Friday, April 25 – Santa Anita Top Play
Scheduled post time 6:07 pm local time
It’s hard to get a much more solid scenario than a razor-sharp horse who is comfortable at today’s distance and primed to get a perfect trip. Such is the case in today’s 7th race at Santa Anita, with #1, I Don’t Care Who, a horse who at age four, as he approaches his 16th career start, is in by far the best form of his life.
As recently as this past October, I Don’t Care Who was fumbling around with a pair of fifth-place finishes in three-year-old $25,000 claimers. But after being claimed on 10/18 by Jeff Mullins and given three months off, he has come back with guns blazing. His return race was a dominating score at the $32,000 level; he followed that up with an even more impressive win, and then stepped up into a solid allowance event (TFUS Race Rating 106) and ran a very good third from an outside post, defeating by open lengths three of the horses he faces today. Today, in a race with a projected fast pace, he should be able to relax from his inside post position and strike at will. The likely favorite–and a worthy one.
#5, Bettys Bambino, will get plenty of support off of the pair of victories with which he has begun his career. His first start was an eye-opening 9.5-length win. However, it came on a very speed-favoring wet track in which he was right on the lead in slow fractions, and he beat only three horses. His second win, over the grass, was also quite impressive (two of the horses he beat, Back To Bako and Luz Atticus, came back with strong performances), and he was drawing away at the wire going an extra half-furlong. Still, today will present the kind of challenge he has yet to face: a longer distance, a demanding pace, and a fresh, sharp rival sitting in behind him. We’ll take a shot with the more proven horse, I Don’t Care Who, to beat him.
If the pace turns out to be exceptionally fast, the obvious closer in the race is #8 Honduran, who finished behind I Don’t Care Who in that strong allowance race, but with a good late finish. He has returned since that race to run well at 1 1/4 miles in a difficult spot, trying to close into a fast final quarter on a speed-favoring track. He makes sense as a late threat to get onto the ticket.
#4, Magic Mark, looks like the tossout of the group. He won two starts back when everything went his way: a slow pace, an easy lead, and a speed-favoring track, and when he tried to step up against I Don’t Care Who, he got crushed. Expect a similar result today.
#3, Tiznow Or Then, has never raced on dirt, and his synthetic efforts were significantly worse than his turf races. So it is unlikely that he will relish the dirt. In addition, he has been off for fourteen months. Let’s pass on him.
#6, Garen, is another who won with everything going his way two starts ago. He was facing three-year-old maidens on a speed track and he got a clear lead. We don’t know how the track will play today, but he won’t have either of those two factors in his corner today. Toss.
This leaves longshots Midnite View (crushed by I Don’t Care Who last time) and Counting Days (mediocre turf form and only one lifetime dirt race, which was terrible), who don’t figure to make an impact. This thus becomes a very solid race with only a few combinations worth playing.
(1) I Don’t Care Who to win
Exactas 1 with 5,8
Trifectas 1 with 5,8 with 5,8
Small trifectas 5,8 with 1 with 5,8