Wednesday, Del Mar Race 8 — 5:30 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming $40,000, 6 furlongs, 2 yo fillies 

Possible overlays                             Morning line 

#2 Excellent Point                                    6/1
#4 Della Mia                                            20/1
#10 Miss Apricot                                      20/1 

Clifford Sise, who is the trainer of #2 Excellent Point, does well with first time starters in this class. This filly has all slow workouts, but this trainer typically trains his debuters slowly in the morning then runs them fast in the afternoon. 

Sise, who also owns Excellent Point, chose jockey Jose Verenzuela even though this rider has ridden just 20 mounts at the meet, winning two times. Sise uses top riders at times, but he is just as likely to leg up low profile jocks like Danny Sorenson, Iggy Puglisi or Brice Blanc. In fact, Sise used 22 different riders on his 48 debuters I have listed for him in my database, so he spreads the work around throughout the jockey colony. 

A couple of more first timers that might have a shot if they show any betting action are #4 Della Mia and #10 Miss Apricot. 

At the window, I will bet $1,000 to win on #2 Excellent Point at 2/1 to 9/1, but just $300 at 10/1 to 19/1. 

If the odds on either #4 Della Mia or #10 Miss Apriocot fall between 10/1 and 19/1, then I will wager $100 on them.

Friday, Del Mar Race 6 — 6 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming $25,000, 5-1/2 furlongs, 3 yos and up

Possible overlays                         Morning line

#4 Night Justice                                    6/1
#5 Harlan’s Tune                                   6/1
#6 Salah Salah                                      9/2
#9 Syllabus                                           4/1

The likely favorite #7 Looking for Candy has been laid off since November 2009. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, this colt followed a 69 Beyer Speed Figure with a 71 in his only two races, which were both against maiden special weight foes.

If Looking for Candy was healthy then his development from a 2-year-old to a 3-year-old would probably mean that he could run an 80 speed figure. And that number would make him competitive in $40,000 and higher maiden claiming races where the median Beyer Speed Figure is 81.

So, I am going to take the view that Looking for Candy still has some problems and this horse’s low price means no value.

However, in #6 Salah Salah’s two races he’s chased legitimate speedballs and is now dropping in class. Speed is king at 5-1/2 furlongs and Salah Salah should have enough early gas to make him a contender at what looks to be a decent price.

Brian Koriner trains #5 Harlan’s Tune, a first-time gelding who last raced in March. Records show that Koriner does well getting his older maiden sprinters to run well after being away from the races for a substantial amount of time. In August 2009, Harlan’s Tune led 9 rivals for a half mile before tiring while sprinting in an $85,000 claimer. Harlan’s Tune projects to have early speed equal to Salah Salah, so he also must be considered. 

Breaking just inside of Harlan’s Tune will be #4 Night Justice, who was bet to 9-2 during his August 1 debut. In that race, Night Justice was squeezed at the start then was boxed in until the top of the lane. Jockey Pat Valenzuela eased him in the stretch, but this gelding had a strong 5-furlong workout on Aug. 14 and trainer Peter Miller frequently wins with second timers.

Finally, trainer Clifford Sise has an excellent record with maiden claimers in their first lifetime starts. Sise, who sends out #9 Syllabus today, has a record of success with this move with both the owner, Martin Wygod, and jockey, Joel Rosario.

At odds of 3-1 or more, I will bet $500 on both #9 Syllabus and #6 Salah Salah.

If the odds on either Syllabus or Salah Salah are too low, then I will not bet that horse and instead substitute $300 to win on #5 Harlan’s Tune at 3-1 or more.


Results: Lost $1,000 by putting $500 each on #6 Salah Salah at 7-1 and #9 Syllabus at 4-1.


1 1 Single Shot (CA) Valdez F Bonde J 6.90 2
3 2 El Navigante (CA) Garcia M Soto A 58.20 9
4 3 Night Justice (CA) Valenzuela P Miller P 10.90 6
5 4 Harlan’s Tune (KY) Pedroza M Koriner B 15.60 4
6 5 Salah Salah (CA) Flores D Solis W 7.30 5
7 6 Looking for Candy (KY) Bejarano R Hollendorfer J 1.00 1
8 7 Minister Machine (CA) Medellin A Saavedra A 52.30 8
9 8 Syllabus (CA) Rosario J Sise, Jr. C 4.10 3
10 9 Sea Viper (CA) Gihua J Periban J 11.00 7
SCR Hostile Waters (CA) Velazquez J Waterman S
Pgm Win Place Show
7 $4.00 $3.00 $2.40
1 $5.80 $3.80
9 $3.60
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $10.30 (7-1)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $279.30 (6-9-7)
$1.00 Superfecta paid $249.30 (7-1-9-5)

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

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

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

Possible overlays                                Morning line

#2 Unionize                                               8/5
#6 Speight the Halo                                    4/1

Trained by Clifford Sise, #2 Unionize was 15-to-1 when he ran a 90 Beyer Speed Figure in his debut, which is good enough to win at this class. But Unionize unfortunately ran into Point Encounter when they raced on opening day at Santa Anita.

Unionize came back on March 7 to practically duplicate his first race, however he could only muster a second-place finish to Leavenworth, another super-charged maiden first time starter. Since the median Beyer Speed Figure for this class is a mere 85, Unionize obviously has the talent to win, but he’s likely to be even money.

One horse who may upset him is #6 Speight the Halo, who is coming off a seven month layoff. In his first race on June 29, Speight the Halo looked to be long gone in deep stretch, but S.S. Stone came like an express train late to roll by.

Speight the Halo was more than three lengths clear of third-place finisher Street Hero that day. He’s been training well and maybe Eoin Harty has him at his best.

I will bet $200 to win on #6 Speight the Halo at 2/1 or more and a $100 exacta box #2 Unionize with #6 Speight the Halo.

Results, Santa Anita Saturday Race 4 — lost $150

Trainer Jeff Mullins' SA maiden win was overshadowed by his Gotham victory

Trainer Jeff Mullins' SA maiden win was overshadowed by his Gotham victory

What a difference a race makes.

On opening day at Santa Anita, which was the first time #8 Unionize ran, he went off at 15-to-1 for trainer Clifford Sise. Sise had him ready to roll as Unionize earned a 90 Beyer Speed Figure while unsuccessfully trying to chase down Point Encounter.

On Satuday, with Garrett Gomez up, Unionize’s odds were smashed to 1-to-2, and although much more money was bet on him this time, the results were exactly the same.

Unionize finished second once again.

This time Unionize was chasing #1 Leavenworth, a 4-to-1 shot who was showing a purchase price of $250,000 and was training well for Jeff Mullins. It was a big day for Mullins, who also won the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct Saturday with I Want Revenge.

Anyway, the only time it looked like any horse could possibly catch Leavenworth was at the top of the stretch. But then jockey Tyler Baze eased into another gear and drew off. 

I bet $150 on #3 Temerity who was running in his second race back off a layoff, but never threatened.

To watch a replay of this race, go to


1 1 Leavenworth (KY) Baze T Mullins J 4.40 1
2 2 Dixie Passion (KY) Rosario J Machowsky M 12.50 4
3 3 Temerity (KY) Smith M Ellis R 6.00 6
4 4 Gaz (KY) Espinoza V Greely C 38.00 7
5 5 Brian the Brave (KY) Sutherland C O’Callaghan C 25.30 8
6 6 Devil On the Roof (KY) Albarado R Greely C 20.00 5
7 7 Margarita Shot (KY) Delgadillo A DeLeon R 24.60 3
8 8 Unionize (KY) Gomez G Sise, Jr. C 0.50 2
Pgm Win Place Show
1 $10.80 $4.00 $3.20
8 $2.20 $2.10
7 $5.40
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $12.40 (1-8)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $969.40 (6-10-


Saturday, Santa Anita Race 4 — 1:34 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

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

Possible overlays                         Morning line

#3 Temerity                                   4/1
#5 Brian the Brave                           15/1

Garrett Gomez takes over for jockey David Flores on #8 Unionize, the 8-to-5 morning line favorite. Trainer Clifford Sise had this horse ready to win in his Dec. 28 debut, as Unionize  earned a 90 Beyer Speed Figure but he couldn’t catch Point Encounter.

If, for some reason, Unionize isn’t at his best then #3 Temerity has a good chance to upset him. Ron Ellis brought this colt back from a six-month layoff on Feb. 7  to run a 79 Beyer Speed Figure in a 5-1/2 furlong race. Those races are dominated by early speed so this horse was at a disadvantage, but now fits well at 6-1/2 furlongs.

Finally, #5 Brian the Brave, a first-time starter, has a couple of swift workouts and may be a play at a price. Since I had never heard of Brian the Brave’s trainer, Carl O’Callaghan, I plugged his name into Google. I didn’t find much out about his training abilities, but discovered this native of County Clare is also a musician that spends his evenings belting out the Irish favorites at Arcadia-area bars.

I am guessing that “Irish Carl” works for Patrick Gallagher because Gallagher is the regular trainer for Super Horse, Inc., which owns Brian the Brave.

At the betting window, I will take $200 to win on #3 Temerity at 2/1 to 7/2 but just $150 to win at 4/1 and up. Also, I want a $150 win bet on #5 Brian the Brave at 5/1 to 19/1 only.

Sunday, Santa Anita Race 5 — 2:34 p.m. post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King cifoonquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming $25,000, 5-1/2 furlongs, 4 yos and up

Possible overlays                          Morning line

#1 Water                                          6/1
#5 Kinky Rule                                     9/2
#6 Sky Patriot                                    5/1
#7 Saint Jack                                     6/1
#11 No Limit Poker                             5/1
#12 Second Hand Lion                       7/2
#13 The Emerald King                       8/1

Early speed is a tremendous advantage in 5-1/2 furlong races for older maiden claimers and nobody has more of it here than #11 No Limit Poker. This Peter Miller-trained gelding hasn’t been out since running just off the pace in two sprints at Hollywood Park last summer. Garrett Gomez is slated to ride.

Trainer Clifford Sise, who has a good record in this type of race, should make an impact as he sends out both #5 Kinky Rule and #6 Sky Patriot. Second-time starter #7 Saint Jack had a decent debut and may improve.

If the pace is too fast and the race falls apart in the stretch, then I can see any of five other horses winning, including #1 Water, #9 Cut, #10 Royal Albert, #12 Second Hand Lion and #13 The Emerald King.

I will bet $300 on #11 No Limit Poker at 2/1 to 7/2, but reduce my wager to $200 if his post time odds are 4/1 and up. Also, I will put $250 on #6 Sky Patriot and #13 The Emerald King, but only at odds of 2/1 to 7/2.

If none of those three horses are 2/1 to 7/2, then at 4/1 to 9/1, I want $150 on #5 Kinky Rule and #6 Sky Patriot. Then I want another $150 on whoever goes off highest — but less than 10/1 — among #7 Saint Jack, #12 Second Hand Lion and #13 The Emerald King.

Friday, Santa Anita Race 9 — 4:24 pm post time

                               Maiden Claiming $25,000, 6.5 furlongs, 3yo and up

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Possible overlays                             Morning line

# 5 Squire Trelawny                             6/1
#8 Mystification                                   10/1
#9 Kinky Rule                                        2/1
#12 Delicato                                       8/1
#13 Six Pack Man                                 6/1

None of these horses recently have come close to the 78 Beyer Speed Figure needed to win a race like this, and most of these runners have lots of starts without a win.

I can’t see any great-looking angles to play either, but it’s worth noting that trainer Clifford Sise has excelled in races like these over the last few years. However the one he trains, #9 Kinky Rule, has morning line odds of just 2/1. Also, trainer Mike Puype has won 12 of 33 recent races off of a 61-to-180 day layoff, according to the Daily Racing Form. Puype’s horse #13 Six Pack Man is 6/1 on the morning line and is working out well, according to clocker Andy Harrington of the National Turf Clocker Report.

Finally, #12 Delicato ran much better than looked in July when he was slammed at the start, rallied four wide and then was breezed by the jockey in the final 25o yards — all while still running a 70 Beyer Speed Figure. He’s dropping in class today and Delicato’s trainer Jerry Fanning switches to Michael Baze from Joe Talamo. 

Talamo rides #8 Mystification, (10/1 ML) who comes from behind and could get there too if he improves and everything breaks right. The leading rider Rafael Bejarano rides #5 Squire Trelawny who can win if he gets a good trip and nobody else runs at least a 78 Beyer.

I will bet $250 on #9 Kinky Rule at 2/1 or more. But if Kinky Rule goes off at lower than 2/1, then instead I will bet $150 on the following horses as long as they are 9/2 or better: #5 Squire Trelawny, #12 Delicato and #13 Six Pack Man. If I can’t get 2/1 on #9, then I’ll also put $100 on Mystification at 8/1 or better.

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