Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Nomination Is In: March 6, 2010: The Santa Anita Handicap Grade I

That fine looking 5 YO Mare to the left is St. Trinians (GB),a fitting Turk chalk in a large but flawed field contesting today's Big'Cap. A win by St. Trinians would be the first ever by a filly or mare in the Santa Anita Handicap's 73 year history, a lofty goal for a gal winning N2X's in December. Keep your eye on the weather and the track conditions as it was raining at the time of this writing. The Turk, like many other handicappers and horse racing fans, has been wildly frustrated by spending hours handicapping Santa Anita Saturday Stakes cards only to find out the surface didn't drain and the races cancelled. I was equally dismayed to read the comments of the bankrupt track owner that he's in no hurry to end this disastrous experiment and return to the surface embraced by America, dirt. I love the Great Race Place but it kills me to handicap races and then hope the rain doesn't fall. It's too late, let's go!

Santa Anita Race 10 Post Time 7:38 ET: The Santa Anita Handicap Grade I; 1 1/4 Miles on melting fibers and gunk that doesn't drain water well, for 4 YOs and Up.

St. Trinians (GB) is 9 of 10 in the money on poly tracks, 3 of 3 at Santa Anita and has 4 wins in last four starts. The 5 YO mare is trained by M. Mitchell with Rosario Up, a combination that hits 31% of the time. Trainer Mitchell also wins 30% of his Won Last Start starters but only 9% of Graded Stakes. A sharp two time 1 1/16 winner whose style is that of mid pack closer. It's never a good handicapping angle to pick a horse to do something that no one else has ever done so bet at your own peril. Me personally, I'm planning to bet to wheel several exotics and I just need the mare to finish Top Four.

Neko Bay is a classy Giant's Causeway son who has 5 Santa Anita wins but most on the old dirt surface. A nice Grade II win in early January and sharp training efforts make him a top four finisher for the combo of Trainer Shirreffs and M. Smith, up. Shirreffs Grade Stakes win rate is 40% and he's 29% in Routes and 39% in Won Last Starts. Good Stuff!

Speaking of not betting horses to do things they haven't done yet, Loup Breton (Ire) is an immensely talented turf runner trying synthetic for the first time. Comes in off of three nice efforts, two wins and a loss by a neck, has Gomez up for the Canali trainee. Canali's Turf/Synth hit rate is 32% and he wins 41%of the time he teams up with Go-Go.

I'm slipping Dakota Phone into the mix. Always overlooked and always capable of place or show, 15 of 23 in the money for the 5 Yo gelding.

With a big field I have Misremembered, Mast Track, Marsh Side and Jeranimo in the contender pile for one of the top four spots. About the only thing I haven't thought through is how deep and how expensive I want my exotics to cost me. Having 8 of the 14 runners here in the mix is overkill and too expensive a bet. I'll build what I call a matrix and I'll slot the horses out pretty close to my base handicap, with the horses in yellow good for Show and 4th mostly.

Have Fun, Turk Out!

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