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Horses To Watch Santa Anita Week 2

AX MAN ( January 1): Newly turned 3 year old colt for Bob Baffert made a shambles of Monday’s sixth race, a maiden special weight event at six furlongs on the main track that was a restricted race. Off as the 7/5 wagering choice in a field of 10, he broke running quickly from the gate, set quick fractions of 21.73 and 44.64, then shut the door on the field by running the final quarter in 24.73, all in his first start. This half brother to champion two year old filly Hidden Blessings won by nine and a half lengths. This maiden field was restricted to any horse that was purchased at auction for $100K or less or was a home bred. Nonetheless, it was a good field, and he obliterated them. Up the ladder.

NEXT SHARES (January 1): Five year old gelding shipping in from New York for the Joe Hernandez stakes on Monday, and now in the Richard Baltas barn, ran a bang up second in his California debut.  Off at 10/1 in a very “salty” group of runners, many who were graded stakes winners, he was the only one closing in the field as the favorite, Pee Wee Reese, zipped wire to wire and won in very impressive fashion. He was still beaten 3 lengths at the wire but there were some awfully good horses left in his wake. Grass horses improve dramatically when moving into the Baltas barn and this one can run long or short. He seems best as a late running sprinter and he still has the third allowance condition available should a race like that fill. Nonetheless, there are plenty of options for him and if they can keep him on the hill, he’s a soon winner for a very strong barn.

PAVED (January 6): Three year old filly for Mike McCarthy made short work of a full field of maiden special weights at 9 furlongs on the grass in Saturday’s 4th. Off at 2/1 and a co-choice in the wagering, he sat in fifth place about six lengths off the pace down the back side. He made his move at the Ľ pole, then just exploded at the top of the lane and opened up a quick five lengths on the field, then coasted home under a hand ride to win by six. Yes, the pace was fast and the competition was just ordinary, but the way he did it shows that this one has a great deal of talent. He will have no trouble with the first allowance condition and may even be entered into some type of stakes depending on what is available. This was just his third career start. Up the ladder.

COLOSI (January 7): Three year old gelding for Mark Glatt made his first start on the turf in Sunday’s opener, a sprint down the hill for maiden special weights for newly turned three year olds. Off at 11/1 in a full field, he was bumped at the start to get away a tad slow, then settled mid pack down the hill. He started his move at the dirt crossover, rallied five wide into the stretch, then just exploded by the leaders at the 1/8th pole and won going away by six. He galloped out extra strong as well past the wire to suggest two turns is well within his grasp. This was his third career start and he hadn’t shown much on the main track. But Glatt took the blinkers off here and being a son of the good turf sire Scat Daddy, it’s no wonder he took to the lawn. This barn has been on fire lately and this is yet another good young runner. Tab and follow.

STEPH BEING STEPH
(January 7): Three year old filly for Brian Koriner took all the worst of it on Sunday in the Grade 2 Santa Ynez stakes at 7 furlongs on the main track. Off at 25/1 in an 8 horse field, he inherited the rail position with the scratch of the one horse. He broke running, but was caught on the worst part of the track throughout even checking a bit at the 3/8th pole. However, he hung in there gamely down the lane and was able to garner second although no threat to the off the pace winner. He basically won the battle but lost the war doing all the dirty work up front setting it up for the late runner. Named for the brilliant shooting guard of the Golden State Warriors, he tries hard every time, can certainly get two turns, and is one worth following. He retains good wagering value.

By Rod Young (Turfdom)

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