Mucciolo: Pair should dominate Midnight Lute
The $400,000 American Oaks (G1) is the feature of the Saturday card at Santa Anita on, but I love a betting opportunity in the race following that one -- the $100,00 Midnight Lute (G3).
In this 6 1/2-furlong dash, a solid, but not outstanding, field of nine will speed on the dirt. The field is led by the comeback of Grade 1 hero MASOCHISTIC. Now in the hands of Bob Baffert, the talented seven-year-old has been in the headlines quite a bit over recent years, some for the right reasons and at other times the wrong ones, but he is training like he will run a big one in his debut for this barn and he's a classy one.
The California-bred son of Sought After is four-for-eight on this main oval while tussling with the best sprinters in the country for the past few seasons, and I think he simply looks best in the field. The seven-year-old has a world of pace and can carry it, and he lands in a field where he might not face a whole lot of real pressure.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: After publication of this blog, it was reported Friday afternoon that Masochistic was to be scratched from the Midnight Lute]
Americanize, in the post outside of him, is the only runner likely to keep pace with Masochistic early on. I envision the expected favorite to put that one away in early stretch, setting it up for the late runners for the minor awards.
CALCULATOR has a big turn of foot for conditioner Peter Miller, dons a solid 5-2-1-1 local line and also gets pilot Javier Castellano to ride for what appears to be the initial time. A gray son of In Summation, he's a versatile sort who I liked some in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1), and while he was outrun in that deep dash, the Florida-bred has trained well since without missing a beat. The five-year-old has enough positional speed to get first run on the deep-closing types and his price could possibly even float up some around post time.
I think Masochistic is too good on his best day for anything to catch him if he endures a sensible trip. And I think Calculator is sitting on one of his better races in a field that suits him well. It's a simple two-horse race!
(Masochistic: Benoit Photos)