11/19/2013 3:27PM

Hollywood Park: Baffert speedsters look to rebound Thursday


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – To make money Thursday at Betfair Hollywood Park, bettors must address two Bob Baffert trainees who enter with favorable attributes and one big knock – both finished last in recent comebacks.

Key Vista was odds-on in an allowance race Oct. 5, but she caved. Despite the debacle, the speedster should be favored Thursday, when she makes her second start back in race 2. Key Vista faces four rivals in an allowance for statebred filly and mare sprinters.

Magic Daddy also ran below expectations Oct. 5. A two-start maiden, he pressed the pace and faded as the second favorite. He gets another shot Thursday while moving to turf in race 6. Magic Daddy is the speed of the maiden sprint, facing eight rivals.

A surface switch is reason enough to give both horses another chance Thursday. Key Vista returns to the track on which she scored a runaway debut victory; Magic Daddy will test his turf pedigree.

Key Vista is co-owned by Baffert assistant Mike Marlow. Her comeback at Santa Anita looked like a foregone conclusion based on her debut 10 months earlier, a 9 1/2-length romp at Hollywood that earned a 92 Beyer Speed Figure.

But in her comeback at Santa Anita, Key Vista was done early. The half-mile in 44.74 seconds was fast but not blazing. At the quarter pole, Key Vista was done. She backed up and finished ninth of nine.

With a series of fast works since, it is fair to expect Key Vista to rebound Thursday on the track where she won her debut and where she is stabled. A Hollywood horse-for-course, she figures to make the lead and could be gone under Martin Garcia.

However, speed has not been entirely reliable this fall at Hollywood. During the first two weeks of the meet, only 5 of 38 sprints (13 percent) were won by the pacesetter.

The rivals for Key Vista are Oscillator, Tribal Chatter, Another Flashback, and J and S Express. Race 2 is the only non-claiming race for winners on the Thursday card.

Race 6 is more complex. Magic Daddy’s ability is unproven; he did not run fast in either start. The runner-up in his debut at Del Mar, he was well supported Oct. 5 in a maiden sprint on dirt. He pressed a half-mile that was quick for maidens at 44.47. Magic Daddy folded.

The pace scenario Thursday is softer. Magic Daddy should clear the field in his first start on grass. As a son of Scat Daddy, turf should be fine. Scat Daddy’s progeny have won 14 percent of their starts on turf.

With a clean break from the rail, Magic Daddy can be gone under Garcia. Six turf sprints during the first two weeks produced two pacesetting winners and another who pressed the pace while always within a head of the lead. Based on the six-race sample, speed is fine in turf sprints.

Key rivals for Magic Daddy include Money Clip, a comebacker making his first start since being gelded, and the filly Oughttobenaughty.