Brad Free

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Format: 2014-11-21
Wed Apr 20
2011
Brad Free
Categories: Handicapping
The ballot box opens Thursday, when the least expensive wager in California makes its debut on opening day of the Hollywood Park spring-summer meet. California raised the exotic-wager takeout rate by a 10- to 15-percent margin Jan. 1 (from 20.68 cents per dollar, to 22.68 and 23.68). The cost went up, demand went down. Winter handle plummeted. This occurred in the face of an arrogant attitude by some. “Takeout does not matter,” a horseman told me in January. “You gamblers will bet on anything.”
Sat Mar 5
2011
Brad Free
Stewards screwed up by not disqualifying the winner of the Santa Anita Handicap. “Total bull-….,” one trainer said. Stewards made the right call by letting the order of finish stand. “If you’re unsure, don’t change it,” said another observer. No middle ground allowed. Split decision? Majority rule. Steward Kim Sawyer voted to disqualify the Big ’Cap winner for causing interference at the top of the stretch. Tom Ward and Scott Chaney voted to let the result stand.
Fri Mar 4
2011
Brad Free
Categories: Handicapping
Is a handicapper a complete wimp by picking favorites in all three Grade 1’s on Big ’Cap day? Turbulent Descent (even-money in race 4), Caracortado (5-2 in race 9) and Twirling Candy (4-5 in race 10) are the most likely winners of the Santa Anita Oaks, Kilroe Mile and Big ’Cap. Meanwhile, creative bettors may find several options at higher prices.
Tue Mar 1
2011
Brad Free
Yes, the Big ’Cap favorite remains Twirling Candy. But something happened Tuesday morning at Santa Anita that suggests he might have his hands full. Trainer Bob Baffert had a plane to catch, so he worked three Big ’Cap starters early, after the 6:30 a.m. break. First was Tweebster, five furlongs in 1:00.40. Ho, meet hum. Then came Game On Dude. He worked in company, five furlongs in 1:00.40. It was a good work, nothing more. Baffert saved the best for last – First Dude.
Sun Feb 27
2011
Brad Free
Categories: Opinion Columns
It was cold Sunday morning at Santa Anita. The temperature at dawn hovered at about freezing. Bundled from the chill, jockeys Joel Rosario and Rafael Bejarano arrived early at trainer John Sadler’s barn. They had good reason for the 6:30 a.m. workout call. Rosario rides Twirling Candy in the Santa Anita Handicap on March 5; Bejarano may end up on Gladding. Both horses were scheduled for their final workout Sunday. Sadler typically does not work his top horses at daybreak. Sunday was the exception. Why so early?