Here in the Northeast, we're dealing with something we've not dealt with in so long that we almost don't remember what it's like: bad weather. It's going to be a rainy day today, and for that reason, we are going to eschew uncertain conditions at the tracks in the Mid-Atlantic, and head West, to Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California. There's a seven-race Thursday card at the Great Race Place, and we will take a look at four of them. We expect fast dirt and firm turf; let's go.
Santa Anita Park, Race 2, 4:30 pm ET
$16,000 Claiming, 6 1/2 furlongs, dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
1-Rattle is the pick here. This 4-year-old daughter of City Zip has the best last-race Beyer Speed Figure, and has the most early speed. She breaks from the inside, and while the rail is a spot we generally dislike in sprints, as horses breaking from it have to deal with the rest of the field coming over on them, frequently pinning them against the fence, in this case we think it's a plus, because breaking from the rail, jockey Tiago Pereira will have no choice but use Rattle's speed and send her to the front. We think that will be an effective tactic, and we expect her to win this race in wire-to-wire fashion. We will bet her to win at 2-1. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 2, $25 to win on 1-Rattle.
Santa Anita Park, Race 3, 5:00 pm ET
$25,000 Claiming, 1 mile, turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
A full field of ten females will go to the post in this turf claimer. We like a class dropper, 3-Fort Love. This 4-year-old filly was last seen running in allowance company at Laurel Race Course, and today comes off a layoff, ships west, and goes from dirt to turf. We think the freshening will help her; what will probably help her more is the class drop, as this is a pretty weak field. We will bet her to win at 2-1. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 3, $25 to win on 3-Fort Love.
Santa Anita Park, Race 5, 6:06 pm ET
Allowance, 1 mile, turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
A field of seven drew into this tough second-level allowance race on the grass. There are a couple of speedy runners in here, 1-Foxtail and 4-Great Return, the former a 12-1 long shot, the latter the 9/5 morning line favorite. We think the two of these are going to set a fast pace, perhaps even a very fast pace, and this will set the race up for a horse coming from behind. We like 7-Don't Blame Judy to pick up the pieces: she has been running against tougher recently, including a couple of stakes races over the summer, and we think the pace scenario sets up just about perfectly for her. She will be flying late; we will bet her to win at 5-1. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 5, $40 to win on 7-Don't Blame Judy.
Santa Anita Park, Race 7, 7:08 pm ET
$50,000 Maiden Claiming, 1 mile, turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
This maiden claiming turf race wraps up the Thursday card at Santa Anita. It's a good race to handicap. as there's a full field of ten,,and big fields produce better odds on all the runners. An example of that is the filly we like here, 5-Tinnie: she's dropping from Maiden Special Weight company and stretching out from a sprint to a route. We think she will relish the added distance, and we think she should improve in the second start of her career. Trainer Richard Mandella also has an excellent 30% win rate with horses dropping from straight maiden into maiden claiming company.
In a smaller field, we might have to take 8/5 on her; with nine other betting interests in the race, we get 7/2 -- and we will take it, and bet her to win. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 7, $35 to win on 5-Tinnie.
That's all for today. We will be back on Saturday with a look at the national stakes action. Until then, good luck at the windows.