Race of the Day, May 9, 2014
Santa Anita Race Track, Arcadia, California, Race 6
8:37 P.M., Claiming $12.5K, 1 Mile, Purse: $21K
Our first trip to Southern California brings us to the 6th race at Santa Anita. It kicks off the late Pick 3 and is the second leg of the late Pick 4. A straight claiming race, every horse in the race can be purchased for $12,500. This insures a bit more parity, as few trainers would be willing to give a horse away for a bargain. A well-placed horse often suggests a trainer going for a victory here and willing to risk the loss of the horse to a rival owner. The original owner keeps all the winnings from this race. Understanding the small moves is essential to profiting and having a fun time playing these sort of races.
The favorite is Fit to Rule (#2, 9/5), coming off a wins at the $16K and $8K level. He comes off the claim, and appears sharp. Cook Inlet (#8, 2-1), a Jerry Hollendorfer trained gelding ridden by Rafael Bejarano. After switching barns a bit, he returns to a level where he’s won before, albeit on the artificial Hollywood surface (Santa Anita is dirt). He’s a solid horse, does have a fast dirt performance on his resume, but he doesn’t overwhelm the field. Graeme Crackerjack (#6, 5-1), moves to the Jeff Bonde barn. He’s moving slightly up in price (from $10K) and is removing blinkers. Tuckers Point (I keep picturing the Meth Addict #1 in Breaking Badyelling constantly for Tucker) (#5, 8-1) moves up from a $8K claim into the barn of Dean Greenman, who doesn’t excel off the claim. Twin Six (#1, 4-1) is another coming off a claim. Fast enough, he’s won 2 of 3 at this distance. A few turf horses, probably in here for sharpening (running on dirt to get horse to be more involved in next turf race), Cloud Hopper (#3, 12-1) and Sharp Richard (#4,10-1) are here as well. Trucial State (#7, 20-1) is another outsider.
- What will the pace be like? In evenly matched races like this one, secondary factors like early pace can often make the difference. Too fast favors closers. Too slow favors front-runners.
- How will the horses respond new trainers and the rise in class? There are speed/pace differences between these levels.
There might be a little more pace than Fit to Rule likes (both previous races were at a slow pace). The safest bet — in a race with lots of question marks — appears to be class-dropping Cook Inlet, who has shown success at this level and the speed on dirt. A deep closer could be in the works as well — at the very least to hit the board.
Fit to Rule was the best. He controlled the pace and he remained razor sharp. Cook Inlet who went off as the favorite rallied to be second, but couldn’t get to the much-the-best winner, who paid $6.80. Fit to Rule goes to the barn of Peter Miller, where we will likely seem him in a lower-level claiming race in Southern California again soon.