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Homeracing

Speed plays well but results mostly formful as big weekend looms at Santa Anita

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

April 5th, 2016

SANTA ANITA NOTEBOOK

A pair of graded events topped the weekend of racing at Santa Anita.

San Simeon S. (G3): Westside Rentals et al’s GUNS LOADED (D’wildcat) forced the issue in second, took the lead in early stretch and strode home a facile 1 ¼-length winner under Rafael Bejarano. The razor-sharp five-year-old got the about 6 ½ furlongs on the firm turf in 1:13 1/5 for trainer Doug O’Neill.

Tokyo City Cup (G3): Michael House’s BIG JOHN B (Hard Spun) was last for the opening mile, but gained momentum approaching the turn for home and drew clear late in posting a 2 ¼-length score for conditioner Phil D’amato. The talented seven-year-old endured 1 ½ miles on the fast main oval in 2:28 3/5 with Bejarano in the silks.

Track Stats

From a total of 36 races held at the Arcadia, California racetrack during the past week, favorites won at a 50 percent clip and the top two betting choices combined for 67 percent of the wins. From 22 frays contested on the dirt oval, five animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (23 percent), while five of the 14 grassy runs this past week were taken on the lead (36 percent).

The main oval produced a handful of winners who led throughout this past week, all coming in sprint races. The inner six posts accounted for 20 of the 22 winners, as well.

On the lawn, five went wire-to-wire, two in downhill dashes and a trio in two-turn runs. With that being stated, the amount of winning favorites this week hints that both surfaces played mostly fairly, overall.

Meet Totals

Races:

 

512

Dirt:

 

371

Turf:

 

141

Favorites:

 

194 (37%)

2nd Choices:

 

99 (19%)

Turf Wire:

 

29 (20%)

Dirt Wire:

 

102 (27%)

 

 

 

HORSES TO WATCH

Thursday (3/31)

4TH –           WHISKEY TICKET (Ghostzapper) didn’t win in his return, but the Bob Baffert trainee ran big while showing a lot of heart in a runner-up try. The lightly raced four-year-old surely has a lot of room for improvement and could be in line for a big second half of 2016 with steady improvement.

6TH – Jerry Hollendorfer’s HE WILL (Cyclotron) pressed the short-priced favorite early before taking the lead at the top of the lane and the four-year-old colt proved much the best in this fine tally. The chestnut showed no signs of rust being off since the summer and looms large in his return if properly placed.

Friday (4/1)

5TH – INFINITE MAGIC (More Than Ready) might have found his niche sprinting down the hill as he has put in solid late runs in both tries on this unique course. The Jeff Mullins trainee had little chance after a poor break from a tough post, in a race where no one was making up ground, but he still rallied to just miss second in a fine late kick.

7TH – ROY H (More Than Ready) just missed to a runner who led at every call, but the Peter Miller-trained colt was making his first run since December and should get a lot out of this one. Capable sort seems good on any surface, though we hope connections keep him on the dirt for a while.

Saturday (4/2)

3RD – CELEBRITY STATUS (Vronsky) made easy work of this field and we were surprised he was not claimed out of this run. The seven-year-old gelding has great current form and will be super tough next time even with a slight class rise the way he is running presently.

4TH – TE RAPA (Wild Event) didn’t get the pace we expected, but he still improved in his second run back and the Howie Zucker charge might peak in his subsequent outing.

Sunday (4/3)

9TH – TENGA’S RANSOM (Tenga Cat) could not run down a sharp winner in this dash, but the Jeff Mullins pupil was easily second best and we thought it was a big showing in a strong field. The three-year-old colt had not run since a debut try in August, so he has a ton of room to move forward and will likely graduate in the near future.

A Look Ahead

A huge weekend of racing is upon us at “The Great Race Place.” The topper of a big Saturday is the $1 million Santa Anita Derby (G1) for sophomore Kentucky Derby hopefuls. A trio of other graded races will take place -- $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks (G1); $150,000 Providencia S. (G3); and $100,000 Thunder Road S. (G3).

On Sunday, the $100,000 San Juan Capistrano S. (G3) and $100,000 Las Cienegas S. (G3) will be offered.

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