On The Contrary: Santa Anita’s Most Playable Longshots on Monday Feb 16

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>Santa Anita / February 16th / Go to Racecard

Note: The goal of “On The Contrary” is to point out several horses every day who may be overlooked in the wagering and who can possibly add value to trifectas and superfectas (in high holes and low) and to Pick 3s, Pick 4s, etc. We will not be making “selections” per se in “On the Contrary.” Rather, we’ll encourage readers to give extra consideration to certain horses who may seem a little overmatched at first glance–but who are in fact the type of horses we often build our bets around.

Race 1: #8 Timeless Indy.

Our rule is “No phony enthusiasm,” and we mean to obey it. This is strictly an action, just-for-fun type of horse because he’s knee-deep in problems: Timeless Indy is 12-1 on the morning line. We expect him to go higher. He was overmatched in his last start but showed good speed and found the dull-but-not-quite-dead rail. He needs a style change today because Sacred Ovation is not a horse you want to tangle with early. But Timeless Indy has rated reasonably well in the past. Chance to get into bottom of exotics at a big price.

Race 2: Pass.

Race 3: Pass.

Race 4: #9 El Monterey.

6-1 on the ML for obscure, competent connections. Broke outward in his debut and was bothered by the horse to his immediate outside (though he himself was at fault), to be away clumsily and slowly. Then he advanced in a manner that caught our eye. He sustained the advance while three-wide around the turn and four-wide entering. Earned a slow speed figure, but we forgive him. Makes his second start today. Has had sparse activity at the San Luis Rey training center since his debut, but they can be kind of casual down there. A clean trip today and we think he will be in the trifecta and possibly in the winner’s circle.

Race 5: Pass. (But we will be watching Spirit of Ten, who makes her turf debut. We will not play her on turf. But Mark Glatt claimed her out of her last race, for $8000, and she still has her Cal-bred condition. Worth watching down the road. Glatt claims horses with a plan in mind, and his plans often work.)

Race 6: #5 Elusive Journey.

Seven-year-old is 1 for 21 lifetime and comes in off a very long layoff for a trainer who doesn’t win off layoffs. Indeed, his TimeformUS layoff rating is a 0, as in zero (with the maximum being a 100). Elusive Journey has run on dirt twice and both efforts were awful. The reason we give this horse some sort of chance to get involved in exotics here at a big price is that in terms of talent, he is just as good as, if not better than, his opponents. Plus his trainer has gotten a couple of nice 4th-place performances off of layoffs (without helping his layoff stats), and the horse himself has fired off of a long layoff, and one of his two awful dirt performances came at odds of 117-1 and the other came on a track that had taken some rain. And there is always the chance that his two dirt-track performances came on days when he was simply not ready to run. One should never discount such a possibility when dealing with small samples. Of course he might simply loathe racing on dirt, but that is why they call them longshots. One takes one’s chances.

Race 7: Pass. (Interested in seeing La Tia run in California again.)

Race 8: #6 South Texas.

Should be a big price. We will not eliminate her from the superfecta. How is that for a full-throated endorsement?

Race 9: #7 Fort Cady, #8 Freddies Dream.

Both horses are nice prices on the ML. Steve Knapp is sort of a below-the-radar hill specialist at Santa Anita, and Fort Cady has a sliver of talent. Freddies Dream has been training pretty well off the layoff and showed some talent before going to the sidelines. We’d keep both horses in the superfecta mix.

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