Santa Anita Horses To Watch Oct 29

ELGOFRANCO (October 25): Two year old filly for Ben Cecil made her debut in Friday’s 2nd, a maiden special weight event for Cal breds at five and a half on the lawn. Off as the 9/5 second choice in the wagering, she broke running from the rail slot and vied for the early lead with the favorite down the back side. She seemed to get shuffled back at the 3/8 pole and fell six lengths off the pace, but then swung to the outside at the top of the stretch and finished with good courage to nail down second, though never a threat to win the race. She worked fairly well coming into the race and this daughter of the good sire Square Eddie can run on any type of surface. She should move up quite a bit in start #2 and if they add Lasix, go to the window. She may have bled in this race.

HARD NOT TO LOVE (October 25): Three year old filly for John Shirreffs, who had not been to the post since May 4th, surfaced in a second allowance condition sprint on Friday for 3 and up runners. Off at 9/2 in a five horse field, she stumbled at the start under Mike Smith, but recovered quickly and got away 4th in the early going. She was four back of the leaders at the half mile pole, put in a nice run around the leaders at the ¼ pole, then found another gear and accelerated late to nail down the victory. This was a huge effort against some quality runners and was her third victory in just four starts to the post. This daughter of Hard Spun is ready for stakes action, and may be able to get two turns against top company being out of a Vindication mare. She has good tactical speed and is all race horse. Up the ladder for the ever patient Shirreffs.

DIVINE ARMOR (October 26): Two year old colt for John Sadler made his debut on Saturday in a maiden special weight event at six and a half on the main. Off at 10/1 in a “salty” field of 8 runners, he broke OK from the rail but was pretty much void of any speed. He dropped a good 10 lengths back down the back side and really was no factor in the race. He did put in a rally down the lane, but was still beaten 7 at the wire, but he did get up for third. The front runners went wire to wire. This one is bred to go long and Sadler was just “giving him one” in his debut, as he drew the rail and caught some really nice horses. He cost $250K at the Ocala two year old sale and this Kentucky bred son of Include is cut out to be a nice prospect. He’s a soon winner for a barn doing everything right in 2019.

GIZA GODDESS (October 26): Three year old filly for John Shirreffs, off since last December, surfaced in the Grade 3 Autumn Miss stakes at a mile on the turf for three year old fillies on Saturday. Off at 24/1 in a full 12 horse field, she ran lights out, up near a very fast pace (opening quarter in 22.19) and still was fighting gamely down the lane to hold second, only beaten a length at the wire. She had won an overnight stakes last winter at this track and now has never been worse than third in 4 trips to the post on the grass. She has a good mix of speed and stamina and longshot rider Brice Blanc fits her nicely. The water gets deeper now, as she will have to face older as the year winds down, but she seems up to the task. Lots of talent here and in good hands with Shirreffs. Follow.

AUBERGE (October 27): It isn’t very often you see a two year old filly bred in Iowa make her debut in southern California, but such was the case on Sunday when this daughter of Palace went in race three for Bob Baffert at ¾ on the main. She broke running from the five hole and zipped through fractions of 22.21 and 45.58 for the half over a dull, tiring strip. She put away the other speed at the ¼ pole, found another gear at the top of the lane, then cruised on home to win by 9 under a hand ride by Van Dyke. Ho Hum, another promising juvenile for Baffert. Not only does he have the top clients, who spend the most money on the best prospects, he always seems to draw the outside with his debut runners, almost like it’s “fixed” or something. Maybe I’m just imagining all of this. Up the ladder.
By Rod Young (Turfdom)