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A CLOSER LOOK at Santa Anita races on 9/27
1st Santa Anita
Rue di Espoir
First route attempt at FPX wasn't bad ? at least she passed a few horses; still, her overall lack of speed is a real drawback, and while these aren't monsters they're better than what she faced at FPX; at least the experience helps, and maybe blinks will, too, but it's still pretty shaky.
Showed more speed on the stretchout and kept to her task decently; that wasn't a bad effort at all; took FPX off but has worked decently since; handles the route and surely level; consider.
Keeps on knocking but has yet to enter; however, this is about the best chance she's gonna get; main drawback has been her lack of speed, but Alex knows this ? wouldn't be surprised if he hustled her along a bit more early on; surely handles the trip, certainly fits at the level and there isn't much speed in here so she doesn't figure to fall way out of it; major player.
Tries a new game, but her main track works haven't been bad; the drop figures to help as well; but if she's that far out of it early going slow on the turf, what happens here when they go maybe a bit quicker, and what if she's not thrilled with getting dirt kicked her face? they tried to get a bit more speed out of her last time but then she came up empty in the lane; iffy.
Estar de Prisa
Can excuse the debut because she got stuck on the rail at HOL, then she was gone 2 months and asked to route ? she pressed the issue then faltered; there's no 2-month break this time, no panicky class drop, with some speed shown; that could serve her awfully well here, particularly with Tyler aboard; very playable.
Note of Integrity
Stuck on the rail 3 straight times ? the one time it came here she broke terribly, then she found other trouble the other 2 times; last was her first start since last November, and it's good to see Hess Jr. move her up in claiming price and Kent keep the call; worked nicely since at HOL; big threat should she take to the trip.
Ran on like gangbusters in her first route try, which came at FPX; wasn't facing much, which is the main concern, but these aren't exactly monsters either; at least showed she handles the route and will be finishing, and that could be enough to make her a player here; chance.
2nd Santa Anita
Had been facing better than this, though her only real day of success came at GG at 36-1; otherwise the form has been pretty suspect; last time faced restricted claimers for half this tag, and while 3rd she was never really a factor; on paper it's tough to build much of a case here; outsider.
Honey Mustard Girl
Off that big maiden win and Mitchell claim she was the cat's meow in her last 2 ? well bet in each, though she ended up 4th each time; last time opened up and faltered; is she can slow down early and save something she can be mighty scary here; it's also good to see just the one level class drop ? remember, Mitchell isn't averse to dropping them through the floor if he sees fit; the fact he doesn't do that here is encouraging; consider.
Maybe it simply a case of being overmatched her 2 times vs. winners; if that's the case then the drop helps a bunch here, as does the presence of Laffit; filly has speed ? she got away sluggish at FPX and didn't show it; can certainly do better than that and note how well she ran here last fall; major player helps give Mitchell a strong hand here (also saddles Honey Mustard Girl).
So what was it ? the route? the experience? the drop? or the move to FPX? probably some of all 4, but she doesn't have as many things in her favor here; must deal with winners for the first time and her lack of speed is a concern; at least routed here decently in the spring as a maiden; who knows, maybe her FPX win shows Berrio has the touch with her or that she's finally got this thing figured out? tough, tough call.
Got away slowly in her last pair, but ran on well to graduate Aug. 16, then ran on decently last time for a slightly higher tag; it's noteworthy Tyler ends up elsewhere, but also noteworthy Solis is back aboard ? he was up for that maiden breaker at DMR; tries the route game but acts like she can handle it, particularly as she showed some speed at HOL in July which could have her in a dream stalking spot here; dangerous.
Kept to her task nicely for the game diploma-earning score; trouble is now she must deal with SA for the first time, winners for the first time, routing for the first time and an outside post; that's a lot to overcome, and it's not like her previous big-track races were all that enthralling; iffy.
3rd Santa Anita
Limited data available on sire with firsters while winning dam's lone prior foal was a minor winner; inside post won't help his cause and horse will probably want 2 turns for best chance; others seem more interesting.
Golden Eagle Farm colorbearer showed a bit of early run in a weaker event on the bullring but he took a tiny bit of action that day and has a right to move forward now; a.m. drills don't inspire much confidence and we're going to make him prove himself on the major tracks before backing; outsider.
This guy lacks any kind of speed and that's a major drawback while we're not ready to afford him much credit for the improved effort in Pomona; this one was 114-1 when last on a one-mile oval and that was for a lower tag; have to think he's a longshot once again.
Dannys Battle Wise
Member of sire's first crop is from a dam listing just ONE minor winner from FIVE prior foals and he sports a number of dull works in preparation for debut; think he'll want more ground in any case; another longshot.
Didn't do much running when facing tougher at the beach and now 'Nuki lands in a soft spot; if improvement was ever likely it's here and you have to like this guy's works over this track; surprise package.
Star of Stage
Suffered a troubled start in first try at Dmr and now returns to face similar in Arcadia bow; interim works have been solid and there does exist the chance that this runner owns some early foot; improves at a price?
Sire has been extremely successful with debuting offspring while dam lists 7 winners from 8 prior starters including Goldigger's Dream which earned over $400K; he's bred to be speedy and has showed a bit of punch in his works; one of the prominent figures in this cast.
Nick N Court
Dutton trainee has worked in smart fashion in preparation for debut while this post should keep him out of too much trouble; guessing there is some early speed with this package and this is certainly one for multi-race exotics consideration.
Broke sluggishly from the fence before recovering quite nicely in debut and now moves out in the gate for 2nd try; added yardage shouldn't hurt and Laffit sticks with after a couple of useful interim works; one of many possibilities.
Suffered a troubled start and then found trouble on the turn in first try and now gets a new jock and a better post for 2nd out; like the interim works and there could certainly be more speed to this one than it seems at first glance; possible trifecta hoss.
4th Santa Anita
Won like a good thing at this trip on the Dmr lawn and now she's drawn cozy while retaining Chris McCarron; runner lacks early foot and will need a good trip for best chance but she rates an exotics shot here; like others a bit more.
Speedy sort has been a winner at this track and trip while she gave decent account of herself in most recent start; interim works have been solid but her only score vs. winners came by a scant nose after a lone-F trip; fitness factor favors some of the others.
Distance may have been out of her reach in that last one so draw a line through that dull effort and then note the grass wins at both Dmr and Hol over the summer; note the switch back to winning jock for this try and a running style which should have this gal in an ideal spot all the way; merits serious respect.
Lists just a single start since April and that one happened over 3 months ago; this one likes to come from the clouds and thus she'll need some pace help and a great trip to pose a serious threat; foreign form doesn't inspire us and we're siding with others.
Beat an okay group on dirt in last and now steps up for initial turf try; sire is about average with turf runners and below average with first-time grass starters; like her style and it seems this one owns a bit of a fitness edge over some of her main foes; the kind you use in exacta savers above the one you like best.
Can't find last win but this miss owns numerous grass triumphs and she'll make just her 2nd start in nearly 3 1/2 months here; this one doesn't exactly pack the huge finishing punch that wins grass events and thus we're inclined to predict a minor prize today.
Split the field in dirt sprint 3 1/2 weeks back and that came in first start in nearly 6 months; runner is speedy but you have to wonder as we do whether she's ready to go long just yet; move onto the grass makes a wager on this one purely speculative.
Mind for Gold
Kicked it in when it counted to win at this trip on grass last out but now Laffit moves to a foe while 'Gold must tackle more than 4 foes; this one fits figure-wise but she hasn't exactly been a win machine in recent years; others seem like better exotics keys.
She popped and stopped in only turf try and now returns to the lawn after 10 months and a couple of sprint preps; don't think this one really turned many heads in recent starts and thus it seems she'd really have to improve to be a factor in the end today; unlikely.
Fired a huge shot at long odds in the QE cup nearly a year ago and that after a troubled near-miss in her previous start a month prior; classy mare knows this trip and you know she can fire fresh; pedigree is solid and so is this barn; this one should be rolling over the top of'em in the end; major player.
First grass try was a success but now she'll move in to face tougher on a new course; like the solid string of interim works and with her speed she shouldn't have too much trouble getting over from the wide berth; success depends on the trip but at least she's in line to be a forward factor most of the way; maybe.
5th Santa Anita
Back in just a week after failing to get any closer to diploma quest with the return to tag at Fairplex; short dash left her shuffled back inside; but it's not the distance, it's the lack of finish that makes her a pure outsider here; Joe-Joe a tri kicker's delight last meet; but even that small slice here would be a shocker; no thanks.
Came off a nearly-identical freshener late at Hollypark to produce respectable tagged diploma wire job; the Fairplex works hint at similar expectations here; but even peak effort may still not be enough to put away Danceoftheflags & Icantgoforthat; was willing to scrape on for shares at the shore; may be the most you can ask for here; tri factor.
Set the plate for Mama Mia before evolving into steady bullringer; caught softer in the Deb than the Bustles & Bows crowd to nab black-type for diploma; willing pace player will still make some noise here under Almeida; but dueling Icantgoforthat could put repeat dance on hold; Mon.'s gate work matches pre-Deb blow; food for thought.
Spicy special weight upset at Del Mar stunned Danceoftheflags & Fancy Beginning; but merely flattering Icantgoforthat's daylight diploma drive earlier that meet; bullet and a breeze since inspire; and she doesn't need the lead; Pirate was in his prime last meet; but all totaled still adds up to just a slight chance to turn the tables; leaning against repeat.
Mid-pack behind same faces; picked up a few stragglers in the Bustles & Bows but still not within hailing range of Icantgoforthat; Espinoza intrigues, but filly will be struggling to find second gear after top duo open up late; be glad to resume maiden quest next time; tab trip for later.
Aced maiden claiming debut, tearing through the second turn after a light half-mile let her drift up under restraint to the first tier; had signaled ready effort with Del Mar a.m. set; 13 days later, is she capable of stepping through diploma effort?; Dollase sustained 35 percent winners last meet; interest rises with the price.
The bullring turns iced her; but she also came up a slightly short horse after 55-day break; back with Flores; and an out in maiden jaunt; can measure Danceoftheflags & Moossa's Girl while pressing in the clear; Sat.'s blowout on the numbers; could be the spot to rebound; but slim on value if still favored - gut check time.
6th Santa Anita
Bad luck just about a year ago for this guy who got DQ'ed at Fairplex; Pomona return this year not all that impressive, now runner must deal with the fence; has to hustle.
At least runner appears to be going in the right direction; he comes off his best effort to date at the beach and he has plenty of upside in that he hasn't been beaten numerous times; don't sell too short.
Tough to build any kind of a valid winning case; no threat last time at 50-1, runner will need a total reversal of fortune to make an impact.
Moscow Ballet has hit at about a 13% clip with debuters in a 118 runner sample according to DRF stats; 4 of 5 of dam's foals to race won; top earner was Diamond Theft, who won 6 of 33 and $49k; dam was 2 for 16 on the track; solid barn, respect.
Lord Is the One
Will number 12 be the charm?; tough to take a positive stance; took a bit of action on the stretch out but was never in a position to win; colt hasn't hit the board this year; can't see it.
Was a well beaten third at Hollypark in his best effort and it was recorded also on the cut back to a sprint; route finale at the beach was horrible; runner did flash a bit of speed in July at Hollypark but a pace duel would seem mandatory; good luck.
Price of Syn
Was a pretty big number at Pomona, never really ran a step; dam broke her maiden in a dozen attempts; has right to move forward after race under belt but will really need a major turn around.
Took some action on the stretch out, and improved only slightly; that race could have really helped his stamina; drilled steady for this for sharp barn; could be ready to show best stuff.
Seemed to be on the verge of a break out 3 back, then regressed at 6-1; runner tried to go long at Pomona to no avail; lack of speed jumps off the page; tough to love.
Regal Blue Yonder
Runner just hasn't run them alike; he showed a bit of promise around this time last year, moved up slightly in Pomona finale; colt did show a bit of zip last time and would figure bug boy to send hard but would expect this guy to improve with more furlongs.
Colt has been a money burner pretty much ever since his tough beat in beach bow last year; never far removed at the end until defeat last time when forced to steady; there are plenty of ways to get beat at Pomona so runner could perform better here; exotic potential.
He's never hit the board, took action in last, threw in clinker; tough to build a case after flop as chalk; wonder why there is all that time between races?; hard to build positive case.
Posted super try at boxcars in last while well clear; not thrilled with fact he started career at the bottom level; with Bates Motel blood on top, would expect runner to improve with more real estate.
Swiss Banks Fraud
Improved in every outing, lost via stewards on the cut back in last when original place horse was easily second best; drawn right for this for sharp barn, colt proved he has some talent and should be right there with anything close to a clean trip.
7th Santa Anita
Zucker does right by his stock and he's given this one some time; tough spots in last 2 outings; runner has the rail to deal with but if he flashes the same kind of speed he did in second career start, he could be a major factor.
Could be a bit farther back going short; that means a speed duel and clear sailing would seem mandatory; was an even fourth in only sprint; expect Canani runner to settle, try to make one run.
The fact he ran well here at first asking in April can't be under estimated; runner is sharp as a tack right now but will get tested for class; seems best when allowed his head early and it appears he could make the top pretty easily here; may forget to stop.
Back to square one for this guy; he's never sprinted and would envision runner being pretty far back early on; been awhile between drinks for this guy; may need an outing.
In a good barn and runner ran super to a super swift horse last time; only win in last couple of years came in Phoenix against a small cast; his career has a lot of gaps; give him good look in paddock/post parade.
Easily made the top going long, may have a harder time here; sprints do appear to be his forte; trainer solid with horses like this; could be a factor at crunch time if he can maintain contact.
This guy has the will to win; not many horses can concede up to 16 lengths and still get job done; he won at first asking, has cashed off the bench, should be rolling late; exotic potential for sure.
I Love Silver
Broke his teeth here, gave Point Given a slight scare, got a little travel in when at Belmont, came back to beach and freaked; good barn, solid drills, major threat if he gets a lane to run in.
The first thing that jumps off the board is all those minor awards; this guy figures to be in first flight if not giving Star Chief all he can handle on front end; runner likes to cut it close even on his best days; can never discount speed.
Not convinced dirt is his friend; runner flashed a bit more speed in last and has trained steady for this across town; the way Frankel is going, eliminate at your own risk.
8th Santa Anita
Chocolate Bon Bon
Caught the rail in Inglewood bow, didn't threaten in beach debut, forced to steady in last; goes from Pincay to Steiner and has shown zero speed so far; needs to hurry.
Must have trained well for debut as he's been a short price both times; hopped in the air in last in basically an even effort; nice gate move on Monday, in light, could move forward.
Wide from post 11 of 12 in dismal bow; works since don't exactly get the heart pumping; trainer has been around for decades, knows what he's doing, but is having rough season; needs to show more.
Weekend in Vegas
Limited data on sire with firsters; Vaudeville himself won his first 2 starts, but made his reputation on the grass; all 3 of dam's foals to race won; all are multiple winners, top earner was Outside the War, who won 8 of 49 and banked $133k; dam was one for 7 as a racer; may want to watch one.
Limited data on sire with firsters; Seattle Proud broke his maiden in his fourth and final start; this is unraced dam's first foal to race; love the blowout right on top of race and patient trainer super with all kinds of runners; look out.
Has a few outings, seems to be coming up to a peak performance; gelding can run a bit, and trainer puts up consistent figs year in and year out; drills steady for this; the slightest improvement puts this guy right on the line.
Crown the King
Took a shot in the stakes, was bothered at the break, never got untracked; this guy has had the misfortune of playing a gentlemen to Baffert's Officer; in for a price for first time; anything close to a repeat of 8/18 races make him very tough.
General Meeting has hit at a 14% clip in an 84 runner sample with debuters the last 3 years according to DRF Simulcast Weekly; 2 of 4 of dam's foals to race; the best may have been stakes placed General Counsel; dam was unraced; General Meeting himself won his debut here at Oak Tree by 3, did some of his best running on grass; interesting.
Took a bit of action in debut, was forced to steady at the start, never got a chance to show any talent; drills since have been solid for potent barn as Gomez takes call; in a forgiving mood?; give him a look.
Iza Chili Bean
Sire not really known for success with firsters; half of dam's 6 foals to race won; one won as a juvenile; dam won a stakes in NoCal, earned $132k; works just okay; rider may be the biggest plus.