Sunday, Santa Anita Race 6 — 3:05 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’s and up

Possible overlays                          Morning line

#2 Ale’s Pride                                   5/2
#5 I Can Hear                                  4/1
#8 Christy’s Bullet                             5/1

On paper, the best horse in this race looks like #2 Ale’s Pride, who has the two top Beyer Speed Figures. But horse races aren’t run on paper, they are run on flat screen televisions and inside of computers.

On Feb. 8, Ale’s Pride ran a 90 Beyer Speed Figure after breaking outward at the start and running wide in the stretch. I don’t usually question the speed numbers in the racing form, but this one seems a bit high, as Ale’s Pride never got close to this number in her past.

Regardless, based on her Jan. 9 race she would still have the top overall Beyer of this group. Second-time starters #5 I Can Hear and #8 Christy’s Bullet wouldn’t need to improve much to win.

I adjusted I Can Hear’s Beyer from 69 to 74 when I added points because of her wide trip and the fact that jockey David Flores chose to duck inside to rally rather than staying on the outside where there are fewer distractions.

At the window, I will bet $200 on #2 Ale’s Pride at 5/2 or more. If she is bet below that, then I will instead wager $150 on both #5 I Can Hear and #8 Christy’s Bullet at odds of 3/1 or more.

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 claiming $32,000, 7 furlongs, 3 yo’s

Possible overlays                          Morning line

#4 Mont La Salle                                 4/1
#8 Hurley’s Way                                  5/2
#9 Olympic Magic                                3/1

This looks like a three-horse race to me.

The Ronald Ellis-trained #9 Olympic Magic has the best early speed and has been running Beyer numbers in the mid-to-upper 60’s recently.

In his last race, #4 Mont La Salle was wide on both turns while still earning a 65 Beyer Speed Figure, so it seems reasonable that he can run in the low 70’s.

On Jan. 19, #8 Hurley’s Way swung six or seven wide rounding the turn in a 7 furlong sprint. He didn’t have the final gear in the stretch to get by Jazzin Razz that day, but I think Bob Baffert learned something about his horse. After four previous unsuccessful tries at various class levels and distances, I think Baffert decided that Hurley’s Way was a 7-furlong horse that could win a $32,000 claiming race.

Hurley’s Way hasn’t run since Jan. 19, as Baffert’s been tuning him up and he looks to be ready to run a big one.

I will bet $250 on #8 Hurley’s Way at 2/1 or better, but if he’s bet to 9/5 or less then I want $200 on whoever is a longer price between #4 Mont Las Salle and #9 Olympic Magic.

Champion Alysheba, 25, dies 5 months after homecoming

Just five months after returning to Kentucky from breeding in Saudi Arabia, Alysheba was euthanized after injuring a leg.

Alysheba, 25, won the 1987 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes then went on to take the Super Derby, in a year where he as named champion 3-year-old male. In 1987, Alysheba lost the Breeders’ Cup Classic to 1986 Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand by just a nose, but came back in 1988 to win the Classic by defeating Seeking the Gold.

Afterward, Alysheba was voted 1988 Horse of the Year and he retired with nine Grade 1 stakes victories and $6.6 million in earnings, which was an earnings record at the time.

Alysheba went to the breeding shed and was eventually bought by Saudi King Abdullah, who stood him for the last eight years at Janadria Farm in Saudi Arabia. Last October, King Abdullah announced that he would return Alysheba to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington as a gift to Alysheba’s  legion of fans.

But Alysheba had a chronic degenerative spinal condition that led to his instabilty, said Kathy Hopkins, the Kentucky Horse Park’s director of equine operations. He fell in his stall on Friday afternoon and a decision was made to euthanize him, according to the Daily Racing Form.

Below is a tribute to Alysheba from HRTV’s Inside Information series.

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