Friday, Santa Anita Race 4 — post time 2:34 pm

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden Special Weight, 6-1/2 furlongs, 3-year-olds

Median winning Beyer Speed Figure: 78

Possible overlays                      Morning line

#1 Chestnut Moon                           8/1
#2 Melrose Woods                          12/1
#4 Magic Fire                              8/1
#7 Lady Vivien                             6/1
#8 Dixie in Pink                           12/1
#9 Salt Tequila Lime                      9/2

Although morning-line favorite #6 Nihilist showed early speed in her Sept. 3 debut where she exceeded the median winning Beyer Speed Figure with an 81, I am betting against her.

It’s not that she doesn’t have a great trainer and jockey. She does.

And it’s not that she isn’t the most likely winner. She is.

But I estimate her odds will be somewhere between even money and 3-to-2.

Instead, I will take my chances with some of the other first and second time starters who may fly under the radar and strike at a big price. 

Although #9 Salt Tequila Lime loses points for being a May foal, trainer Bob Baffert has done well with first-time starters in sprints longer than 6 furlongs. On the inside, Both #1 Chestnut Moon and #2 Melrose Woods are conditioned by cagey trainers.

My betting strategy: At odds of 7/2 or better, I will wager $400 on #9 Salt Tequila Lime. Between the odds of 8/1 and 19/1, I will put $100 on the two highest-odds horses among #1 Chestnut Moon, #2 Melrose Woods and #8 Dixie in Pink.  Finally, I want $150 to win on whoever is the longer price between #4 Magic Fire and #7 Lady Vivien.

Friday, Santa Anita Race 1 — post time 1 pm

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming $40,000, 6-1/2 furlongs, 4 yo’s and up

Median winning Beyer Speed Figure: 71

Possible overlays                                Morning line

#1 Hot Little Honey                                      10/1
#2 Missie Ky I You                                        9/2
#3 Cee’s the Year                                         5/2
#4 Pretty Much                                            8/1
#5 Contstant Saros                                        12/1

The filly with the most potential in here is #3 Cee’s the Year. This Ron Ellis-trained runner showed explosive rallies in her first two races, but was so far behind that she did not hit the board.

In her second race on Oct. 2, I thought it was interesting that Cee’s the Year broke well, but jockey Victor Espinoza then steadied her hard. By the time Cee’s the Year got her stride back she’d lost an estimated eight lengths. After trailing this maiden special weight field by 12 lengths, she ran on well to miss by just 6-1/2 lengths and she still earned a 60 Beyer Speed Figure. If I were to add the eight lengths in Beyer points, Cee’s the Year would get an adjusted Beyer of 80.

Making her 16th start, #2 Missie Ky I You may be able to win this race off her best effort. On Nov. 6, she ran satisfactorily in a 6-1/2 furlong sprint against maiden special weight company. She was four-paths wide on the turn while rallying from sixth to third place. I bumped up her Beyer Speed Figure from 61 to 68 because of the lost ground, however the median winning number for this race is a 71. So even her best effort today may not be enough, however new rider Joel Rosario should help.

After spending her life trying to win a turf race, #4 Pretty Much is entered in her second consecutive start on dirt. She needs to be on the top of her game to win this and the race must come up weak. In her seven grass races, the best Beyer Pretty Much ran was a 66, then she regressed to a 42 on the dirt last time.

I will back either of the two first time starters — #1 Hot Little Honey and #5 Constant Saros — as long as they are between 10-to-1 and 19-to-1. Anything more or anything less then I am not interested. Both of them have a couple of good workouts and they are trained by horsemen who can win at a price. I see no monsters in this race and it wouldn’t take much of a horse to win this thing.

My betting strategy: I will bet $300 to win on #3 Cee’s the Year at odds of 2/1 or higher. If she is less than 2/1, then I want $200 to win on #2 Missie Ky I You at 4/1 or more. Finally, I will put $100 to win on #1 Hot Little Honey and #5 Constant Saros if their odds fall between 10/1 and 19/1.

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