Monday February 17 – Santa Anita Top Play
Get Started on today’s TimeformUS racecard from Santa Anita
Scheduled local post time 4:39 pm PT
Big fields make for good betting opportunities, but they require a lot of work. Naturally, understanding twelve horses well takes twice as long as understanding six horses well. But therein lies the value. If you take that time, you should end up with a bit of an edge–especially on the “I can’t get excited about handicapping a race until there are three minutes to post” crowd. There might be a little edge in the 9th race at Santa Anita on Monday.
I’ve ended up with two main horses, and while they will be among the favorites, they won’t be bet off the board. They are (2) Carbonite and (8) Depreciable.
(2) Carbonite ran his heart out in his last start, back on December 26. Against a solid field (102 TimeformUS Race Rating, as compared to today’s 96), he attempted to launch a move on the turn, but two rivals to his inside both pushed wide at the same time, and he ended up floated very wide. By the time the field crossed the dirt surface, he was seven or eight horses wide. But he managed to sustain his long move, getting clear of those he was moving with to end up a clear third. It was a very solid effort. He has been freshened a little since then, comes back with decent workouts, gets a bit of class relief and a nice post, and should outrun his 6-1 odds. This oldtimer loves to win (12 wins in 31 lifetime starts) and should fire here.
(8) Depreciable almost won the final race ever held at Hollywood Park. Wide around the first turn and up the backstretch from post 11, he wrested command from that Starter Allowance field (103 TimeformUS Race Rating) and drew clear before tiring just before the wire and getting caught by a nose. Now, dropped back in distance to 6 1/2 furlongs down the hill, he figures to be sitting farther back (Pace Projector shows him second-to-last, although it’s possible that he won’t be that far behind), and he should be the one doing the catching in the stretch. This is a nice spot for another horse who always seems to run his race.
(9) Big Note is another horse who got caught on the wire in his last race, but unlike Depreciable, that was at 6 1/2 furlongs, and his early speed is a major weapon. He should be able to clear this field early–but he cleared last time, and he still couldn’t finish it off. He’d really rather be going a flat 6 furlongs, and while he could win here, he’ll be an inviting target for the closers over the last 1/16 of a mile.
(11) Dixieland Blues closed well in that race with Big Note last time, but a wide trip looms from post 11 here, and his class is a little questionable (that race earned only a 95 TimeformUS Race Rating). A perfect horse to use underneath in exotics, but a low-probability winner.
(7) Candy’s Sunrise almost caught Carbonite on the synthetic at Hollywood at the end of November, but he he hasn’t shown the ability to beat a field of this class yet. He seems likely to make a run but hang against this field.
(5) Polytechnicien couldn’t have gotten a more beautiful trip last time at a mile before hanging terribly in the stretch. The shorter distance may help this oldster, but he used to be able to go a mile, so the reality is that he may simply not be as good as he used to be. His 2010-2011 numbers, consistently in the 100-116 range, which included a Group 3 race in France, would have buried this field, but they seem to be a thing of the past.
The others seem just a notch or two below.
(2) Carbonite and (8) Depreciable to win
Exacta box (2)-(8)
Exacta partwheel (2),(8) with (9),(11)