Handicapping Insights: Andy Harrington’s National Turf Clocker’s Report comes through

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Jen Caldwell

January 23rd, 2019

Last Saturday, Santa Anita Park put up a $2 million guarantee for a single winner of their Rainbow Pick 6, which will be in effect until February 1. Figuring that there would be a lot of money chasing the jackpot, and since none of my money was in the over $900,000 carryover already there, it looked like a good spot to jump in. The problem was that I don’t follow Santa Anita on a daily basis. However, when you use BRIS Ultimate Past Performances and Andy Harrington’s National Turf Clocker’s Report, you have a fighting chance. The sequence had the potential to be chalky and I went with it for $45. In the first leg I went five deep and, luckily, the favorite came through at 11-10 and beat a horse I did not include. The second leg was key since only five were left after two scratches. Harrington had Mo Soul (#2) working lights out for that claiming level and I singled him. All that work he put in the morning came in handy as he determinedly held off his rivals and won by a half-length as the 5-2 second choice. The third leg was a maiden special weight for three-year-olds and Bob Baffert unveiled Dessman (#7), a $750,000 two-year-old in training purchase. Harrington’s comments were that he was second in his workouts to an unraced filly named Flor de La Mar. However, Harrington raved about her and how she was a Kentucky Oaks (G1) prospect so Dessman was most likely the real deal. I know Baffert has been unbeatable with debut runners lately but I still have champions American Pharoah, Drefong and Arrogate in my mind as Baffert monsters who lost their debut. So, I singled Dessman in the third leg and it was never in doubt as he drew off to win by over seven lengths. In the fourth leg, I went three deep and got lucky when Lil Milo (#8) was a game winner down the hill and paid $21.20. The fifth leg was the Palos Verdes (G2) and an obvious single for Roy H (#7). Hero of the last two editions of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1), the champion sprinter was sharp as a tack and easily won by four lengths. Even with a couple of chalky winners, the Pick 6 will pays were not bad. I was alive to five horses and the favorite bailed me out again when Dearborn (#8) held off two horses whom I did not use. Even with two odds-on winners and two other strong favorites, the Pick 6 returned $452.24 for 20 cents, which was a 10-1 return for me. Thanks to Harrington, I was able to confidently narrow my ticket when I needed to. I did hit one price horse but was spread out enough in some of the others just in case. The comments on Dessman’s workouts intrigued me enough to pay attention to Sunday’s racing when Flor de la Mar (#7) was entered in the 5TH Race. Sure enough, she lived up to the advance billing when she won as she pleased. The flashy, huge (1,195 pounds!) $500,000 yearling purchase by Godolphin raced three wide around the turn and was very professional through the lane to win by five lengths. Both Dessman and Flor de La Mar earned BRIS Speed ratings of 87. ***** Sunday’s football action was fascinating on a number of levels. The blizzard that hit the Northeast was just about over but it was too cold to do anything. Back-to-back conference championship games were a good way to spend the day and any of the four teams could be going to the Super Bowl. Despite a wild fourth quarter, the Patriots/Chiefs game would have been under 56 had Dee Ford not lined up offside late in the game. Luckily, New York State still doesn’t allow sports betting so it didn’t cost me any money but I still like to be right in my predictions. The uproar over officiating was as loud as ever, with outrage at some of the calls and non-calls. All I can say, as a horse racing bettor, to the new sports bettors, is: “Welcome to our world.”