Monday, Santa Anita, Race 2 — post time 12:32 pm PST

 

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming, $20K, 6-1/2 furlongs, 3 yo’s and up

Possible overlays                    Morning line
#3 Maybe Tuesday                         8/1
#4 Zapeye                                           4/1
#5 What a Rush                                 4/1
#6 Street Titan                                  5/2
#10 Trando’s Tremor                     3/1
 
I am hoping that first-time starter #3 Maybe Tuesday is cold on the board and his odds drift into the 10-to-1 to 20-to-1 range. Then I won’t have to deal with him. These cagey connections bet their live horses and this gelding is a contender if less than 10-to-1, although I probably won’t take him anyway.

I think a mid-70’s Beyer Speed Figure will be necessary to win this contentious race. Coming off of a nine-month layoff, #4 Zapeye is trying dirt for the first time after not threatening in his three turf routes. Being a 3-year-old who was a May foal, Zapeye is definitely eligible to improve and my layoff information shows that horses who look like Zapeye have been outstanding bets at 7-to-2 to 5-to-1, but they tail off a bit up to 10-to-1. It’s interesting to note that this gelding is named for handicapper and breeding consultant Larry Zap, whose Twitter account @LarryZapeye states that he is known “as the Eye for being able to measure quality in Thoroughbred racehorses.”

Chantal Sutherland rode Zapeye in his first three races, but she moves to #5 What a Rush. Sired by Tribal Rule, What a Rush has plenty of early speed, which I believe is disadvantageous for this class at 6-1/2 furlongs. In fact, only 16 percent of these races are won by runners who get the lead at the quarter pole. However, by what I observed watching What a Rush’s last two tries, it appears that Sutherland and trainer A.C. Avila are working with the horse to throttle back his early energy. To me, this horse appears to fit better at 6 furlongs or shorter. However, What a Rush did run an 81 Beyer figure five races ago on March 25 and he’d be tough to catch if he ran like that on Monday.

Mike Mitchell trains #6 Street Titan. Need I say more?

Mitchell, who won with a gaudy 107 of 324 runners this year — or 33 percent, took over the training of Street Titan this Fall after Ian Wilkes and Roger Attfield made a combined 10 unsuccessful attempts with him to win higher class races in the Midwest and in Canada. The fact that Street Titan is making his 13th start doesn’t bother me at all. Sure, he’s failed 12 times, but all except one of these races were for maiden special weights and at least three of those races were on the grass. Mitchell started Street Titan twice in the last two months for higher-priced claiming tags and, after troubled trips in both starts, I upgraded the horse’s Beyer figures from 65 to 70 on Nov. 3 and 64 to 69 on Dec. 1. Street Titan needs to improve a length or two to win, but the Mitchell magic is due to kick in sooner rather than later.

Finally, #10 Trando’s Tremor began his career for Dan Hendricks on Sept. 2 when he was squeezed after the start at 5-1/2 furlongs to be 12 lengths behind, but then rallied well to miss by just 3-1/2 lengths. I upgraded the Beyer from 57 to 68 to account for what I estimated to be a 4-length loss. In that race, Michael Pender claimed Trando’s Tremor for $20K and then brought him back on Oct. 6 where the gelding pressed the pace from the 11 post at 6-1/2 furlongs to miss by just a half-length. In the 10 stall on Monday, Trando’s Tremor might suffer a wide trip.

My betting strategy: If the odds on #4 Zapeye fall between 7/2 and 5/1, then I will bet $500 to win on him and $250 to win on #6 Street Titan. If the odds on Zapeye, however, are 6/1 to 9/1 then I want just $100 to win on him and $700 to win on Street Titan. If Zapeye is less than 7/2, or 10/1 or more, I’ll bet nothing on him and $800 on Street Titan.

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