|Santa Anita Park, 2011/Canon PhotoStitch by Martin Brady|
Welcome to a new feature. We'll be handicapping one race per day at Los Angeles' Santa Anita Park, and offering Win-Place-Show picks for that race. Here's our first entry, for June 6, 2015.
Race #1, June 6
STARTER ALLOWANCE PURSE $30,000. (PLUS UP TO $3,600 TO CAL-BRED WINNERS) FOR THREE YEAR OLDS AND UPWARD WHICH HAVE STARTED FOR A CLAIMING PRICE OF $40,000 OR LESS OR CALIFORNIA BRED OR SIRED HORSES WHICH HAVE STARTED FOR A CLAIMING PRICE OF $50,000 OR LESS AND WHICH HAVE NEVER WON TWO RACES. THREE YEAR OLDS, 118 LBS.; OLDER, 124 LBS. NON-WINNERS OF A RACE AT A MILE OR OVERSINCE APRIL 22 ALLOWED 3 LBS. ONE MILE AND ONE SIXTEENTH.
#1 Saint Dermot--Dermot is a turtle but has not really ever proved that he can close like a productive turtle should. His first three races of 2015 were his best, ridden by Gary Stevens and gaining a March 5 win, nipping Larry Birdstone at the wire. Dermot lags back, seems to wait for an opportunity, then more than not doesn't fire on all cylinders. His career has been routes but he's never finished higher than 4th when the race exceeds one mile. Tiago Pereira returns here to ride Dermot for a second straight race but there's no evidence that he'll make a significant impact. The 2-1 ML seems unreliable.
#2 Doyouknowsomething--A young horse with an improving track record, Doyouknowsomething comes off a maiden victory and a previous third-place finish under jockey Tiago Pereira. Alas, Pereira has jumped over to Saint Dermot for this longer route race, though able veteran Tyler Baze could be an excellent fill-in. This horse has run both routes and sprints in his brief career, but never over a mile, so this race will present a challenge. Still rather an unknown prospect, so caveat emptor. 7-2 ML.
#3 Derby Glass--This interesting 4-year-old has raced in four consecutive 1-milers, with some impressive results, in particular a March 29 victory won in a rush at the wire. Derby Glass recently switched trainers, moving from Ron Ellis to Doug O'Neill, and heads out here with Rafael Bejarano in the irons for the first time. An adventurous bettor might take a flier on this one. The ML is 5-2.
#4 Fancy Shoes--The 5-year-old has been building a modest resume, finally moving from sprints to routes her last two times out. That includes a nice win April 26 at a mile and a sixteenth with Fernando Perez aboard; that's a solid prep for this race at the same distance. Perez is back and at 5-1 on the ML, Fancy Shoes offers an interesting price.
#5 Warren's Nicholas--Take us back to the days of yesteryear, mainly May 2, 2013 at Hollywood Park, when a callow 4-year-old Warren's Nicholas, racing under the reins of Joe Talamo, triumphed over a field of 11 to break his maiden, and at a mile and a sixteenth, no less. Then followed a 20-month layoff. The return to action in 2015 has not really been encouraging, with lackluster rides leading to an April 2 third-place finish, which was then followed by a soul-sucking May 3 9th-placer. Warren's Nicholas has raced sprints and routes, but in the main has been entered in longer races, including a solid dose of 8-9-furlong events. So races like this one are what he does; problem is, he doesn't do them well. It is doubtful the jockey change to Felipe Valdez will make any difference to today's result. The 12-1 ML is a gift.
#6 Northern Iowa--Finished 4th in a May 2nd 1-miler that included today's rivals Saint Dermot and Derby Glass. This 6-year-old vet of the Vladimir Cerin barn runs hot and cold and was on hiatus for almost all of 2014. He scored his maiden in his second race way back on Aug. 2, 2012 and has nothing since, his slow-to- start-and-short-to-burn running style marking him as a second-rate talent. However, Northern Iowa displays a propensity for enjoying mile-and-a-sixteenth events well enough, with 2nd- and 3rd-place finishes at that distance studding his otherwise spotty resume. Yet the horse just cannot get over the hump. Flavien Prat has been his rider in 2015 and has one ITM finish. Unpredictable entry. The 5-2 ML seems generous, but possibly works in this field.
1. Fancy Shoes
2. Derby Glass