Results, Thursday (Jan. 26) Santa Anita Race 6 — lost $830

Jockey Brice Blanc got longshot Cloud Top home for trainer Mark Tsagalakis.

When bettors debate about who the best trainers are at Santa Anita, horsemen like Mike Mitchell, Bob Baffert and Doug O’Neill are usually at the top of everybody’s lists.

So, it was no surprise that in a maiden claiming race where each of these trainers had a runner that one saddled by Mark Tsagalakis would be 23-to-1.

It was a surprise, however, that Tsagalakis’ horse won.

Sure, Cloud Top finished third in his first and only start, but it was against maiden $30,000 claimers and today he was stepping up to $50,000. When I watched the replay of Cloud Top’s Dec. 10 debut, I noticed that he broke slowly to be tenth and I was impressed with the ease of how he blew through the field to be third as the group entered the turn.

But I discounted the move, and never mentioned the gelding in my race preview, because he was facing much cheaper horses back then. I even had an angle: 3-year-old second timers with one fast workout won 9 of 44 races between the odds of 9-to-2 and 19-to-1 in sprints longer than 6-furlongs. These horses returned $1.65 for every $1 bet.

Cloud Top fit perfectly, but once his odds drifted above 20-to-1, I threw him out.

Instead, I put a pile of cash on Mitchell’s runner #3 Towering who ran like a 23-to-1 shot, finishing ninth, but was actually just 5-to-2. I was seduced by Mitchell’s great record with second time starters and the fact that he had really begun to heat up at Santa Anita, winning with his last seven of 15 runners.

Another horse I loved, who also turned out to be a dud, was #7 Charlie Company. In two of his past three races, Charlie Company ran a better Beyer Speed Figure than the median winning Beyer at this level. He was shipping down from Golden Gate and his trainer William Morey is capable, so the price seemed right at 10-to-1.

But Charlie Company finished dead last.

I squandered a few more dollars on exactas, but why go into that.

In the end I lost $830 and my four-race winning streak was stopped cold.

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

PGM PP# NAME JOCKEY TRAINER ODDS FN
1 1 Midnight Con (FL) Maldonado E O’Neill D 10.90 4
2 2 Cruxus (FL) Santiago Reyes C Cerin V 58.00 8
3 3 Towering (KY) Rosario J Mitchell M 2.50 9
4 4 Cloud Top (KY) Blanc B Tsagalakis M 23.00 1
5 5 Tummel (KY) Flores D Sherman A 4.90 3
6 6 Ron Burgundy (KY) Nakatani C Glatt M 53.60 5
7 7 Charlie Company (KY) Espinoza V Morey, Jr. W 10.50 11
8 8 Visible Marq (FL) Garcia M Baffert B 3.50 6
9 9 Congrats Ski (KY) Bejarano R Walsh K 4.20 2
10 10 Awesome Mike (AZ) Pedroza M Owens R 21.00 10
11 11 Outperform (CA) Flores E Hendricks D 35.50 7
 
Pgm Win Place Show
4 $48.00 $21.40 $11.20
9 $7.00 $4.80
5 $3.80
 
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $143.00 (4-9)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $15078.70 (6-2-4)
$1.00 Superfecta paid $4917.30 (4-9-5-1)
$1.00 Trifecta paid $1109.90 (4-9-5)
$2.00 Daily Double paid $412.80 (2-4)
Fractional Times
22.25, 45.00, 1:10.05, 1:23.11
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Thursday, Santa Anita Race 6 — post time 3:36 pm

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming $50,000, 7 furlongs, 3-year-olds

Median winning Beyer Speed Figure: 75

Possible overlays                       Morning line

#1 Midnight Con                             6/1
#2 Cruxus                                   20/1
#3 Towering                                 4/1
#7 Charlie Company                          6/1
#8 Visible Marq                             7/2
#9 Congrats Ski                             4/1

After a slow start to the Santa Anita meet, trainer Mike Mitchell is on fire right now. According to the Daily Racing Form, Mitchell has won with seven of his last 15 runners and he saddles second-time starter #3 Towering in this event.

Mitchell has an outstanding record with maiden claiming second-time starters and he is even better when those horses are running in 6-1/2 and 7 furlong races. Towering, who ran evenly in his Dec. 8 debut at Gulfstream Park, was previously trained by Joseph Catanese III. With the trainer shift, Towering should significantly improve based solely on the colt moving from an 8 percent horseman, Catanese, to Mitchell, who won with 32 percent of his starters in 2011.

Also, Mitchell will leg up Joel Rosario on Towering and this combination his won with 15 of their last 34 runners for a return of $2.49 for every $2 wager.

But, by no means is this a one-horse race. Hard-knockers like #1 Midnight Con and #7 Charlie Company could easily win by merely repeating some of their previous races.

Trainer William Morey is bringing Charlie Company down from Golden Gate where this gelding hit the board in his last three starts. In two of the three, Charlie Company earned a better Beyer Speed Figure than the median winning number of 75 when I adjusted for the ground lost on the turn. Charlie Company’s running style is to break in the middle of the pack, and although Santa Anita favors speed more than Golden Gate, this gelding has a great chance today.

Doug O’Neill claimed #1 Midnight Con away from trainer Jeff Mullins for $30,000 on Jan. 20. Midnight Con’s best race was on Dec. 4 when he came within three-quarters of a length of the winner while running against $50,000 maiden claimers. However, only three horses ran in that race, so he had a perfect trip.

On Jan. 20, Midnight Con had the lead in the stretch, but ran out of gas going a mile. He has an outside chance, but I like Charlie Company better.

Another horse who has run some interesting races is #9 Congrats Ski. In this gelding’s second lifetime start on Dec. 17, Congrats Ski broke in the air and bumped the horse inside of him to lose at least a length. He then lost more ground when circling the field wide on the turn, yet still he ran a 68 Beyer, which I upgraded to 75.

On Jan 7, in Congrats Ski’s first start over the Santa Anita dirt, he pressed the pace chasing Consulado who was motoring through fractions of 21-2/5th seconds for the quarter-mile and 44-seconds flat for the half. Consulado, who is likely a future stakes winner, cruised to a 7-1/4 length victory while Congrats Ski’s jockey saw the chase was futile and breezed him throughout the stretch.

Congrats Ski has early speed, is dropping into maiden claiming for the first time today, and trainer Kathy Walsh does well when employing jockey Rafael Bejarano. Congrats Ski looks solid.

I wouldn’t care too much for #8 Visible Marq, except that his trainer is Bob Baffert, so he must be considered. In his previous race on Jan. 5, Visible Marq ran second to wire-to-wire winner Sir Allison, his barnmate, to complete a Bob Baffert exacta.

In that race, Rosario broke Visible Marq in the middle of the pack, then came with a nice stretch run to earn a 73 Beyer Speed Figure. This colt, who sports several quick workouts, was purchased as a 2-year-old for $50,000 and seems to be placed in the right spot for his third start.

The main knocks on both Congrats Ski and Visible Marq, however, are that they are lightly raced. At 7-furlongs, their lack of experience might be difficult to overcome. It’s true that Towering is also making just his second start, but Mitchell seems to have his second-timers ready to tackle all obstacles.

Finally, #2 Cruxus and #6 Ron Burgandy are both new geldings with good angles in their favor. If their odds stay below 20-to-1, then I’m slightly interested.

My betting strategy: I will be satisfied if at post time I am sitting with win money on #3 Towering at 5/2 and #7 Charlie Company at 9/2. Considering their morning line odds are 4/1 and 6/1 respectively, that doesn’t seem too unreasonable.

Because Mitchell’s horses tend to run better when less than 7/2, I will put $400 to win on #3 Towering at 3/1 or less, but $200 to win at 7/2 or higher. At odds of 5/2 or more, I will put $300 to win on #7 Charlie Company.

If #9 Congrats Ski is 5/1 or more, then I want $50 exactas 9 with 3,7.

If #2 Cruxus and #6 Ron Burgandy are between 10/1 and 19/1, then I want $50 to win on Cruxus and $100 to win on Ron Burgandy. Also, I will take $10 exactas 3,7,9 with 2,6.

Finally, if Charlie Company is 9/2 or more, then I’ll bet $50 exacta 3 with 7; $30 exactas 8, 9 (any odds) with 7; $20 exactas 1 with 7; and $5 exactas 2,6 (if less than 20/1) with 7.

Monday, Santa Anita, Race 2 — post time 12:32 pm PST

 

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming, $20K, 6-1/2 furlongs, 3 yo’s and up

Possible overlays                    Morning line
#3 Maybe Tuesday                         8/1
#4 Zapeye                                           4/1
#5 What a Rush                                 4/1
#6 Street Titan                                  5/2
#10 Trando’s Tremor                     3/1
 
I am hoping that first-time starter #3 Maybe Tuesday is cold on the board and his odds drift into the 10-to-1 to 20-to-1 range. Then I won’t have to deal with him. These cagey connections bet their live horses and this gelding is a contender if less than 10-to-1, although I probably won’t take him anyway.

I think a mid-70’s Beyer Speed Figure will be necessary to win this contentious race. Coming off of a nine-month layoff, #4 Zapeye is trying dirt for the first time after not threatening in his three turf routes. Being a 3-year-old who was a May foal, Zapeye is definitely eligible to improve and my layoff information shows that horses who look like Zapeye have been outstanding bets at 7-to-2 to 5-to-1, but they tail off a bit up to 10-to-1. It’s interesting to note that this gelding is named for handicapper and breeding consultant Larry Zap, whose Twitter account @LarryZapeye states that he is known “as the Eye for being able to measure quality in Thoroughbred racehorses.”

Chantal Sutherland rode Zapeye in his first three races, but she moves to #5 What a Rush. Sired by Tribal Rule, What a Rush has plenty of early speed, which I believe is disadvantageous for this class at 6-1/2 furlongs. In fact, only 16 percent of these races are won by runners who get the lead at the quarter pole. However, by what I observed watching What a Rush’s last two tries, it appears that Sutherland and trainer A.C. Avila are working with the horse to throttle back his early energy. To me, this horse appears to fit better at 6 furlongs or shorter. However, What a Rush did run an 81 Beyer figure five races ago on March 25 and he’d be tough to catch if he ran like that on Monday.

Mike Mitchell trains #6 Street Titan. Need I say more?

Mitchell, who won with a gaudy 107 of 324 runners this year — or 33 percent, took over the training of Street Titan this Fall after Ian Wilkes and Roger Attfield made a combined 10 unsuccessful attempts with him to win higher class races in the Midwest and in Canada. The fact that Street Titan is making his 13th start doesn’t bother me at all. Sure, he’s failed 12 times, but all except one of these races were for maiden special weights and at least three of those races were on the grass. Mitchell started Street Titan twice in the last two months for higher-priced claiming tags and, after troubled trips in both starts, I upgraded the horse’s Beyer figures from 65 to 70 on Nov. 3 and 64 to 69 on Dec. 1. Street Titan needs to improve a length or two to win, but the Mitchell magic is due to kick in sooner rather than later.

Finally, #10 Trando’s Tremor began his career for Dan Hendricks on Sept. 2 when he was squeezed after the start at 5-1/2 furlongs to be 12 lengths behind, but then rallied well to miss by just 3-1/2 lengths. I upgraded the Beyer from 57 to 68 to account for what I estimated to be a 4-length loss. In that race, Michael Pender claimed Trando’s Tremor for $20K and then brought him back on Oct. 6 where the gelding pressed the pace from the 11 post at 6-1/2 furlongs to miss by just a half-length. In the 10 stall on Monday, Trando’s Tremor might suffer a wide trip.

My betting strategy: If the odds on #4 Zapeye fall between 7/2 and 5/1, then I will bet $500 to win on him and $250 to win on #6 Street Titan. If the odds on Zapeye, however, are 6/1 to 9/1 then I want just $100 to win on him and $700 to win on Street Titan. If Zapeye is less than 7/2, or 10/1 or more, I’ll bet nothing on him and $800 on Street Titan.

Saturday, Del Mar Race 10 — 6:30 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming $25,000, 6-1/2 furlongs, 3 yos and up

Possible overlays                            Morning line

#2 Carrie Rose                                         3/1
#3 Ride a Wave                                       6/1
#6 Rising Honour                                      9/2

Without a doubt, the top early speed horse in this race is #2 Carrie Rose. In her past two sprints, Carrie Rose was pressured on the lead against maiden special weight competition. But today, she should get to the front rather easily and therefore should have more moxie in the stretch.

With the median winning Beyer Speed Figure for this class being 66, either of Carrie Rose’s sprint finishes would have beaten many a $25k maiden claiming field. If this race were shorter, she would be a better bet, but speed is usually overvalued at 6-1/2 and 7 furlongs where pressers and closers do well.

Two promising closers in here are also returning from long layoffs. Trained by Eoin Harty, #6 Rising Honour is dropping from maiden special weight where she had been most recently routing on the turf. The move from turf route to maiden claiming sprint after a long layoff is a profitable one. And Rising Honour has the talent to win today, as all of her Beyer numbers either meet or exceed the median 66 BSF for this class.

Although #3 Ride a Wave is making her seventh lifetime start, this is her first in Southern California after campaigning in Florida throughout 2009. Her new trainer Kathy Walsh has a good record with newly-acquired horses and Ride a Wave ran decently in December before being put away.

As far as the odds go, if #6 Rising Honour is bet to 2-1 to 3-1 that would be a great sign that race track insiders think she is training well. If her price drifts to 7-2 or higher, then I will discount her chances.

Ride a Wave doesn’t look as good as Rising Honour on paper, but Kathy Walsh produces top results and I like this filly from 2-1 to 9-1.

I’ve been watching Mike Mitchell’s runners over the years, and he has an outstanding record in maiden claiming races like this one when his horses are bet below 3-1. The morning line maker believes Carrie Rose will be 3-1, but I think she’ll be more like 8-5 or 9-5.  

If #6 Rising Honour is 2-1 to 3-1 then I will be $500 on her.

If #2 Carrie Rose is 5-2 or less and Rising Honour is 7-2 or more, then I will bet $200 exactas 2 with 3,6.

Finally, at 4-1 to 9-1, I will bet $200 on #3 Ride a Wave.

********************************************************************

Results: Lost $400 by betting two $200 exactas keying #2 Carrie Rose at 6-5 to #3 Ride A Wave at 15-1 and #6 Rising Honour at 4-1.

*********************************************************************

PGM PP# NAME JOCKEY TRAINER ODDS FN
1 1 Nosegay (CA) Pedroza M Barba A 28.70 8
2 2 Carrie Rose (CA) Smith M Mitchell M 1.20 3
3 3 Ride a Wave (KY) Flores D Walsh K 15.50 6
4 4 Junes Blue Moon (OR) Gihua J Martinez S 10.80 9
5 5 Storm’n Marisa (KY) Bisono A Chew M 39.60 4
6 6 Rising Honour (KY) Valenzuela P Harty E 4.00 1
7 7 Long Legged Lovely (CA) Bejarano R Jones M 10.30 5
9 8 Gavita (NM) Quinonez A Gonzalez S 60.60 11
10 9 Real Obvious (KY) Garcia M Mullins J 10.80 2
11 10 Love Song Mellody (KY) Cedeno A Martinez R 70.80 12
12 11 Atta’ Girl (CA) Valdez F Polanco M 18.00 7
13 12 Lady Adelle (KY) Velazquez J Sadler J 12.10 10
SCR Touch a Dream (CA)    
SCR Le Defi (CA) Quinonez A Lloyd J
Pgm Win Place Show
6 $10.00 $5.80 $3.60
10 $10.40 $5.60
2 $2.40
 
Exotic Payoffs
$0.50 Pick 4 paid $143.65 (3-3-4/10-6)
$1.00 Exacta paid $48.20 (6-10)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $33.20 (3-4-6)
$1.00 Place Pick All paid $1005.40 (10 OF 10)
$1.00 Super High Five paid $16190.40 (6-10-2-5-7)
$1.00 Superfecta paid $1893.10 (6-10-2-5)
$1.00 Trifecta paid $137.20 (6-10-2)
$2.00 Daily Double paid $26.80 (4-6)
$2.00 Pick 6 paid $4411.20 (3-2/5-3-3-4/10-6)
$2.00 Pick 6 paid $78.60 (3-2/5-3-3-4/10-6)
$2.00 Quinella paid $71.80 (6-10)

Results, Thursday Del Mar Race 3 — lost $1,000

Jockey Martin Garcia eased #1 Lost Prophet to the lead then poured it on in the stretch.

Looking at this race beforehand, it was easy to tell that #1 Lost Prophet was a contender. She clearly had the best speed, trainer Mike Mitchell has an outstanding long-term record with horses he just claimed, and she worked a bullet on July 23.

Her only drawback was that 7-furlong races are not usually won by horses on the lead. They are mostly won by horses like #3 Indiara and #4 Kaysa Deeya that either press the pace or run midpack then come on strong in the stretch.

As the gates opened, jockey Martin Garcia restrained Lost Prophet a bit, although the filly’s natural speed got her to the lead anyway. On the backstretch, she was able to establish a clear one-length lead with minimal encouragement by Garcia.

In second place, #6 East Lake Shore was plugging away until midway on the turn when #4 Kaysa Deeya passed her rather easily. In the stretch, Lost Prophet widened her lead to win by 8-1/2 lengths, while Kaysa Deeya ran on strongly under jockey Patrick Valenzuela, but was no match.

At 3/1 on the morning line, I planned to wager $700 on Lost Prophet at odds of 5/2 to 4/1, but since she went off at 6/5 my betting plan changed. Instead, my $700 bet went to #4 Kaysa Deeya at 9/1 and I also put $300 to win on #6 East Lake Shore at 11/1.

PGM PP# NAME JOCKEY TRAINER ODDS FN
1 1 Lost Prophet (KY) Garcia M Mitchell M 1.20 1
2 2 Pocatello Wild Kat (CA) Nakatani C Fanning J 23.60 5
3 3 Indiara (KY) Bejarano R Harty E 1.80 4
4 4 Kaysa Deeya (KY) Espinoza V Sadler J 9.90 2
5 5 My Romance (KY) Smith M Headley B 6.60 7
6 6 East Lake Shore (FL) Rosario J Yakteen T 11.90 6
7 7 Lisa Lulu (CA) Pedroza M Abrams B 18.80 3
 
Pgm Win Place Show
1 $4.40 $3.60 $3.20
4 $7.00 $4.60
7 $5.80
 
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $17.40 (1-4)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $27.00 (2-6-1)
$1.00 Superfecta paid $300.90 (1-4-7-3)

 

Thursday, Del Mar Race 3 — 3 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Calif. maiden races

Maiden claiming 32K, 3 yo’s and up, F, 7 furlongs 

Possible overlays                Morning line 

#1 Lost Prophet                           3/1
#4 Kaysa Deeya                           7/2
#6 East Lake Shore                       8/1 

According to Brad Free in the Daily Racing Form, Mike Mitchell is 5-for-8 first off the claim with maiden claimers over the last four Del Mar meets. In this race, Mitchell saddles #1 Lost Prophet, who he claimed from Howard Zucker for $25,000 on July 9. 

This maiden $32K race is hardly a step up for Lost Prophet, as the median winning Beyer Speed Figure is only one point higher at $32K than at the maiden $25K level.  Also, Lost Prophet looks like she’ll get a clear lead and she might enjoy the leisurely fractions in these 7-furlong races. 

However, only 15 percent of all 7-furlong maiden claiming races for older horses in the last few years have been won wire-to-wire. So Lost Prophet does not have the right running style for this distance. 

A horse who does have the right 7-furlong running style is #3 Indiara. This Eoin Harty-trained runner has been bet below 5/1 in each of her last six starts and the Beyer Speed Figures in six of her last 10 outings would win most races at this level. 

But I can’t see Indiara going off at 5/2 or greater, so I most likely won’t be betting on her. 

Second-time starter #6 East Lake Shore looks interesting. Trainer Tim Yakteen who is winning at 19 percent for the year is just 1-of-29 in the last few years with debuting maidens at less than 20/1. 

And having watched the replay of East Lake Shore’s first start, she looks to have been given a tune-up race. She has worked out well and was bet down to 6/1 in her debut. 

Also, Yakteen has a decent record second time out and top jockey Joel Rosario is at the controls. 

I see nothing wrong with #4 Kaysa Deeya, who should come with a closing kick with jockey Patrick Valenzuela up. Kaysa Deeya, trained by John Sadler, also ran a couple of recent Beyers that are close to the median winning speed figure. 

If #1 Lost Prophet is 5/2 to 4/1 then I will bet $700 to win on her. Also, I want $300 to win on #6 East Lake Shore at 4/1 to 12/1. If Lost Prophet doesn’t fall into my odds zone, then I will put the $700 on #Kaysa Deeya at odds of 5/2 or higher.

Saturday, Santa Anita Race 5 — 2:30 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden Special Weight, 6 furlongs, 2-yo fillies

Possible overlays                       Morning line

#1 Dance the Dance                           15/1
#4 Stunning Ally                                  6/1
#5 Evening Jewel                                 6/1
#7 Carrie Rose                                     8/1

The obvious favorite of this bunch is #10 Excellent News, who rang up an 82 Beyer Speed Figure in her last race on Aug. 29 while finishing second to Miss Georgie Girl. Since Excellent News has already ran a speed figure that’s better than the median winning number of 80, she is the most likely winner. However, the Baffert brand name will ensure she’s way overbet.

Therefore, I’m looking toward either a couple of first time starters or a filly making her second lifetime run to get the job done at a price.

Over the past year or so, trainer Mike Mitchell has been firing well with his young horses when he sends them out in their debuts.  And it doesn’t hurt that Garrett Gomez will be aboard #7 Carrie Rose, especially when noting that the Gomez-Mitchell tandem has produced 27 winners from their last 82 runners. A $1 bet on all of them yielded $1.31, according to the Daily Racing Form.

James Cassidy saddles #5 Evening Jewel who was bet to 9/2 in her first lifetime race on Aug. 23. On that day, Evening Jewel ran evenly in the middle of the pack, however when I watched the replay it looked to me like  jockey David Flores was taking it easy on her. This filly has some nice workouts and she fits the profile of a winning second-time starter.

Breaking just inside of Evening Jewel will be #4 Stunning Ally, who is another debuter. Julio Canani has this daughter of In Excess working out well and she looks like a bet if the price is right.

Finally, owners Rod and Lorraine Rodriguez have had much success winning with debut horses over the years, but I am not that big of a fan of their filly, #1 Dance the Dance. At the right price, though, a small bet based on the connections may be in order.

I will wager $200 on #7 Carrie Rose from 3/1 to 9/1, but just $100 at 10/1 and up. Also, I will take  $200 on #5 Evening Jewel at 5/2 to 9/1 and $100 at 10/1 or higher. Finally, if #4 Stunning Ally is 7/2 to 9/1, I want $150 to win on her, but I’ll take $200 to win at 10/1 to 19/1.

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