Saturday, Santa Anita Race 5 — 2:34 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden Special Weight, 7 furlongs, 3 yo fillies

Possible overlays                             Morning line

#3 Shiksa                                            7/2
#6 Hard Kisses                                     3/1
#8 Diamond Tags                                  4/1

Here we go again.

Trainer Bob Baffert has two horses entered in here — #6 Hard Kisses and #8 Diamond Tags — and both of them look good.

Hard Kisses, a second-time starter, ran against #3 Shiksa in her debut and although she finished a half length behind Shiksa, she ran a better race. Shiksa, who was also making her first lifetime start, ran an 80 Beyer Speed Figure while rallying to be second by a neck. One big difference is that Shiksa had an excellent trip, breaking well and sitting on the rail throughout the turn.

However, Hard Kisses came out of the far outside stall and was immediately shoved a couple of lanes wider by the horse inside of her at the start. Furthermore, on the turn, Hard Kisses was hung four lanes wide the whole way and still finished within three-quarters of a length of the winner.

With the median winning Beyer Speed Figure for this class being 80, both of these horses have the qualifications to win today.

Baffert’s other filly, Diamond Tags, is coming off a seven-month layoff and as we saw last Sunday, Baffert is no slouch with layoff horses. Last Sunday, Irish Gypsy beat a maiden special weight field off an eight-month layoff.  

Diamond Tags made her debut on Aug. 10 at Del Mar where she was a bit crowded at the start, stayed on the rail then rallied well into the stretch, running a 65 Beyer. Because of maturity and the Baffert magic, it would be no surprise to see this one Beyer in the 80’s.

Also, Diamond Tags, who is showing a $500,000 purchase price, has two sharp workouts including a bullet versus 60 others that worked 4 furlongs on Feb. 11. Garrett Gomez rode Diamond Tags in her debut, and of the seven Baffert debuters I have listed with Gomez none were bought for less than $230,000. So Gomez only rides the finest of Baffert’s stock.

Today, Rosario is on board as Gomez is riding Dunkirk in the Florida Derby.

On the other hand, Hal Earnhardt, the owner of Hard Kisses, is one of Baffert’s first clients and Baffert makes sure the horses Earnhardt owns win early. With the Irish Gypsy layoff win fresh in people’s minds, Bob may switch things up and win with the recently-raced animal.

In the end, I will put $350 to win on whoever goes off at longer post time odds between #6 Hard Kisses and #8 Diamond Tags, and a $250 win bet on the shorter priced Baffert runner.

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