Results, Sunday, Santa Anita Race 9 — won $682

 The ultimate winner, #4 Jim’s Decision, was no surprise as I noted in my race preview that he was one of the three top contenders expected to cross the finish line first.

However, getting the money wasn’t easy, as jockey David Flores was all out through the length of the stretch to outgame #3 Smart Hombre and to hold off the late rally of #1 Crestatorre.

Jim’s Decision looked good because he was steadily dropping in class and, in several of his previous six races, he earned Beyer Speed Figures that could win a bottom-level maiden claiming race like this one. I planned to wager $200 on him to win, but it was contingent on his price being longer than that of #14 Salty Robbin.

Salty Robbin showed recent dramatic improvement, but was breaking from post #14 on the far outside. This gelding missed by just a nose last time after going wide on the turn, but was no factor today at 6-to-1. As the 9-to-5 favorite, I couldn’t bet Jim’s Decision to win in this 13-horse field.

But I did combine him with two longshots that I keyed for second in the exacta. Fortunately, one of those runners, a 25-to-1 shot named Crestatorre, came on the outside and hit the wire a neck behind Jim’s Decision. Battling on the inside in this three-horse blanket finish was #3 Smart Hombre, and both he and Crestatorre seemingly hit the wire together. The photo finish showed Crestatorre nailed Smart Hombre by a long nose, keying an exacta that paid $62.60.

In $20 exactas, I used both Crestatorre and #12 Warren’s Tiger — who was 21-to-1 — for second place only underneath Jim’s Decision, #13 Indian Knight and #14 Salty Robbin. The result allowed me to collect $1,252, which gave me a $682 profit on the race after subtracting out my $120 in exacta wagers, a $250 win bet on Indian Knight and another $200 to win on Salty Robbin.

In the running of the race, longshot East Sky knocked heads with Smart Hombre as they led the field down the backstretch. As usual, Indian Knight did not break alertly so jockey Martin Garcia tardily brought his mount into contention as the field swung into the turn.

By the time they hit the bend, Indian Knight was three-wide with Garcia asking the gelding for more run, but the horse wasn’t giving him much of a response. Meanwhile, Jim’s Decision was sitting just behind the leaders while Flores looked for a running lane.

Flores saw his opportunity at the quarter pole and surged to challenge Smart Hombre for the lead as the field entered the top of the stretch. Jim’s Decision looked like he put away Smart Hombre at the eighth pole, but the inside runner was game and Smart Hombre came right back at him. Either horse looked like they could win as the wire approached.

Also, on the outside, Crestatorre rallied to be on even terms with Smart Hombre.

But a few jumps from the finish, Jim’s Decision accelerated for the neck victory.

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

PGM PP# NAME JOCKEY TRAINER ODDS FN
1 1 Crestatorre (CA) Verenzuela J Periban J 25.60 2
2 2 Gamblin On Jack (CA) Quinonez A Capestro P 23.80 6
3 3 Smart Hombre (KY) Berrios H Jones M 7.50 3
4 4 Jim’s Decision (KY) Flores D Cerin V 1.90 1
5 5 Broken Glass (CA) Santiago Reyes C Bernstein D 6.20 4
6 6 East Sky (CA) Scott J January E 122.20 7
7 7 Sharp Upbeat (CA) Stra K Gallagher P 74.30 11
8 8 Maybe Tuesday (CA) Flores E McCarthy S 19.50 5
9 9 Bluffside (KY) Figueroa O Harris A 70.20 12
10 10 Roheryn Strider (KY) Vergara D Jackson D 14.00 8
12 11 Warren’s Tiger (CA) Krigger K Sherlock G 21.30 10
13 12 Indian Knight (VA) Garcia M Baffert B 4.60 9
14 13 Salty Robbin (CA) Delgadillo A Spawr W 6.00 13
SCR Own It (CA)    
 
Pgm Win Place Show
4 $5.80 $3.60 $2.80
1 $17.40 $10.60
3 $5.00
 
Exotic Payoffs
$0.50 Pick 4 paid $212.50 (1/6-8-6-4)
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Sunday, Santa Anita Race 9 — post time 4:38 pm

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming $20,000, 4-yo’s and up, 6-1/2 furlongs

Median winning Beyer Speed Figure for this class: 70

Possible overlays                               Morning line

#1 Crestatorre                                      20/1
#2 Gamblin on Jack                                  15/1
#4 Jim’s Decision                                    7/2
#5 Br0ken Glass                                      5/1
#12 Warren’s Tiger                                  15/1
#13 Indian Knight                                    6/1
#14 Salty Robbin                                     4/1

Although I have seven horses listed as possible overlays, I believe this race will be won by either #4 Jim’s Decision, #13 Indian Knight or #14 Salty Robbin.

Many runners in this contentious 13-horse field have earned Beyer Speed Figures that exceed the median of 70. On Oct. 30, which was four races back in his past performance list, Jim’s Decision posted a 79 while pressing the pace against maiden special weight competition. After a couple of sub par performances on Hollywood’s synthetic track, Jim’s Decision ran a 68 Beyer while going three-paths wide on the turn at 5-1/2 furlongs. With a good trip, I see no reason why this Vladimir Cerin-trained horse can’t be right there at the finish.

In these large fields, it’s often a challenge for jockeys breaking from the outside to avoid suffering wide trips. At 6-1/2 furlongs, riders have some extra ground on the backstretch to maneuver their horses into position as the turn approaches. Of course, early speed helps and the two horses breaking from the far outside stalls have demonstrated quickness in their previous races.

Breaking from the 13 gate, but wearing saddle cloth number 14, Salty Robbin seems to be improving. Today will be his ninth start and his last race was his best. On Oct. 28, Salty Robbin pushed the pace down the backstretch in a 6-1/2 furlong race, accelerated 3-wide on the turn, then surged to the lead at the top of the stretch.  This gray gelding battled to the wire, but lost all the money by a nose. He earned a 70 Beyer, which I bumped up to 76 because of the lost ground.

I am aware that Salty Robbin could very well go wide again today, so I will need decent odds to compensate for the risk.

Breaking just to Salty Robbin’s inside will be Indian Knight. This son of Indian Charlie shows a $120,000 Keeneland sale price, which the owners paid in 2009. Obviously, the high hopes the connections had for this runner were never realized, but today he is realistically placed in this bottom-level maiden claimer.  

Two races back on Aug. 3, Indian Knight shot to the lead in a maiden claiming $50,000 sprint, but couldn’t gut out the win. On that day, Indian Knight finished third, however the 73 Beyer figure he received would win most races at this class. In watching some of the replays of this gelding, I noticed that he frequently has trouble at the start. In his last race, jockey Martin Garcia seemed to snatch the reigns at the outset, then Garcia steered Indian Knight into the center of the track.

Around the turn, Garcia took Indian Knight on a 5-wide journey and in the stretch the jockey kept the horse in the center of the track. Indian Knight lost a ton of ground and his 48 Beyer could have easily been a 68 with a clean start and a rail trip. Today might be the day.

Two other horses have run good races, but their running lines are buried deep in their past performances. On the rail, #1 Crestatorre ran a 69 Beyer six races back in a $40,000 maiden claimer on Aug. 11, then in August of 2010 he ran a 77. By the looks of it, this horse may just have one good race a year in him. 

Warren’s Tiger also has potential. He ran a 74 speed figure in March 2011, but virtually all of his other seven races are in the 50s and low 60s. In the 10/1 to 30/1 odds range, I plan to key these horses for second in the exacta .

I’m only interested in first-time starter #2 Gamblin On Jack at odds of 4/1 to 10/1. He stands at 15-to-1 on the morning line, so it’s unlikely I’ll be betting him.

Finally, #5 Broken Glass is making his second lifetime start after a layoff of 11 months. I think his inexperience puts Broken Glass at a disadvantage. But Broken Glass ran well in his debut while earning a 59 Beyer even though he was wide on the turn. After adjusting for the lost ground and his 11 months of development, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see this newly gelded horse finish first with a Beyer in the 70-to-75 range.

My Betting Strategy: At odds of 3/1 or more, I will put $250 to win on #13 Indian Knight. Also, I will put $200 to win on whoever is the longer price between #4 Jim’s Decision and #14 Salty Robbin, as long as they are in the 3/1 to 9/1 odds range.

If #2 Gamblin on Jack is 4/1 to 10/1, then I will bet $100 on him. If #1 Crestatorre and #12 Warren’s Tiger are at least 10/1 but no more than 29/1, then I want $20 exactas 4/13/14 with 1/12.

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