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)
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