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A CLOSER LOOK at Santa Anita races on 10/06
1st Santa Anita
Owns good speed but must deal from the fence and the only 2 speed figures above 76 were of the questionable variety - one happened on a wet track while the other came over the 5 1/2-furlong trip; think this guy is part of the pace here but we're not going to back him to be there in the end.
Did what needed to be done to capture a maiden affair at Pomona and this is another which brings decent speed to the table; 'Excess should find the winners on this circuit a bit tougher than those to which he lost in that last one; faces tough task.
Ships in from Minnesota where he won 2 straight after dropping in to face claimers for the first time; those were weak foes he was facing and he had the benefit of a clear lead in each of his wins; gets acid test now.
Have to tip your hat to Mike Mitchell for perhaps running this guy where he belongs and/or where he can win despite the maiden score for a higher tag; this gelding is tractable and he's worked smartly between starts; anything near to a repeat of last makes him very tough in this spot; major player.
Only win came over a good surface but it did happen on this course and the runner has been in front a furlong out in each of last 3 starts; think Laffit is working on the exact timing of this one's move and as soon as he gets it down pat you can expect the doorbell to ring; improvement may come now with the move off the rail; don't sell short.
Upset modest maiden company at Del Mar and now he cuts the asking price for first try vs. winners after about 8 weeks off; hoss has a few decent a.m. moves since last start but if he needs the lead for success then he's in trouble; leaning slightly toward others.
Stumbled at the start when ducking in to face claimers in that last one so draw a line through that performance; we're going to excuse the grass effort of Sept. 1 when he was in need of a race; this one is fairly accomplished figure-wise and has a right to jump up and run back to some of his prior sprints; he should be fit after 2 starts last month and the price cut helps his cause; contender.
Armed 'n Crafty
Only win came in box-to-wire fashion at Hol and that isn't usually a difficult task, especially after drawing a wide post; gelding tuned-up in a route at Fpx and now cuts the price; he does his best work on the lead and there is other speed signed on; prefer others.
2nd Santa Anita
Runner-up effort at Fpx when 12-1 at this level may not be a ticket for success in this spot; filly is drawn on the rail and it's been well over a year since her last win; Wilmot trainee has a right to improve in 2nd try after 2 months off but others are more interesting.
Our Blazing Belle
Was a winner over an abbreviated distance in debut and now Laffit tries his hand as the filly moves to a tougher track; they were risking her for less than half of the purchase price in debut and still nobody bit; she still must prove she can get 6 panels and do so vs. winners; watch tote action for more clues.
Raced evenly when backed to even-money in Pomona and the runner hasn't finished with much stretch punch since her bow; 4yo will have to step it up figure-wise to fit with the best of these and we're going to side with others.
Don't mind the last one at Dmr but now she's been away nearly 2 months; like the fact that the improvement happened when blinkers were added and that she's worked steadily since last start; 'Ticket does have the potential to win this thing.
Returns after nearly 5 months away and the miss lists only a 'tie' from 9 starts; she has a right to have improved with maturity and thus she could be of some value interest to those willing to bank on improvement; like fact that this runner has a recent work over this surface; could land in the exotics at a decent number.
A Real Knockout
Beat weak state-bred runners in maiden score and since finished an okay 3rd despite trouble (placed 2nd)in sophomore debut; love the steady work-tab since last start and this one definitely rates an improvement possibility and thus contender status.
A Lil Excess
Owns good speed and a strategic outside post while she has been working well since her last start; this one fired a big shot at this level on July 25 and then may have bounced to the moon in that last try; if she was on the rail and batting eye-to-eye early then we can take a chance and upgrade that last performance; one of many win possibilities.
Front-wraps were added last time and the runner ran a ho-hummer at Fairplex; only win came courtesy of a clear early lead and she's struggled vs. winners since that score; recent work on this course was okay but others are more probable.
3rd Santa Anita
Late running gelding may not see a closer friendly pace in this small gathering, but at least he gets to work from rail post; he's a threat with a top effort, but considering the pace projects to be moderate at best, he appears to have a bit of an uphill climb.
It was a long time between wins, but this colt may have found new life with the change of tactics last out; he seemed to like taking frontrunning approach, and it looks like he'll have the opportunity to set the pace in this event.
Sweet for a Moment
He hasn't been seen since July, but it will be interesting to see what tactics connections will try to employ in here; his most recent win came when he was able to get loose on the lead, but with Copper Express lined up in here that may not be a possibility for him here.
He hasn't had the best of luck over this oval, but there is no question that he can be in the hunt with one of his better efforts; late running type needs some speed to close into, and he may not get his wish in this spot.
Pie N Burger
Appears to be entering this contest on top of his game off solid figure near miss in his most recent outing; he has to like the fact that So Urgent isn't lined up against him today, and suspect that he'll be tough to deal with in here.
He had every right to need that last race making first start for current connections, and this colt has the speed to attend the early pace; not wild about the fact that the for sale sign goes up, and the fade he put in when last seen could be a negative; mixed signals.
4th Santa Anita
Begins career from what often proves a demanding and intimidating post on a youngster; sire an obviously solid speed/win-early influence; dam never raced, but this colt's lone sibling is Affluent (9-3-2-3, $322K), who won her Santa Anita debut ('80' fig) as well as the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks in July.
Took plenty of tote support in an otherwise drab debut; time off since suggests excuse, and this fresh face with plenty of pedigree appeal can certainly do better - but perhaps at more distance and/or on turf.
Begins career with some glossy a.m. moves showing, but a quick glance at the key names in his pedigree suggest turf success down the line; dam banked just $59K (21-2-1-1) and there's not much sibling punch to report from her quartet of foals that are of racing age.
Has more experience than any, and that alone can go a long way in field that features 5 first-time starters; not much on track yet, but solid barn has given him time away to develop; workouts indicate he's learned some in his time off; 'figs' say he's not out of this.
Begins career for strong barn that has struggled at the current stand thus far; steady workouts date back quite a while; sire was best as a late-moving sprinter; dam retired a maiden following just 3 starts; family of just minor winners, with this colt's top sibling being half-sister Upstate Flyer (10-for-37, $163K).
Looms the one to beat off her latest game placing, for which she earned a glossy 'fig,' but there are several unknown quantities to deal with here; forward factor, especially with that 9/24 drill showing; hard to leave out.
Makes career debut, and we love Red Ransom as a sire, but perhaps best in turf wars; dam began career by winning 3 straight races (DQ'd from 2nd tally) overseas and was even a group winner in Italy, but retired having earned just $92K (2-for-14); 'Rouge is his dam's first and only foal of racing age.
Commanded $600K at auction as a yearling, and you have to love that 'Minister/'Gold breeding cross; big drills show on colt that is out of a talented dam (24-4-5-1, $145K) who earned a career high 'Beyer' of '96,' but needed 7 starts to leave the maiden world; graded stakes-placed dam can boast of plenty of black type among her siblings, but this is her first and only foal of racing age.
Moves to new barn following drubbing versus lesser at long odds; deserving outsider.
5th Santa Anita
Veteran has ample back class, but didn't quite look the same when he came back in the early summer; did look more like his old self at the end of DMR, and with some time off since and no further class drop - in fact, this time he's up in class - he may be ready for a big run; quite playable.
Just 2 races ago at this level he came up with a win; this spot may be a bit tougher, but not by a lot; pretty much always runs his race and he's worked nicely for this; one big concern: he's 0 for 7 on this sod; mixed feelings.
Coupled with Taylorman; failed to make a dent at FPX but you can forgive him for that - but what about the Aug. 24 race at DMR at this level at about this trip? well, he did have a tough post, but he got position early and fell apart late; does have a local win, but that was quite a while ago; iffy.
Coupled with Gifted Athlete; sure loved it at FPX - he unleashed 2 huge efforts; that being said, this isn't dirt, this isn't a bullring, and these aren't $6,250 claimers or starter foes; at least has won on turf, and maybe those FPX races are a sign he's broke through; tough, tough call.
Smart in Art
Form isn't bad - it's just not really enough to get the pulse racing; ran well going shorter vs. cheaper at DMR Aug. 19; for the most part, however, he's been a midpack type; maybe the herd instinct is strong with him; winless on turf, too; shaky.
One tough ol' dude, and his last is a sign he still has some gas in the tank; has run well here, too, and his last win came at this level; of course, with his style you often need a lot of breaks - he can, at times, fall well out of it, meaning he needs clear sailing and the right kind of pace; that's tough in a bulky field going this far, but you don't win 8 race by accident; consider.
Normally when you see a horse gone for nearly 2 years you just go right on by; however, this one comes from the Drysdale barn, and trainer Neil knows a thing or 2 about firing off long layoffs; horse had some quality, too - and while he's back for a tag he's hardly a giveaway for this number; boasts the typical Neil pattern; worth a long, long look and the price will be there.
Color Me Matt C
Only beaten winners once, and here he faces a bunch of horses with multiple wins over winners; has a bit of speed but more often than not he hasn't been able to carry it far enough to matter, at least when facing this caliber or better; shaky.
Off the lengthy layoff he's run 6 straight good races - but still has no wins to show for it; obviously handles this kind of trip, the level suits, and Baffert saw fit to plunk down $40k to claim him last time; have every reason to expect another good effort is forthcoming, making him the horse to beat - but could it be nowadays he's simply always going to find someone a smidge better at this level? the one to beat, but there are issues.
Just hasn't looked quite right for some time; only good race of late came off the layoff, coincidentally at this level; last win came at this trip at least; post is no bargain, but at least he doesn't drop through the floor - Mitchell isn't averse to doing that, too, so the fact it doesn't happen is encouraging; food for thought.
Comes here in good form, but those were much weaker foes, and dirt; at least owns a couple turf wins, though his last turf win came at BM for half this tag; post is no help, and he's going into uncharted waters in terms of the distance; at least comes here sharp, but he's being asked a lot here; outsider.
6th Santa Anita
Brite F X
Sire gets about 17% debut winners, according to DRF sire stats; dam has 3 winners from 4 foals to race; dam was 0 for 3 for about $3k on track; works don't exactly get the pulse racing, and then there's a rail to deal with for her debut; later?
Hinted at some ability first 2 times at HOL, though her DMR try was a dud; at least there's no drop and she worked nicely since last week; too early to give up on.
Chic on the Take
Debut wasn't bad at all - showed some speed and didn't give way badly despite dueling early; of course, this isn't FPX and she must go another furlong and a half; iffy.
Flown the Coop
Didn't' do much in her bow, but it was her bow so maybe she can do better here; Chapman has a strong 21% win race with 2nd timers; did take money first time out, too, and Pedroza stays; still prefer others.
Was it the drop, the move to FPX, having a race under her belt or what? it was probably a bit of all 3; certainly headed the right way, and Machowsky off to a fine start here this meet; eligible to be very dangerous so long as it wasn't solely a love affair with FPX that helped so much last time.
Stuck on the rail at FPX, and when she got out she was forced wide, which got her moved up via a disqualification; best respect her speed and her previous 2 DMR races were pretty solid; consider.
Showed a bit more speed last time routing on turf vs. straight maidens; if nothing else it helps from an experience standpoint; now she moves back to dirt, back to a sprint and back for a tag, which could add up to improvement - though whether it's enough to matter is still up for grabs.
Nothing wrong with that debut at FPX; Caesar a solid 13% with 2nd timers, Solis takes the call and blinkers go on today - Caesar 21% when adding blinks, too; certainly one to think about.
Last 2 efforts weren't bad, but those came at FPX; previous at DMR weren't pretty at all; even with the improvement in her last 2 the Beyers were only 30 and 33; still, anything this $1k purchase can get has got to be considered gravy, right? outsider.
Brings some speed to the fray; when unable to get near the she hasn't fared well, but the 2 times she was on the pace or pressing the issue she ran pretty well; still, she's found the stretch pretty tough to handle; will that be the case again? it's quite possible; dicey.
Sire gets about 8% debut winners; dam's 1st foal to race; dam was 0 for 7 for about $6k on track; plenty of drills, some of them indicating speed; if she has speed Tyler is the one to get it out of her; food for thought.
Tried a restricted stakes last time and was no factor, but her previous at this level was solid; Laffit was up that day, and he takes the call back here; gets blinkers and has a nice drill since; quite playable.
Sire gets about 17% debut winners; dam's only foal to race is Sillio Season, who was going into a maiden race here Friday as the likely favorite; dam was 2 for 11 for about $5k on track; works were pretty slow, though she perked up last time with a good 4f gate move here; still prefer to watch this one to see if she can be of use to you later.
Black Eyed Lilly
Ward sends his youngsters out ready to go, and this filly ran well at 7-5 when she debuted at HOL in May; given plenty of time since, now in for a tag, first time Lasix with some strong works in tow; huge threat if she goes.
Maybe she didn't like FPX; after all, her 2 'big' track races were solid, then she pressed the issue and fell apart at FPX; back to a big track here, with some tactical speed at her disposal; worth a look.
7th Santa Anita
Couldn't handle Black Mercury 2 back, so why should he today? well, he had the rail that day at DMR, which is no good, and had trouble turning for home; off that race, and a claim by Sadler, he came back with a good 2nd to Scoop of Ice, beating Fortifier, who came right back to win; very dangerous.
Once a pretty fast horse and pretty tough nut, but those days seem quite a while ago; last good races came a year and a half ago in the mud and on the turf - neither applies here; tough to build much of a case off his recent stuff.
Seemed headed the right way last fall, then went to the bench for quite a while; had to have needed that BM race last time, and now drops in for a tag - but he's far from a giveaway at this level; showed ample speed and ability last year and if he got what he needed from that BM race then he's got a big shot here.
Claimed by Hess Jr. last time, and it's quite encouraging that despite being long out of jail Hess Jr. still moves him up in class; main issue is whether he's really as effective sprinting, but he's working well and Kent rides; food for thought.
Lack of speed is the main issue; however, note back in July when asked to go 7fs he was very effective as a late-running sprinter; maybe that's what he wants? Spawr moves him back to that here, and he's under his claimed price but Laffit still takes the call; interesting.
Sure got good last fall, but maybe those efforts against toughies like Brigade, Flaming West and Rapidough knocked him for a loop - he hasn't looked the same since; off the long layoff Spawr claimed him but horse hasn't done much since; drops another peg and maybe that will help - and maybe this is the time of year when he feels good; still kinda dicey.
Hinted at big ability as a youngster but things kind of went awry; however, the return to a sprint and addition of blinkers last time did the trick - he stormed home to get the nod; it's good to see him go up the ladder for Baffert and with ample speed signed up here to give him a target he looks awfully tough right back.
The question is can Craigmyle gets from him what Mullins was able to? Overmatched in the Governor's Cup last time, and while he drops this is a much more reasonable level, and it's still twice what Craigmyle paid for him; has some speed and can be pretty effective sprinting when right; but did that last race take some of the starch out of him? tricky read.
Brings some speed to the fray; trouble is, there's other speed signed up and this guy's speed hasn't been as effective of late; claimed 3 straight times at least, so somebody sees something they like; figures prominent early, but how's he going to deal with that last furlong?
No factor in his last 2, but those came against considerably tougher; Mitchell now drops him a ton, and while that's scary with most trainers Mitchell has had considerable success with this move; just a couple months ago this guy as beating $50k claimers so he's not far removed from good form; tactical speed can have him in a good spot, unless a wheel came off in his last 2; at least worked well of late for this; big threat.
8th Santa Anita
Biggest win was in Grade 3 company and he was life and death to accomplish it; runner was somewhat flattered when El Corredor exited the O'Brien to win another Grade 2 to bring his record to 7 for 9; the good news is he can come from off the pace and be successful; pace will sizzle, he needs to find room and fire a career best effort.
Forget about the bounce; this guy has put triple digit Beyers together before and he could again; we are probably talking :21 and small change to the quarter and that's realistic; connections of Lexicon, Forest and even Kona will have to decide whether to give chase or hope this guy runs out of octane; if you go, you run the risk of a fry job; if this guy clears, he just might get brave; all or nothing type, would not bother backing this guy up to place.
He carries his lunch pail to the track all the time, wants to beat ya and he has beaten the superstar on the extreme outside in this very race; decision time for Desormeaux; this runner has performed best for Kent when allowed to make the top; if that is the ticket today, there is a huge obstacle to direct inside; he did sit second and won up north a year ago and came from off the pace to get beat by course specialist two back; can't count out.
Precocious enough to win a Grade 2 in second start and fast enough to freak at 1-2 in restricted company 13 months ago; he tried to defend his Bounty title last time but never really fired; bullets since help backers build a case but not really sure how this guy will respond when he doesn't get the lead and finds himself chasing; you won't see many faster blowouts than the one posted Wednesday; still, would prefer another Camp.
I Love Silver
The race kind of sets up for him as he is the only stone cold closer in the field; he gave Point Given a little run early in the year and could be finally maturing after basically having his head handed to him back East; never off the board in Arcadia, the price will be right, now if the trip gods only cooperate.
We have all seen this movie before; Headley has taken the same route to the BC Sprint 3 straight years; works are solid with a sizzler usually followed by just a maintenance move; drawn right, Solis can see how the race unfolds and make the proper adjustments; the bad news for backers that take the short number is that he does not have to win this race; the ultimate goal is still 21 days away; no doubt he is the King of the Hill and will likely win but there is no value and trying to beat him is logical.
9th Santa Anita
Proven off the bench, he ran well in first grass try on this course and he seems best when allowed to settle and make one run; not really convinced there is enough speed in here to help him in that department but one can never dismiss any runner from this barn; would demand a decent price.
Wing On Wing
Seems in a big steep; winner of last returned to win a $16k starter at Pomona by a length and a quarter; not really convinced grass is this guy's forte; his only grass win was when he was able to control the pace vs. $25k sellers up north; not a ton of speed in field; would expect rider to send hard and try to steal it.
Two for one action and both runners seem to have similar styles; this guy ran okay on Belmont grass, cashed at Mateo, loved Del Mar but has never really been close on this sod; series of drills attests to fitness for barn going good; too sharp to ignore.
Too far a race last time?; could be; Mandella now utilizes the hood, a ploy that has worked at a 19% clip for him the last couple of years according to DRF stats; runner closed into a pretty slow pace the day he won; he'll probably have to do the same thing again.
The Price Spirit
Clear in last and so was show horse; winner, Decarchy, is a nice horse; stumbled, was 14 back, in only bad race; toss it; runner has enough speed to maintain contact early; looks like the one to deny.
Gave foe on direct inside a run for his money in June, then flattered that one when graduating vs. winners; connections must be high on this guy to try him in the stakes on both coasts; colt could fall into a nice spot with limited speed in cast; surprise package.
Mt. Livermore has hit with 10% of his turf runners in 559 horse sample the last 3 years according to DRF Simulcast Weekly; freaked in second start for a tag and like the fact runners in company line were spread out; looks fit enough and can't be eliminated.
Alma de Resero
Came from eighth, beat 14 foes in only win; the best he did pacewise in native Argentina was come from mid pack; works have been steady and he has been in the Spawr barn since the summer; fresh Lasix can't hurt; looms deep threat if at all.
Beat 17 in French finale but who was he beating?; place horse, Xara, has not hit the board in three tries since; show horse, Bou Sfer, is zero for 5 since; troubled in beach race but he was kind of cold on the board; nice move on 9/29 for a barn that usually doesn't ask for speed; could move forward.
Ben Saw San
Had to come from second to last to beat quarter sellers up north for only grass score; outside for this and with other half of entry having limited speed, wonder if this guy will be sacrificed on the front end; he flashed some speed up north in the spring; interesting.
10th Santa Anita
Sun Rise Express
Runner takes one of the biggest drops in the game and lands Pincay; he flashed solid speed in bow and show horse in last won the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby this summer; if he can run just a little, he will likely show it here.
Well Known Act
Took 13 months off, came back with solid try and note runners that completed trifecta were both well clear; positive rider switch to Delahoussaye and trainer is proving he can win races anywhere; fits on the Beyer scale; dangerous for it all.
Two Out Rally
Maybe the drop and blinkers will hope the rally hat guys; gelding has sub :45 speed if in the mood; one of his best Beyers was for this rider; drills are steady; must be left in the mix.
Took serious action in comebacker when wraps were added, could be set to fire big time here; show horse in debut returned to graduate for a $50k tag, win a $80k seller, and was fourth in a N1x at Bay Meadows; logically placed by good trainer; could be his turn.
Winner of last won on the drop here Wednesday in a $12.5k seller as the chalk by a nose; place horse 6/24 came back to win a $32k maiden seller, then beat a $32k starter field at Pomona 9/22; lack of speed a concern but check out trainer's super flat bet profit off the claim before erasing from exotic ticket.
Rode the rails, was inching toward the winner in Pomona effort; now he jumps and he has never hit the board on the main So Cal circuit; colt really has limited zip; can't see it.
Checked in live race the day he hit the board; pretty much has run the same race every time; he hangs mid pack early, usually stays there; bothered in last 2 beach tries; he is due for a clean trip.
Was beaten 14 lengths in last comeback; he did fire in the second try off the layoff and that race gives backers a glimmer of hope; would envision runner sitting 6 or 7 lengths off the pace with rider hoping they go fast early and a hole opens.
Sire has hit with about 13% of his debuters in a 15 horse sample according to DRF stats; both of dam's foals to race won; one is a multiple winner who has won 6 of 48 for a $23k wallet; dam was unraced; may want to watch one.
Ran huge in beach bow, stopped on a dime at Fairplex; you do not see many faster half mile drills than the one posted 9/29; which guy shows up today?; the one that outran his odds, or the one that was just eased?; give him good going over on the racetrack.
Force in Excess
Some horses just don't care for Pomona with the tight turns; this guy could not take advantage of the rail; now he takes the huge drop and brings a best of 38 bullet to the party; trainer solid with second time starters; this guy has every right to run big.
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