Santa Anita full card analysis on Santa Anita Derby day by Jeff O’Reilly (@Jeff_Boyardee)
Race 1 Selections: 7-6-5
(7) Mela Jones hasn’t had the easiest of trips in her two lifetime starts. Last out over a muddy going she read incredibly wide. In her debut, she had an awful start and was shuffled back in the field. She fought on to run well in both efforts. Blinkers are added and I think it should suit her perfectly to be a bit more forwardly placed here. (6) Whirling has been working really well for Richard Mandela. Typically He doesn’t have his horses ready to roll at first asking as he is just 9% on the year but this one has the workout that look to improve that. My only concern is how short of a price she might be and that would certainly give me pause. (5) Now Blessed is coming of a long layoff. She ran into Rublinda on the turf first out so I am giving her a pass for that effort. John Sadler is 22% going turf to dirt and 21% off layoff over 180 days. She might need the race sill but should be ready to fire a good effort.
Race 2 Selections: 12-11-10
(12) Frenchman Street should get a beautiful stalking trip from the outside post. There looks to be only 1 true burner up from in the 7 horse. He should be able to sit just off and take over at the top of the lane. His last time on the downhill turf course he ran a giant number for this group. If he runs back to that effort he is a winner. (11) Desert Stone is the other horse in here trained by Richard Baltas. He comes in never racing shorter than a mile but it looks like this horse is screaming for a cutback. He doesn’t have much early foot but has been working quicker as of late. If the pace gets too hot early, this one should pick up all the pieces. (10) More Honor is coming out of restricted Maiden Races at Santa Anita. He has tactical speed which should set him up well here. I don’t think he has been facing too much quality outside of Ax man in his debut. He is the morning line favorite and should work out a good trip but I will let him beat me at a short number.
Race 3 Selections: 4-8-5
(4) Trustworthy and (8) Super Duper Cooper ran into each other at this level last out. Super Duper Cooper barely edged out Trustworthy for second. However, Trustworthy was extremely wide for the entire race and was still only beaten a quarter length. Super Duper Cooper snuck up the rail and had a much easier trip. I think Trustworthy turns the table on him today and gets home at what should be a fair price. (5) For Him should be on the lead early. There isn’t much other speed signed on so he should have things his own way. If they let him go slow early he could be tough to catch late. I am against the (1) Kona Ghost and (6) Taniko in here. They exit different races but got good setups last out. Kona Ghost was 30/1 against weaker in a maiden race and finished 3rd. He’s now 7/2 in allowance company. Pass. (6) Taniko sat off a pace that completely collapsed last out. He won’t get that setup again. Toss.
Race 4 Selections: 8-4-3
(8) Show It N Moe it simply has to run back to either of her two last races and will win fairly easy here. She got involved in a wicked pace duel last out and still drew off to win by 3. She should have a much easier time getting the lead in here and should be gone again. (4) Smiling Tigress has good tactical speed and should sit just off the 8. If the chalk doesn’t fire this one should get the jump on the closers. (3) One Fast Broad is a deep closer. As previously mentioned I don’t think there is a ton of pace signed on and this one might have to much work to do when they hit the stretch. She is better than most of the fillies in here but I don’t like how far back she will be. At a short number I will play against on top.
Race 5 Selections: 4-6-1
(4) Paved has been absolutely dominant in her last two starts. She has good tactical speed in here and shouldn’t be out of the early running. She is the only filly proven at the distance and looks to be very tough in here. (6) Fatale Bere got a curious ride last out. She was forwardly placed and made a huge middle move before fading. In her prior efforts she was taken back and made one run. I hope she is given that opportunity Saturday. (1) Pulpit Rider was really impressive last out. Despite a rough trip and ugly start, she rallied to crush the field pretty handily. If she can fire that effort again here she will be tough. I am not sure she faced a ton of quality in that start and this is certainly a big ask from her connections. I have confidence she can run well in here to hit the board at least.
Race 6 Selections: 4-3
This has the looks on paper to be a two horse race. I am taking the (4) Take the One O One to beat the (3) Heck Yeah. The latter didn’t really have an excuse last out to be as flat as he was in the stretch. He had a good trip and just didn’t fire. Maybe 1 mile is too far but I didn’t like the looks of that race. Take the One O One has raced against very tough company and more than held his own. He is bred for the turf so I have no doubts he will run well over it despite it being his first start on the surface. My hope is this one sits just off the 6 and when he backs up to get first run.
Race 7 Selections: 2-1-3
(2) Mesut is as consistent as they come. He has raced with a mid-high 80 beyer speed figure in each of the last 4 starts. If he runs that again he will be right in contention here. He should get a good mid pack trip. Breaking from the two hole with the horse to his inside being a deep closer, ground loss shouldn’t be an issue. (1) Accountability broke my heart two back when he couldn’t get up at 45/1. I am willing to give him another shot in here. He does his best running from the back of the pack. Last out he was to forward for my liking. He should like the cutback and be ready to fire here. (3) Sawyers Hill will be on the engine early. He put away the field last out despite going really quick early. He was off a layoff last out and is coming back off a minor one again. This horse will be bet heavily and I have concerns he might not be physically fit enough. They jammed 2 workouts in 4 Days for this horse. I’ll play against on top.
Race 8 Selections: 8-3-2
(8) Sigur Ros should have a fairly easy lead in here. There isn’t much singed on and he should be the speed of the speed. I’m hoping he can take things slow up front and hold off the closers late. In his only career win he did exactly that. He got an easy lead and crushed the field by 5 lengths. I am looking for a similar result Saturday. (3) Clever Royal should also be forwardly places. He has been racing against lesser but if the speed figures are to be believed, this one will be very tough in here. He will be rolling home late and could get up at a generous price. (2) Conqueror raced pretty wide last out and still won rather easily. With a more ground saving trip, he will be tough in here. He will be the favorite and in this field I will look at more interesting options at a bit of a price.
Race 9 Selections: 6-3-7
This is a match race on paper and will likely decide who will be favored come Kentucky Derby Day. I am leaning toward (6) Justify here. He has blazing early speed and should run them off their feet early. If he gets an easy lead it should be all over. (3) Bolt D’Oro ran an incredible race last out vs McKinzie that was the first start off the layoff and should improve. My only concerns is that nobody will run with Justify early and how much did that last race take out of Bolt. (7) Core Beliefs tan huge last out. I don’t think he has much of a chance to win but could spice up the trifecta a little bit by beating (1) Instilled Regard.
Race 10 Selection: 3-9-5
(3) Beau Recall is a bit of a chandelier since she has the tendency to hang. There is a lot of pace signed on here and I think she should get a dream setup in here. Last out was simply to sharp a distance for her and she should appreciate the mile distance much better. (9) Sassy Little Lila has good early speed. She might get used a bit too much early which is my caution for putting her on top. If she can manage to either sit just off or get a clear lead she should tough to catch late. (5) Thundering Sky should also have the pace work to her advantage. She is a very consistent horse and should be right in the thick of it late. She might get a bit overlooked here and should drift up off that 5/1 Morning Line.
Race 11 Selections: 3-9-2
(3) Midnight Bisou has the makings of being a really good filly on dirt. She absolutely crushed her rivals last out despite not being asked to run a whole lot. I am looking for a repeat effort from her and the horses in that race running back here. (9) Thirteen Squared should get a good stalking trip and might just be on the lead. I think her best shot it to get out fast and steal this race from Midnight Bisou. She needs to get the jump on her to have any chance to turn the table IMO. (2) Spring Lily didn’t appear to take to the wet track in her last start. I am willing to give her a pass on that effort. She was well bet last out despite facing Midnight Bisou and Thirteen Squared. She could pose an upset threat in here. (7) Spectator is a horse I will gladly play against. She is not proven around two turns and will have to show me she can race this far. She will most likely be the second choice and I will take a stand against in here. She was all out to beat much lesser in her previous effort.
Race 12 Selections: 1-2-9
I am not quite sure what happened last out with (1) Lassen. She simply just did not run and was pulled up. The quick wheel back in 2 weeks gives me confidence nothing is wrong with the filly. If you simply cross that race out, she becomes very tough in here. She should get a beautiful stalking trip and the jump on the deep closers. I am hoping to get every bit of the 7/2 ML. (2) Pantsonfire should be absolutely rolling late. She was the beneficiary of a blazing early pace last out. That is my caution with using her on top. I am not quite sure she gets a similar setup. I just think she is a very consistent filly who always brings her run despite not always having a quick pace to run at. (9) Arch of Troy is my longshot play in here. She has raced at this distance and surface once and was very impressive. If she can run back to that or even improve off that effort, she could shock at a big number. She might not win but one I’d include underneath at a big number.