02/14/2007 12:00AM

Horse of the day for 2/15


Race 5 - Santa Anita
6 1/2 Furlongs
Maiden Claiming ($62,500-$55,000)
Purse $33,000

HEADED FOR HOME finished ahead of Capt. Joe Blow three starts back at this distance, and that foe has since won three stakes races at Turf Paradise. Two back, he chased eventual Grade 2 San Vicente winner Noble Court over Polytrack. Last time out, he faded in a key race on turf that included Eddie Logan Stakes winner Kolo. Headed for Home was gelded since that turf start, and will make his first start for a tag in Thursday's fifth race at Santa Anita. He seems to have some tactical speed, and may sit a nice pace-tracking trip behind early leaders SHAME ON CHARLIE, MERITSNDEMERITS, and AMERICAN OFFICER. Headed for Home's dam was multiple stakes-placed with earnings of over 100K, and she is kin to several blacktype performers including multiple stakes-winning sprinter Proudest Hour (238K). Although trainer Paco Gonzalez hasn't won a race since June 9, 2006, he's trained several top horses, including Headed for Home's sire, Came Home. Headed for Home should really appreciate the class relief.
MERITSNDEMERITS steps up in class after a pace-setting debut run, and new trainer Art Sherman is 35-118 (30%, $2.15 ROI) over the past five years with newly-claimed runners returning from a 31-60 day layoff. Meritsndemerits has good gate speed, and should be prominent when they turn for home. AMERICAN OFFICER is a half to stakes-placed Miss Catalina (30K), and he also showed some speed in his career debut against Noble Court. The drop in class coupled with the addition of blinkers makes him dangerous in this spot. SHAME ON CHARLIE looms the speed closest to the rail for Baffert, and he boasts improving Beyer Speed Figures. He's already lost for 50K, however, and figures to face pace pressure here.

The selection: Headed for Home to win and place (9-2 odds or more)

YTD statistics (starts-wins, top pick in the money, profit/loss based on day's wager): 15-2 (5) +$36