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.

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