It’s Big Cap day at Santa Anita and that means we have lots of races with big name horses as well as a giant $1 million Guaranteed Pick 4! Shared Belief in the final race is a total single giving us room to spread in the earlier legs today.
A sharp workout a week ago for a horse that easily won her debut race despite racing wide, the #5 Curlin’s Fox in the 1st leg is a logical morning line favorite. Mike Smith rides for Gaines who are 2 for 3 so far at this meet. This is only her second race though so singling here is tough. The other I will use in here is #8 Bobbi Grace with Stevens and Procter who are winning 26% and who finished second in her last behind #2 She’s A Big Winner Feb 14. I have to use #2 as well off her 2 straight wins on turf even though she is running longer today. Price horses have been winning the 1st leg of the Pick 4 most of the time lately so I will also use #11 Looking For Money. O’Neill has not been having a very good meet but he reclaimed Money who he lost to Mora at Del Mar in the fall. A first and second on turf recently and a big price in case the top choices falter. 10-1 or higher prices win this race 20% of the time. Because I am singling the last race I will use the other Paddy in here #7 Spirit of Xian. Talamo is one of my favorite jockeys and he is due to heat up and he does very well on turf.
My top choice in race #9 is the #4 Conquest Two Step who beat the morning line favorite #1 Chitu in a race he finished second to Shared Belief. He does pick up 5 pounds today though but his trainer is on fire over the last week winning 3 of 6. The Baffert/Garcia tandem who have started to connect on wins lately (26% now) bring us the favorite #1 Chitu. He has not raced since the December race with Conquest but had a fast workout last week. The insider post is definite negative however. #7 Wild Dude also ran in the same race as the top choices but it was his first race in 9 months and leading jockey Bejarano rides. The favorite only wins this race 8% of the time and horses priced 10-1 or more have won at a 32% rate! With that in mind if you have the coin to spread some more the #3 Majestic City at 12-1 could upset at a big price. He has not raced in 9 months but had a nice workout last week and his jockey Baze has been in the money 12 of 19 in the last week with 5 wins. At the price I would even consider using this horse instead of the #1 in a cheaper ticket. (Update: Interestingly both Baffert horses the #1 and #8 have been scratched from the race.)
In race #10 the 7-2 morning line favorite is #8 Summer Front races for the first time since finishing 4th at the Breeders Cup. Trainer Clement ships Summer all the way from training in Florida for this race. Mike Smith picked #11 Za Approval over #4 Holy Lute so we have to take a look and use. Smith makes his money off big pay races. The outside post is no bargain for most jockeys but Smith is a jockey who frustratingly keeps his horses way back early anyways. I like the #2 Hay Dude and have bet him every time he has raced since coming from Europe. He is moving up in class BUT his trainer wins 33% of Graded Stakes races and the rail is winning 22%.
The final race brings us the $1 million Grade I Santa Anita Handicap and the deserving odds on favorite is #5 Shared Belief. There is no need to go into details here. Unless something crazy happens like it did at the Breeders Cup this is going to be another notch for the real 2014 Horse of the Year. If you want a price horse on a cheap ticket then consider the #12 Catch A Flight. Jockey Stevens has won this race 4 times and his trainer Mandella has won it 3 times. Mandella also wins 31% of his races 3rd off a layoff. Rising in class of course this would be a Hail Mary on crazy race outcome!
Good luck to us today!
Today’s Pick 4 bet will cost $22.50
A smaller favorite/bomb bet ticket costs $12