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Santa Anita Horses To Watch (Sept 30)

SIGNOFTHECROSS (September 25): Three year gelding for Len Powell made the 4th start of his career in Friday’s 4th, a $50,000 claimer for three year olds at a flat mile on the main track. Off at 11/1 in a field of 8, he tracked the solo leader throughout off soft fractions of 24.73 and 48.33. Diaz sent him after the leader at the ¼ pole and he stuck his head in front at the top of the lane, but the leader had such soft fractions early, he had enough left to stave off this gelding. “Sign” was beaten just a half length at the wire and it was another two and a half back to the third horse. Since Powell stretched him out to a mile he has two wins and a second. He’s no stakes horse or even an allowance runner, but he tries hard and is very consistent, plus he’s a Cal bred to boot. Powell will find a winning spot for him in the near future. Tab and follow.

KITTY BOOM BOOM (September 25): Four year old filly for Richie Baltas tried a change in tactics in Friday’s ninth, a one mile first condition allowance for 3 and up at a mile on the lawn for fillies/mares. Off at 9/2 in a 7 horse field, she broke on top as she usually does, but this time Cedillo took a hold of her and rated her behind the leaders. She was fourth down the back side yet still within striking distance. She found a seam at the 1/8th pole, grabbed a two length lead, but was swallowed up late by the favorite on the outside. She was a clear second beaten a length at the wire. Baltas took the blinkers off today and she ran much better coming off the pace. Her next start will be her third off the layoff, often a horse’s best performance. She won a stakes up north last year at GGF and she is good enough to knock out this condition. She’s a Cal bred to boot giving her even more opportunities. She’s a soon winner for a top turf barn.

EXTRA HOPE (September 26): Four year old colt for Richard Mandella appeared to get nothing out of his comeback race down at Del Mar, but he was loaded on Saturday as he sped to the lead and gamely held off Express Train in the drive for a 10/1 upset. He came out running in this mile race on the main for the second allowance condition under Hernandez, alternated on the lead throughout, then gamely fought off the odds on choice in the lane to prevail by ¾ of a length. He was on the Derby trail last year as a sophomore finishing 4th in the Rebel stakes and third behind Improbable and Mucho Gusto in a Grade 1, so this one can run a little bit. He’s ready for stakes competition off of this performance and the Hall of Fame trainer will find a suitable spot, but dirt only. Be ready.

ROMBAUER (September 26): After two races on the turf, this two year old colt for Mike McCarthy tried the main track in the Grade 1 American Pharoah stakes at a mile and a sixteenth. Off at 11/1 in a 7 horse field, he was pretty much void of any early speed and was last down the back side, though just six lengths off the pace. He made a big sweeping move at the 3/8 pole under Mike Smith around horses and was a length within the lead at the top of the lane. But the winner got the jump on him and on a day when the main track was playing to speed, it was hard to come from off the pace and win. He settled for second beaten a length at the wire and he was four in front of Spielberg, the favorite in the race. If they send him to Keeneland for the Cup, he will be a major player, and his wagering value will stay in tact. Follow.

LANE WAY (September 27) Three year old colt for Richard Mandella tried the first allowance condition on Sunday at a mile on the turf for 3 and up. Off at 7/2 in a field of 9, he got caught four wide into the clubhouse turn coming out of the nine hole, then settled near the back of the pack down the back side. Prat moved him at the ¼ pole and he rolled by horses on the outside, but could not catch the frontrunner, who went wire to wire and was left unattended. In fact the last 7 turf races have been won by early speed so Lane Way was definitely against the turf bias. This horse hasn’t run a bad race since switched to the turf and he’ll knock out this condition in his next start. Be ready.

By Rod Young (Turfdom)

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