Race 5: The San Felipe (G2) at 1 1/16 miles for three year-olds
I don’t want either of the horses coming out of the Sham (G3). I know the race received a 95 Beyer figure, which is good enough to win this, but I wasn’t thrilled with the way either of the top two finishers were coming home through the stretch that day. Midnight Hawk validated my suspicions about his distance limitations last time when he was outrun through the final furlong of the Robert B. Lewis (G2).
I strongly prefer California Chrome (#4), who has really put things together since being united with new jockey Victor Espinoza. I know that he beat fields of lesser quality in each of his last two starts, but he did it in fast times that would have made him competitive in either of the two aforementioned graded stakes. Furthermore, he possesses a more versatile running style than either Kristo or Midnight Hawk and has given indication that today’s distance is well within his scope.
I’ll bet California Chrome to win and will also box him in a small exacta with long shot Unstoppable Colby (#2), who may have turned a corner in his hard-fought maiden win. More importantly, he could play out as the inside speed in a race lacking a confirmed frontrunner.
$15 Win 4 (WINNER; Payout: $36.00)
$2 Exacta Box 2/4
Race 6: The China Doll for three year-old fillies on the turf
It definitely feels like there could be some nice turf fillies coming out of this race. Both Nashoba’s Gold and Diversy Harbor, who each won their debuts in very impressive fashion, seem to be the most likely candidates. Nashoba’s Gold is a half-sister to the ill-fated Nashoba’s Key while Diversy Harbor is a half-sister to top another turf filly in Keertana. I prefer them to the horses coming out of the Miesque and Blue Norther since this race appears to have come up much tougher. On the Backstreets will be stretching out for the first time here, but she has given notice in her two starts on the downhill course that she could be the one to beat.
In a race with plenty of attractive options, I’m going to take my chances with a filly who should be a decent price. While On the Backstreets has speed, she drew an outside position and will likely have to follow Uzziel to the first turn. Uzziel (#9) has never run on turf and has never raced beyond six and a half furlongs, but she’s the one I want. This daughter of Harlington should have no trouble handling the one-mile distance and she has plenty of pedigree to take to this surface. Her dam has already produced four turf winners and Uzziel has a way of moving over the synthetic track at Golden Gate that would lead you to believe that she’ll take to the turf. Her success will largely depend on how aggressively Rafael Bejarano rides On the Backstreets early since Uzziel’s best hope is to wire the field. I’ll bet her to win and will use her underneath the three aforementioned contenders in the exacta.
$10 Win 9
$2 Exacta 7/8/11 with 9
Race 7: The San Carlos (G2) at seven furlongs
Shakin It Up deserves to be the favorite here off two straight graded stakes wins, but I feel that he’s a bit dressed up. The Malibu was a race that featured a supersonic early pace and totally fell apart late as Shakin It Up was the primary beneficiary. I suppose that he validated that win by coming back to take the Strub, but the waters get deeper today and I’m not convinced that he’s actually a better closing sprinter than my top pick.
I actually don’t think Sahara Sky’s (#1) return to the races in the Palos Verdes was that bad of an effort. He was making his first start off an eight-month break and was actually doing some serious running in the stretch after getting outrun in the early stages. He’s much better at seven furlongs and I see no reason why we won’t see the Sahara Sky of 2013 return to prominence this afternoon. While there isn’t a great deal of speed in this race, there are enough runners that like to be forwardly placed to ensure an honest pace and that’s all Sahara Sky really needs. I’ll hope for anything close to his generous morning line price and will bet him to win. I’ll also use him in the exacta with Clubhouse Ride (#2), who got in a prep on turf last time and is good enough to be right there on his best day.
$15 Win 1 (WINNER; Payout: $66.00)
$4 Exacta Box 1/2
Race 8: The Frank E. Kilroe Mile (G1) at one mile on the turf
I want to play against Winning Prize. It sounds like a lot of people are anointing this horse after his perfect trip Arcadia win, but I want to see it again since the Beyer speed figure that was race assigned feels a little too high considering the horses that were behind him. This race sets up well for a closer, so I would prefer Za Approval and Silentio to him.
However, I’m going in a different direction. I admit that Suggestive Boy’s (#4) last race was pretty bad, but it was also a race he could have needed off the layoff. There’s a stark contrast between the works he put in prior to the Arcadia and what he’s done leading up to this race. McAnally has said that he was probably short last time and I think it’s reasonable to expect a much better effort today. I don’t necessarily think he’s the best horse in the race, but I think he’s the right horse to bet at what should be a generous price.
$10 Win 4
Race 9: The Santa Anita Handicap (G1) at 1 1/4 miles
I get that Game On Dude is going to be the lone speed in this race, but I don’t think he’s the same Game On Dude we’ve seen in past years and will be very surprised if he’s able to pull it off again today. I also think you’re kidding yourself if you don’t believe Gary Stevens and Mucho Macho Man will be lapped on him early. He knows there are only two serious other contenders to worry about and he won’t let Mike Smith get away with anything up front.
I don’t think Will Take Charge (#1) is going to lose today. I was extremely impressed by what he did in the Donn. It’s hard to regather momentum after getting shuffled back at Gulfstream and he not only did that but was really cutting into Lea’s margin of victory late as he ran his final three furlongs in almost unbelievable 35 2/5 seconds. A mile and a quarter is his best distance and all indications are that he’s training very well coming into this Big Cap. Contrary to standard principles about race dynamics, I actually think a potential slower pace could work to Will Take Charge’s advantage. The way to beat him is to create separation. If he’s within a couple of lengths of the lead turning for home they’re not going to be able to hold him off.
I’ll bet a straight exacta, Will Take Charge (#1) over Mucho Macho Man (#2).