Leg 1, SA Race 9: 1
I’m not the biggest fan of Defunded and I really wanted to try and beat him today, but I’m just not sure there’s anyone in here that can. The Flightline effect might be real as Royal Ship (much like Speaker’s Corner and others) just hasn’t been the same horse since getting demolished by Flightline. His best is good enough to win, but I don’t have any confidence he can return to that form. And even when he was really good, he was very inconsistent and you never know which version of him you’ll get. Parnelli’s last race was solid but he needs to take a pretty decent jump in figures to compete with Defunded’s best.
#1 Defunded (4/5) is the best speed and will be hard sent from the rail. Nine furlongs is probably his best defense and there’s only one other pace rival that isn’t good enough to win. He’s getting some big class relief today and that second two back in the Pegasus looks even better when considering how productive that race has turned out to be. I’ll be singling him and hoping to catch some prices later in the sequence.
Leg 2, GG Race 8: 2,4,5,8
This race I want to be against the favorite as #6 Shut Up Michael will probably take a lot of money, but I don’t think he wants any part of two turns. #4 Holy Ghost (6-1) will need some help up front, but he should really enjoy getting back to the turf course. He ran well down south against tougher competition the last time he was on the turf and will be the one to fear late. #2 Jack’s Outlaw (8-1) is another that should appreciate the return to the turf course. He scored a big figure victory the last time he was on turf at this level and should be attending the pace throughout. #8 Chief Jackson (6-1) is yet another that should like returning to the turf. He’s been a bit camera shy lately on the tapeta, but at least he’s been competitive and has been in the exacta in 3 of 4 turf starts. And finally #5 Lil Miracle Man (8-1) is a horse that is getting some class relief and should get a great setup positioned just behind the speed.
Leg 3, SA Race 10: 2,4,5,12
Wide open maiden race to close out the Santa Anita card. There are several ways to go in here and I want to try to advance with four runners. My top pick will the #4 Vegas Burner (6-1). He has a real chance to wire the field if you can ignore his last race. He failed to make the front and didn’t run at all, but before he was showing a ton of early foot on both surfaces against tougher rivals than he meets here. A couple of bullets indicates he’s ready to run a big one. #2 O’ Banion (8-1) is worth a look at a price. D’Amato wins with so many of these European horses that it’s impossible to leave him off your tickets. He split the field in his debut overseas last June and now shows up here with a good-looking work tab at Los Alamitos including a bullet five furlong drill. Berrios is one of the best turf jockeys in the colony, especially in sprints, and bothers to ride. #5 Neon Lights (10-1) is another European import worth a look for the red hot duo of Steve Knapp and Tiago Pereira. He ran well in his debut around a left hand turn and will probably closing from well out of it. And finally #12 Smooth Salute (8-1) is a contender for McCarthy. Based on his latest workout, he looks like he could be very talented and McCarthy has improved his numbers with first time starters immensely over the last year.
Leg 4, GG Race 9: 1,3,10
We finish the sequence with yet another wide open maiden race at 5.5 furlongs. My top pick will be the #3 Big Sis Little Sis (6-1). She showed a lot of promise in her debut, breaking slow from the inside but getting into contention to stalk the pace. She made a move and hit the front in the stretch but got a little tired late to finish second. Her next start she didn’t do much running, but has gotten some time off since then. She adds lasix today, has been working well for her return, and gets a jockey upgrade to Espinoza. #10 Golden Prayer (8-1) is a logical contender off a solid debut. She shot out of the gate and set a fast pace before tiring late to finish a promising 3rd. With that start under her belt and cutting back half a furlong, she should give a good account of herself from this cozy outside draw. Longshot play is the first time starter #1 Bobby’s Genie (12-1). The trainer stats and rail draw aren’t great, but they paid 45k for her even though her sire stands for just 5k so they must have seen something they liked. She sports a healthy work tab, including a couple of bullets, and they were able to lure a top rider so I think she’s live.
SA 1: 1
GG 1: 2,4,5,8
SA 2: 2,4,5,12
Gg 2: 1,3,10
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