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In order to be allowed to run live racing at Santa Anita the Los Angeles County Health Department is only allowing a few key "essential" workers on site.  Unfortunately, our analysts and clockers are not included within this group.  So while we will have all of our regular products available we will not be able to produce an updated workout report.  However, we will include the 90 day workout report in the complete Digest which will give you every workout we have up until 90 days ago.

Hardcopy Edition
(update 5/28/2020)

We will have a hardcopy edition of Santa Anita's Racing Digest available in Los Angles and San Diego and their surrounding areas at our regular sales locations for Friday, May 29, Saturday, May 30 and Sunday May 31.  We expect to go back to distributing to Northern California, Las Vegas, and the Reno/Tahoe areas over the next few weeks as the OTB's and Sports Books open up to the public.

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Thursday, May 28, 2020


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Santa Anita News and Notes May 27

•    With 7 weeks of down time due to Covid19, the track had plenty of well rested horses available to run, and Santa Anita put on a good display of racing for a four day week, culminating with a good 11 race card on Monday. But there is still a shortage of race horses in Southern California and that is why their normal week till the end of the meet will be just three days per week, Friday through Monday. That is why this Friday’s card only drew 57 horses for 8 races. They did have two also eligible lists, but with the turf rails out, they are limited to runners in those races. When racing does return on Friday, the single ticket jackpot of the pick six has climbed to $467,183.  The advance deposit wagering was especially strong on all four days last week. The 50 cent late pick four on Monday was well over $1 million, and though we don’t have the exact numbers, there is money out there to be wagered, in spite of the high unemployment numbers.

•    Here’s a brief recap of the five graded stakes run this past week, two on Saturday and three on Monday. On Saturday the Grade 2 Whittingham stakes came down to a driving finish with the favorites prevailing one- two at the wire. United from the Mandella barn got the money at 6/5 and he barely hung on by a nose over the fast closing Rockemperor. Flavien Prat was aboard the winner and  even he thought he lost the race. But with very little pace in the 10 furlong race on the grass, the winner had to move sooner than he liked but still was game enough to get the job done. The runner up was disqualified for a bumping incident in the stretch with Originaire and they swapped places in the final finish of the race. Jockey Irad Ortiz got suspended for three days for his actions. The winner increased his bankroll to $1.1 million and will prepare for the Breeders Cup at Keeneland where he dropped a nose decision last year to the reigning Horse of the Year. The other Graded race Saturday was the Grade 3 Daytona for older turf sprinters at five and a half furlongs and this produced another wild finish with the 2/1 favorite, Wildman Jack, prevailing by a nose over a 70/1 shot, Sparky Ville. Another neck back was Stubbins who had all sorts of trouble and Texas Wedge was 4th with all four runners within one length at the wire. The time was fast, 1:01.01 and was .01 from the course record. Both the winner and the third place finisher were trained by Doug O’Neill. Stubbins was best in this race and made the HTW List for the week. On Monday older fillies and mares took over sprinting on the turf in the Grade 2 Monrovia and once again the favorite prevailed and once again it was close at the wire. The Brazilian filly, Jolie Olimpica, for Richard Mandella got the money under Mike Smith at 3/5 and prevailed by a long neck over Oleksandra, who was flying at the finish. But she was 12 back at one point in the race and had too much work to do in the lane under Rosario. The winner has only lost once in her lifetime in six races to the post and that was when she went a mile in a Grade 2, and only got beat a half length in that race. She is one of the better fillies in the country and will be at her best at a mile later in the year. Flavien Prat was aboard the winner and is her regular rider. There were two Grade 1 races on Monday and they were both dandies. The Shoemaker Mile for older runners on the turf was the 1st “Win and Your In” race this year for the Breeders Cup in November. Chad Brown’s shipper, Raging Bull, got the money in authoritative fashion, as he crushed the field from off the pace and was a Turfdom Best Bet and paid $7.80 to win. It should have been a Brown exacta as Ortiz got Without Parole in trouble down the lane with nowhere to run. He wouldn’t have beaten “Bull” as Rosario took the overland route and had plenty of horse in the lane, but he would have made it close. Instead he was third as Next Shares rallied from last to get second after being wiped out at the start by War of Will, who was totally outclassed in this field, especially on the grass. The two Brown runners are world class while the rest of the field was just so so for a Grade 1 race. The Gamely, which was the final race on the card created an upset as Chad Brown got nothing from his two entries as neither were a factor in the race. With the late scratch of Ollie’s Candy, who figured to set the pace, the picture changed completely. Keeper Of the Stars gave trainer Jonothan Wong his first Grade 1 winner ever and with a superb ride from Abel Cedillio,  she got the money at $16.60. Cedillo won four on the day and he won three the previous day. He has adapted well on this tougher circuit since relocating from Golden Gate Fields. The favorite in the race was the French bred Etoile who was making her U.S. debut. She looked vulnerable going into the race and acted up so badly during the post parade that she had nothing left by the time they hit the gate. She finished a no factor 8th. Our choice in the race was Bodhicitta, who went off at 14/1 and ran well to get second and paid $13.60 to place. But take nothing away from the winner. She was coming off a Grade 2 win and she was and is legit. She will be heard from down at Del Mar later this summer.         
•      The females are in the limelight this weekend with the Grade 3 Honeymoon stakes on Saturday for three year old fillies at 9 furlongs on the lawn, and then older fillies and mares go in the Grade 2 Santa Maria on Sunday at a mile and a sixteenth on the main track. Grade 1 Apple Blossom winner Ce Ce is nominated to the latter and may very well run along with Ollie’s Candy, who was scratched off the grass this past Monday. Ce Ce is a dual Grade 1 winner as she also won the Beholder Mile right here on this track earlier in the year. Another strong contender is Hard Not to Love from the John Shirreffs barn, who blew out Sunday in a fast 58.80 for 5/8. This is a fast work for Shirreffs as he never works them this quick in the morning. The average 5/8 work on Sunday was 1:01.52. Ce Ce breezed the same day in 1:01 flat. It will be a very good race if all three get to the starting gate this Sunday.                                                               
•     They announced the running of the Belmont stakes this past week and it will be run on June 20 at a mile and one eighth at where else, but Belmont Park. But remember, this track is a mile and one half in circumference and these 9 furlongs will be at just one turn, which is just an elongated sprint. All of this certainly changes the Triple Crown but what else could they do. The Kentucky Derby is still the marquee race and when they set the new date at the first Saturday in September, and then the Preakness followed with their race 4 weeks later, what was left. The Breeders Cup follows that five weeks later and they couldn’t interfere with those races, so there wasn’t much to choose from. Nonetheless, it will all work out. Yes, tradition is broken but so what. The Belmont will probably have the largest field they have ever had and a lot more horses can handle 9 furlongs than 12. Baffert will probably run both Charlatan and Nadal and we know Tiz the Law has June 20 marked on his calendar for Barclay Tagg. Throw in King Guillermo and a bunch of other runners such as Basin, Sole Volante, Max Player, Farmington Road, Gouvernour Morris, and Modernist and you have a horse race. You just can’t ask 3 year olds to go a mile and a half in the middle of June without the earlier preps. The race does put a premium on early speed and that’s right up Baffert’s alley. Should be interesting.                                                   
•    If you follow the races at Santa Anita, you have probably seen the “babies” start running at four and a half furlongs on the main track. They have had three races so far and trainer Luis Mendez has won all three and none of them have been the post time favorite, though they have been the second choice in the wagering. Mendez makes his living getting these two year olds to the track with strong stamina building drills over at Dixon Downs. This is his specialty and he is very good at it. The horses have good early speed and the stamina to keep on going in the lane. He will often run two in the same race but his go to rider is Ruben Fuentes, so watch which one he lands on.       
•    And finally, riders Abel Cedillo and Flavien Prat have been the “hot” riders since Santa Anita has re-opened. That’s no surprise, especially with Prat, but just as important are riders that are not getting it done and one of them is Drayden Van Dyke, who is a very good rider. He is not winning the turf races like he usually does and he is still getting the mounts. He is also the regular rider for Authentic, who will be racing in two weeks in the Santa Anita Derby (my future book wager for the Ky. Derby). On Monday he even messed up with a first time starter for Baffert, who always gives him plenty of “live” mounts. He sent Fierce for Sul through blistering fractions of 21 and change and 43 and change with an odds on favorite and he was dead on arrival at the 1/16 pole. He’s a better rider than that and I’m sure Baffert dressed him down for such antics, as he was on the best horse in the race and found a way to lose. It’s important to follow the “hot” riders as many things go in cycles in this game, but it is also just as important to follow the riders that are “icy” and under performing.           

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