10/06/2011 11:57AM

Notes on a program


The handicapping notebook is full again, with stuff like this …

# Trevor Denman, the voice of Santa Anita and also the Breeders’ Cup, cannot be two places at the same time. So when Denman goes to Churchill Downs BC week, a skilled substitute will take his place. John Lies, track announcer at Lone Star and simulcast host at Del Mar, will be the voice of Santa Anita during Breeders’ Cup week.

# Wagering handle dictates policy. Don’t believe it? Santa Anita and Belmont Park plan to run live races Saturday, Nov. 5 during the Breeders’ Cup card at Churchill Downs. It will be great fun switching back and forth from low-level races in California and New York, to championship races in Kentucky. Sure hope they coordinate post times.

# Less was more during the recent Los Angeles County Fair meet at Fairplex Park. Fewer races produced increased field size from 7.15 to 7.53. Larger fields led to a corresponding 7.4 percent increase in average handle per race to $461,406.

# Which horse is a bigger lock Saturday – Brilliant Speed in the Grade 1 Jamaica at Belmont (race 7), or Switch in the Grade 2 TCA (race 6) at Keeneland? Brilliant Speed gets my vote.

# If picking winners is as easy as 1-2-3, then Stopshoppingmaria (101 Beyer) and Union Rags (95 Beyer) should win Saturday at Belmont. Stopshoppingmaria runs in the Grade 1 Frizette; Union Rags runs in the Grade 1 Champagne. It’s an easy game, right?

# A dream race Breeders’ Cup Saturday at Churchill Downs will be run way before the BC Classic. Don’t you agree the most appealing dirt race of the weekend would be the Dirt Mile if the field included Uncle Mo, Twirling Candy and The Factor?

# Assuming that Havre de Grace runs in the BC Classic, it appears Plum Pretty is a lock to win the BC Ladies’ Classic. Well, maybe the word “lock” is too strong. Just say the front-running Kentucky Oaks winner is a potential pick six single (i.e., a lock) now that she has returned to top form.

# The new dirt track at Santa Anita played remarkably “fair” opening weekend. How fair was it? It was so fair, not one of the 12 sprints at six furlongs or less was won by the pacesetter.

# According to Formulator, the Daily Racing Form handicapping research tool, trainer Patrick Biancone is having a tough time getting re-established in Southern California. Oct. 17, 2009 was the last Biancone winner in Southern California. Since then, he is 0-for-34 on the circuit.