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Santa Anita Horses to Watch (Dec 27)

WIPE THE SLATE (December 26): Two year old colt for Doug O’Neill added the blinkers for start #2 and ran a bang up race on opening day at 7/8 on the main for maiden special weights. Off at 5/2 in a 7 horse field, he broke sharply under Gutierrez, and stalked the other two favorites in the race from the outside, took over at the ¼ pole, and went on to win by two and a half and never saw the whip. He beat a nice colt in this race named Affable and this son of Nyquist appears to be stakes material in 2021. He should have no trouble with two turns as his daddy won the Kentucky Derby for the same connections. The blinkers really helped him in this race. Up the ladder.

IDOL (December 26): Three year old colt for Richie Baltas made just his 4th career start in the Grade 2 San Antonio at a mile and a sixteenth on the main track Saturday. Off at 4/1 in a six horse field, he broke a tad slow from the 7 hole, then was rushed up a bit into the clubhouse turn. He settled down in third down the back side just 3 lengths off a contested pace. He looked dead tired at the ¼ pole, but stayed on the fence and kept battling all the way to the wire on the poorest part of the track. He finished second and was only beaten a half length at the wire from a perfect tripper from off the pace. I think his main goal is the Big Cap the first Saturday in March, and he should be a big factor in there. He’s never been worse than second in four trips to the post. Tab and follow.

ON MARS (December 26): Three year old filly may have run a winning race in the finale on Saturday for trainer Phil D’Amato, but the rider gave her a very poor ride and she ended up 4th, beaten two at the wire. Off at 9/2 in a full field of 3 yr. old fillies at a mile on the turf in the Lady of Shamrock stakes, On Mars broke OK and settled down near the back of the pack into the clubhouse turn. At the half mile pole, Mike Smith decided to ask her for run and she made a sweeping move on the outside and went from 10th to 2nd in a furlong, but the move was very premature, and she hung badly in the lane. Smith has a bad habit of doing this since last summer and I don’t know why he moves his horses with these early moves. He’s won 3 races with this filly and knows her well. There are no excuses. She still has the second allowance condition available and this Cal bred has beaten older in her last two. D’Amato has lots of options with her and Smith may have been on her for the last time after this ride. This filly loves the turf and this is the first time she’s missed the board in 8 starts. Follow.

CATHKIN PEAK (December 27): Irish bred two year old gelding for Phil D’Amato made it 2 for 2 in this country as he scored in the Eddie Logan stakes on Sunday. Off at 4/1 in a 7 horse field, he bobbled out of the gate and was near the back of the pack into the clubhouse turn. He settled in sixth down the back side just six lengths back of the leaders in this one mile turf event. Prat asked him for run at the 3/8 pole and he circled the field to reach contention at the top of the lane, then had to run down a solo pace setter, and did just that very late by a length, to win going away. The course had been very kind to early speed and the leader had it all his own way, so the come from behind win was all the more impressive. D’Amato is good with turf routers so this one should be a major player in three year old stakes in 2021.

THE CHOSEN VRON (December 27): Two year old gelding for Eric Kruljac made his debut in Sunday’s 8th, a Cal bred maiden special weight event at six and a half on the main. Bet down from a M/L of 4/1 to the 2/1 choice in a field of 10, he broke running under John Velasquez and ran a quick opening quarter in 21.94 to make the lead while under a tight hold. He still had the lead at the top of the lane and when Velasquez set him down and asked him for run, he quickly strode away from the field. He won by 7 under a hand ride and was the easiest of winners. This son of the good sire Vronsky is a runner, is bred for the turf, as well as two turns. He’s a future stakes star in Cal bred events. Tab and follow.

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