Player Quick Pick: Santa Anita for 4/26/2014

Profile Picture: Molly Jo Rosen

Molly Jo Rosen

April 26th, 2014

by D. S. Williamson

Today is Gold Rush Day at Santa Anita. That gives horseplayers plenty of great stakes races to bet including the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes and the $250,000 Melair Stakes.

Santa Anita Park 9 | 8:16 pm ET Melair Stakes for 3yo Cal-bred F going 1-1/16 mi.

1 – Swiss Lake Yodeler – Since starting out her career by winning 2 out of 3, this Jerry Hollendorfer trainee appears to have fallen on hard times. The loss in the Bourbonette was absolutely horrendous, but she did have to go five-wide around the first turn and what she faces in this isn’t close to what she faced in that graded event. Hollendorfer has faith and so does Rafael Bejarano. So, I’ll give her another shot. She could get the best trip on the rail behind what looks like a ton of speed.

6 – Versye – The maiden score was very impressive and she’s been working well. Notice that 6 furlong move in 1:13 over the dirt on April 20? Jockey Mario Guiterrez will have to keep her from getting into a speed duel with Rovenna, the likely chalk, but if he can do that, she could win this. Reddam Racing Llc owns her meaning that the I’ll Have Another connections, O’Neil trains, are in place. She must be respected.

3 – Wonderful Lie – I think that this Dan Blacker trainee is worth taking a shot in this spot to at least get into the exotics. She won her maiden race before failing miserably in her first try versus winners, but that race was back in February. Blacker, with a limited sample, has decent numbers stretching out his horses and bringing them into races off of a layoff. The most important factor that I see is that she goes back to Corey Nakatani who rode her in the maiden score.

Santa Anita Park 8 | 8:48 pm ET Snow Chief for 3yo Cal-bred going 1-1/8 mi. (T)

2 – Alert Bay – Trainer Blaine Wright’s two victories at this meet have come from this City Zip colt that has put together 3 wins in a row. This guy broke his maiden going a mile over this turf course before winning over the synthetic and then taking home a victory over the Santa Anita dirt. The work on April 19 over the turf, 4 furlongs in :49.4, says that jockey Tyler Baze might go right to the lead in this. There’s other speed, but Baze has been aboard for 2 of those 3 wins. I like Alert Bay to make it 4 in a row.

7 – Pray Hard – At first I thought that this Kafwain gelded three-year-old was going to be a rabbit for the other O’Neil trainee, the likely chalk Tamarando, but then I saw that jockey Corey Nakatani, who I think is one of the best turf riders in the business, has taken the call. I think that Pray Hard could get a sweet spot right behind front-runners Frensham and Alert Bay, meaning that he’ll get a jump on the closers.

6 – Tamarando – The winner of the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby failed miserably in the Spiral Stakes in his last as the $2.30 to 1 chalk. He should find the competition in this much more to his liking, but he’s already run 11 times in his career and I don’t see any breaks in his running lines. He’s been working steadily as well but the works haven’t been impressive. My guess is that he topped out in the El Camino Real Derby and needs a vacation.  But, he’s good enough to get into the tri and is a must use just in case I’m wrong.