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Dec 28 Santa Anita Horses To Watch

LAVA LANE (December 26): Four year old filly for Phil D’Amato tried the first allowance condition for “open” runners on Sunday on a race taken to the main track and off the turf. Off at 3/1 in a field shortened to six runners, she came out running under Ricky Gonzalez and set all of the pace on a track that was favoring off the pace runners. She opened up two at the top of the lane and was pretty game down the lane, but got caught late and lost by a half at the wire. This Cal bred is best on the turf and best when she has a target to run at, but she is in top form right now and good enough to win this condition. She will probably be back on the turf for her next start and she looks like a sure winner for a barn that is deadly with turf sprinters. Be ready.

HOPKINS (December 26): Three year old colt for Bob Baffert made his debut in Sunday’s 4th, a maiden special weight event at six and a half on the main track, 3 and up, although all 7 runners were sophomores. Off a series of very quick drills, he came out running from the one hole under J.J. and set quick fractions from the fence in 21.99 and 45.01 while being hounded all the way. He shook off the other speed at the ¼ pole, opened up two at the top of the lane, then just failed to last as the odds on choice got to him very late with the bias in place. This son of the good sire Quality Road brought $900K at the Keeneland yearling sale and is destined to be a “quality” race horse. She’s a soon winner for a barn that clicks with 2nd time starters just as well as they do with debut runners.

SUPER GAME (December 26): Three year old filly for Brian Koriner tried the first allowance condition for “open” runners on Sunday in a field moved to the main track from the grass. Reduced to just five runners with four late acratches, just five went to the post and she was co-favorite at 8/5 coming out of the two hole. She broke running under Desormeaux and contested the lead throughout with the other wagering choice and they ran as a team to the top of the lane through quick fractions of 21.96 and 45.25. She put the other speed away at the 1/8th pole, then found another gear and spurted away to win by five in an impressive performance. She didn’t beat a great deal in here, but the way she did it showed she is on the improve and ready to move up into Cal bred stakes. She might even be better on the grass. Tab and follow.

ELEUTHERA (December 27): Two year old filly for Ben Cecil made her first start since September and first start vs. open company in Monday’s opener, a mile on the turf for maiden special weight fillies. Off at 7/1 in an eleven horse field, she made the running under Gutierrez and had a length on the field out of the clubhouse turn. She was quickly passed by the winner of the race at the half mile pole, but after being shuffled back a bit to third, she responded at the ¼ pole to set sail after the leader. She put in a nice run down the lane and got beat a length at the wire. This filly is a Cal bred and she is bred top and bottom for the lawn, and if she gets a shot to race back with Cal breds, she can get her diploma quite handily. Even if she is to face open company once again, she’s a soon winner for an underrated barn.

By Rod Young (Turfdom)

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