Results, Sunday, Santa Anita Race 9 — won $530

Looking at the past performances, I noticed that only one of these eight colts and geldings had ever matched the median winning Beyer Speed Figure of 71 — and #8 Nonrefundable did it twice. Of the other runners, the best Beyer they could muster was a 62, which #9 My Top Cat earned back in April.

So, it was easy for me to focus on Nonrefundable as the most likely winner.

All that I was concerned about was whether Nonrefundable’s odds would be high enough for me to wager. I noted in the race preview, that if he was less than 2-to-1 then I planned on passing.

The public made three horses 8-to-1 — #1 Just Jumped In, #2 Husky Glory and #3 Tiz Victorious. I guess whoever supported these three runners hoped that they would improve by the leaps and bounds necessary to win.

But, as the saying goes, hope is not a strategy.

Two others were 7-to-2, #4 G Ten and #6 Knucklebuster. I thought second-time starter G Ten may surprise with a big race only because I know that trainer John Shirreffs’ debuters never do well. G Ten broke slowly in his first race then finished fourth, 13 lengths behind. On Sunday, he was adding blinkers.

But G Ten broke poorly again, rallied into the middle of the pack entering the turn, then faded badly to finished dead last.

Knucklebuster fared better. My guess is that bettors liked Knucklebuster, not because he has a cool name, but because he is trained by the venerable Richard Mandella and he was dropping steeply in class from maiden special weight. Knucklebuster led down the backstretch before being collared on the turn by Nonfundable, who drew off and won by 9-1/4 lengths. Knucklebuster hung on for second.

While distancing this field, Nonrefundable earned a 79 Beyer.

At the windows, I was prepared to bet $500 to win on Nonrefundable if he was 5-to-2 or more. But at 2/1, I still liked him enough to bet $300 to win. In all, I collected $930, yet profited just $530 after subtracting out the $300 I wagered and another $100 I bet on G Ten. 

To watch a replay of this race, go to www.calracing.com.

PGM PP# NAME JOCKEY TRAINER ODDS FN
1 1 Just Jumped In (CA) Smith M Spawr W 8.30 6
2 2 Husky Glory (KY) Flores D Gallagher P 8.00 4
3 3 Tiz Victorious (CA) Santiago Reyes C Moreno H 8.30 7
4 4 G Ten (KY) Talamo J Shirreffs J 3.70 8
5 5 Danceswiththewind (CA) Vergara D Becerra R 14.80 5
6 6 Knucklebuster (KY) Quinonez A Mandella R 3.90 2
8 7 Nonrefundable (KY) Espinoza V Gallagher P 2.10 1
9 8 My Top Cat (KY) Castanon A Heap B 15.90 3
SCR Oneinamillionyou (CA)    
 
Pgm Win Place Show
8 $6.20 $3.60 $3.00
6 $4.80 $3.80
9 $7.80
 
Exotic Payoffs
$0.50 Pick 4 paid $1642.35 (8-5-5-8)
$1.00 Exacta paid $10.90 (8-6)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $99.60 (5-5-8)
$1.00 Place Pick All paid $1655.60 (9 OF 9)
$1.00 Super High Five paid $2770.00 (8-6-9-2-5)
$1.00 Superfecta paid $447.90 (8-6-9-2)
$1.00 Trifecta paid $105.70 (8-6-9)
$2.00 Daily Double paid $24.20 (5-8)
$2.00 Pick 6 paid $159.60 (2-2/3/8-8-5-5-8)
$2.00 Pick 6 paid $42173.40 (2-2/3/8-8-5-5-8)
Fractional Times
22.77, 45.55, 1:10.08, 1:23.03
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Results, Sunday, Santa Anita Race 2 — won $530

The glaring problem when looking at this lineup in my race preview was that all of the runners had serious flaws.

My task was then to try to find the fillies who were going off at decent prices that may either dramatically improve or run well enough to win a weak race.

On the inside, #2 Mango Tart had the best races of any in her past performance lines. Her main knocks were that she was stretching out a bit and had run just three times. Therefore, I couldn’t bet her at anything less than 2-to-1. At post time, the public made her the overwhelming 6-to-5 favorite, so I quickly eliminated her as a betting possibility.

Two fillies —  #3 Warren’s Assassin and #5 Kvell — competed in the same race three times since September and they finished within a half-length of each other every time. These two experienced runners had a total of 17 starts between them, but the highest Beyer Speed Figure either of them ever earned was the 56 granted to Kvell on Dec. 2.

In the past, they hit the board several times, but with the median winning Beyer Speed Figure being 64 for this class, Kvell and Warren’s Assassin would need to improve by some four lengths to match the par.

Of course, it could be done, but it wouldn’t be easy.

A second-time starter, #6 Frannie was being hyped by the Daily Racing Form where the handicapper noted that she ran OK after a wide trip. I adjusted her Beyer Speed Figure from 50 to 60 after watching the replay, but I had no faith in this horse either because she had run just one time.

Breaking from the far outside, #7 Here Comes Bonnie showed good early speed in her last two races. In a race on Dec. 4, Here Comes Bonnie missed by just a nose, but earned an abysmal 44 Beyer. When she popped and stopped on Dec. 30, she got just an 11 from the Beyer crew.

Again, no faith.

Of course, one of these fillies had to win this race, but since anything could happen I saw no reason to take a low price. I reduced my bets and planned to watch the tote board.

I figured that Kvell could win if none of the inexperienced runners fired. And since Santa Anita has an early speed bias, maybe Here Come Bonnie might run the race of her life.

Finally, I bet $200 on Kvell at 4/1 and $100 on Here Comes Bonnie at 7/1. I collected $830 for a horse that I really didn’t know much about or like too much, which is the beauty of playing the board and shopping for value.

In the end, Victor Espinoza rode Here Comes Bonnie with confidence, as he surged the filly to the lead while going wide on the turn. She was clearly in front throughout the stretch and nobody threatened her the rest of the way. She earned a 64 Beyer.

To watch a replay of this race, go to www.calracing.com.

PGM PP# NAME JOCKEY TRAINER ODDS FN
1 1 Wild in the Saddle (CA) Castanon A Lucas R 70.00 6
2 2 Mango Tart (KY) Flores E Capestro P 1.20 3
3 3 Warren’s Assassin (CA) Quinonez A Gutierrez J 5.00 2
4 4 Central Heat (CA) Vergara D Abrams B 29.90 7
5 5 Kvell (FL) Bejarano R Miller P 4.30 5
6 6 Frannie (KY) Blanc B Tsagalakis M 3.40 4
7 7 Here Comes Bonnie (CA) Espinoza V Cassidy J 7.30 1
 
Pgm Win Place Show
7 $16.60 $7.20 $4.20
3 $5.60 $3.20
2 $2.60
 
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $39.60 (7-3)
$1.00 Superfecta paid $403.80 (7-3-2-6)
$1.00 Trifecta paid $150.10 (7-3-2)
$2.00 Daily Double paid $69.40 (6-7)
Fractional Times
23.25, 47.03, 1:12.08, 1:24.97
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