Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Nomination is In (Part 2): Race Day February 28, 2009

Santa Anita, The GREAT RACE PLACE, race 9; The Sham, Grade 3: 1 1/8 Miles on Pro Ride, for 3 YOs. Ahhh, the mighty Sham, pride of California, with Pincay up, having the unfortunate luck of being born in the same year as Secretariat. He ends the race pictured here 31 lengths behind Big Red. Never forgotten here in Arcadia, nor should he be. Valiant in victory and proud in defeat.

With Baffert's Ventana scratching, The Turk sees a relatively weak field to push The Pamplemousse, a horse whose hype is building at least as quickly as his talent seems to be as well.

It's a Grade Three race, and I think there are some quality Grade 3 horses in this mix, but in my humble handicappers opinion, only The Pamplemousse is G1 quality.

I'm going to build my ticket with the heavy chalk at the top and I'm going to build several trifectas and exactas that hunt for value, all straight. I think the interesting wildcard is Trainer Pletcher's decision to run here instead of the Fountain of Youth at GP with Take the Points. J/T stats for Pletcher and Gomez at SA are 24%, offsetting the trainers so-so 17% synthetic rate. I don't know where to place this horse, so I'm taking the approach that he's a dirt runner who will vie for the lead and then get swallowed up in a Calvary charge in the stretch. I'm looking for Mr. Hot Stuff, Hi Flyin Indy and Mark S the Cooler to be in the mix.

The money will be spread around this field away from The Pamplemousse and exactas and trifectas will pay big. To paraphrase Danny Ocean, when you have a chance to beat the house, bet big. I may swing for the fences more then usual with this race. God forbid The Pamplemouse loses, the payouts will be big!

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