BEST BET: RACE 4, AMBERELLA
The complexion of three grass races (1, 5 and 8) Sunday could change if rain arrives as it is forecast. KADESHA, runner-up last time at nine furlongs, benefits from a distance cutback and switch to a productive rider. Her two wins were at this onemile distance; she gets Rafael Bejarano first off the claim and runs back at the same $25k claiming level. An off-the-pace “upset” is brewing. BELLE ET BETE raced evenly last out in a $ 40k claiming race, her first in nearly two months. She wheels back in 15 days and drops two levels. CAN CAN BABE could go favored, and if she reproduces her impressive last-out win on this course, could make it three straight. The difference is she shortens from nine furlongs to one mile, is racing over a turf course that is less firm as last month, and she was claimed away from trainer A.C. Avila. On the other hand, she might simply be the best, sharpest in the field.
ULTRA SHARP stretches to one mile after a fast runner-up comeback in a maiden- 40 sprint. He returns at the same level with an up-front running style. Seven of the last 11 dirt races at one mile (through Thursday) were won by the pacesetter; trainer Craig Dollase has won with 4 of his last 11 main-track stretch- outs. Come catch him. RADIO SILENT showed life in his comeback early this month, runner-up in a maiden-20 while finishing more than five clear of third. The class jump is a sign of optimism; the challenge is his closing style has been ineffective this meet at one mile. RUN THE SHOW has faced better; he drops from a maiden special-weight on turf. VODKA TEXTED YOU stretches out, has speed, and could give the top choice a tough time up front. ARMORED CAR is first-time tag.
Second-time starter CANDY BOSS shoudl improve off her eighth-place debut two months ago. She trained well going in, but was cold in the betting at 5-1 and faded after pressing the pace. Further complicating her form is that she was a vet scratch Dec. 26. But she returned to work a half-mile two days after the scratch, has maintained a consistent work pattern through January, and should make a forward move second time out for trainer John Sadler. JEANA BABY and GUST are firsttime starters trained by Peter Miller. If the track comes up wet, JEANA BABY might like it. Progeny of Super Saver has won 23 percent of their wettrack starts according to Thoro- Graph. The filly’s works look okay, on paper. GUST is a Kantharos first-time starter that is a sibling to Miller-trained G3 winner Calculator. Kantharos gets 22 percent debut winners; this filly’s works seem okay.
Runner-up at this $16k claiming N3L level early this month, AMBERELLA looks like a low- odds standout in the first leg of the pick six. The consistent filly has speed for a pressing trip in this one-mile dirt race, she gets a five-pound weight over most of her rivals, is proven at the level and enters as a potential “single.” MUDGE was overmatched last out, but her third-place finish in a sprint two back at this level makes her a contender. And, she can run long. Her four recent routes on dirt produced a win and a third. EASTER FEVER goes sprint to route, Cal-bred N1X allowance to restricted claiming, and is likely to set the pace. The class dive is curious, and her ability to stay two turns is uncertain. But she is fast enough to lead the field as far as she can.
The forecast calls for rain, in which case this $75k sprint stakes for fillies and mares could be moved to the main track. That would be fine for dirt specialist CADET RONI, highly rated N1X
winner last out and decisive winner both recent starts on the Santa Anita main. The pace-pressing filly should get a good trip outside in the clear. If the race is moved to dirt, she likely would face a small field. If the race remains on turf, it becomes a complete raffle. MY YEAR IS A DAY ran well two weeks ago in a G3 at one mile. She finished fourth while facing a tougher field than she meets in this restricted stakes. Sprinting might be her best trip. KOOL KAT has an upset chance first start in two months. She has run well on the hill. MISS DOUBLE D’ORO missed by only a nose last time in a fine N2X comeback. She is a downhill specialist, two starts on the hill produced a win and a second.
In this maiden-30 mishmash for 3yo fillies, dropper LADY WEDGE might be the right choice. She faced better her first three starts, and now drops to the bottom. First-time starter CHARLIE MY LOVE is the first foal from an unraced sibling to Indian Charlie. Maidens from this outfit generally race their way into shape, but this field came up unusually weak. It’s a good spot for a new shooter. BLAZEINBLAIRSDEN and TRULY YOURS both have speed. The truth is, this race is impossible.
KAFISTER ran a winning race last out, runner-up at this N2X level with a good number (90 Beyer). The consistent gelding is 6-for-13 over this track; the knock is he is “stuck” at the condition. This is his sixth try at N2X. He finished in the money three straight. AMERICAN PRIDE also is a Santa Anita specialist, having won 3 of 4 here. He returned to form last out with an upset while running for a $ 40k claim tag. He moves up one level, while “protected.” That is, he is not entered for a claim tag. He is sharp, versatile, fast and an obvious contender. TEXAS TWO STEP has been gelded since his comeback. He goes route to sprint and will roll late. New York shipper EIGHTY THREE might be ranked too low by this handicapper; he will be among the favorites based on his highly rated races in the East. If it rains, that might be fine. He is 2-for-2 on wet. CHIEF LION is an upset candidate likely to offer value due to his modest speed figures. But he is a pro, with a history of outrunning his odds. He has won three races at Santa Anita including upsets at $25 and $26.
A signficant drop from open $ 50k claiming to Cal-bred allowance/optional $20k claiming makes HUSBAND’S FOLLY the tepid choice in this mile and one- eighth race scheduled for turf. He has a lopsided number of seconds and thirds relative to wins (5 wins, 18 two-three finishes), but his recent form is acceptable (fifth last out) and he handles any footing. He might benefit if this grass race is moved to a wet main track. He hit the board all three starts on wet. SIZZLIN’ JOE is another with a lopsided record (four wins, 14 two-three finishes). The closer drops from open $ 25k claiming, retains Bejarano and also handles any footing. LOS GATOS is fresh, training well and ready to fire first start since August. He is a turf specialist that is unproven on dirt. PREACHER ROE has speed and should be forwardly placed in a race without much pace.
GNARLY DUDE is the obvious favorite in this $ 8k claiming sprint. Claimed last out from a highly rated (82 Beyer) runner-up finish at this level, he returns at the same class for good first- off-theclaim trainer Steve Miyadi. The knock on GNARLY DUDE is that he seems to have developed a “pack mentality.” After starting his career winning 7 of his first 23 starts, he won just 1 of 19 since. Trust him in deep stretch? Nope. SIR BARCLAY finished behind the top choice last out, but that was after setting a fast pace to deep stretch. The sharp claiming veteran is the one to catch. COLLATION is an upset candidate. His recent form is dull, but he tries a rider switch and has a bullet workout here one week ago. He once was good enough for this level, and might like a wet track. Bombs away at a million to one? EL NINO TERRIBLE drops to the bottom for the first time.
■ Win, place, and show: 15.43 %
■ Two-horse exotic wagering: 22.68%
■ Trifecta, Superfecta, Super Hi 5, Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 6: 23.68%
■ Pick 5: 14%
■ Daily Double: 20%
NOTE: A horse which wins a non-winners of $3,000 other than maiden or claiming, or two races, for Calbreds, shall remain eligible for that comparable open allowance race, provided that horse did not win a race other than claiming following that Cal-Bred win. Once a horse has won the two first condition allowance races (Cal-Bred and open), then the Cal Bred win will be disregarded in future allowance races for eligibility purposes only.