When you wake up to 12 inches of snow and near zero degree temperatures, you develop a fondness for places like Arcadia, California about this time of the year. Luckily the Great Race Place provides plenty of stakes race action from now until I can actually see the grass in my front yard again to keep me occupied. Work is bringing me back to Southern California soon, but for today's San Gorgonio Handicap and tomorrow's Monrovia Handicap, I'll have to be content with the internet TV feed, YouBet and my snuggie. Let's Rock!
Race 7 Santa Anita, post time 6:36 ET; The San Gorgonio Handicap Grade II; 1 1/8 miles on lush and firm Arcadian turf for Fillies and Mares 4 YO and UP.
With Life is Sweet in this group, its hard to look past the Breeders' Cup Distaff champion, and the money will flow towards her, which makes Diamondrella even harder to ignore. A turf race last race best 93 BSF, she seems to like softer footing, with two 100+ BSF on softer footing. The turf will be firm today but look for an upper 90 BSF and a top three finish for the IEAH Stables, Gary Stevens trained runner. 7 wins in last 11 starts. 12 of 17 in the money on Turf. The distance and the footing will be a challenge but a classy mare nonetheless. I've been a Gary Stevens fan for a long time and here's hoping that he finds his way as a trainer, the sport could use his class and horseman instincts.
Treat Gently (GB)is a Cape Cross (Ire) daughter whose making only her third North America start since July. Transferred to the care of Conditioner Mott by her owners, Juddmonte Farms, after the loss of Bobby Frankel. Training steady since running a solid 1 1/8 on the turf at Woodbine, the problem being that the race was 1 1/4 miles long. More then capable of winning, look for this horse to be no worse then the bettors third choice, possibly second, and no lower then 7-2. I'd like to see more production for such a short price, but 6 of 9 in the money on turf lifetime and a Racing Post Rating of 116 on firm turf in France. Has beaten Dar Re Mi. What we'll get today, I dunno.
I actually have Life is Sweet in the Place spot but I'm planning on boxing her around from 1-4 and I also don't know what to expect when we see the poly monster touch the turf for the first time since May 2008, something "It" Trainer John Shireffs only pulls off 9% of the time. Trainer Shireffs does know a thing or two about graded stakes races though, winning 42% of them over the past year and Shireffs and G. Gomez, who don't team up very often, win when they do. Idle since the Breeders' Cup, training nicely with a sharp 6f 1:11 4/5ths for the 5 YO daughter of Storm Cat.
Another Storm Cat descendant, Cat by the Tale, the 5 YO daughter of Tale of the Cat, breaks from the outside and will go off at very attractive odds of >6-1. I don't think she can win from the post and against the company here, but a competent runner who has 4 turf wins in 12 starts and was 6 of 6 in the money in 2009. 2 Wins on SA Turf of the 5 wins on SA Turf in the whole field. Coming back to turf after a go in the Grade II Bayakoa in early December, something Trainer Drysdale pulls off 21% of the time.
Century Park will push the pace but expect to see her gobbled up by the top of the stretch. Rosa Grace (GB) goes with blinkers on today and can handle the distance as well as put up a solid mid 90's BSF. Not a winner, taking the tape only 1 time in last 9 and not at all in 2009. Teamgeist (ARG) is also winless in 2009 as a 6 YO and its hard to say what's still in the tank at 7. Mike Smith is up for the McPeek trainee.
I'll be playing a few exactas with combinations that have Life is Sweet, Diamondrella and Treat Gently on top. 10 cent supers are in play and that will make up the remainder of my betting.
Have Fun, Turk Out!
PICK SIX CARRYOVER OF $115,261 KICKS OFF NEW YEAR, SANTA ANITA POST TO OFFER NINE RACES ON SATURDAY. Due in large part to a 58-1 stunner in race seven, the New Year got off to a raucous start at Santa Anita, as the popular Pick Six eluded 11,695 on-track attendees and as a result, $115,261 will be carried over into Saturday’s Pick Six, which will be offered on races four through nine.