Sunday, Santa Anita Race 9 — 4:38 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming $30,000, 3-yo’s, 7 furlongs
Possible overlays                            Morning line
#2 Officer Bavetta                                    9/2
#4 Push Button Magic                             8/1
#6 Sabe                                                          4/1
#7 On a Burner                                           8/1
#12 Thunder of India                              15/1
#13 Hava Cigar                                           9/2
#14 Rass Stone                                           8/1
Based on the median Beyer Speed Figure of 68 needed to win a race at this class, we are looking at a weak group of 14 newly-turned 3-year-olds.
Sure, #2 Officer Bavetta ran a 64 in his last race, on Dec. 1, but he hugged the Hollywood rail the whole way and generally got a great trip. Today, he may get blocked in this large field or jockey Brice Blanc might need to go wide on the turn.  Although today’s distance of 7 furlongs is a forgiving one — with it’s long straightaways on the front and back stretches — a 14-horse field of relatively young horses is a recipe for chaos.
Besides, the types of horses I usually like in these races have a bit more seasoning than Officer Bavetta, who will be making just his fourth lifetime start. They look more like #6 Sabe, who was running with better company in four sprints in the second half of 2011. In his last start, Sabe was subsequently dropped into a $30,000 route. Sabe, who is trained by Michael Machowsky, showed decent early speed while earning Beyer Speed Figures of 61 and 59 in races on Sept. 2 and Oct. 6 respectively.
Yes, Sabe’s last two Beyers were in the 40’s, but his second race back was in the mud on Nov. 6 where he blasted from the gate, setting the pace with a scorching first quarter mile in 21-3/5th seconds and a half mile in 44-3/5ths. After that early gas, I can see why he had nothing left. 
Sabe’s last race was a route, which likely built his stamina for today. In each of Sabe’s last two races he wore blinkers. And today, the blinkers come off.
However, the truth of the matter is that Sabe looks just OK and he could easily be beaten.
Trainer Doug O’Neill claimed #13 Hava Cigar out of his Nov. 10 race, but that horse doesn’t look like anything special either, although he’s also been running against better.
With no standouts in the lineup, I will choose from four lightly-raced horses with good trainers who will pay well if they win. First off, #4 Push Button Magic is making his debut for trainer Ron Ellis. On the downside, this Kentucky bred is a late foal with all slow workouts. But Ellis does well with first-time starters that are at least 3-years-old. In fact, my records show that he won with nine of 28 at less than 20/1, or 32 percent, and every $1 wagered returned $2.68.
Kristin Mulhall trains #7 On a Burner who trailed for most of the race on Dec. 10, but then made a nice little stretch move from the eighth pole to the wire. Many maiden claiming second timers who add blinkers do well and On a Burner is adding the hood today.
Breaking from the outside in a large field carries its own set of risks. Jockeys need to tactically use their horse’s speed to stay out of trouble and avoid going too wide.  Second-time starters #12 Thunder of India and #14 Rass Stone will need good rides in order to win. Jack Carava, who will saddle Thunder of India, doesn’t train many young horses, but he gets them to win early. Although Thunder of India showed absolutely nothing in his first race, he might not have liked the muddy track on Nov. 6.  On that day, Thunder of India — who was purchased as a yearling for $42,000 — was bet to 9-to-1, so somebody liked something about him.
Finally, #14 Rass Stone showed good early speed when he debuted on Dec. 10 and trainer Mike Puype is good with second timers. Also, Rass Stone has been working out fast.
My Betting Strategy:  Because this race is so wide open, I am not going to wager much, yet I’m hoping one of my horses wins at a big price. At odds of 7/2 to 19/1, I will bet $200 to win on #4 Push Button Magic; at 5/1 to 19/1, I’ll put $150 to win on #7 On a Burner; at 10/1 to 19/1, I’ll take $50 on #12 Thunder of India; and finally, at 6/1 to 19/1, I’ll wager $100 on #14 Rass Stone.

Sunday, Del Mar Race 9 — 6 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming $25,000, 7 furlongs, 3 yos and up

Possible overlays                        Morning line

#1 Uncle Greg                                          3/1
#2 Royal Import                                     5/2
#3 My Last Tycoon                                7/2
The rail horse #1 Uncle Greg obviously has competitive Beyer Speed Figures and top-notch connections in  trainer Jack Carava and jockey Joel Rosario. But I don’t think his running style is suited for this 7 furlong distance. 
In Uncle Greg’s last two races, Rosario was asking the gelding for everything in the stretch, but got little response. I respect Carava when dropping new claims in class, and this one might look like a different horse today. But I will likely have my money on #2 Royal Import or #3 My Last Tycoon.
Royal Import, who is trained by Bob Hess, ran his first nine races on the grass before a second-place finish on the Del Mar Polytrack on Aug. 8. With his turf racing experience, Royal Import should be able to stay near the middle of the pack and come with a late closing kick.
Trainer Mel Stute likes to race his horses into shape and My Last Tycoon is coming off of two turf routes where he ran OK. My Last Tycoon could be dangerous if he can reproduce the late run he made on Aug. 1 when he came within three lengths of winning a maiden special weight turf route.
I will put $500 to win on #2 Royal Import at 5/2 or higher and $200 to win on #3 My Last Tycoon at 3/1 or more.
Results: Lost $200 with a win bet on #3 My Last Tycoon at 5-1.

1 1 Uncle Greg (KY) Rosario J Carava J 2.20 1
2 2 Royal Import (GB) Espinoza V Hess, Jr. R 1.70 2
3 3 My Last Tycoon (NY) Quinonez A Stute M 5.10 3
4 4 Hamonic Motion (CA) Garcia M Young D 47.60 7
5 5 Warrens Temptation (CA) Velazquez J Van Berg J 26.60 5
6 6 Courtside Action (KY) John K DeLeon R 16.30 6
7 7 Quietly Waiting (KY) Valdez F Knapp S 16.40 9
8 8 Kopriti (CA) Gihua J Frousiakis J 17.80 8
9 9 Anga (CA) Delgadillo A Garcia V 7.20 4
Pgm Win Place Show
1 $6.40 $3.20 $2.60
2 $3.00 $2.20
3 $3.00
Exotic Payoffs
$0.50 Pick 4 paid $2041.65 (3-6-6-1)
$1.00 Exacta paid $7.10 (1-2)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $655.00 (6-6-1)
$1.00 Place Pick All paid $4172.50 (9 OF 9)
$1.00 Super High Five paid $208.00 (1-2-3-9-5)
$1.00 Superfecta paid $69.00 (1-2-3-9)
$1.00 Trifecta paid $16.60 (1-2-3)
$2.00 Daily Double paid $67.00 (6-1)
$2.00 Pick 6 paid $1269.80 (4-4/13/14-3-6-6-1)
$2.00 Pick 6 paid $239706.40 (4-4/13/14-3-6-6-1)
$2.00 Quinella paid $6.20 (1-2)

Results, Del Mar Sunday Race 6 — lost $400


Riding for trainer Jack Carava, Garrett Gomez got #12 Lunar Humor up in the final strides

Three horses were dropping into maiden claiming $25,000 for the first time after running decently against classier animals. And #12 Lunar Humor, #2 Al N Con and #4 Morton Owen finished 1-2-3.

 Trainer Jack Carava ran Lunar Humor against maiden special weight company until his fifth race. But when the gelding could finish no better than third in four straight races, Carava began descending the class ladder.

In the maiden claiming ranks last May and June, Lunar Humor ran low-to-mid 70 Beyer Speed Figures while finishing second two times — first for $80,000 claiming and then for $40,000. On July 24 something curious happened, as jockey Michael Baze merely breezed Lunar Humor in the stretch, which caused the Beyer to sink to an all-time low of 63.

I am sure that the low last-race Beyer kept some betting money off of Lunar Humor, a 3-to-1 shot, despite the presence of jockey Garrett Gomez, who has a large following. In a recent TVG video, Carava — who is the son of a horse trainer — said that he enjoys picking spots for his runners, strategizing and compared horse racing to poker.

So maybe, just maybe, Carava was “strategizing” by breezing his horse in the stretch, so it would pay a good price when he picked his spot on the drop.

This race began with #2 Al N Con, #8 She Made Me Do It and #11 Cafe Con Leche all battling head-to-head down the backstretch.  Al N Con, who had led in his last two races against $40,000 maiden claimers, shook clear by a length on the bend, as Cafe Con Leche kept chasing.

As the field swung into the lane, Morton Owen and Joel Rosario were making a move some eight paths wide with Lunar Humor also coming on just inside of him. They had to make up four lengths on Al N Con, 4/1, at the top of the stretch.

When Joe Talamo rode Al N Con past the sixteenth pole, he still had what appeared to be a safe 2-length lead. But Lunar Humor came with a late charge to get up with two jumps to go.

Despite being extremely wide, Morton Owen, at 9-to-2, only missed by two lengths.

I bet $400 on Morton Owen because he had lots of positive long-term betting angles going for him. This gelding was 3-to-1 on the morning line, but was cold on the board throughout the betting period and ended up at 9-to-2.

To watch a replay of this race, go to

1 1 Deltamax (FL) Gryder A Cerin V 30.20 11
2 2 Al N Con (CA) Talamo J Rosales R 4.10 2
3 3 Joys Last One (CA) Stra K Martinez S 65.30 10
4 4 Morton Owen (KY) Rosario J Mitchell M 4.50 3
5 5 Spartan Jet (KY) Pedroza M Lopez J 41.60 7
6 6 Smokenomore (CA) Garcia M Spawr W 6.50 4
7 7 Warren’s Juan (CA) Santiago Reyes C Lewis C 37.10 8
8 8 She Made Me Do It (CA) Blanc B Bacorn H 16.80 12
9 9 Secret Lure (CA) Valdivia, Jr. J Puype M 21.80 6
10 10 Yrunvs M. B. (CA) Valdez F Becerra R 27.30 9
11 11 Cafe Con Leche (KY) Quinonez A Miller P 3.70 5
12 12 Lunar Humor (KY) Gomez G Carava J 3.20 1
SCR Ol’dogtown (CA) Scott J Bellasis R
SCR Objectified (CA) Baze T West T
Pgm Win Place Show
12 $8.40 $4.40 $3.20
2 $5.20 $3.60
4 $3.60
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $17.30 (12-2)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $126.60 (7-1-12)
$1.00 Superfecta paid $264.80 (12-2-4-6)
$1.00 Trifecta paid $40.90 (12-2-4)
$2.00 Daily Double paid $51.20 (1-12)
$2.00 Quinella paid $17.20 (2-12)

Results, Santa Anita Saturday Race 1 — lost $200

Jockey Joel Rosario went wire-to-wire on #5 I am Madison's

Jockey Joel Rosario went wire-to-wire on #5 I am Madison's

Horses that have flashed a fast first quarter mile in a previous race are usually good bets in sprints shorter than 6-1/2 furlongs. The one exception I found is if they are lightly raced runners facing older maidens.

However in just his third lifetime start, #5 I am Madison’s bounded from the gate and was so game that jockey Joel Rosario had his feet on the dashboard down the backstretch, as he tried to ration this gelding’s energy. The Jack Carava trainee led the other 11 runners by two lengths on the turn then Rosario let his mount loose in the stretch.

None of the other runners mounted a challenge to this 7-to-2 shot until #8 Goodlookindude came charging with about 50 yards to go, but missed by a neck.

I was looking for 5/1 to 10/1 on six horses including #5 I am Madison’s, but only one of my contenders fit into the odds zone. So I ended up with $200 to win on #9 Smokin’ Stogies, who finished fifth.

To watch a replay of this race, go to

1 1 Aeronautics (CA) Garcia M Velasquez D 39.80 6
2 2 Captain Charisma (CA) Potts C Aguirre P 11.30 11
3 3 Leavin in a Limo (CA) Baze R Koriner B 2.50 3
4 4 Far Turn (CA) Arambula P Rickerd P 80.60 10
5 5 I Am Madison’s (CA) Rosario J Carava J 3.50 1
6 6 Trenton’s a Tease (CA) Enriquez I Warren D 19.80 7
7 7 Vicar’s Walk (KY) Sorenson D Gallagher P 51.60 9
8 8 Goodlookindude (FL) Stra K Martinez S 10.20 2
9 9 Smokin’ Stogies (KY) Puglisi I Hofmans D 7.80 5
10 10 Kyle Draws Aces (CA) Smith M Miller P 20.60 12
12 11 Military Power (KY) Flores D Machowsky M 21.50 8
13 12 Judge Kent (FL) Baze T Miller P 3.90 4
SCR Niger River (CA) Solis A Fernandez V
SCR Road to the Throne (KY)    
Pgm Win Place Show
5 $9.00 $5.20 $3.80
8 $10.00 $5.80
3 $3.20
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $43.00 (5-8)
$1.00 Superfecta paid $521.30 (5-8-3-13

Friday, Santa Anita Race 8 — 4:37 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming $25,000, 5-1/2 furlongs, 4 yo’s and up

Possible overlays                        Morning line

#3 I Am Madison’s                          12/1
#4 Elusive Chief                             5/2
#5 Stray Cat                                 7/2
#8 Sky Ruler                                 15/1
#9 Golden Delight                           12/1
#10 Degreko                                 12/1
#11 High and Mighty                       8/1
#12 The Emerald King                    9/2

This race comes up extremely competitive, so watching the tote board for the proper odds is essential.

The first thing worth noting, is that #12 The Emerald King is the only horse in this race to ever be within a length of the lead at the first or second call in a race less than 7 furlongs. And that is highly unusual in a 5-1/2 furlong maiden claiming race with 12 horses in the field.

However, four of the starters in here have only run one time, so they may show more speed today. Trainer Jack Carava claimed #3 I Am Madison’s out of his Jan. 9 debut at Golden Gate where the horse was 4-wide on the turn, but still gained on the leader. I Am Madison’s earned a 57 Beyer Speed Figure after tiring, and will almost certainly need at least a 71 to beat this competitive field.

Coming back from a six-month layoff, #11 High and Mighty is tied for the best last race Beyer with the 73 he ran against maiden special weights on Aug. 23. Besides the second timers, another that may have hidden ability is #10 Degreko, who is dropping into claiming off three turf races where he faced the best maidens on the grounds.

The morning-line favorite #4 Elusive Chief looks like he’ll be a good bet today. In his last race on Jan. 16, Elusive Chief went 4-wide on the turn and still ran a 73 Beyer. The problem is, he may need to go wide again.

I’ll bet $300 on #4 Elusive Chief if he’s 2/1 to 7/2 only and $200 on The #12 Emerald King at 3/1 or more.

Also, if any of these horses are between 5/2 and 9/1 then I’ll bet the following amounts on them: $250 on #11 High and Mighty, $200 on #3 I Am Madison’s, $150 on #8 Sky Ruler, and $100 on #9 Golden Delight.

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