Santa Anita Horses To Watch Feb. 4
A MAN’S MAN (January 31): Four year old gelding for Brian Koriner tried the turf for the first time in Friday’s opener, a sprint for Cal bred maiden special weights for older runners. Off at 5/2 in a 7 horse field, he was unfortunate to draw the rail and though he broke well, took up sharply just after the dirt crossover, and nearly went down when he was cut off just after the break. Rosario was able to stay on and he circled the field at the top of the lane, got fanned six wide, but kept to his task and was up for third beaten a length and a half at the wire. The checking on the back side cost him at least 3 lengths and in this race, he was much the best. This was just the third start for the son of Mucho Macho Man and he really took to the grass surface. He is bred to go long as well and is a soon winner for a barn off to a good start at the meet.
LITTLE BIRD (January 31): Three year old filly for Richard Baltas made her 2nd start in this country on Friday in a first condition allowance race at a mile on the turf. Off at 2/1 and the 2nd choice in the wagering, she broke running under Rosario, but then was taken off the pace and raced 4th into the clubhouse turn. She stayed in 4th down the back side 4 lengths off the pace, went out after the leaders at the ¼ pole, then gamely ran down the leaders late to win going away by a length and a half. She ran the final quarter in a respectable 23.66 and was strong on the gallop out. This Irish bred is ready for stakes competition and she will hard to hold in her next start, which will be her third off a layoff. Up the ladder.
QUICK (February 1): Four year old filly for John Sadler made her U.S. debut in Saturday’s opener, a first condition allowance race at five and a half on the turf. Off at 5/2 in a 10 horse field, she was void of any early speed and was last coming away from the gate. She fell 14 lengths out of it by the half mile pole but gradually started to gain on the field. Rosario swung her to the outside at the top of the lane, still 10 lengths back, and she steamrolled down the stretch and got beat ¾ of a length for all the money. Plus she was bumped and had to alter course 50 yards from the wire, and they didn’t even post the inquiry sign, and she lost 2nd by a nose. She wants to go long as her last two races were at 10 furlongs in England. Sadler will stretch her out in her next race and if there is any speed at all to run at, she wins. She looks like she has the makings of a stakes horse here in California.
MOONHALL MILLY (February 1): Three year old filly for Leonard Powell made her U.S. debut and just the 2nd start of her career in Saturday’s fifth, a maiden special weight at five and a half on the lawn. Off at 5/2 in a full field of runners, she broke a step slow and was mid pack down the back side, then got shuffled back as far as 10 lengths off the leaders by the 3/8 pole. Prat got her to the outside just past the ¼ pole and she put in a strong run down the lane to finish 2nd beaten ¾ at the wire. She galloped out strongly, well past the leader. This one is bred to go long and looks to have quite a future here as she has the turn of foot you like to see for a grass runner. She’s a soon winner for a sharp barn.
REPROBATE (February 2): Three year old colt for Neil Drysdale made his debut in Sunday’s opener, a 7 furlong sprint on the main track for maiden special weights. Off at 7/2 in a field of six, he broke a step slow under Rosario and was then taken in hand to race well off the pace. He was 7 off the leaders by the 3/8 pole, started a mild move at the top of the lane, though five wide, and finished like a horse that wanted a lot more ground. He was 4th under the wire and was beaten five lengths by a well meant Baffert first timer. His gallop out was strong and he was by all three horses that finished in front of him 50 yards past the wire. This son of Breeders Cup Classic winner Blame will only get better as the furlongs increase. Look for the Hall of Fame trainer to stretch him out in start #2. Follow.
By Rod Young (Turfdom)