Santa Anita's Triple Threat

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D.S. Williamson

April 19th, 2015

Sunday's feature is the Grade 3 San Simeon going 6 1/2 furlongs on turf down the hill. The race has attracted some seriously talented runners including Home Run Kitten, the morning line favorite, Holy Lute and Sweet Swap. All three are specialists going down the hill at Santa Anita. Who is likely to represent overlay odds in what figures to be a competitive event?

Santa Anita Park - Race 7 - 6:31 pm ET

Grade 3 San Simeon for 4&Up going 6.5f (T)

6-Pure Tactics - 7/2 - This Doug O'Neil trainee is likely to offer the best odds out of the four favorites. Home Run Kitten is at 5/2 on the morning line. Both Holy Lute and Sweet Swap are at 3/1 on the morning line. Pure Tactics has a very good record of 3 wins and 2 third place finishes from 7 starts going down the Santa Anita downhill turf course. In the six-year-old horse's last race down the hill, he upset Sweet Swap as a $6.20 underdog. Jockey Kent Desormeaux knows the downhill as well as any jockey on the grounds while trainer O'Neil has spotted this contender beautifully. Pure Tactics has picked up checks in $75K races the past couple of years. It's time that he added  a graded race victory to the resume and all signs are pointing him to having a good shot at doing that on Sunday.

5-Holy Lute - 3/1 - Mike Smith makes the trip across country after Shared Belief ran into some bad luck at Charles Town to try and win the Grade 3 San Simeon on Sunday aboard Holy Lute. A victory in the San Simeon won't compare to a win in the $1.5M Charles Town Classic, but it might take some of the sting away. Smith should put this guy right on the lead and dare Victor Espinoza aboard U.S. Citizen and Joe Talamo aboard Sweet Swap to go with him.  If neither one of those jockeys do, Smith and Holy Lute will most likely get their picture taken after Race 7 on Sunday. Holy Lute has a win and a second out of 3 races over Santa Anita's downhill turf. Out of 75 races down the turf at Santa Anita, front runners have won 28% of the time. That works in Holy Lute's favor on Sunday. Gate to wire is not out of the question.

2-Home Run Kitten - 5/2 - At first glance, the race sure looks like it sets up for the morning line favorite. Home Run Kitten has a record of 4-2-3 out of 10 races down the hill. The four-year-old colt sired by Kitten's Joy once again gets the services of jockey Gary Stevens who led the David Hoffmans' trainee to a third place finish in the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile as a $13.50 dog. Home Run Kitten has worked 5 times since March 7 and the works signal that he'll definitely be on his toes. But it can be difficult to close on this turf course and it can be especially difficult to close if you're going from 1 mile over turf in your last race to 6.5 furlongs over this turf. In fact, Home Run Kitten hasn't run at any distance less than a mile since finishing eleventh in the BC Turf Sprint last November. Will he be able to manage the cut back in distance over a turf course that at times favors speed? We'll see. At the likely odds, Home Run Kitten is tough to back for the win slot.