Return to Turf Makes B Squared Appealing in Mathis Brothers Mile

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

December 22nd, 2017

What do you do when the majority of the horses in a given race have taken turns beating each other all year long?

There are a couple of options. You can try to split hairs and predict which one is on the rise and ready for a winning effort on this particular day, or you can try to beat them all with a newcomer. I’ll take the latter approach when playing the $200,000 Mathis Brothers Mile (gr. II) on opening day at Santa Anita.

Eight horses will face the starter in this one-mile turf race for three-year-olds, and five of them—#3 Colonist, #4 Harbour Master, #5 Bowies Hero, #6 Holiday Stone, and #8 Big Score—have faced off repeatedly without any of them emerging as clearly superior. A case can be made for any of them to win the Mathis Brothers Mile, but determining who has the strongest case could be more about guesswork and intuition than anything else.

Therefore, I’m going to take a shot against them all with #2 B Squared. Trained by Doug O’Neill, the son of Square Eddie has been racing primarily on dirt and ran ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) last time out, but his three runs on turf have been excellent. Back in the spring, he won the one-mile Silky Sullivan Stakes going a mile on turf at Golden Gate Fields before finishing sixth in the nine-furlong Snow Chief Stakes, in which he fought for the lead past the eighth pole and weakened late going a distance that might be beyond his best.

After a summer campaign on dirt that produced mixed results, B Squared returned to turf for the California Flag Handicap sprinting 6 ½ furlongs on the downhill turf course at Santa Anita. Facing a deep field of older rivals that included the future Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (gr. I) runner-up Richard’s Boy, B Squared settled a few lengths off the pace before rallying strongly to win by a half-length.

In the Mathis Brothers Mile, B Squared will be returning to turf and running against his own age group, yet in this wide-open field, I expect him to offer solid odds. With this in mind, my strategy will be simple: I won’t get too creative trying to nail down the exacta or trifecta. Instead, I’ll play B Squared to win and consider him a single for multi-race wagers like the all-stakes Pick 3 that includes the La Brea Stakes (gr. I) and the Malibu Stakes (gr. I) (click on the name of either race to read my analysis).

$10 to win on #2 B Squared $3 Race 6 Pick 3: 2 with 3 with 1,4,6 ($9) $2 Race 6 Pick 3: 2 with 4 with 1,4,6 ($6)

Good luck!