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Santa Anita Handicapping Horses To Watch Week 11

DOWNTOWNER ( March 9): Four year old colt for Bob Baffert, who had been on the bench for 14 months and only had one career start, came back in Friday’s 4th, a maiden special weight event at a flat mile on the main track. Off at 4/1 in a 9 horse field and breaking from the 8 hole, he got caught six wide into the clubhouse turn, and stayed 5 to 6 wide the entire trip as Van Dyke could never find a spot to get over. He was 7 back of the leaders at the half mile, still six back at the top of the lane, but then closed a bunch while still six wide and was beaten a length at the wire. He was best in this field and ran a good 10 lengths more than any horse in the race.  He had been working with many of Baffert’s stakes horses and was dead fit coming into the race. He’s a soon winner for a barn that is firing with all of his runners these days.

MCKALE (March 10): Three year old colt for Bob Baffert made his debut in Saturday’s 2nd, a maiden special weight event at ¾ on the main for sophomores. Off as the odds on choice in a field of 7, he broke running under Van Dyke from the two hole, but was pressed all the way through quick splits of 21.96 and 45.16. He finally put the other speed away at the 1/8th pole, then sped away with a final quarter in 24.67 to seal the deal by two and a half. All in all, another impressive performance by a Baffert 3 year old. He’s bred to get at least a mile so I wouldn’t be surprised if Baffert stretches him out for start #2. Up the ladder.

(March 10): Four year old gelding for Carla Gaines tried two turns for the first time in his career in Saturday’s 3rd, a first condition allowance race at 9 furlongs on the lawn. Off at 6/1 in a full 12 horse field, he laid back in sixth about 6 lengths off a dawdling pace down the back side. He stayed on the rail turning for home, found a seam at the 1/8th pole and finished strongly to miss by just a neck at the wire. Gaines has been wanting to stretch this one out and this son of Gio Ponti clearly liked the additional furlongs. He galloped out strongly, well past the winner who had it all his own way up front the entire trip. It was another 3 lengths back to the third horse. Mesut will knock out this condition in the very near future.

(March 10): Four year old colt for Doug O’Neill had to drop down in the claiming ranks last start to get his confidence back, and he responded with a 7 length victory. O’Neill moved him back into allowance company Saturday, and although he caught a pretty “salty” field, he responded nicely with a runner up finish missing by just a half length at the wire. Off at 5/1 in a 7 horse field, he laid back in the pack down the back side in this six furlong sprint, found a seam to go through at the top of the lane, then just missed to a very sharp runner who wired the field in race horse time of 1:09.57.
They paid $180K for him at the Keeneland yearling sale so he was cut out to be nice horse. He’s talented enough to win this first condition. Tab and follow

By Rod Young (Turfdom)

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