Double, Pick 3 among Saturday Spot Plays at Santa Anita

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TwinSpires Staff

May 12th, 2017


The Saturday afternoon card at Santa Anita is not chocked full of the game's superstars, but there are several events, including the pair of three-year-old stakes races, that have horses to keep an eye on during the rest of 2017.

While the card may not appeal to those horseplayers that prefer to handicap races that involve horses with deep history for each runner, I love cards like this with full-field maiden special weight events and lightly raced three-year-olds working their way up the class ladder.

Here are a couple of spot plays I will be making on the nine-race card at "The Great Race Place."

Race 1

A California-bred maiden special weight event down the hill gets things rolling. My top pick in here is #7 Mor Candy. The Twirling Candy colt was the best of the speed in a race that collapsed in his debut over the dirt. Trainer Phil D'Amato has been hot of late and the pedigree on the dam side suggests he will not only move forward with racing experience, but also moving to the grass.

Wagering Strategy:

I recommend a Win bet at anything 7-2 or higher on Mor Candy.

I will also tie him up in a Daily Double with favorite #5 Omega Moon in the second race. This Bob Baffert colt is bred to be a runner and has a strong series of works heading into his debut on Saturday.

Finally, I will play Mor Candy on top of #2 Desert Law, #5 Miracle March and #10 Burnie's on Board in both an exacta and trifecta play.

Race 4

The Pick 3 sequence commencing in Race 4 with the $75,000 Desert Code Stakes run over the hillside course intrigues me because I am against 9-5-morning line favorite #7 Cistron.

The son of War Front has won 2 of 3 as a three-year-old, including a wire-to-wire score at a mile and a sixteenth over Oaklawn Park's main track in the $150,000 Northern Spur Stakes. However, I question whether his form will translate to the about 6 1/2-furlong turf course. He appears to be more of a need-the-lead type around two turns then a stalker going one turn.

I will try to beat Cistron to start the sequence with the two Peter Miller/Rockingham Ranch runners.

#2 Big League has yet to try the turf, but has some pedigree to turn to on both sides. He was caught wide in a four-horse speed duel in the San Pedro and could do no better than third. I expect jockey Edwin Maldonado to send from the gate and see how far he can take them.

#4 Arms Runner was extremely impressive in his debut on April 20th. The half-brother of six-digit earner Calculator was green and could regress off that huge performance first time out, but a repeat of that effort may be good enough to get it done.

The fifth race is the featured 23rd running of the Lazaro Barrera (G3). I do not have a strong opinion in here, but my top pick is #2 Kimbear. The son of Temple City finished mid-pack in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) last month, but is better served at one turn. His lone win came at the seven-furlong distance and he should be rolling late if the pace is hot early.

In the final leg of the sequence I will spread three-deep. #5 Cheekaboomboom has run okay around two turns in four starts to begin his career, but he should relish the turn back in distance. The presence of the circuit's best turf rider in Flavian Prat is encouraging. I will also include #7 Chatterman, who broke poorly and still ran a solid second in early April, as well as #9 Unnamed Source, a Harris Farms colt that is a half to six-digit earner sprinting on the lawn Desert Steel.

Wagering Strategy:

I will play the following Pick 3 wager: 2+4 with 1+2+3+6 with 5+7+9 = $48

You can get my Daily Selections each day they run at Southern California at