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Santa Anita for Saturday 25 January 2014

Nice to study some of the best Cal-breds around with only one of the ten races being a claiming race. Card seems decent as I attempt to break out of a mini slump. I have been a professional handicapper for twenty-five years and I have never gotten used to any kind of slump even though I have had hundreds of them.

Best of luck as always!

race 1    slightly above average clarity

1  Well Mannered   best set of drills for a Peter Miller 1st timer in many a moon.......especially like the last two sizzling bullet gate works over a Bhp

4  Nooten   finally fired the race his connections were looking for with the major league rider upgrade to Mike Smith from Sophia Doyle........Smith remains up today

6  Next Book   solid maiden claiming debut both in pace and final time......connections smartly get their runner out of claiming......Marty Jones after a prolonged slump can now do little wrong

7  Sudden Rumor


race 2    average clarity

3  Christopher Street   hidden improvement in his latest..........sat in the rear of a very slowly paced race and still was able to run by them all.......a.m. work since his last is quite bit more impressive than he has shown in awhile

2  Woodmans Luck   rebound in form since Cerin claimed 3 races back.......last sure fits here but he might need more pace than anticipated to get home in time as he is a late runner in a field without much speed

1 Turn On The Pumps   race lacks speed and this gelding has some.........seems likely to sit 1 - 2 or 3 with a ground saving trip........does tend to hang so Espinoza will need to be aggressive at near the wire 

8  Volkonsky


race 3    average clarity

5  Seeking Asylum   both lifetime conventional dirt races are better than par for today's level........and now the three old races for Hollendorfer/Bajarano following the claim......same or better seems very likely today

10  Fourth Generation   good forward move in 2nd lifetime race......and 3 works since including a near bullet 5/8ths drill........which seems significant for the resurgent Marty Jones who doesn't push them very hard in the a.m.

7  Head South   improving with every start........if fact he outran our top choice adjusted for trouble figure wise.....but I'm not sure he will be up to a repeat effort as his prep work for today's affair is much less impressive than his strong work prior to his latest

2  Cousin Ricky


race 4    average clarity

2  Teddy's Promise  what a spot for what is supposed to be the final race of this mare's career.......doing the math she can reach the magical $1,000,000 in earnings with a win today......she looks as if she can sit in an excellent stalk position and ponce in the stretch as she did in winning last year's version of this race.....and she owns an excellent history with Espinoza on our back

4  Heir Kitty   very solid career history in sprints.........and........ she just won a Grade 1 at SA in her last.........would have been top pick if it wasn't for the fact our top choice drops 8 lbs. from her last and this filly has to run with 5 lbs more than her last today

1  Iotapa   both lifetime efforts run at SA last Feb and April fit well here......she was only beaten by 2 3/4L by multiple eclipse award winner Beholder in the April race........and she has run well fresh in the she is a dangerous returnee

6  Scherzinger


race 5    average clarity

7  This Means War   five-year-old mare has done little wrong in 6 lifetime starts...........impressive 6F win in her latest which was on the sod at Bhp and off of a 15+ month layoff.........and the stout drills since indicate she is set for her lifetime best if she takes to the unique SA hill grass course.....sure like that Talamo has been up for all 6 lifetime starts

8  Unusual Hottie   Jeff Mullins is stellar when he points and trains a laid up grass horse for a big race with strong drills......and that is the case here.....and it is reassuring that Bejarano & his agent see fit to accept the mount

4  Marks Mine   outstanding and extremely consistent GG invader when sprinting.....failed in her lone grass race at GG but it was a grass route......seems like she handled the grass fairly well visually speaking........very dangerous in her 1st grass attempt sprinting

2  Journey On


race 6    average clarity

7  Sea John's Spirit   Ellis is stout 3rd after a layoff and he also is hot at the moment..........lifetime best for this mare was her lone race on the SA to date seems likely this afternoon and that would make her formidable here

5  Tribal Torch   GG invader exits two fast MSW heats and was right there at the wire in both.........fits solidly here if she takes to the SA dirt in her 3rd lifetime start

3  Heavens Stairway   improving sort might feel best ever coming off a grass race.......last two races are par like efforts.......trainer Josh Litt shows some small signs of waking up out of a prolonged slump

2  Benicia Gem


race 7    average clarity

4  Alasharchy   GG turf invader is a smooth running sort who has a nice stalking style which fits the SA grass course very well especially in one mile affairs.......and her trainer Steve Specht is solid with shippers out of N Cal

13  Swiss Lake Yodeler   ultra impressive two consecutive $200K Stakes wins in last two efforts.......1st on the lawn but bred just fine for it..........would have easily have been top choice if it wasn't for one nasty post.......break might be big here as should can fly if need be and if he she breaks well she might clear them all or at least most and get on over by turn one

7  Kukaluka   no shot in last as Steven's gave this filly one of his few bad trips at the meeting......he stays aboard for today's big race..........three-year-old filly owns two nice grass races at GG........classy jock will be out to make amends

10  Rovenna


race 8    average clarity

10  Big Macher   the way the track has been the past week or so outside pressing speed is a good place to be and that sure looks like the case here for this Richard Baltas improving gelding.....on the improve both physically and mentally

6  Cyclometer  loves the SA main track and owns 2 wins and 3 2nd's at today's 6F distance.....and Mike Smith has a chance to be sitting pretty behind our top and 4th picks who might put the heat on one another

3  Luckarack   might be a timely claim by Ed Moger because if this six-year-old brings his "A game" he fits........and running turf to dirt might be the catalyst to produced one of his top teir races

1  Follini


race 9    average clarity

9  China Prince   gelding has really improved since Dollase put the blinkers on him..........last two grass races are impressive.....race run 4 back in August was a solid 2nd in what was a key race.......and his last grass race run in Nov. was rather incredible overcoming about 8L of trip trouble and still won........smooth things out here with the same effort/energy and he should be very formidable 

1  Summer Hit   speed is his game and he sure seems likely to get what he needs and that is of course a loose lead.......our top choice will be in striking distance in all likelihood......might be a stout battle down the stretch between the two at some point with the rest of the contenders closing

5  Huntsville    bad trip in last and Mike Smith knows it as he wants the mount back...........same horse with one of Smith's usually solid rides can upset the apple cart here.........efforts this gelding has run at today's 1 1/8th mile distance on the grass are better than his (5 02 0) record indicates

7  Jules Journey

Long-shot consideration:   12  Hittheroadrunning    seemingly in good form ...........and the way in which he finishes up his 1 1/16th races turf races it leads me to believe he will really appreciate going an extra 1/16th


race 10    average clarity

4  Tamarando   ultra consistent sort owns two impressive Grade 1 3rds and will likely find his late run an easier task today versus Statebreds as he has in the past

7  California Chrome   would have been top pick if it wasn't for the fact he didn't run nearly as well on the conventional dirt at SA as he has in his last 3 starts on the AW.....but one effort isn't enough to say he can't handle the might better tell the story

6  Aotearoa   turf route race run 2 back effort/fig wise fits at today's level......1st on conventional dirt but his pedigree to handle it seems OK.......and maybe more importantly Stevens sees fit to take the mount

1  Oh Billy Billy

2  Life Is A Joy

3  Public Policy



Posted on January 25, 2014 at 10:19 am by richs · Permalink
In: Free Information, Selections