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

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

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

Possible overlays                       Morning line

#1 Carlsbad Mountain                        12/1
#2 Sea to Sky                               15/1
#4 Consulado                                5/2
#6 Symphonic Cat                            12/1
#9 Declan                                   15/1
#10 Malibu Affair                           20/1
#11 Bobby Flay                               9/2

The way I see it, this race is #8 Welter Weight versus the world.

Trained by Steve Asmussen, first-time starter Welter Weight was bought for $1 million and sports two sparkling 6-furlong workouts: 1:11 1-5 on Dec. 28 and 1:11 flat on Dec. 21. This colt is the 9-to-5 morning line favorite and in the long run, debuters whose odds are below 2-to-1 are bad bets. Some of the information I keep relates to the price paid for unraced horses. Of all the debuters who were bought for $500,000 or more, 10 of them won out of 52 for a paltry return of just 48 cents for every $1 bet. At less than 2-to-1, they won 3 times in 13 tries for a 46 cent return on $1.

So, I am hoping Welter Weight gets pounded down to 6-to-5 at the windows, which will raise the prices of contenders like #4 Consulado and #11 Bobby Flay.

These runners have performed well in their only lifetime starts and wouldn’t have to improve much to win. And who knows if a monster is lurking among the other five first-time starters — so I will have to consider them if the price is right.

My Betting Strategy:  At odds of 5/2 or more I will put $300 to win on #4 Consulado. If Consulado is bet below 5/2, then I want $200 to win on #11 Bobby Flay at 4/1 or better. Also, I will bet $100 on any first-time starter who goes off at between 10/1 and 19/1.

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Saturday, Santa Anita Race 1 — post time 12:30 pm

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming $30,000, F&M 3-yo’s, 6-1/2 furlongs

Possible overlays                            Morning line

#1 Silver Threat                                     5/2
#6 Scream Queen                                      3/1
#10 Wild Date                                        8/1

The two favorites in this race — #1 Silver Threat and #6 Scream Queen — are running in a rematch of their Dec. 18 6-furlong tilt at Hollywood Park. On that day, Silver Threat finished second by three-quarters of a length after getting bumped as the gates opened then going wide on the turn. After watching the video, I estimated that Silver Threat conservatively lost three lengths at the start and two more on the turn, so I upgraded her 61 Beyer Speed Figure to a 73. 

Scream Queen had a clean trip, although she was in the three path on the turn, so I nudged her 61 Beyer up to a 63. She finished third and was just a head behind Silver Threat.

The curious aspect of today’s race is that no true early speed horses are in the 10-horse field. Therefore, it will be interesting to see which jockeys try to gun their mounts for the lead then try to hang on at the wire.

Although, Scream Queen was the 4-to-5 favorite last time, it looks like Silver Threat is almost certain to be today’s choice. The four Daily Racing Form selectors pick her on top and Brad Free provides all the details about her rough trip in his race analysis. It could be that everybody at the track is aware that Silver Threat ran a winning race last time and they will back her today.

Silver Threat has a couple of other angles going for her, too: Her owner Gary Barber won with four of his last five second-time starters and her trainer Peter Miller has an excellent record with maiden claimers in their second lifetime starts. The major drawbacks are that Silver Threat wore front wraps last time, she has little racing experience and the crowd is likely to overbet her. Many times when the whole world knows about a bad trip, then for some reason the horse doesn’t fire in it’s next race.

Scream Queen can win if a.) Silver Threat runs a poor race or b.) she improves by a couple of lengths while Silver Threat regresses slightly.

Finally, I’m giving #10 Wild Date a chance based on the 58 Beyer Speed Figure she ran on July 21. However, this Eoin Harty-trained filly has not run impressively in any of her three starts since.

My Betting Strategy: I will wager $400 to win on #1 Silver Threat at 2/1 or higher. But if Silver Threat is bet below 2/1, then I will take $200 to win on #6 Scream Queen at 7/2 or better. At odds of 6/1 or higher, I will put $100 on #10 Wild Date.

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