Friday, April 2, 2010

Santa Anita Derby

Santa Anita

Saturday April 3, 2010
Estimated Local Post Time: 4:48 pm
Name: Santa Anita Derby Grade: 1
Purse: $750,000
Distance/Restrictions: 1 1/8 Miles, Dirt, 3 Year Olds, STAKES

Posse Power
Thomas Baines
Who’s Up
Sidney’s Candy
Lookin At Lucky
Cardiff Giant
Alphie’s Bet

This is my favorite weekend in horse racing – The Wood Memorial in New York, The Illinois Derby and then we finish it off with the Santa Anita Derby out West. At the end of the day at least five horses will have earned enough graded stakes to get their ticket stamped for a trip to the Kentucky Derby.

I believe the Wood Memorial may have the best horse running this weekend in Eskendereya and I would be somewhat surprised if he were defeated, however with a bad trip or a little bad luck on his side – Both Jackson Bend and Schoolyard Dreams have enough talent that they could pull off a small upset.

The Illinois Derby, in my opinion, is a wide open race from the bettors perspective – and I think this field of horses lack any major contenders for the Triple Crown. Should be a very entertaining race to witness and the circumstances are certainly perfect for a longshot to come through for a few lucky bettors.

Backtalk, the son of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Smarty Jones, will be the favorite in that race.

And that leaves me with the wild, wild, west they call the Santa Anita Derby to further explore.

Many of the horses lining up in the Santa Derby have raced against one another before.

Both Posse Power and Thomas Baines travel south from No-Cal where they recently had unimpressive treks in the El Camino Derby finishing 3rd and 6th respectively. Both of these horses usually run in the middle or the back of the pack and look to make a late run for the finish line.

Skipshot also travels south from Golden Gate – he scored an allowance victory in late February – however I just think these three horses are out of their league…..way out of their league in this race.

Sidney’s Candy and Caracortado also share a recent history as the Candyman finished 1st in the San Felipe Stakes where Caracortado (who was the favorite in that race) finished 3rd.

Sidney’s Candy has won three straight races – the last two at Santa Anita, he has a very favorable post position and he most likely will take an early lead and attempt to hold off all of the late comers.

Caracortado may be the biggest question mark in this race – as it’s difficult to tell if he simply had a lackluster race in his last outing, or if he’s just not as good as many in the grandstands thought he might be. Tough horse to bet against or bet for in this one.

Alphie’s Bet is fresh off a Sham Stakes victory (Setsuko finished 2nd) here at Santa Anita, and this was a race where Alphie’s Bet had to contend with an outside post position very similar to what he’ll be looking at this Saturday.

Alphie’s Bet is currently going off at 8/1 and while I like this horse for a possible upset in this race – I just don’t know if he can overcome his difficult post position against this kind of talent.

Speaking of “this kind of talent” – Lookin At Lucky is perhaps the best three year old horse in the country right now – he cantors into this race having won 6 out of his last 7 races (in his last race Cardiff Giant finished in 5th). His only recent loss (a second place ending) was last November in the Breeder’s Cup here at Santa Anita.

Lookin At Lucky’s morning line odds are currently 4-5 – and while this horse has everything going for him –

  1. Momentum
  2. Post Position
  3. Experience
  4. the Distance should be to his liking
…..the one thing I think could cause a problem is…..the racetrack.

I’ve seen a number of great horses perform poorly on this track – and in contrast I’ve seen a few questionable horses do very well. It’s like some kind of weird mojo, Bermuda Triangle of horse tracks - some think it's the synthetic track.....some believe it's that legal medications for the horses vary from state to's hard to tell.

I won’t be surprised if there’s an upset in Santa Anita this Saturday – which in turn will stir all kinds of controversy going into the Kentucky Derby.

Which leaves me to one last horse – who intrigues me as a possible long shot candidate – and that would be #3 Who’s Up. His morning line odds are 20/1 – he hasn’t raced since last November, and his last two races were both on Turf – however he also won both of his last two races.

I think it’s possible that he will stalk Sidney’s Candy for most of the race, and then as they come out of the final turn – we’ll find out how much this horse has matured in the past few months. He’s a long shot for a reason – but if Lookin At Lucky has a difficult trip, if Alphie’s Bet struggles with starting so far outside, and if Sidney’s Candy fatigues in his first attempt at a mile and 1/8 – then it’s possible Who’s Up will be in a position to pull off a pretty profitable upset.

Then again – it’s more likely that Who’s Up will simply fade with Sidney’s Candy – while Lookin At Lucky blows right past them.

In closing – I like an Exacta bet on this race of

Alphie’s Bet / Sidney’s Candy / Who’s Up/ Caracortado with Lookin At Lucky finishing second. It would be a $4 bet but if Who’s Up can pull of an upset it would be a nice return.

Well with Baseball Season right around the corner, and a horse named “Who’s Up” – I just had to add this classic clip - it's a little slow to load, but well worth it.

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