Shapiro’s analysis of the Los Alamitos closing day Pick 6

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TwinSpires Staff

December 17th, 2017

by Scott Shapiro

It is closing day of the 2017 winter meeting at Los Alamitos Race Course and that means a mandatory payout in the Pick 6 wager.

The good news for Southern California horseplayers is the pool should be a juicy one since on Saturday no one was able to connect on six of six, resulting in a two-day carryover of $79,378 heading into Sunday.

The sequence starts in Race 5 and concludes with the meet’s finale in Race 10. Here are my brief thoughts on the six races:

Click to read Scott Shapiro's full card Daily Selections each and every day for the Southern California circuit

Race 5

A high level optional claiming event at one mile gets things started.

Hot Sean (#4) is listed as the 2-1-morning-line favorite for Hall of Famer Bob Baffert. The lightly raced son of Flatter has raced just once in 2017 after running first or second in each of his initial four starts in 2016. He can win, but I am concerned he may get caught up in an early duel with long shot The Critical Way (#3) making him a vulnerable chalk.

Stormin Monarcho (#5) is a 14-time winner that did all the dirty work on the front end last time out, but could not hold off the eventual winner in the lane. If Tyler Baze can relax the veteran gelding just off the early pace he should be tough to get by late. He is my top choice.

Rocko’s Wheel (#2) and The Lieutenant (#6) will benefit if they go too fast early on. Both should provide a tiny bit of separation in the first leg if they get to the wire first.

Race 6

In this maiden special weight event for two-year-olds, Concur (#8) has shown the most ability of those with racing experience. He has finished second in consecutive starts and draws favorably to the outside. He is a potential single in the sequence, but I have a hard time leaving out two well meant first-time starters for high-powered barns in Montmartre (#2) and Restoring Hope (#7).

Race 7

This conditional $16K claimer at two turns presents a challenging third leg to the final day Pick 6. It is a very tricky race.

I made Harrovian (#8) my top choice at 8-1 on the line in my Daily Selections on based on his affinity for the racetrack and probable trip.

American League (#3) and Gentrified (#5) are horses I find impossible to endorse at relatively short prices.  American League has not moved forward despite several descents down the class ladder. Gentrified is a ploddy, one-turn, late-running sprinter that I struggle to see improving with added ground.

Giant Mark (#2) has three more wins than any other runner in the field and makes for an intriguing inclusion at 8-1. Lindante (#6) has won just two of 32, but fits well in this group after three straight underneath finishes since being claimed by trainer Gary Stute.

Race 8

Coalinga Hills (#3) is my top choice in this $50,000 starter allowance event, but he must translate his form down the hill in October to the main track.

Yalisha (#2) makes his first start for trainer Keith Desormeaux after 11 races in Louisiana. He may need one off the 4 1/2-month freshening, but the cutback to a sprint and the removal of blinkers make him a wild card contender.

Dangerously Close (#5) has struggled to finish races, but he moves to the red-hot Genaro Vallejo barn. Perhaps the high-percentage conditioner will move him forward on Sunday.

Li’l Grazen (#40 has done his best running when flanked right off the leaders in the early going, but I think he will be out sprinted out of the gates. He is worth taking a shot against at 5-2 on the line despite a consistent 2017.

Race 9

I lack a strong opinion in the penultimate race of the meeting, but made Mon Mousse (#5) my top choice. If the six-year-old gelding can make a clear lead he should be tough to catch under jockey Kyle Frey.

If Mon Mousse takes too much early pressure from Sense of Glory (#3) perhaps two winners from earlier in the meeting can run them down in the lane.

Midnight Harbor (#6) moves up in class, but was victorious in his first trip around two turns on November 30.

Tasunke Witco (#8) makes his fourth start dating back to November 2 so he may be a tired horse, but he comes in off a strong performance on December 7 where he stalked early and pulled away late against open $12,500 claimers.

Race 10

A rock-bottom maiden claimer concludes the 2017 Los Alamitos daytime Thoroughbred calendar.

Mr. Matlock (#10) is the one to beat on the drop in class for trainer Kenneth Black. If Joe Talamo can get him out of the gate into a nice stalking spot he should be able to wear down his rivals on the surface switch from turf to dirt.

If you are looking to use more than one low-level maiden, Is Trevor Clever (#8) should be on the lead in his second start of the form cycle for trainer Peter Miller. He could get brave, but his price is hard to swallow.

Southern Thunder (#2) has struggled to get out of the gate in each of his last two starts for trainer Jeff Mullins, but he goes two sprints to a route and has shown some ability in his last two tries.

Good luck on closing day!