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Santa Anita Handicapping Horses To Watch Closing Week

CAMINO SONG ( June 22): Three year old filly for Phil D’Amato made her second start this year in Friday’s sixth, a maiden special weight event at a mile on the grass for fillies/mares 3 and up. Off at 9/1 in a field of 8, she broke OK under Bejarano, but was quickly taken back off the pace and was 9 lengths back of the leaders down the back side. She moved up between horses at the ¼ pole and when the rider got her to the outside, she finished with good courage, though never a threat to win the race. She got up for second beaten three at the wire, but was quickly passed the winner just 50 yards after the finish. She ran the final ¼ in 23.89, faster than horse in the race including the winner. Her next race will be her third after the layoff, often a horse’s best performance, and this one should love the Del Mar turf course. She has a good turn of foot for the lawn and I suspect she will get that diploma down at the seaside.

POPULAR KID (June 22): When a claimer gets good, everybody wants a piece of him, and such is the case for this 4 year old gelding for Jack Carava, who was entered for a $16,000 tag on Friday in an optional allowance/claiming route for Cal breds. Off as the 2/1 favorite after just beating this kind from well off the pace, he once again was allowed to lag early under Brayan Pena. Only this time the pace was very soft and the leader got away with slow early fractions and the late runners had no chance. The “Kid” did well to rally for second here but was beaten two lengths at the wire. 20 different trainers dropped a slip for him and Doug O’Neill, the leading trainer, won the shake. He fits nicely at this level and with Del Mar coming up in 3 weeks with plenty of full fields, he’ll have pace to run at next time. As long as they keep writing these optional allowance claimers for Cal breds with a $16,000 tag and a $61,000 purse, how can you go wrong. He’ll win at the Del Mar meet.

SHEER FLATTERY (June 23): Four year old colt for the Dorf finally put it all together on Saturday in the first allowance condition at a mile on the main track. Off at a robust 25/1, jockey Tyler Connor finally put him into the race early and he tracked the favorite through fractions of 24.01 and 47.32 over a track playing very slow. He put the odds on favorite away at the 1/8th pole and pulled away to win by two and a half at the wire. It was another six back to the third place horse. “Flattery” was cut out to be a nice colt and tried graded stakes races as a sophomore. After failing in the first condition for 10 consecutive starts, he broke through in a big way and should have his confidence up heading for Del Mar, a track that he likes. He can win back to back. Up the ladder.

HORSE GREEDY (June 23): Five year old gelding, just coming off a $40,000 claim for John Sadler, tried the Grade 2 San Carlos stakes at 7 furlongs on the main track Saturday. Off at 18/1 and looking completely outclassed on paper, “Greedy” missed the start, was away last, and trailed the field by 8 at the half mile pole. With early fractions of 22.21 and 44.46 for the half, over a deep, dull track, Greedy was 7 wide throughout, but kept to his task and started picking off competitors from the ¼ pole to the wire. He finished third but was only beaten two at the wire, and the speed held on throughout. He was the only horse closing in the lane in a field of 8 and actually ran a winning race, had it not been for such a poor start. He still has the 2nd allowance condition available and he should knock that out at Del Mar. Tab and follow.

ORACLE OF OMAHA (June 24): Two year old colt for Peter Miller made his debut in Sunday’s opener at a mile on the lawn for maiden special weights. Off at 8/1 in a field of 8, he was sent right to the front under the apprentice Figueroa and dueled through moderate fractions from the 7 hole. He put the other speed away at the top of the lane, was engaged by a stretch runner at the 1/8th pole, and looked to fold up his tent. But he found another gear and battled gamely to the wire from the inside, losing by just a head. He looks to be a soon winner for a barn that always excels at Del Mar (Miller lives in Encinitas) and this son of the good turf sire More Than Ready looks ready for start #2.

By Rod Young (Turfdom)

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