Attacking the Opening Day Card at Santa Anita

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

September 29th, 2016

Racing returns to Santa Anita on Friday with a strong nine-race card at Southern California's most storied venue. A pair of graded races will be held, two divisions of the Eddie D. S. (G3), which bookend the late Pick 4. I will take aim on the late sequence in hopes of kicking off the meeting with success.

Race 6 is the first leg and drew an overflow field of 13 for the about 6 ½-furlong test down the hill. Lady Shipman (#1), one of the top turf sprinters in the country, is clearly the one to beat but I am a bit hesitant to single the classy lass due to her drawing the one slot, and also because this race is surely a prep run for the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G1) later in this meeting.

Why Two (#9) has done nothing wrong from a pair of turf starts leading up to this and looks like a real contender for conditioner Mike Machowsky. The son of Bob and John made easy work of a nice field in the Green Flash S. at Del Mar most recently and comes in fresh with a quartet of morning drills to stay on edge. With a plethora of early speed in this dash, the peaking four-year-old might get a great set-up to pass the early ones in the lane. Hunt (#8) may not have the class of the favorite but has won three races in succession on this downhill course and is another who could benefit from a fast and contested early tempo. I will go three deep in Leg 1.

Race 7 pits juvenile fillies going a mile on the main oval and is a head-scratcher of sorts as the group seems to lack class at this point of their respective careers. Czarina (#2) and She’s My First (#3) were third and second in a recent maiden voyage going a mile at Del Mar and make as much sense as any in the field. The former is a $1.5 million lass from the barn of Bob Baffert, while the latter has early speed and comes in with a five-furlong gate drill to indicate she may fire from the break.

In addition to the duo, Abel Tasman (#6) interests me some making a second lifetime run for conditioner Simon Callaghan. The daughter of Quality Road broke slowest of all in her first go, a sprint at Del Mar, but made a little middle move and finished evenly behind a nice top pair. Bred to run long, the filly goes for a trainer who often gets a lot of improvement with second-time starters and she wouldn't be a big surprise to us with Talamo riding. I will once again go three-deep in leg 2.

Leg 3 is difficult to take a stand in, so I will go four deep with Texas Two Step (#4), Indexical (#2), Kentuckian (#5) and Mesa Sky (#3). This seven-furlong race lacks a ton of star appeal and each of the aforementioned appear to have a chance for varying reasons. While I may be overbetting the sequence, I like an 8-1 shot just as much as his foe who is 2-1, so spreading with two-thirds of this cast doesn't bother me. But for those willing to spend a bit more, clicking the “All” button makes sense to me in this extended sprint.

The finale is the second division of the Eddie D. and looks much more wide-open than the opening leg of this sequence. Toowindytohaulrox (#5), Ohio (#6), Guns Loaded (#8) and So Sweetitiz (#10) are my top four. I expect to advance to this leg, and if the will pays are hefty, I can always hedge with Holy Lute and Boozer.

The $.50-cent Pick 4 ticket looks like this:

1,8,9 with 2,3,6 with 2,3,4,5 with 5,6,8,10 = $72.

Happy opening day!!