Gretsky who never works out fast, but ran a 77 Beyer Speed Figure in his Jan. 22 debut. I’d like to see at least one fast workout, but he could win regardless.

First time starters #2 Shock the Board and #5 Ben’s Bullet could be good bets if the price is right. While the owner of #6 BradytoMoss said his horse is a long-legged colt that should fit better in a route race. However, that same owner told me that he likes his other horse, #3 Prince Andrew in today’s third.

I will bet $350 to win on #3 Morton Owen at 9/5 or higher, and $200 on #2 Shock the Board at 3/1 to 12/1, but only $100 from 13/1 to 19/1.

Also, I’ll take $100 to win on #5 Ben’s Bullet at 7/2 to 19/1, and $100 on #4 Gretsky at 9/2 or more.

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