Beautiful Santa Anita Park has a star-studded 11-race card on tap for Saturday afternoon headlined by the battle between McKinzie and Bolt d’Oro in the Grade 2 San Felipe.
There are plenty of opportunities to make money throughout the card that starts at 12 PM local time, but here are a couple of spot plays I will be getting involved in at “The Great Race Place.”
The third offers horseplayers an extremely challenging optional claimer run at a mile and an eighth over the Santa Anita lawn.
There does not appear to be a ton of early speed signed on in this nine furlong affair, which should benefit the chances of #10 Malibu Music.
Malibu Music drew towards the far outside in this one, but that should not be much of an issue since they have an extended run before reaching the first turn. Jockey Tyler Baze has the early speed to clear, but the son of Malibu Moon will be fine as well if he can stalk just off the early pace.
From there it will be up to the veteran Baze to carve out a moderate tempo and leave himself with enough left in the tank to hold off his rivals from off the pace.
The four-year-old colt has progressed in each of his last few starts and has shown the ability to get the mile and an eighth distance evidenced by a first and a second in two tries. At 6-1 on the line he offers fair value and should get “Big ‘Cap Day” at Santa Anita started off well.
Win 10 (9-2 or higher)
10 with 1+4+8
10 with 1+4+8+9+12
Race 5: Frank E. Kilroe Mile (Grade 1)
The 18th running of the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile marks the return of 2017 American Champion Male Turf Horse, #5 World Approval.
The Live Oak Plantation runner ended last year on a three-race win streak that included victories in the Grade 1 Fourstardave Handicap, the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile and of course the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile. He is listed as the 4 to 5 favorite in the final leg of Saturday’s Players’ Pick 5.
The son of Northern Afleet got his 2018 started where he left off with a win in his first race off a three-month freshening in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay last month. He is clearly in amazing form as he looks to make it 5 straight and 7 of his last 8 for trainer Mark Casse.
I have no desire to try to beat World Approval on Saturday in his second start of the form cycle, so instead I will key him on top in the exotics and hope to find some value underneath.
#1 Free Rose makes his third start off the seven-month layoff for trainer Richard Baltas. The Abbondanza Racing gelding stalked the early pace in the Grade 2 San Gabriel, as well as the in the Grade 2 San Marcos last month, but tired late in races run at considerably further than today’s Grade 1 event. The son of Munnings should appreciate the turn back to a mile, as well as the rider upgrade to veteran Kent Desormeaux. 20-1 seems more than fair.
#8 Channel Maker ships into Southern California for Hall of Famer Bill Mott after a fifth place effort in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf on February 10th. The four-year-old gelding was never comfortable while racing against the flow last time out, but should appreciate the cutback to a mile and the rider switch to Javier Castellano.
The Ontario-bred is unlikely to run down World Approval in the lane, but if Castellano can relax him early he should be full of run late.
5 with 1+8 with 1+2+4+8
5 with 1+8 with 1+2+8 with ALL
Good luck on Big ‘Cap Day!