My ticket today is a little bit bigger than usual since I think it could pay pretty decent. Let’s build those Derby Day bankrolls!
Leg 1, SA Race 11: 3
I want to take a stand with the #3 Danzing Cat (5/2). She hasn’t been seen since Opening Day at Del Mar in the summer but she ran very well that day. She showed a ton of early foot setting a fast pace, shaking off those pace rivals to clear the field in the stretch, but just got gunned down late by Uncontrollable who has since been Grade 1 placed. Really good effort on debut and the Beyer she earned that day really isn’t all that far off from the favorite. She should progress significantly now that she’s had nearly a year to mature. She returns with a long worktab that dates back to early January and a couple of the recent ones are bullets so I have to assume she’s fully cranked. She’s adding Lasix today, Vasquez returns to ride after the layoff, and Miller is good in all the relevant categories. All systems go.
Leg 2, GG Race 11: 1,2,6,9
Awesome edition of the San Francisco Mile, I could probably make a case for just about anyone. Top choice will be the #1 Tarantino (12-1). I think this could be a really good spot for him as he’s always been just a notch below the best in SoCal, but none of those top dogs will show up here. His form is a little dirtied up, but if you focus only on his turf races it looks much better. He should get a nice inside stalking trip behind the two main speeds and then get first run on the deep closers. He’s putting three races together for the first time in a long time and should be all set for a career best effort. #6 Lamplighter Jack (8-1) is a threat to steal it on the front end. He earned a big figure(94) in his first start in California when he just ran those rivals off their feet and the runner up already returned to win and improved 6 points on the Beyer scale. I’m hoping they just let him wing it on the front end again and that could negate the late kick of his rivals. He might be the best horse in the race, but this is probably shorter than #9 Dicey Mo Chara (3-1) wants. He did show some newfound tactical speed last time however and he ran really well here last May at a mile on the tapeta. And I’m not sure what to make of #2 Balnikhov (9/5). His last start was so bad that I’m going to pretend it never happened because he had been progressing so nicely before that. He’ll need some help up front, but that victory over Wit at Keeneland leaps off the page. I would never bet him to win at a short price, but I can’t let him beat me in horizontals.
Leg 3, SA Race 12: 2,4,6,11,12
Impossible allowance race down the hill to finish the Santa Anita card, I’m five deep and still don’t have total faith I’ll advance. I’ve always thought #2 Ultimate Hy (8-1) would love the downhill configuration. She’s run fine over this trip in three starts, but she’s had three awful trips so maybe today’s the day she finally gets a good one under Jersey Joe, though the post does her no favors. #11 Carmen Miranda (3-1) did all the dirty work in her first start down the hill and finished a decent third. Huge post upgrade to the far outside where she can stalk the pace, which is how she earned all three of her trips to the winner’s circle. #4 Ma France (5-1) wouldn’t be a shock first start off the layoff for D’Amato who is deadly with layoff runners. She’s probably best sprinting and something clearly went wrong last time as she received plenty of time off. And finally #6 Shocking Grey (6-1) and #12 Lady Jae (15-1) are two deep closers that will need some help up front, but certainly are contenders on their best day.
Leg 4, GG Race 12: 4,5,7
A trio of second time starters for me in the pay leg and I’m completely against the morning line favorites. Top choice is #7 Fresno Chile (6-1). She split the field in her debut after a slow break. However, the pace that day completely held together and she was the only runner to make up any ground. She’s drawn more towards the outside today and while the jockey and trainer don’t really win at a high percentage individually, they’ve done quite well when teaming up. She gets an extra half furlong to work with today and will be dangerous with a better start. #5 Tom’s Pic (9/2) exits the same race as the top choice. She broke from the rail that day and mostly ran in place to finish third while showing some tactical speed. That was her first start in ten months so she should be able to improve off that effort with this better post and I like that she took some money that day. #4 Whatwasthenisnow (10-1) has a similar profile to Tom’s Pic. She broke from the rail in her debut, stalked the pace and ran fifth beaten only five lengths against slightly tougher. Improved effort is expected second time out for this filly who should be a square price based on low-profile connections.
SA 1: 3
SA 2: 2,4,6,11,12
GG 2: 4,5,7