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Santa Anita Horses To Watch May 21

HANSEN TALE BLUES (May 17): Five year old mare for Vic Garcia made just her second start back since being off since 2017 in Friday’s 4th, a six furlong sprint on the main track for maiden claimers in for a tag of $25,000. Going off as the 2/1 choice in a field of 8, she broke well but got caught up in the middle of a speed duel with 4 across the track and her in the middle. She never could shake loose but dug in gamely in the lane and finished with good courage to get second, though well beaten by the perfect tripper on the outside. Her next start will be her third off the layoff, often a horse’s best performance, and based off this effort, she should be able to find the winners circle. This daughter of Hansen was cut out to be a nice filly and though she never lived up to expectations, she’s good enough to win at the bottom. Tab and follow.

G Q COVERGIRL (May 18): Six year old mare for Phil D’Amato, who has only 10 career starts, made her first start since last July in Saturday’s third, a first condition allowance race with an optional tag of $40K, on the lawn at five furlongs. Off as the 5/2 co-choice in a field of just five, she bobbled at the start to be away a bit slow, then quickly rushed up to chase the winner who caught a flyer out of the gate. The winner sizzled the opening quarter in 21.67 and then threw in a half in 43.97, and they weren’t going down hill this time. “Covergirl” fell behind by two and a half into the far turn, but dug in gamely in the lane, but fell a length short at the wire. She flew the final quarter in a smart 22.86 but just had too much work to do in the drive. It was five lengths back to the third horse. This one is sprint only but she can handle turf or dirt and D’Amato has plenty of options with her. If he can keep her healthy, she’s a soon winner.

INTERESTING TIMES (May 18): Three year old filly for Tim Yakteen, made start #2 in her young career on Saturday in a starter allowance race for 3 year old fillies, non winners twice, at six and a half on the main track. Off at 10/1 in an 8 horse field, she came out running and set the pace down the back side with an opening clip in 22.30. She was passed by the heavy odds on favorite at the ¼ pole and looked like she was all in, but found another gear and battled back down on the inside. She didn’t give up the ghost till very late in the race and got a beat a length at the wire. It was a big six lengths back to the third horse. She won her debut nicely under Talamo for just $25,000K, but she is good enough to knock out this condition and will only get better with racing. She has a nice combination of speed and stamina and is a soon winner for a barn winning at 20% this meet.

SATCHEL PAIGE (May 18): Three year old colt for Phil D’Amato, who was named for the famous pitcher of the old Negro Leagues and MLB, made his second career start on Saturday in a maiden special weight sprint for Cal breds on the main track. Off at 4/1 in a full field, he got away slowly from the gate, then raced very “green” down the back side. He was a good 8 lengths back of the leaders at the half mile pole, but kept on trying, got fanned 7 wide at the top of the lane, yet still finished with good courage out in the middle of the track to get second, yet was no factor to get to the odds on winner, who wired the field by seven. This was just his second start, but he broke slowly in his debut as well. This one has talent and can get two turns, as he is by the solid California stallion, Grazen. D’Amato may have to geld this one or at least stretch him out, but he is worth following. Most of the “Grazens” win early in their careers.

RAFAL (May 19): Three year old colt for Bob Baffert made start #2 in Sunday’s second, a five and half furlong sprint on the main track for maiden special weight sophomores. Off at 3/1 in a field of six, he broke running under Talamo and set quick fractions of 21.70 and 44.75, made the lead quite easily, then found another gear at the 1/8th pole to win by five. He ran the final ¼ in 23.81 and shut the door on his rivals. The track was quickly upgraded from good to fast after his race. He’s bred to get at least a mile and they took the blinkers off today, which helped ration his speed. Up the ladder.

By Rod Young (Turfdom)

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