Santa Anita Horses To Watch Jan 21
ODYSSEUS (January 17): Four year old colt for Richard Mandella finally made her debut on Friday in a maiden special weight at five and a half on the turf for older runners. Off at 9/1 in field of 8, he broke running under the bug boy Velez, but then settled in well off the pace. He was six back at the ¼ pole, then put in a good run at the top of the lane, angled out in the middle of the course, and stormed home to win going away by a length and a half. This son of Candy Ride, bred by Hall of Famer Ron McAnally, obviously had some issues getting to the races, but he’s a runner, and will only get better as the furlongs increase. He paid $21.20 as a Turfdom Best Bet. Up the ladder.
JET SET RULER (January 18): Five year old gelding for Richard Baltas made his second start off a layoff in Saturday’s opener at 9 furlongs on the lawn for the first Cal bred allowance condition. Off at 7/5 in a 7 horse field, he lagged well back in the opening stages and was a good 10 lengths off the pace down the back side. He started his bid at the ¼ pole, circled the field from the outside under Prat, and won rather handily by two at the wire. The water gets deeper now, but his next start will be his third off a 7 month layoff, and should be his best. He will have to face “open” company but he seems up to the task. He is good anywhere from 8 to 9 furlongs. Baltas is fast becoming the best turf trainer on the back stretch.
LIEUTENANT DAN (January 18): Four year old gelding for Steve Miyadi tried the Cal Cup sprint for $150K on Saturday at ¾ on the main. Off at 5/2 and the third choice in the wagering, he broke well enough from the six hole and tracked the leaders down the back side. He made his move at the leaders at the ¼ pole, got caught five wide on the far turn, then got fanned out again and was five wide at the top of the lane. He stuck to his guns and rallied at the favorite but came up a neck short at the wire. He hadn’t been to the post since August and the super wide trip cost him the race. This one is all race horse as he has hit the board in 10 of 11 starts. He is all out of allowance conditions so he will have to run in stakes, but he can go short or long, turf or dirt. Lots of options for this gelded son of the great California sire Grazen. He’ll be tough to handle wherever Miyadi starts him next. Be ready.
NADAL (January 19): Three year old colt for Bob Baffert, no doubt named for the famous tennis player who is now #1 in the world, made his debut in Sunday’s 7th, a maiden special weight event for sophomores at six and a half on the main. Off as the 6 to 5 choice in spite of drawing the rail, he broke slowly under Diaz, who was subbing for Rosario. He was 6th early, but was rushed up and had the lead by the half mile pole with a quick opening quarter in 21.88. He put the other speed away at the top of the lane, all under a hand ride, and went on to win by four at the wire. It was an impressive effort, especially with the slow break from the fence. The final time was 1:15.82 and he ran the final quarter in a respectable 24.82 over a track that is speeding up as the meet goes on. This could very well be one of Baffert’s most important Derby hopes, as he is bred to run as far as they write races. Up the ladder.
BEGUILED (January 20): Three year old filly for Phil D’Amato made her second start of her young career in Monday’s third, a maiden special weight for soph fillies at a mile on the lawn. Off at 5/1 under Van Dyke, she broke with the field and then was taken in hand and moved to the rail. She stayed on the fence down the back side and was about four lengths off the pace. The rider deftly angled her to the outside at the ¼ pole and she quickly took control of the race and went on to win by three and a half at the wire. She raced greenly down the stretch and didn’t like the whip, so Van Dyke hand rode her the final furlong. They paid $100K for her at the Keeneland yearling sale and she is cut out to be a runner. She can handle the first allowance condition and she will only improve with more racing. Up the ladder.
By Rod Young (Turfdom)