Santa Anita Horses To Watch Jan 7
CALIFORNIA STREET (January 1): Six year old gelding for Paddy Gallagher was making just his 11th career start and first around two turns since March of 2018. Off at 3/1 in a six horse field at a flat mile on the main for the second allowance condition, 4 and up, he broke running under Prat. Then the rider wisely took a hold of him and let him drift back to last, about 7 lengths off the pace. He moved up on his own at the ¼ pole, stayed on the fence, couldn’t find a seam at the rail, checked momentarily, and then swung out for some clear racing room. His bid fell just a head short at the wire as the favorite cruised wire to wire. Van Dyke on the winner actually out rode Prat in this race as he closed the hole on “California” at the 1/8 pole when he tried to get through. Still, this six year old is good enough to win this condition and he is bred top and bottom for the turf as well. Now that the barn knows he gets two turns, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the grass. Tab and follow.
RIP CITY (January 1): Three year old gelding for Richie Baltas made his fifth career start on Wednesday dropping into a maiden claimer for the first time with a $75,000 tag. Off at 7/2 in a full field at a mile on the sod, he laid third down the back side under a clever ride by Gutierrez, just 2 lengths off the pace. He went to the lead on his own at the 3/8 pole, quickly opened up five on the lead, then closed the door on the field with a smart final quarter in 24.36. He won by 11 and was geared down the final 50 yards. Off this performance, he can knock out the first allowance condition for a barn that is fast becoming the best turf barn on the circuit. Be ready.
ROOKIE MISTAKE (January 3): Newly turned 3 year old colt for Doug O’Neill made his 4th career start on Friday in a maiden special weight event for Cal Bred sophomores at five and a half on the grass. With a lot of late money coming in, he was off as the even money favorite in a field of nine, broke cleanly from the outside and vied for the lead. He opened up on his own at the 3/8 pole, then was quickly in front at the top of the lane, and cruised home under a hand ride by Gutierrez to win by three and a half. Visually, it was an impressive performance. By Square Eddie, he can handle turf or dirt, and the first allowance condition should be just a formality. Up the ladder.
ON MARS (January 4): Three year old filly for Phil D’Amato made her debut in Saturday’s opener at ¾ on the main for Cal bred 3 year old fillies, maiden special weights. Off at 9/1 under Cedillo, she broke a step slow at the start, then was rushed up between horses to get the lead by the half mile pole. She opened up two down the back side, remained in front at the top of the lane, then gave it up very late to finish third, beaten two at the wire. All in all, not a bad performance for a debut and she outran her odds. She will be much tighter for race #2 and as long as they keep her with state breds, and they probably will, she will have a very good chance of getting her picture taken. Watch for her in the entries.
BORDER TOWN (January 5): Four year old colt for Richard Mandella, transferred out here from the Chad Brown barn, made his California debut in Sunday’s opener, a mile on the turf for older maiden special weights. Off at 8/1 under Prat, he broke very slow and was well back into the clubhouse turn. Prat kept him on the fence and he was just six back of the leaders by the 3/8 pole. He stayed on the rail down the stretch, put his nose in front at the 1/16 pole but couldn’t finish the job. He lost by a head while finishing second. It was his first start since September and he still ran the final quarter faster than anyone in the race in 22.74. This son of the good turf sire War Front is sitting on a victory for a Hall of Fame trainer. Unfortunately the price is gone, but he’s a soon winner.
By Rod Young (Turfdom)