TimeformUS Weekend Plays From Aqueduct and Santa Anita

Saturday Aqueduct, Race 8, Local Post Time 3:48pm EST
The G2 Jerome Handicap
By Douglas Salvatore

It's very rare to see a Grade 2 stakes race in which no horse in the entire field has ever won so much as an ungraded stakes race. Moreover, the 7/2 second choice on the morning line, Scotland, is still a maiden and has never even competed at a route distance.

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TimeformUS Pace Projector

After coming down with the hives and having to scratch out of the Remsen, Noble Moon returns in the Jerome Handicap and has been installed as the 6/5 morning line favorite.

On naked form, Noble Moon is well deserving of such short price favoritism. In both of his two career starts, he ran speed figures of 95, and he has demonstrated exceptional versatility from both a race distance and running style standpoint.



No other horse in this field has ever run a speed figure as good as 95. In addition, Noble Moon overcame some adversity in his most recent start. He was bumped at the start, lost position, and launched a wide, sweeping move around the far turn.

Trainer Leah Gyarmati has reportedly said that Noble Moon hasn't missed a beat with his training. If he is able to recapture his form, we don't think he will have any problem against this overmatched group in the Jerome.

For exotic wagering purposes, Master Lightning (6/1 morning line) goes for the Todd Pletcher machine and, after Noble Moon, owns the two fastest route figures of any horse in this shabby field.

Saturday Santa Anita, Race 2, Local Post Time 1:00pm PST
The G2 Santa Ynez
By Robert Finnegan

The Grade 2 Santa Ynez has attracted a field of only four horses. Two of them are trained by Bob Baffert, and one of the remaining two will be a big longshot. For us, as far as betting races go, the Santa Ynez doesn't, and we are not inclined to pretend otherwise. But that doesn't mean it won't be an interesting race to watch. There is some talent in here.

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The TimeformUS Pace Projector projects that Awesome Baby will be on a clear early lead at the opening quarter, with Uzziel and Crushed Velvet together in stalking positions, and Taste Like Candy in last.
 
Let's have a look at the field in order of post position, with morning line odds included:
 
Taste Like Candy (1-1):  Jerry Hollendorfer-trained filly makes her third start today. In her debut, she ran away with a 5.5F maiden race at Santa Anita and earned a speed figure of 98, which is a better figure than any horse in this race has ever run. Then she missed a little bit of training due to a minor physical problem. She returned in the Hollywood Starlet, run at 8.5F on cushion track, and she finished second, receiving a speed figure of 88. Back in a sprint today, and back on real dirt, she is an obvious contender for a trainer who gets Trainer Ratings of 96 with third-time starters, 83 going route to sprint, and 93 going synthetic to dirt.
 
Uzziel (12-1): Third-time starter ships to Arcadia after breaking her maiden at Golden Gate in a race that received an inferior Race Rating (75) and an inferior speed figure (74). Will need to improve a great deal to contend today.
 
Awesome Baby (4-1): Broke her maiden with a speed figure of 91 in her debut, on Del Mar Poly in August, and then regressed and went to the sidelines. Her trainer, Bob Baffert, gets a Trainer Rating of 93 off layoffs and is always a threat when he is preparing a talented horse for its return to the races.
 
Crushed Velvet (4-5): Also trained by Bob Baffert, she is the likely favorite.  She makes her second start today, after laying waste to a MSW field on Hollywood Park cushion track in her debut, an effort for which she received a speed figure of 97--one point off of Taste Like Candy's top figure. Crushed Velvet has a solid Pedigree Rating of 84 for this dirt sprint. Baffert gets Trainer Ratings of 97 with second-time starters and 93 when going from synthetic to dirt.


Sunday Santa Anita, Race 8, Local Post Time 4:00pm PST
The G2 Monrovia
By Robert Finnegan

(Revised After Scratches)

Sunday's Grade 2 Monrovia features a decent collection of older turf fillies & mares racing 6.5 furlongs at Santa Anita. 

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Ultrasonic ships in from Europe in what is effectively an intercontinental handoff between Hall of Fame trainers Sir Michael Stoute and Bob Baffert.  Among the great advantages of Timeform US past performances are the depth of information on overseas shippers and speed figures that enable the handicapper to compare apples to apples.  In the case of Ultrasonic, her steady triple-digit TFUS figures make her a prime contender in this race.  However, her trip notes imply that she may not be very handy, and we have some questions regarding her ability to adapt to the idiosyncrasies of the downhill sprint game at Santa Anita.  In particular, the note regarding her race at Ascot on July 26th ("temperament under suspicion"), together with her 2-for-15 record, is cause for concern.  Handicappers are advised to keep a close eye on the tote board because even though Ultrasonic is the third choice on the morning line (4-1), we will not be surprised if this one goes to post as the favorite.  As a result, we cannot key her, but we think it would be foolish to leave out entirely a Euro horse with number power.

TimeformUS PPs for Ultrasonic

Of the others that figure to attract wagering dollars, the morning line 5-2 favorite, Pontchatrain, while certainly eligible to improve, is one of the slower horses on paper.  We cannot back her.  3-1 second choice Kindle is another matter.  Although this six-year-old mare enters the starting gate for the first time in nearly a year, she flourished in her recent turf sprints and gets a jockey upgrade to Rafael Bejarano, who has a 100 rating (the maximum) when teaming up with trainer Richard Mandella.   Two races back, Kindle nearly beat two-time BC Turf Sprint Champion Mizdirection at her own game.  The long layoff should help keep Kindle from being a major underlay, and the Pace Projector has her on a clear early lead.  The others may not reach her until the gallop-out.
 
Kindle is our selection.
 

The Wager: Kindle to win. Kindle in exacta box with Ultrasonic

13 Comments

Leave a Comment:

Mary Zinke

8,2,7,1 Jerome.

03 Jan 2014 2:53 PM
Mary Zinke

7,1,6,5 in that GP r9 today.

03 Jan 2014 2:56 PM
Drinks from a glass !!

the Jerome..............not much race   ...

classic giacomo huh coldfacts?????

a closing sprinter on paper ... not for me.....but an interesting horse in nondescript field ....

don't like master lightning either . Scotland or lawmaker for me for this thread........... ..........

03 Jan 2014 2:58 PM
Brontexx

In the Jerome the field dosent have any stakes winners.The colts with the most wins are a  maiden win and nx1,I think playing this race by using whats on paper can be misleading.Timeform has decided to take the morning line favorite Noble Moon.

I think I will take one that not many expect to win, the only maiden in the field Scotland.Unlike what is repeated countless times in the media regarding trainers being terrible handicappers,I differ with that idea following trainers on a year round basis as a high percentage play.

I think Dutrow knows what he is doing racing a maiden in this spot,and I think Scotland could have the lead and the rail in this race or he could press the pacesetter from the inside.

03 Jan 2014 3:04 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Starting the weekend of with Friday  FG  R9

5 Noelle's Quay had little chance closing ground in her last - freshened since and may catch a positive Flow to finish into.

03 Jan 2014 5:44 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Friday   SA  R7

5 Kinz Funky Monkey was simply brilliant last June in breaking her maiden with a 'vs Zip Win' in a 6f turf sprint at Hollywood - she wired the field despite it being an Extreme Race for Closers.  Her next was a gate disaster behind the w-w winner of a Speed favoring turf sprint.  Her last two have been on the wrong surface.  

03 Jan 2014 6:52 PM
Mary Zinke

SA r8, San Gabriel:8,5,6,1

Not posting a 4 filly race pick for the Santa Ynez. SAr2. But you can guess which 1 I want to win, just that in fields that small it gets screwy sometimes.

I'll take the Bonde longshot, the 4, in the Midnight Lute, SAr3.

04 Jan 2014 2:44 AM
Plod Boy Phil

re: Jerome / Scotland

Our opinion of the 5th race at AQ on 11/30/2013 has been clear since I posted Monopolize the day before his MSW win.  The aforementioned race was an Extreme for Speed, so sustained runs from behind the eventual winner at the early calls are much better than they look.  Wide runs, like those of Monopolize and Scotland, deserve additional credit.

Despite the rave reviews for his debut, the 7/2 ML is a flat bet underlay for me, though he is one of two in a 1x1x2x1 P4.

04 Jan 2014 10:26 AM
Plod Boy Phil

The aforementioned late P4 at AQ was:  1 / 5 / 1, 2 / 5

04 Jan 2014 3:55 PM
Plod Boy Phil

GP  R9  10 Somali Lemonade has been behind Speed favoring Flows in 3 of her last 4,  with a no excuse neutral failure in the Cardinal.  This one has been a disappointment in the past,  but will give her another try with the Blinkers going on.  Tossing in the 1 and 6 in exbs.

04 Jan 2014 4:23 PM
Mike Relva

Been away in exile for awhile,lol. Hello to everyone,especially Phil,Kentucky Vet.

Hard to believe it's over a year since Shandler's departure. I'm sure he's missed. lmao

05 Jan 2014 4:14 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Welcome back Mike - hope all is well.

06 Jan 2014 6:51 AM
Mike Relva

Phil

It was a terrible summer,starting in July. Things are ok now. Thanks!

06 Jan 2014 11:57 AM

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