BEST BET: RACE 9, GRANDPA LOUIE
SEA OF LIBERTY is being asked a lot, sprint to route and first-time turf for the second start of his career. Based on pedigree, he should like both. Sired by Boisterous, he is a sibling to a pair of turf winners (Run Like the Boss, Steven Decatur). ‘LIBERTY ran a lot better than looked in his debut. He was off slow, lost ground on the turn, rallied and missed by only a neck. He was claimed by trainer John Sadler, who has a long history of success claiming maidens. In what looks like a weak maiden-50 turf route, the second-timer gets the call. CARBON ZERO has shown a smidge of ability in recent starts against slightly better. He ran well at this level over this course in November. INDY JONES gets a rider switch to Brice Blanc; he will rally late. FROZEN MONEY might be ranked too low by this handicapper. He ran okay his first two starts against similar. If this race happens to be moved to a wet main track, he certainly is bred for it.
Seven furlongs is new for DURANGA, and probably within reach for the 5yo mare dropping to $12.5k claiming. She won 3 of her last 9; this is her first since moving to trainer Peter Miller. She gets in light under leading apprentice Heriberto Figueroa, DURANGA is the one to beat. BREAKAWAY DIXIE ships in from Golden Gate for high-percent trainer Jonathan Wong; the presence of Joel Rosario further establishes positive intent. ‘DIXIE is a five-time winner, many around two turns. These two-turn specialists can be effective cutting back to seven furlongs around one turn. PRINCESS KENDRA merely ran around the track without a rally last time, fourth vs. $8k. Claimed off the blah effort, she jumps up in class for a stable on a little bit of a roll. TWISTED ROSIE is back where she belongs; IPRAY has the route-to-sprint angle. Interesting race.
BIG SCORE, who raced in 15 straight stakes (winning two), gets class relief dropping to N3X turf mile. ‘SCORE is arguably the best finisher; he scratched from a G2 last week at nine furlongs to cut back to a mile against easier. In a race with enough speed to run at, ‘SCORE can sit, wait and blast home late. TRUE VALOUR looms an upset candidate first since August. He was a G3 winner in Ireland; he was in tough G2’s last summer. Freshened five months, he drops in class while making his return for trainer Simon Callaghan, whose comebackers are firing. LAW ABIDIN CITIZEN might be the speed of the speed, stretching out after a midpack finish in a fast-pace sprint. Two turns is a long way for ‘CITIZEN, but he finished a close third in a similar turf mile last summer. Come and catch him? KENJISSTORM set the pace and finished a respectable fifth last time in a G2. Easier foes, he adds speed.
SELCOURT was the top female sprinter last winter, two graded stakes wins. This $75k stakes is her first start since tough circumstances in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. She was compromised by the inside post and hot pace, and faltered. First start back, she is the speed of the field and can be long gone first start back. Short price, it appears. WAY TO VERSAILLES might like this turnback to a sprint, after coming up short in a piar of decent routes. All her wins have been sprints, the question is surface. A turf/synthetic specialist, she is first-time dirt. Peter Miller has had plenty success with the move. LAKE TIME perked up last time. She won a N2X with a career-high speed figure. A 5yo mare in peak form, she has an upset chance if she can run two alike. SPRING LILY is sprinting on the Santa Anita dirt for the first time since a career-best performance a year ago. She is still lightly raced (8 starts, 2 wins), and always showed flashes of above-average ability. She has
been in a bunch of graded races running long, this is her first sprint stakes running short. She matched her career-high in her most recent start two months ago, and is another than enters on a conspicuous upward pattern.
MY MAN CHUCKLES returns from a short freshening while dropping into a $40k claiming sprint on the downhill course. He won twice on this layout last spring; trainer Richard Baltas and jockey Flavien Prat entered the week having teamed to win with 5 of their last 9. The challenge is pace. There does not appear to be much speed in this field, ‘CHUCKLES is a come-from-behinder. The lack of pace could benefit CASTLE, who potentially could make the lead in this otherwise paceless field. He finished an okay third against better on this course in November. BUCKYS PICK, who finished two lengths behind the top choice his last start, will be running late. SPITFIRE makes his first start since June, while entered with the “no-claim” waiver. That usually signals optimism. CIMPL MAN has run races that put him in the hunt.
FORTNITE DANCE and R B EYE are the principals in this maiden-30 mile for 3yos. ‘DANCE drops from maiden-80, adds blinkers and was gelded since his most recent start. Already the “fastest” in the field based on figs in turf routes and dirt sprints, he should be tough if he can be as effective in a dirt route. Trainer Paddy Gallagher has won with five of his last six maiden-claiming favorites (all tracks). R B EYE finished in the money three straight vs. similar maiden-30 route types. JONATHANTOQUICK gets a weight break switching to a five-pound apprentice. He will be grinding away late.
TRAPALANDA cuts back to one turn and drops to the first $6,250 claiming race of the meet after being compromised by a wide trip last time racing one mile. He is drawn outside, quick enough to run short, and in light with the apprentice. The 4-for14 pro can wear them down from slightly off the pace. LOUDEN’S GRAY drops a notch from $8k claiming starter. His recent races against better are okay; he does seem to run his best races here at Santa Anita. DOC CURLIN figures as a contender off his restricted claiming win two back, while MASTER RULER is pure speed and will take them as far as he can. Six furlongs is a long way for him, however.
MAYAN WARRIOR probably could have finished second last time if not for encountering trouble at the quarter pole in a similar starter allowance. That was a sprint, he stretches to a mile, which is no problem. He finished second in a turf route two back. He has enough speed to keep the leaders in his sights; this race looks like it could unfold at a tepid clip. BEA’S BOY goes long for the first time. His even-paced sprint style suggests two turns is within reach. SALTARIN ran very well both recent starts, but both were on turf. It is uncertain if he needs grass for his best, or if he has simply improved. He should be running late.
The most probable winner on the card shows up in the final race of the week. GRANDPA LOUIE ran well finishing second in his debut after dueling from an inside post. He was sold privately since, and transferred to trainer Peter Miller. He returns in this Cal-bred maiden sprint with a solid work pattern at San Luis Rey nd Downs, blinkers on, lightweight apprentice aboard, a better post in the middle of the field and speed to set or press the pace. Color him gone, second time out. POSTERIZE also ran well his only start. He finished second two months ago at Del Mar in a similar race, and is quick enough to be involved in the pace scenario. First-time starter ABUSIVE GARY is a sibling to three multiple winners. The colt’s works look okay. LIEUTENANT DAN rallied wide and finished only a nose behind the top choice first out. WILD BEAN makes his career debut for trainer David Hofmans, who won with a pair of first-time starters last weekend.