Sunday, Santa Anita Race 5 — post time 2:34 pm

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming $20,000, 5-1/2 furlongs, 4-yo’s and up

Median winning Beyer Speed Figure: 70

Possible overlays                               Morning line

#1 Joburg Star                                       7/2
#3 Our Last Monte                                    3/1
#8 Brite Dreamer                                     8/1

Since Santa Anita opened on Dec. 26, I’ve been betting on nothing but 6-1/2 and 7-furlong maiden races on this blog. But that doesn’t mean I’ve been ignoring shorter sprints at the wagering window in real life.

In fact, I’ve hit quite a few nice-paying horses in the last month.

Last night I looked at the third race, which is a 6-1/2 furlong maiden claimer for 3-year-old females. Since I couldn’t find any solid plays in there, I decided to replace that race with this 5-1/2 furlong dash instead. One reason I like this race better is that two horses in this race are being saddled by trainers who I cashed many juicy tickets with over the recent years.

In my opinion, Darrell Vienna is one of the best horsemen on the grounds when it comes to winning maiden races with horses that the public overlooks. In this race, Vienna starts #3 Our Last Monte and he has given this gelding all slow workouts. A 4-year-old, Our Last Monte is running in his third race back off an 11-month layoff and can likely run better than the mid-60 Beyer Speed Figures he’s hung up in his last two runs.

Our Last Monte, who is making his seventh lifetime start, has demonstrated good early speed in most of his past races. The early foot will hurt this horse’s price, but he stands an excellent chance of winning today at a square mutuel.

Trainer Rafael Becerra won with only 5 of his 70 starters in 2011, so he doesn’t have much of a following. However, he has shown in the past that he’s excellent at winning races with maiden claiming sprinters that are coming off of long layoffs. Of his last 18 runners like this, Becerra won with seven of them, or 39 percent. Each $1 wagered on these animals returned $3.27.

On the rail, #1 Joburg Star ran well as a 2-year-old against maiden special weight company. But he hasn’t raced in one-and-a-half years. It would be no surprise to see Peter Miller getting his photo taken with Joburg Star in the winner’s circle, but I expect the presence of jockey Joel Rosario to drag this horse’s odds well below 7-to-2.

My betting strategy: I will put $300 to win on #3 Our Last Monte at 2/1 or more. Also, I want $250 on #8 Brite Dreamer at 3/1 to 14/1, but only $100 at 15/1 to 19/1.

Saturday, Santa Anita Race 1 — post time 12:30 pm

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming $30,000, F&M 3-yo’s, 6-1/2 furlongs

Possible overlays                            Morning line

#1 Silver Threat                                     5/2
#6 Scream Queen                                      3/1
#10 Wild Date                                        8/1

The two favorites in this race — #1 Silver Threat and #6 Scream Queen — are running in a rematch of their Dec. 18 6-furlong tilt at Hollywood Park. On that day, Silver Threat finished second by three-quarters of a length after getting bumped as the gates opened then going wide on the turn. After watching the video, I estimated that Silver Threat conservatively lost three lengths at the start and two more on the turn, so I upgraded her 61 Beyer Speed Figure to a 73. 

Scream Queen had a clean trip, although she was in the three path on the turn, so I nudged her 61 Beyer up to a 63. She finished third and was just a head behind Silver Threat.

The curious aspect of today’s race is that no true early speed horses are in the 10-horse field. Therefore, it will be interesting to see which jockeys try to gun their mounts for the lead then try to hang on at the wire.

Although, Scream Queen was the 4-to-5 favorite last time, it looks like Silver Threat is almost certain to be today’s choice. The four Daily Racing Form selectors pick her on top and Brad Free provides all the details about her rough trip in his race analysis. It could be that everybody at the track is aware that Silver Threat ran a winning race last time and they will back her today.

Silver Threat has a couple of other angles going for her, too: Her owner Gary Barber won with four of his last five second-time starters and her trainer Peter Miller has an excellent record with maiden claimers in their second lifetime starts. The major drawbacks are that Silver Threat wore front wraps last time, she has little racing experience and the crowd is likely to overbet her. Many times when the whole world knows about a bad trip, then for some reason the horse doesn’t fire in it’s next race.

Scream Queen can win if a.) Silver Threat runs a poor race or b.) she improves by a couple of lengths while Silver Threat regresses slightly.

Finally, I’m giving #10 Wild Date a chance based on the 58 Beyer Speed Figure she ran on July 21. However, this Eoin Harty-trained filly has not run impressively in any of her three starts since.

My Betting Strategy: I will wager $400 to win on #1 Silver Threat at 2/1 or higher. But if Silver Threat is bet below 2/1, then I will take $200 to win on #6 Scream Queen at 7/2 or better. At odds of 6/1 or higher, I will put $100 on #10 Wild Date.

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

Maiden King conquers So. Calif. maiden races

Maiden claiming $32K, 5-1/2 furlongs, 2-year-olds 

Possible overlays                         Morning line 

#1 Certainly Certain                            3/1
#3 Elessar                                         6/1
#6 Gibson Home Run                           7/2
#7 Chiloquin                                      6/1
#9 B.J.’s Hope                                    6/1

Of the horses with racing experience, the one with the quickest first quarter-mile is the gelding on the rail, #1 Certainly Certain. 

In his last race, Certainly Certain broke from post 9 and had to be used a bit to stay close to the leaders. Entering the turn, Certainly Certain was 4-wide, but jockey Christian Santiago Reyes was able to negotiate his way toward the rail while on the bend. In the stretch, Certainly Certain gamely challenged the ultimate race winner JJ Minister while running a 70 Beyer Speed Figure, which would win most of the races at this level. 

However, this difficult race was on July 21, which was just two weeks ago, therefore Certainly Certain may bounce. 

A see quite a few trainer angles in this race. Kathy Walsh, who saddles #3 Elessar, has a great record with young horses making their second lifetime starts. 

First time starters have not been a good bet at this level since the beginning of 2009. But trainer Peter Miller seems to specialize with young maiden claimers making their first lifetime starts. Between January 2009 and May 2010, Miller won with 5 of 12 maiden claiming debuters that had post time odds between 7/2 and 19/1. In here, Miller saddles first-timer runner #6 Gibson Home Run. 

Another who has a great record with young maiden claimers is Adam Kitchingman, who trains #2 Mi Alma. Although Mi Alma will be ridden by leading jockey Joel Rosario, this gelding is a late foal so I am not interested. 

Finally, trainers that also own a piece of the horse do well in these types of races.  Trainer Scott Hansen is partners on #7 Chiloquin, who is by Tribal Rule. This sire’s 2 year-old and 3-year-old progeny have won 6 of 30 races at first asking recently in Southern California. Hansen doesn’t start many, but he has worked as an assistant to top trainers like Bobby Frankel and Julio Canani. 

At odds of 5/2 or higher, I will wager $600 to win on #1 Certainly Certain. Also, at 4/1 to 9/1, I’ll put $300 to win on whichever horse is the longer price between #3 Elessar and #6 Gibson Home Run. 

Finally, if #7 Chiloquin is 7/1 to 12/1, I will put $100 to win on him.  

If Certainly Certain’s odds are below 5/2, then instead I will change my bets to $400 to win on both #3 Elessar at 7/2 to 9/1 and #6 Gibson Home Run at 7/2 to 19/1; and $200 to win on #7 Chiloquin at 5/1 to 12/1.


RESULTS: Lost $500 with a $300 win wager on #3 Elessar at 4-1 and $200 to win on #7 Chiloquin at 11-1.


1 1 Certainly Certain (CA) Santiago Reyes C Solis W 1.80 3
3 2 Elessar (KY) Garcia M Walsh K 4.40 2
4 3 Celestic Night (KY) Nakatani C French N 15.60 5
5 4 On Golden Time (CA) Gihua J Aguayo V 47.60 9
6 5 Gibson Home Run (FL) Valenzuela P Miller P 2.80 1
7 6 Chiloquin (CA) Pedroza M Hansen S 11.30 4
8 7 Unbridled Score (CA) Rivera C Stute M 45.50 6
9 8 B. J.’s Hope (KY) Espinoza V Velasquez D 5.40 7
10 9 Express Train (KY) Garcia J Bernstein D 20.00 8
SCR Mi Alma (KY) Rosario J Kitchingman A
Pgm Win Place Show
6 $7.60 $5.00 $3.40
3 $5.40 $3.00
1 $2.20
Exotic Payoffs
$0.50 Pick 4 paid $742.50 (6-1-6/10/11/12-6)
$1.00 Exacta paid $18.60 (6-3)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $712.70 (1-6-6)
$1.00 Place Pick All paid $633.10 (8 OF 8)
$1.00 Super High Five paid $1176.00 (6-3-1-7-4)
$1.00 Superfecta paid $296.00 (6-3-1-7)
$1.00 Trifecta paid $37.40 (6-3-1)
$2.00 Daily Double paid $26.40 (6-6)
$2.00 Pick 6 paid $140.20 (4-1-6-1-6/10/11/12-6)
$2.00 Pick 6 paid $22113.60 (4-1-6-1-6/10/11/12-6)
$2.00 Quinella paid $20.60 (3-6)

Results, Del Mar Wednesday Race 8 — lost $290

Joel Rosario won Wednesday's 8th race for trainer Peter Miller aboard #13 Offlee Wild Boys.

Anybody wagering on these maiden races better take a close look at the horse jockey Joel Rosario is riding. Rosario’s new agent Ronnie Ebanks called him the best young rider he has ever seen, and I am starting to believe him.

Coming into the race, #13 Offlee Wild Boys had competed four times in maiden special weight company, showing speed in most of those events before fading. In this $40,000 maiden claiming race, the switch to Rosario and the drop in class were helpful, as Offlee Wild Boys broke on top then settled two lengths off a three-way speed duel on the backstretch.

Rosario made his move three paths wide on the turn and blew by leaders #6 Bold Fresh and #1 Tahoe Yodeler by the time the field hit the top of the lane. Offlee Wild Boys stayed strong in the stretch without being challenged to prevail by 2-1/2 lengths.  

Before the race, I was watching the odds on a pair of first time starters — #5 Call Me Later and #10 Warrens Heartthrob for possible bets. Also, #1 Tahoe Yodeler, #9 Beer Friday and #12 Swiss Tart were all possibilities at the right odds.

However, only Call Me Later, at 5/1, fell into the odds range. He ran in the middle of the pack then made a mild run to finish fourth without ever challenging for the win.

1 1 Tahoe Yodeler (CA) Quinonez A Bonde J 7.30 5
2 2 Red Mountain (CA) Gonzalez A Dahl T 47.90 11
3 3 Trouble Rules (CA) Smith M Fanning J 16.30 7
4 4 Swiss Hero (CA) Bejarano R Periban J 14.70 2
5 5 Call Me Later (CA) Talamo J Hollendorfer J 5.40 4
6 6 Bold Fresh (CA) Espinoza V Kruljac J 13.30 10
7 7 Curly Boy (CA) Valdez F Moger, Jr. E 31.70 8
8 8 Destined Journey (CA) Atkinson P Aguayo V 50.40 9
9 9 Beer Friday (CA) Blanc B Lloyd J 29.30 12
10 10 Warrens Heartthrob (CA) Verenzuela J Sise, Jr. C 21.10 6
12 11 Swiss Tart (CA) Santiago Reyes C Harrington M 1.80 3
13 12 Offlee Wild Boys (CA) Rosario J Miller P 3.60 1
SCR Georgia’s Friend (CA)    
Pgm Win Place Show
13 $9.20 $5.20 $3.60
4 $10.60 $4.80
12 $3.00
Exotic Payoffs
$0.50 Pick 4 paid $654.55 (10-9-1-13)
$1.00 Exacta paid $45.50 (13-4)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $247.70 (9-1-13)
$1.00 Place Pick All paid $3507.50 (8 OF 8)
$1.00 Super High Five paid $1967.20 (13-4-12-5-1)
$1.00 Superfecta paid $793.30 (13-4-12-5)
$1.00 Trifecta paid $135.70 (13-4-12)
$2.00 Daily Double paid $119.60 (1-13)
$2.00 Pick 6 paid $15450.20 (5-4-10-9-1-13)
$2.00 Pick 6 paid $167.20 (5-4-10-9-1-13)
$2.00 Quinella paid $53.00 (4-13)

Results, Del Mar Thursday Race 8 — won $180

1980detrDespite traffic problems in the lane, #10 Purse Luva easily ran by leader #11 Cardiff Giant to win impressively.

Jockey Victor Espinoza broke Purse Luva toward the rear of this 12-horse field, as #3 Action Call, #4 Gilligan and #6 Catch My Tale all dueled for the lead. Coming into the race, trainer Caesar Dominguez dropped Purse Luva in class from maiden $50,000 claimer for his second lifetime start and added blinkers.

As the field toiled in deep stretch, the inflection in race caller Trevor Denman’s seemed to indicate he believed first-time starter #11 Cardiff Giant’s two-length lead would hold. But Purse Luva found running room and came off the rail, which opened Denman’s eyes. He called out: “Now, out of nowhere, Purse Luva. And Purse Luva looking like he just jumped in at the eighth pole. Just goes right on by.”

Cardiff Giant, from the hot Peter Miller barn, was bet to 7-to-2 and ran well but his wide trip likely compromised his finish.

I bet $150 on three horses #10 Purse Luva, at 3/1; #3 Action Call, a 9/1 shot; and debuter #5 Haimish Hy, at 13/1. I collected $630, but only profited $180 after subtracting out the $450 in bets.

To watch a replay of this race, go to

1 1 Senor Crafty (CA) Kaenel K Alcala J 8.50 5
2 2 Happy Hands (UT) Atkinson P Stute G 44.90 12
3 3 Action Call (CA) Valdivia, Jr. J Solis W 9.00 9
4 4 Gilligan (KY) Delgadillo A Stute M 5.50 7
5 5 Haimish Hy (KY) Quinonez A Sherman A 13.70 3
6 6 Catch My Tale (KY) Valdez F Talbot S 24.70 6
7 7 Zagora’s Pride (NM) Santiago Reyes C Gonzalez S 33.20 10
8 8 Straightomidnight (CA) Berrio O Avila A 10.80 11
9 9 Golden Boy Mark (CA) Baze M Pender M 14.60 4
10 10 Purse Luva (KY) Espinoza V Dominguez C 3.20 1
11 11 Cardiff Giant (KY) Baze T Miller P 3.80 2
12 12 Suitcase Simpson (CA) Pedroza M Harrington M 11.90 8
SCR Ministerfrommiami (CA) Santiago Reyes C Sadler J
SCR Single Prince (CA) Pedroza M DeLima J
Pgm Win Place Show
10 $8.40 $4.20 $3.40
11 $4.80 $4.00
5 $8.20
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $13.60 (10-11)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $98.70 (8-2-10)
$1.00 Pick 4 paid $733.50 (7-8-2-10/13/14)
$1.00 Place Pick All paid $5253.00 (8 OF 8)
$1.00 Super High Five paid $16306.40 (10-11-5-9-1)
$1.00 Superfecta paid $2517.10 (10-11-5-9)
$1.00 Trifecta paid $219.60 (10-11-5)
$2.00 Daily Double paid $40.80 (2-10)
$2.00 Pick 6 paid $11292.40 (6/8-4/6/13-7-8-2-10/1
$2.00 Pick 6 paid $202.60 (6/8-4/6/13-7-8-2-10/13/
$2.00 Quinella paid $17.00 (10-11)

Results, Del Mar Wednesday Race 4 — lost $150

Trainer Peter Miller had #5 Punctual ready to run first time out

Trainer Peter Miller had #5 Punctual ready to run first time out

They say many races are won at the starting gate. And that seemed to be true in this heat, as jockey Tyler Baze shot to the front on #5  Punctual and cruised to an easy 7-1/2 length victory.

The owners had to be pleased with the work of trainer Peter Miller, who had this horse ready to win in its first lifetime race. The filly, which was bought for just $1,000, earned $16,200 for the win.

When analyzing this race, I gave Punctual a chance at 10/1 to 19/1. But with a few minutes to post #1 Bye Bye Hollywood, who was about 4/1,  was scratched. So instead of Punctual being 11 or 12-to-1, she went off at 8-to-1.

Instead, I bet $100 on #7 Action Gal at 7-to-1 and $50 on #9 Wicked Trip at 12-to-1.

To watch a replay of this race, go to

2 1 Deputy Judy R N (KY) Espinoza V Walsh K 2.10 2
4 2 Our Bellini Bikini (FL) Talamo J Koriner B 2.00 5
5 3 Punctual (FL) Baze T Miller P 8.80 1
6 4 Fair Kisses (KY) Garcia M DeLeon R 7.50 6
7 5 Action Gal (KY) Pedroza M Machowsky M 7.00 3
8 6 Don’t Reiterate (KY) Delgadillo A Velasquez D 7.40 4
9 7 Wicked Trip (FL) Arambula P Grayson B 12.70 7
SCR Dixie Saint (FL) Stra K Grayson B
SCR Bye Bye Hollywood (KY) Santiago Reyes C La Croix D
Pgm Win Place Show
5 $19.60 $6.80 $4.40
2 $3.80 $3.00
7 $4.20
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Consolation Pick 3 paid $20.20 (1-6-1)

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

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming $32,000, 5-1/2 furlongs, 3 yo fillies

Possible overlays                         Morning line

#2 Touch Me Babe                            10/1
#5 To Hot for You                             5/2
#10 Humane                                     8/1

Coming off of an eight-month layoff, #5 To Hot for You is dropping in class and is saddled by Mike Mitchell, who wins at 36 percent with maiden claimers.

Too Hot for You ran competitively when facing maiden special weight company at Del Mar in August and is making only her third lifetime start. This stable’s live horses are bet down, so I will like this filly more if her post time odds are low.

Breaking on the far outside, #10 Humane overcame a huge amount of trouble in her Feb. 5 debut to lead by two lengths in the stretch, but she could not hold on. On that day, she broke seven lengths behind the field then accelerated four-wide on the turn to the lead. It was an impressive move that race caller Trevor Denman recognized when describing the action.

I estimate that she lost 10 lengths so I adjusted the 59 Beyer Speed Figure she earned that day to an 87. But today she is breaking from a wide post again at 5-1/2 furlongs, so she’s likely to be a bit wide again.

Humane’s trainer Derek Meredith is also doing something else worth noting. He named low-profile jockey Agapito Delgadillo to ride, so his name is printed in the Daily Racing Form. However, he switched to Michael Baze and that’s who will be on board.

Could Meredith have named Delgadillo while fully intending to make the late switch in an attempt to pump up the wagering odds? Would a horse trainer participate in such chicanery? It’s quite possible, because Delgadillo is still scheduled to ride #3 Likely a Star in the fourth, so the jockey obviously did not get sick.

Finally, Gerson Racing owns #2 Touch Me Babe and their first-time starters win more than their share of races.

At the betting window, I will put $400 on #5 To Hot for You at 7/5 to 5/2, but just $150 at 3/1 or more. Also, I want $250 to win on #10 Humane at 5/2 to 9/1, but only $150 at 10/1 or more. And finally, $100 on #2 Touch Me Babe at 10/1 to 19/1.

Sunday, Santa Anita Race 4 — 2:03 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming $25,000, 6-1/2 furlongs, 4 yo and up, f&m

Possible overlays                         Morning line

#4 Justalittletipsy                              9/2
#5 Tiz Salsa                                     2/1
#7 Xtraordinary                                5/2

The main question with #5 Tiz Salsa is why did trainer Jerry Hollendorfer give this filly up? Usually when a horse goes from a successful trainer to a low-percentage conditioner the horse doesn’t run as well. And the ownership of Thomas and York is the same as it was on Feb. 16, so this runner was not just purchased.

Absolutely, Tiz Salsa has the Beyer Speed Figures to win this race, but is this the same horse that Hollendorfer trained? I think not.

So the next best two horses are #7 Xtraordinary and #4 Justalittletipsy. Xtraordinary has a bit of speed and has run well enough in the past to win at this level. She’s had 11 races, but 8 of them were at maiden special weight and she faced allowance horses once.

Peter Miller trains #4 Justalittletipsy, who came on with a good charge in the stretch in her debut. With better position early in the race, she might improve enough to win.

I will bet $200 on #4 Justalittletipsy from 5/2 to 9/1 and $300 on #7 Xtraordinary from 2/1 to 7/2.

Results, Santa Anita Sunday Race 5 — won $560

donald_trump_crazy_face_hot_chick_red_carpet11Working out at San Luis Rey Downs, trainer Peter Miller brought speedster #11 No Limit Poker off a six-month layoff to win convincingly.

Garrett Gomez broke this 4-year-old gelding sharply, but #5 Kinky Rule and #7 Saint Jack  competed for the early lead also. They ran three abreast down the backstretch with Kinky Rule on the rail, No Limit Poker on the outside and Saint Jack in between.

And on the turn, they stayed that way — giving No Limit Poker the dreaded 3-wide trip. But this 4-to-1 shot was such a superior animal of these 11 runners, that Gomez shook of the pace setters in the lane then found another gear when #13 The Emerald King came running.

I had several betting scenarios based on the post time odds, which can be seen by clicking the following link. I ended up betting $200 on #11 No Limit Poker, and $150 on both #6 Sky Patriot, at 5-to-1, and #13 The Emerald King, at 6-to-1.

To watch a replay of this race, go to

3 1 Justinero (CA) Navarro D Wallace, II J 103.80 10
4 2 Already Wild (CA) Enriquez I Pender M 84.00 8
5 3 Kinky Rule (CA) Nakatani C Sise, Jr. C 2.70 4
6 4 Sky Patriot (KY) Rosario J Sise, Jr. C 5.30 6
7 5 Saint Jack (FL) Baze M Hess, Jr. R 6.30 9
9 6 Cut (KY) Linares M Stutts C 62.70 3
10 7 Royal Albert (CA) Delgadillo A DeLeon R 27.60 7
11 8 No Limit Poker (CA) Gomez G Miller P 4.30 1
12 9 Second Hand Lion (CA) Potts C Sherman A 3.30 5
13 10 The Emerald King (CA) Rios J Monteleone F 6.70 2
SCR Goodlookindude (FL)    
SCR Water (KY) Olguin G Alcala J
SCR Seven Below (CA)    
SCR Golden Delight (CA)    
Pgm Win Place Show
11 $10.60 $4.80 $3.60
13 $7.80 $5.20
9 $18.40
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $47.60 (11-13)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $126.40 (4-4-11)

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.

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