Hello everyone and welcome to Sunday’s card for “The Great Race Place”. Yesterday was a huge day for Horse Racing at Belmont with Justify becoming the 13th Triple Crown winner in the United States. Congratulations to the connections and his plethora of fans! However, not to cut the celebration short, but the show goes on today and everyday (except Christmas, but maybe we’ll do some South American Racing that day) with a 9 race card today. Let’s get into it, and pray we do better than when I was last seen here on the 2nd!
RACE 1: 4-6-1
Our first race is for $50K Claimers on the downhill course. Usually one thing I look for is horses with experience on this course, and even more beneficial is success. 4-MONTU is an exception to that rule, as he has not even raced on the downhill, or Santa Anita turf course. Is making 1st start for Trainer Leonard Powell after spending first 10 races on Kentucky circuit with a couple of tries at Woodbine. Has never sprinted on turf, but his sprints on polytrack at Turfway we’re very promising, and if he can transfer that form to the downhill has a big shot at a decent price with this suspect group. Expect to see him out on the lead early, and on paper should have things his own way. While a small sample to go by, Powell 3 of last 8 in their debut with him with a +4.88 ROI. Interestingly does not race with lasix. 6-Ohio ran 2nd here on course at today’s level but Drayden Van Dyke opts to ride the 3 today. Serious contender but thinking he’ll be less than 2/1. Paulo Lobo only 9% 2nd off the layoff.
RACE 4: 8-4-3
Another 6 1/2 furlong downhill event, and this one is WIDE OPEN! Really taking a bit of a reach here with 8-GLORIOUS CROWN, who is 1st off the claim for one of my favorite trainers in the game, Kristen Mulhall. This 4 year old Colt finished 2nd vs straight $12.5k claimers last out on dirt. Only try on turf was a nice effort 2nd back in February on the downhill, and that was with Rajiv on him! Is taking Blinkers off today and does go dirt to turf, two areas Mulhall doesn’t excel at, however she’s 23% first off the claim. Pedroza stays on, though his 3% turf win rate doesn’t inspire confidence. Still, there are enough positives to make this one my top pick at 8-1. 4-Kinematico broke his maiden last out vs $50k claimers and now falls to an appropriate level vs winners (side note: I’ve always heard that maiden claimers who win should try a claiming level HALF the price of their maiden tag in their first try versus winners, would love to get feedback on this topic. You can email me at email@example.com to let me know) and like the top choice, has shown an affinity for the front end early. Talamo stays aboard after guiding him to his win in last race. 3-King Eddie makes return after 6 months and broke maiden here at Cal bred MSW. Doug O’Neill 21% first time claiming.
RACE 5: 3-5-6
Even though she’s the ML favorite, I don’t see 3-ETCHING as the betting favorite with 2 Baffert’s in here. Just think about that for a second, you train your 2nd Triple Crown winner in 4 years, and 24 hours later you have two horses trying to break their maiden. Only horse racing folks! Anyways, top pick just missed at this level, distance here last out exactly 1 month ago. Trainer Been Cecil is 3 of last 5 taking the shades off which she has wore all 3 starts. He’s also 3 of last 4 in his 2nd route race. Is the 3 year old daughter of 2005 Kentucky Oaks winner Summerly. I’m expecting her name to be ‘Etched’ into the book of winners today. 5-Jest a Princess makes two turn debut for that Baffert guy, who in his first start with, was 2nd beaten a length last month. Was originally trained by Chad Brown. Oh the irony. Baffert 24% first route, 25% Sprint to route. Van Dyke(Drayden, not Dick) stays on.
RACE 6: 10-Pick a number-Pick a number
Unless he falls down or some other freak occurrence, have a hard time envisioning 10-TROJAN TIME losing here. Has the most consistent speed figures of the group, has improved or equalled every race. From the outside can steer clear of trouble and dictate his own trip. Eddie Truman having a very nice year clicking at 24%. Will single in the Pick 4. Could even find himself on the lead early should no one go, but thinking 4-Causeway Runner will do just that.
RACE 7: 4-7-3
This is a tough race to figure out, so I’m hoping I’m right in thinking the addition of Blinkers will put 4-RESTRAINEDVENGENCE on an uncontested lead and not look back. Hopped at the start in the $100k Singletary when last seen on the track, and finished 7th after contending for half the race. Trainer Val Brinkerhoff is 25% 3rd start of form cycle, and this Colt won his 3rd start in a row last year. Coincidence, j hope not! While the 7-Fly to Mars is faster on pace figs early, thinking his taking Blinkers off will relax him enough for the 4 to get a clear lead and see where it goes from there. Will be going deep here in the Pick 4.
RACE 8 GRADE 3 AFFIRMED: 5-6-2
I really wanted to pick against 5-SOLOMINI, but I really couldn’t. It’s hard to hold it against him that he’s only got one career win when you look at the talent he’s faced. If he loses today, then they should find an allowance or optional claimer to run in, but this a great spot for him to get him a graded win and some much needed confidence. Garcia rides for first time and should be able to set a nice stalking trip a couple of lengths off early. 6-Draft Pick might be able to pull the upset, but is facing winners for the first time. Ironically, we have a Louisiana bred, a Florida bred, and 4 Kentucky breds in here, no California breds.
RACE 9: 1-11-9
Late Pick 4: 10/ALL/5/ALL a $38.50 ticket for a $.50 increment.