The Malibu, Santa Anita, Grade One, Three-year-olds, Seven Furlongs, Dirt
The Lumber Guy has much in his favor in the Malibu, including, perhaps most importantly, an edge on Performance Figures. Since returning from a layoff of four and a half months, he has run a 122 and a 127. The small improvement from the first of those runs to the second is significant. He is fresh off a gallant effort in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (in which he did not get the easiest of trips) and that, combined with him having form at this distance, means he has all the credentials to work out a stalking trip. He has been handed from one top trainer (Michael Hushion) to another (Neil Drysdale) and has a top rider who is making the trip west to ride him. Positives abound.
But what about the likely odds? The Lumber Guy is 3/1 on the morning line. These odds seem unlikely to hold up- as stated above, he simply has too much in his favor- though if he does go off at, or higher than, his morning line, then he is without question the selection in this race.
If we’re looking towards exotics, Private Zone (8/1 morning line) deserves serious consideration. His last three Performance Figures are excellent, though his results in those races were not so excellent, as he managed to involve himself in speed duels on each occasion. There is the possibility of yet another speed duel here, but if Private Zone manages to avoid one and make the front he is a candidate to pull off an upset. Today’s racetrack is highly unlikely to resemble the Hollywood Park bog he found himself on for his previous start.
Unbridled’s Note (9/2) is another serious contender. Although his dirt Performance Figures are a cut below those mentioned above, his most recent dirt figure might not do him justice, it having been earned in a race in which he managed to find himself both wide and boxed in.
Bob Baffert’s Drill (8/1) is another with the potential to spring an upset, given that he has solid Performance Figures to run back to and is coming into the race off a layoff for a trainer who has turned layoff training into a high art.
Gulfstream Park, Race 6
The Spotlight Performance Figures on the Preview tab are a great way to find horses with the potential to be live at a square price with just a quick glance. In the sixth at Gulfstream, a closely-contested sprint for conditioned claimers, Pom Pom Power is 10-1 in the morning line, but has the best Spotlight Performance Figure (80) in the field and merits a closer look.
It’s been a busy year for this three-year-old daughter of Pomeroy, here making her 15th and presumably final start of 2012. While she hasn’t won since May, her Performance Figures have been on a steady increase.
Pom Pom Power earned her 80 two races back, forcing a strong pace and fighting on for a close second to Evil Queen, a four-time winner who would likely make quick work of this NW3 lifetime field. Pom Pom Power’s last run was a disappointment at 5/2, but her head was turned at the start and she was checked shortly afterwards while attempting to engage the leaders. With some better luck, Pom Pom Power has the speed to be prominent early, and shortening up to five and a half furlongs can only help.
Morning line favorite Caps Lady (3/1) lacks a Performance Figure higher than 71 and can be left out of the exacta. Cosmic Crown (5/1) has a nice pattern of improving figures, and has the speed to make life difficult for the top choice from her outside post. Scaladora (4/1) returns to her preferred surface and gets a needed drop in class.
Another exotics option is the daily double to the seventh race. Ainsley (3/1) drops into starter allowance company after an altogether decent fifth in Stakes company for red-hot trainer Marcus Vitali.
Any one of her last three Performance Figures gives Ainsley the leg up on this field and, as opposed to the modest pace that compromised her chances two races back, there’s plenty of speed here to set up a successful late rally.