12/22/2010 6:39PM

Keyed up, rained out in the big California storm


Looking for a cinch on Sunday, opening day of the Santa Anita winter meet?

Keep looking.

Persistent rain kept the Santa Anita main track closed again Wednesday, as training activity was funneled to the infield training track.

Track superintendent Richard Tedesco hoped to open the outer lanes of the main track for galloping on Thursday, and if the forecast holds, the track will be completely open for workouts on Friday.

You’d think that would be too late for most of the opening-day starters, though some trainers said they may work their horses that morning, two days before they run Sunday.

“We’re all in the same boat,” trainers Mike Machowsky (Caracortado) and Jeff Bonde (Smiling Tiger) both said. Technically, the trainers of the two key Malibu starters are right.

However, disrupted training patterns affect some horses more than others.

When horses are confined for longer times than normal, when they are unable gallop or work, they sometimes get keyed up and start acting spooky.

It is a valid worry for Malibu favorite Twirling Candy.

Remember what happened this summer? Twirling Candy took a right-hand turn into the backstretch of the Del Mar Derby. He won anyway.

Twirling Candy can be a handful in the morning, too. And one wonders if his limited training schedule this week might push him over the boiling point in the Malibu.

“I just hope Twirling Candy does not do something stupid,” one rival trainer said.

Yep, everyone is in the same boat.

Meanwhile, bettors looking for the proverbial opening-day cinch could do worse than look to race 5, the $100,000 California Breeders' Champion Stakes for 2-year-olds.

The winner should not be tough to find, even if there is no such thing as a sure thing.

Early More than 1 year ago
The "cinch" of the day is Noble's Promise in the Malibu. Ya - it is a strong field - but this guy is finally getting ideal conditions. Noble's Promise ran valiantly in the Derby and on the Derby trail - but he was running the wrong distance the whole time - this 7 furlongs is perfect. Plus he is proven on dirt. Don't overlook the fact that this dude made a strong move and took the lead in the Rebel, the BC Juvenile, and the KY Derby - only to be worn down late. Well now they are all playing his game. Cannot wait for the race.
Steven More than 1 year ago
Brad, Just looked at the entries for Sunday. Great card, I hope the weather and track hold up. Race 5 ? Do you have a lock, Brad ?
SamG More than 1 year ago
Rather than cinches I'll be looking to bet against underlayed favorites trying dirt for the first time.Some will brobably win but to make money I think you have to go against them.I'm very excited about this meet.The last few years I barely watched the Derby preps but I'll be watching intently this year.