This is a guest post from Chris Ado. Take it away, Chris! –PTF
Race 1: Maiden Special Weight, 1 Mile, Four-year olds and up
The TimeformUS pace projector anticipates the pace will be neutral. Paladar stretching out from a sprint to a route is expected to be the pacesetter into the first turn with the morning line favorite Justin’s Quest tracking or pressing his stablemate for the first half mile. The second choice, Victory Element, will be in a forward position in third down the backstretch with the other two entrants, Caribbean and Midcourt, towards the rear in this five-horse field.
Our top choice has finished off the board in all four starts and has been beaten a combined 54-½ lengths but PALADAR (#3, 6-1) will be making his first start for trainer Richard Baltas and more importantly finds a field that lacks the type of early speed this son of Street Cry has seen in his previous two starts. He tried the downhill turf course for the first time off a 57-day layoff on October 21 and he finished seventh beaten 11-¼ lengths but was the victim of a suicidal speed duel. In that race, he battled between a four-horse speed duel through blistering fractions of 21.33 and 43.21 seconds that were fast enough to earn red coded TimeformUS pace figures.
He stayed in the hunt to the top of the dirt crossing and understably tired badly in a race shape that favored closers with the first three finishers rallied from 8th, 9th, and 7th after the first quarter of a mile. Paladar is not bred for the turf as his dam, Blowing Kisses, won 3 of 12 starts sprinting on the main track and the dam’s two winners, Kiss Me Forever and Lookin for a Kiss, are multiple dirt sprint winners. He returned from a 75-day layoff as new gelding, returned to the main track, and dropped to a claiming price for the first time on January 4 here at Santa Anita where he found himself dueling head and head with the eventual winner Seahawk Wave through fractions of 22.05 and 45.51 that were fast enough to earn red coded TimeformUS pace figures and earned above average Moss Pace Figures (+10, +9). He stayed in contention to deep stretch and weakened to finish fifth.
He will now make his first start off the claim for trainer Richard Baltas who has won 27% (48/13-12-6) in the past five years with new acquisitions to his barn on the main track and improvement is expected. The dark bay gelding has trained in splendid fashion according to National Turf’s Andy Harrington with four works including half mile spin in 47 ⅘ on February 17 that Andy stated “Joel up; held up hard inside Justin’s Quest looking stronger to the wire in 23.4, 47.4. Looks like an astute claim.” After pressing above average early paces in his last two starts, he will find a field that lacks that type of speed and with Joel Rosario in the irons for the first time I expect Paladar to go straight to the lead and make every pole a winning one at a hint of a price as a single in our recommended Daily Double.
WIN bet on (3) PALADAR at 3-1 or better.
Daily Double: 3 with 3, 6.