Friday, December 26, 2014

The Nomination Is In: The Grade 1 Malibu at Santa Anita

Shared Belief  (photo by Shigeki Kikkawa)

Boxing Day racing at Santa Anita is a wonderful, lazy day of horse gambling for the Turk from the snowy East Coast. Today is no exception, as I recharge the batteries over the last two weeks of 2014 and get ready to welcome in 2015 and the treadmill of daily living.  An all graded stakes Pick 3 with races 6-7-8 is featured today, with The Malibu the headliner and race 8, the Grade 1 La Brea and the Grade 2 Mathis Brothers Mile rounding it out.

Today also marks the return of Shared Belief who's been on the shelf since the Breeders' Cup Classic and a race that was over almost as soon as it began for son of Candy Ride.  

Let's get after it!

Bob Baffert sends four horses into the starting gate and the race breaks down fairly simply into if you think Baffert can wear down Shared Belief,or interfere with traffic, and allow a stalker or an off the pace runner to cleanup the mess.  Shared Belief needs no introduction, 7 of 8 lifetime, with 5 of 7 wins on fake dirt, but this colt doesn't mind the dirt at all.  

Chitu, a Henry Hughes son, runs back off a 31-60 day layoff, something Baffert hits 24% of the time.  His last time back was off of a break from a lackluster finish in the Kentucky Derby when he was close to California Chrome at the top of the stretch before fading.  3 of 3 in the Money at Santa Anita.  He should be the pacesetter and has a chance to play "catch me if you can."

Indianapolis and Midnight Hawk will bring speed and tenacity to the race.  Pimpernel will be stalking somewhere just behind these two.

In the non Baffert camp,. Tamarando will be waiting to make one run at the top of the stretch but I see him running out of room and finishing anywhere from 5th to Show. Tamarando has 4 wins, all on fake dirt and is winless in 3 starts on Santa Anita dirt.

In a fairly pedestrian Allowance Level group of also ran's, I liked Diamond Bachelor the best but that is saying very little.

I'll be playing winners only for the Pick 3, singling Shared Belief and looking for some value in the first two races.  If forced to assemble an exotic here I could go one of two routes:  Single Shared Belief OR look to see him beat with some value in the bet.  As the latter is more fun we'll assemble a monopoly money bet of the following:

$0.10 Bet:  2-3-6 OVER 2-3-6-8 OVER 2-3-6-8 OVER 3-5-6-7-10 for $6.20

That's sufficiently interesting enough for me to enjoy and have a punchers chance.

Have fun friends, Turk Out!

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