Shapiro’s Los Alamitos Futurity and Starlet Pick 5 analysis
by Scott Shapiro
First and foremost I want to express my deepest condolences to all of those who were affected by the catastrophic fire at San Luis Rey Training Center in Bonsall, California, on Wednesday. I also wanted to thank all of the brave souls who risked their lives to save the equine athletes in harms way.
If you want to donate to support the evacuated horses from San Luis Rey, here is a link endorsed by both Del Mar and Santa Anita as a valid donation spot: https://www.dmtc.com/fire-evacuation.
In less important news, Los Alamitos has a pair of Grade 1 stakes events for two-year-olds headlining their nine-race Saturday afternoon card and both are part of the Players’ Pick 5 wager.
The Los Alamitos Futurity and Starlet drew compact groups of five each, but still offer a glimpse at some of the most talented juvenile runners on the West Coast.
Here are my thoughts and my suggested wager on the Pick 5 that commences in Race 1. I do not advise spreading deep in this sequence due to short fields and the strong likelihood that a few short price horses get to the wire first.
The opener is an optional claimer run at 5 1/2 furlongs.
We Will Re Joyce (#1) is my top choice in here despite drawing the rail for trainer Steve Miyadi. The Tommy Town Thoroughbreds filly cuts back to one turn and moves from turf to dirt after a fifth-place effort going a mile over the Del Mar lawn. She has a win and a third in two local tries and should sit a perfect trip just off the early pace of Innyminniemineymoe (#3) and Dream of Eagles (#6). If Drayden Van Dyke can navigate a trouble-free trip from the inside, We Will Re Joyce should get the best of her rivals in the lane.
I will single the daughter of Kafwain to start the day.
The second is a starter allowance event conducted at one mile.
Run Like Rhett (#6) is the 2-1-morning-line favorite based on finishing in the money in seven of his last eight for trainer Blake Heap. His lone off-the-board effort came last out when he steadied early in a race at this level over the Del Mar grass and finished dead last. He certainly has as good a chance as anyone, but is hard to trust at a short price.
I will also include Rainbow Squall (#4). This son of City Zip has struggled to win races, but should get the jump on his main rivals in this spot. He ran second in his only try over this course and should be ready for his best in his third start off the layoff.
Saldamente (#2) may be a maiden, but he has faced better over his first six starts for trainer Brian Koriner. He will be the third horse on my ticket.
The third race is the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) run at 1 1/16 miles.
Hall of Famer Bob Baffert has owned this race and he looks to have a huge chance to take it down once again in 2017. Of his two runners I prefer McKinzie (#5).
The colt I suggested on wagering on in the first Kentucky Derby Future Pool conducted last month takes on winners for the initial time after an eye-popping 5 1/2-length victory at Santa Anita Park in late October. He should get better with added distance and has worked well leading up to his stakes debut.
McKinzie is my second single on my suggested ticket.
The fourth race is the Starlet (G1), also conducted at 1 1/16 miles.
I will take a shot against the morning-line favorite in this one. Dream Tree (#3) is a perfect two-for-two, but both of those wins came by a head at one turn. I think she will struggle to get the additional ground and is worth taking a shot against at 8-5 on the line.
I will use my top choice Piedi Bianchi (#2), as well as long shots Exuberance (#1) and Yesterday’s News (#5).
Piedi Bianchi has not been overly impressive in her two turn races thus far, but those came against solid groups, including a fifth-place effort in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). She has proven she can get the distance and is a logical contender in the Starlet for trainer Doug O’Neill.
Exuberance and Yesterday’s News may be reaching to win a Grade 1, but they both have won going two turns and have a right to improve on Saturday. Their value and my lack of trust in the favorites make them worth including.
A very weak $20,000 maiden claimer concludes the Pick 5.
Hotsy Dotsy (#4) is the most likely winner, but taking 7-5 on a horse that is 0-for-14 is hard to swallow. I will also include class dropper Quality Girl (#1), lightly raced five-year-old mare Alpha Pegasus (#3) and 0-for-12 maiden Princess Nicole (#7).
Here is my Pick 5 Ticket: ($1 wager)
Race 1: 1
Race 2: 2+4+6
Race 3: 5
Race 4: 1+2+5
Race 5: 1+3+4+7
Ticket Cost: $36
Good luck at the windows!