Memorial Day Spot Plays at Santa Anita
by SCOTT SHAPIRO
On Monday afternoon Santa Anita Park offers racing fans a special holiday card remembering those that gave their lives to defend our country. A pair of $200,000 Cal-bred stakes races headlines the nine-race slate.
The 22nd running of the Melair for three-year-old fillies conducted at a mile and a sixteenth over the main track offers little value, but the Snow Chief for three-year-old colts run at a mile and an eighth over the lawn looks a little more interesting and wide-open.
The card also offers a few challenging maiden special weight events that could lead to solid payouts both in the vertical wagers and in the late Pick 4 sequence.
Here are a few horses that I will be making spot plays on during this Memorial Day card:
Remember you can get my Daily Selections for each and every Santa Anita card here:
The first leg of the late Pick 4 is an open company maiden special weight run over the hillside turf course.
The 3-1-morning line favorite in the six and a half furlong event over the lawn is #1 Meadowsweet. The son of Smart Strike has the pedigree to be a real star out of multiple graded stakes winner Tranquility Lake. However, the rail draw, trainer Clifford Sise’s lack of success with first-time starters on the turf and the probability that she will do her best running around two turns make her a play against in this spot.
My play in this race is #8 Red Livy. This Irish-bred filly makes her second start in the States for trainer Phil D’Amato. She tried two turns in her North American debut and was hard to relax early and tired badly late. I think the cutback to a sprint along with the start under her belt in Southern California will do her well. At 8-1 on the morning line this daughter of Dandy Man makes for a very solid play at a nice price.
I will bet her to win at anything 5-1 or higher and play here in vertical wagers with #2 Tim’s Girl (20-1 ML) #6 Arrowsphere (5-1 ML) and #11 Soul Singer (12-1 ML).
The seventh is another open company maiden event, but this one is a sprint over the main track.
The two inside runners both make their third start for two of the stronger barns on the circuit, but both #1 Hot Blooded Girl and #2 Danuska’s My Girl have performed modestly to start their careers. I think both are beatable on Monday.
My play in this race is #8 Just a Little Hope. The daughter of Flatter makes her second lifetime start after running second to graded stakes-placed Simon Callaghan runner Queen Laila. This Dan Hendricks runner had reportedly shown ability in the mornings before her debut last month and ran on extremely well for a barn that does not usually have their runners cranked on first asking. She should appreciate the extra half-furlong and run down this group of maidens in the lane.
I will play her to win at anything 3-1 or higher, play her in vertical wagers with #4 California Breeze, #6 Arch of Troy, #9 Secret Shopper and #10 Life’s Illusion and in a Daily Double with my play in Race 6 #8 Red Livy.
Race 8: The 24th running of the $200,000 Snow Chief Stakes:
I will not play this race very aggressively because I do think #2 B Squared is a legitimate favorite, but I do give a big shot to #1 Calli Way.
The Paymaster Racing gelding makes his third start of the form cycle after a three-quarter-length score last time out against allowance competition at one mile. He should get a great trip from the rail and move forward third off the layoff. At odds of 4-1 or higher he is worth a Win wager in the Memorial Day feature.
Good luck at the windows and thank you to all who have served and given their life for the United States of America!
Santa Anita scenic photo by Spencer Tulis/Horsephotos.com