SA Race 8, leg 1: 1
I’m taking a stand in the first leg with #1 Aventapp (5/2). Admittedly, she’s not exactly trustworthy as she’s been at this level for several races now and typically settles for minor awards. But I think she’s headed in the right direction and that last race is better than it looks on paper. Watching the replay of her last, I thought she attacked the pace prematurely in the far turn when a big longshot got loose on the lead. She was able to clear the field in the stretch, but couldn’t sustain that run and got caught late. She might’ve won that race with a more patient ride and she drew well for this spot. Her form looks even better since the filly that defeated her two back returned to win last week against much tougher starter foes and I like the steady progression of Beyer figs prior to her most recent start. If she can get back to those races two and three back, she’ll be very tough.
GG Race 8, leg 2: 1,4-7
Very wide open race of restricted claimers in this spot, my top choice is the #1 Happy Is (10-1). His only race at a mile on turf produced a solid victory against much tougher competition than she meets here so if she can duplicate that race she’ll be very live. The problem is that was over a year ago and her form since doesn’t look great. This will be just her second start since last July however and I thought she had useful prep a few weeks ago when she got a wide trip and just ran evenly in a race where the speed held up. #7 Majestic Steps (2-1) is entirely untrustworthy based on recent form, especially at a short price. But she also has races that would crush this field so I don’t want to leave her off my ticket. #4 Missing Penny (10-1) seems to have found her stride as a two turn horse. The speedy filly has basically paired up Beyer tops and could get brave on the lead. #5 Oat Milk Latte (8-1) and #6 Cheerful Charm (5-1) should get good trips from mid-pack and neither would be a shock.
SA Race 9, leg 3: 2,5,8
My top choice in the Santa Anita finale is #8 Hulk (4-1). Dirt is a question mark but speed is always dangerous at this bottom-level and he’s got plenty of it. They waived his claiming tag for his last start sprinting where he ran okay, splitting the field. He’s in for the tag today so I have to think it’s all systems go. He’s been training with Met Mile runner Slow Down Andy in the mornings, these rivals are obviously much easier. I liked #2 Danz Till Ten (8-1) last time off a better-than-looked debut and I want to give him another shot here. He was on the pace last time pressing a rival that would finish far back and stayed on well enough to finish fourth. He got a little tired but should be fully cranked for his third start and is another that should be forwardly placed. #5 Take Charge Curly (7/2) is the one to fear late. He’s had his chances, but is steadily improving with each start and this low-profile barn is having a solid year.
GG Race 9, leg 4: 5,7,9
This field appears loaded with early gas so as long as there’s no significant scratches, I’m gonna try to lock up the race with closers. #5 How About a Fresca (5/2) is your likely favorite for good reason. She’s won four races in her career while all of her rivals have just a single victory. She’s also clearly the one to beat based on figures as her last three starts are faster than anything her rivals have run this year. Even though she stalked the pace in her last victory, she has shown the ability to come from well out of it. I don’t want to completely dismiss #7 Raucous Tizzy (10-1). She’s clearly best as a one-run closer and seems like an improving filly for Brendan Galvin. #9 Five O Cocktail (6-1) woke up on the class drop last week. She’s lightly raced so we probably haven’t seen the best from this filly, and she drew very well for today’s race. She should get first run on the deep closers.
SA 1: 1
GG 1: 1,4-7
SA 2: 2,5,8
GG 2: 5,7,9