Saturday, April 26 – Santa Anita Top Play
Scheduled local post time 5:48 pm
At morning line odds of 15-1, Kukaluka, a filly running against boys, seems to offer great value in the $250,000 Snow Chief, which will be run at nine furlongs on the turf.
According to the TFUS Pace Projector, the Snow Chief will be run at a fast pace, and Kukaluka will be in last place at the opening half. Three horses in here are going from sprint to route, and all three showed early speed in their sprints. In the long run to the first turn, jockey Victor Espinoza should be able to fold Kukaluka in near the rail and then hope that the expected fast pace materializes.
Kukaluka has now made five starts on the turf in her career, and her turf speed figures look like this, beginning with her two-year-old turf debut: 71 74 77 81 90. The figure of 90 is competitive in here. What is more, it does not do justice to the quality of that performance–a performance in which she broke slow, lost ground around the first turn, settled way behind a slow pace, lost a lot more ground around the second turn, as things were heating up, was sprayed even wider into the stretch, and then held her own to the wire while racing against a fiery field of Grade 3 fillies.
That effort, if combined with a good trip, can do some serious damage in this field, and do it at a big price.
The likely favorite in here is Tamarando. He, too, would benefit from a destructive pace. Tamarando is a colt whose virtues we never tire of extolling. However, he has been banging away for a long time now without a break. He is weighted down in here. He is making his turf debut off a solid turf route Pedigree Rating of 82, but his is not a pedigree that calls for him to improve on turf. He comes in off a rare, for him, sub-par effort. He has been shipping around of late. His speed figures do not stand out in here. He will take a lot of money today. A contender? Of course. But we believe he is vulnerable.
Awesome Return and Patriots Rule also bring considerable merits into this race and are strong contenders. But at the morning line odds, our selection is the filly.
Win bet on Kukaluka.
Use Kukaluka underneath the aforementioned horses and, to a lesser extent, Alert Bay in exactas and trifectas.