And away we go back to the Great Race Place as we start a month-long fall meet at Santa Anita. Today’s $500k Guaranteed Pick 4 begins in the 8th race and if you believe strongly in the 3/5 morning line favorite, #5 Songbird, then you have a free spot on the Pick 4 sequence. The first three legs today are $300k stakes races capped by a maiden claimer. No Hillside turf races in today’s sequence. It is sweltering hot in So. Cal this weekend which puts Pick 4 bettors at a disadvantage as we cannot see in the post parade who is not liking the heat after the first leg. Keep this is mind on your “sure thing” thoughts! One last thought – Del Mar or Bomb Mar as I will call it was crazy this summer. I am inclined, for now, to give horses a pass who performed poorly there and not be in love with horses that managed to win there either.
Mike Smith rides the odds on favorite #5 Songbird in today’s first leg, a mile and sixteenth on the dirt. Songbird was unveiled at Del Mar and is seeking her third straight win and stretches out today. A sharp workout this week makes her a logical single. A quarter of the time a price horse 10-1 or more has won this race and I am someone who has a hard time single the “sure thing”, especially when we don’t know how a track will play and when the horse did all its winning at Bomb Mar. Speaking of bombs there are a couple of bombs that do jump out here. #3 Vieja Luna has a jockey and trainer who have teamed up on 2 of 3 horses for big prices this year. #2 Halo Darlin with Baze in the reigns for Puype who is winning 34% in graded stakes this year won last out and stretches out.
In race 9 the favorite is #8 Hard Not to Like who is seeking his 3rd straight win and 5 of 6. The 2 month break we see is common for this horse and he has shown before he can win off breaks. The stretch to a mile and quarter seems suited for him as well. 52% of the time the winner of this race is priced 5-1 or more. #11 Fanticola with Talamo riding could control this race and is a fighter in the lane, something you definitely want in your horse in a race of this distance.
Race 10 is the Awesome Again Grade 1. The question here is do you trust the favorite #8 Bayern who has whiffed all year. Baffert of course races two in here to make things difficult cause if you play one Baffert you have to play two. I am going to bet against Baffert here and play none! Instead I like #3 Point Piper who put in a sharp workout here this week, won last at Del Mar but is rising in class. 8-1 is a nice price based on that info. #7 Smooth Roller had a horrible trip last out at Del Mar and had everything that could go wrong, go wrong, putting an end his unbeaten streak under the reigns of Smith. Baze, who rode Smooth to all his victories hops back on today. Yes – I am betting against the Baffert today. Feel free to use him though!
After 3 stakes races we end the day with a maiden special weight! The shortest priced favorite here is #14 Dressed in Hermes but is on the AE list and needs scratch help. Bejarano rides and two sharp workouts in a row say all systems go, if he gets in. #9 Canada picks up Stevens as the rider today in a race where his main man Proctor races a horse who Stevens rode previously – translation, pay attention to this horse! Stevens is also 3 for 3 for trainer Callaghan with a big ROI. Canada cost $500k at auction so they saw something here. If Hermes does not make it in he’ll likely be the favorite. Bejarano rode previously and this horse did nothing first out at Del Mar but Stevens must know something. Baffert races two in here but neither are favorites or even close to it so pass. Bejarano rides one of them, the #3 Coach Q if you are inclined to use a hot jockey if his ride on 14 does not get in. Talamo is always a danger on the grass and he rides #7 Strong Values for Belvoir who has a nice ROI 2nd time grass.
Today’s Late Pick 4 will cost $18 with horses listed in preference
5,3,2 (if you truly believe in #5 the bet drops to $4-6 only depending on #14 getting in)
Pick 5 will cost $12
The Best Bet today can be no other than Beholder in Race #7. She absolutely dominated the boys in the Pacific Classic showing us why American Pharoah ran off to race back east. No value at 2-5 or less but to complete the exact in here #4 Big Book with Desormeaux riding at the lightest weight looks good. Strangely enough Bejarano rode all his races and hops over to #12 My Sweet Addiction to round out a trifecta and add in the exact too.
When I have three horses selected in a Pick 4 or Pick 5 consider them for Trifecta boxes and for superfecta boxes use the 3 selections with the highest priced horse with good form or top tier jockeys riding, especially if they give a price. Rolling Pick 3 and doubles using selections.
Good Luck today!