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Santa Anita Horses To Watch October 1

MAGIC ON TAP (Sept. 27): Three year old colt for Bob Baffert made his 2nd start this year in a first condition allowance race at a flat mile on the main track Friday. Off at even money in a 9 horse field, he broke slowly from the two hole and was fifth into the clubhouse turn, 4 lengths off the leaders. John Velasquez kept him on the rail throughout and he made a move to get up to the third at the 3/8 pole, then fell back again at the ¼ pole. He tried to find a seam down the lane, but had to check and alter course, finally got through late but the race was over. He finished second beaten two at the wire. His next start will be his third off the long layoff, often a horse’s best race, and if he can get a clean trip, he’s a winner at this condition. They tried the blinkers today and it didn’t help much. They may come off in his next start. Tab and follow.

ORIGINAIRE (Sept. 27):  Three year old colt for Jeff Mullins faced his elders for the first time in Friday’s finale, a first condition allowance race at a mile on the turf, and was promptly sent off as the 2/1 choice in a full field. He was void of any early speed as usual, but started to pick it up at the 3/8 pole after being last most of the way. Smith decided to take the overland route and he really got fanned way wide at the ¼ pole and was at least 8 wide turning for home. Smith probably moved him too soon as he hung a bit the final furlong and checked in third, beaten two at the wire. The extra wide trip really cost him the final furlong. This Irish bred has a lot of talent and he’s a cinch to knock out this condition vs. older horses. He was a very game second in the Del Mar Derby and Smith just moved on him a bit too soon today. That and the extremely wide trip was the difference. Up the ladder.

PHAST PHAROAH (Sept. 28): Two year old colt for Jeff Bonde made the third start of his young career on Saturday in a maiden special weight event at a mile on the turf. Off as the co-favorite at 3/1 in a full field, he lagged well back in the early going. He started a run at the ¼ pole, then got completely wiped out by a horse who swerved and cut him off, almost going down at the top of the lane. He lost all momentum and the jock just wrapped up on him as he finished last. This son of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah is cut out to be a good turf runner out of a War Front dam, and this was his first time going two turns. He wasn’t going to win this race but he would have at least hit the board. Bonde will find a suitable spot to run him and he looks like a soon winner on the grass. Watch for a rider switch from Asa Espinoza.

DONNA VELOCE (Sept. 28): Two year old filly for Simon Callaghan made her debut on Saturday and promptly was bet down to the 3 to 5 choice in a field of six in this maiden special weight at six and a half on the main. She broke running under Prat, put away the other speed at the ¼ pole, then found another gear widening to win by 9, all under a hand ride. She completely outclassed this field and the daughter of Uncle Mo looked like a seasoned sprinter rolling down the lane. On a track that was still pretty dull, she went through ¾ in 1:09.75 and this is a two year old filly making her debut. She’s ready for stakes competition right now. Up the ladder.

THUNDER CODE (September 29): Two year old colt for John Shirreffs made the 2nd start of his career in Sunday’s opener and gave a very good account of himself. Off at 2/1 in a 7 horse field, he broke running under Victor Espinoza and got caught up in a speed duel through quick fractions of 21.72 and 44.87 in this maiden special weight at six and a half.  He put the other speed away at the ¼ pole, but then had to fight off the favorite who had a perfect trip sitting third all the way. He didn’t give it up until the sixteenth pole and was easily second as it was five lengths back to the third horse. This one is bred to go long as well, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Shirreffs stretched him out in his next start. Either way, he’s a soon winner for a very patient barn.

By Rod Young (Turfdom)

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