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Santa Anita for Saturday 31 December 2022

Track will likely take some rain so your handicapper has been busy having to study the race cards for the turf and off of the turf. Obviously never a fun situation time wise and the handicapping is tough as the track might be biased. It is also tough to gauge who will scratch out. In the past I have been better than I anticipated in this situation but my degree of confidence still remains rather low for this afternoon's race card.

Best of luck as always!


race 1  below average clarity if on the turf

(if the race is taken off the turf and moved to the main track: 2-6-1-10-8-9)

1  Lane Way   five year old mare from the Richard Mandella barn has found a new home as in turf sprints where she has 2 wins and 3 2nd's in his last 5 starts.......and she has shown she can handle an inside draw as in a 1st (2 post) and 2nd (1 post) in her last two races which were down the majestic Santa Anita hill grass course

6  Air Force Red   four year old is a perfect 3 for 3 loose on the lead and two of those races were down the hill

8  Hit the Road

10  Smooth Like Straight

4  Gregorian Chant

5  Whatmakessammyrun


race 2  average clarity

5  All Eyes West   gelding ran well on a track with some moisture in it just 20 days ago at Lrc......solid 4F drill since the race and Glatt must like what he sees as he moves this fellow up in claiming......7 lbs capable bug boy up on a five year old with some early speed who also usually breaks well from the gate......look for Armando Aguilar to go after the lead and attempt to wire the field

2  Impossible Task   if our top choice does not snatch the front end this five year old likely will get it......that and he is capable of stalking the lead and still winning.......pedigree to handle the off going is decent especially on dad's side of the equation

6  Direct Line   Scratched out

7  Order and Law 


race 3 average clarity if on the turf

(if the race is taken off the turf and moved to the main track 10-7-3-4-5)

10  Queen Goddess   race lacks speed and this Mike McCarthy filly has some and draws John Velasquez for the 1st time who is still one though cookie with route speed horses after all these years.......that and he and trainer McCarthy are a tough combo so far in  S Cal

9  Avenue de France   look for Dettori to hustle this mare early and sit up close early in a race lacking speed

3  Burgoo Alley  Scratched out

7  Closing Remarks

5  England's Rose


race 4  average clarity

1  Boomer Justice   lack of betting action for this Luis Mendez 2nd time starter in his maiden debut at LA where he ran a strong time and put in a fast 3F drill since the 18 Dec race......believe he surprised his connections some and as he might not have been all that cranked up......he should be today

6  Agador Spartacus   long overdue drop to the bottom maiden level of MC20K.......despite being (8 0 0 1) on main track surfaces all but one of his efforts fit well for the lowly level.......trainer Brinkerhoff is a 9% conditioner for 2022 but he as about twice that with his last 30 starters making the MSW to MC move.......pedigree to handle an off track seems average

4  American Grit  (tough to put Baffert as 3rd pick but he is 0 for his last 14 with MC 1sters)

2  Wegonahavagoodtime

5  Samba Flavor


race 5  average clarity

(if the race is taken off the turf and moved to the main track: 10-7-4-1-2-8)

9  Lasmuigh   these days few are better with shippers from Great Britain than Phil D'Amato.......Prat and his agent obviously know that so they grab the mount and Prat is outstanding handling two year old runners on the lawn.......Prat/D'Amato are 38% win and 76% in the money with their last 21

10  Sir Pistolero   dangerous 1st time starter especially with a legend taking the mount

1  Midnight Taxes

4  Johannes 

2  Duran


race 6  average clarity

5  Bright Leaf   one of the few runners on today's program who has shown an affinity for off tracks........colt ran his best effort two back on an off track at Del Mar and one year ago at SA he was going to win rather easily on an off track but lost his rider late in the race.......1st time Prat to boot

6  Houndstooth   Scratched out (4 1 2 1) on the dirt running with Lasix and without blinkers and both are the case today........some sharp drills put in and for a trainer in Miyadi who usually does not push his stock too hard in the a.m.......good pedigree to handle the off going if that is what we get

8  American Refugee

1  Encode

7  Kant Beat the Rock


race 7  average clarity

(if the race is taken off the turf and moved to the main track: 7-3-8-10-4-2)

7  Real Fire   whole career fits well (turf or dirt) for this Sadler three year old filly making that seemingly magical drop from MSW to MC50K......Prat is up and the best two figs/efforts in five lifetime races were with the stout jock up.......impressive work series  hint Sadler means business with the threat of losing this filly by way of the claiming box

8  Saddle Up Jessie  cut back in distance a plus as is the amazing Dettori who won with Callaghan runner the other day

2  Above Suspicion

4  Buy American

10  Katerini 

3  Agree to Settle


race 8  average clarity

2  Samurai Charm   very consistent filly (13 7 2 2) overall and (3 2 0 1) at today's 6F distance.......1st time Prat which is always dangerous especially riding for Peter Miller.......1st on an off track is a ? mark if that is what we get

6  Violent Runner   3 for 3 at today's 6F distance and an amazing 4 for 4 with Emily Ellingwood in the irons.......four year old filly just ran her lifetime best with the blinkers removed (winning at 12 to 1) and today she gets to carry 3 lbs less.......Emily sure has earned the Grade 3 mount on this Sadler runner.......pedigree for an off track seems decent

4  Manorelli

7  Lady T

8  Doris Mae


race 9  average clarity if on the turf

(if the race is taken off the turf and moved to the main track: 1-14AE-10-12AE-5-3)

1  Lovesick Blues   bad trips in his last two races (one on turf and one on the dirt) for this Miyadi jock today and it is an awfully good one these days in J J Hernandez and J J won his lone mount on this fellow 5 races back.........four year old does well sitting mid pack and he should get the position today

10  Doitforandrew   three year old has shown he can handle a turf other than firm........1st time Prat

12 AE  August Melody  Scratched out

2  Law Abiding 

5  Alrruist

3  Code Duello

Posted on December 31, 2022 at 7:21 am by richs · Permalink
In: Free Information, Selections