In the white halter is Cowboy Cal, The Turk's chalk in today's Oak Tree Mile on turf at Santa Anita. This Sarah K. Andrew picture captures the effort and the result where he lost by a head to the magnificent Einstein.
The weather in Arcadia will be good and the turf should be firm. A review of DRF Daily Simulcast Track Data indicates no bias on either surface with rails set at 30 feet. You'll find up to date track data and changes here.
Race 6 Santa Anita, Post Time 6 PM ET; The Oak Tree Mile Grade II; 1 Mile on Turf for 3 YOs and Up.
Cowboy Cal is a solid Grade II horse, owner of the best 2009 BSF at 106 and 5 of 7 efforts are in the money in 2009. He's far from an iron pipe lock but with the distance reduction this son of Giant's Causeway with Gomez up today should run himself into the top four for Trainer Pletcher. Escaping quality like Einstein and Justenuffhumor and Gio Ponti makes him the class of this collection of good runners.
5 YO Whatsthescript(Ire) is coming off a layoff after back to back show finishes in Grade I and II Turf events at 1 1/8 miles. Last win was August 2008 and is 2 of last 8 but a race best 107 BSF on Turf and a race best 107 BSF at the mile distance. Taining sharply including a 6f 1:12 4/5s and a 5f :59 2/5. 3rd in the Breeders' Cup Mile on this course last year. Trainer Sadler does a good job of preparing his runners after layoffs >60 days with a 25% win rate on 110 tries.
The next tier of horses, my B+ and B group are all solid and must be factored in the Super ticket, most likely 2-4. Global Hunter (Arg) gets the edge with strong work and a solid recent work in Grade I turf racing with back to back 100+ BSFs at Del Mar.
Allicansayis Wow is the 4 YO filly who is taking on older males for the second time after a solid second in the Grade II Del Mar mile. Trainer Biancone is sharp and I wonder why he places his horse in this race. Training well, :59 1/5 at 5f last week on the turf. Best BSF on the turf is 95 and no wins at one mile or at SA. Jock Fallon up today, a wild card as well. Good enough to find 3rd or 4th but hedging down more tickets then not.
Monterey Jazz is coming off a very dull Grade II effort at the mile in August. freshened and training well including a nice 1:11 2/5 at 6f under a hand ride, and Jock M. Smith gets the nod today for Trainer Dollase. 5 of 11 on Turf and has a year best 104 BSF, owns a 118 BSF from a slick effort in the Grade III Texas Mile in 2008. Hedging up as high as 2nd.
I continue to watch the races at Santa Anita closely as we build towards the Breeders' Cup 1 month from now. Last weekend's loss of Grazen to a career ending injury and the death of Blackbriar put a real damper on ye' old Turk's spirits. Let's hope for a better weekend.
For the latest opinion in the pending Breeder's Cup, tune into the fine work that Thoroughbred Bloggers Alliance members are doing at the NTRA website.
Have fun, Turk Out!