Photo: Don August
The Santa Anita Handicap (aka The Big Cap) is a treasured jewel of the winter racing months. I am sure this race is on many trainers and jockey’s lists to win. Can Mike Smith get it done with Game on Dude? What about Gary Stevens (whose 51st birthday is two days before)? Can he and Mucho Macho Man get it done? Can Will Take Charge redeem himself for D. Wayne Lukas?
Hear the Ghost: Upsetting the San Felipe last year, this
gelding hasn’t won a race since then. Running in the money every start since his
last win, Hear the Ghost is not short on pedigree by any means. By Ghostzapper,
this gelding can handle the distance, but I think he is outclassed by the rest
of the field. Pass
Rousing Sermon: This son of Lucky Pulpit, out of an Awesome
Again mare, this 5-year-old is always coming back for more. Once a contender
for the 2012 Kentucky Derby, he seems to do his best running at 8.5f, not 10f.
American Blend: Never testing stakes company until last out, he was third to Blingo in the San Antonio. he has only win 3 of 11 lifetime starts. By pensioned sire Quiet American, he should be able to handle the 1 1/4 distance. This 6 year old may be on the rise. Look at him to fill out an exotic or two.
Imperative: This Bernardini colt only has two wins in his
three seasons on the track. Last out in the San Antonio Handicap (G2), he was
second to Blingo. This colt has a decent pedigree, but I don’t think that will
help him here. May look at him to fill out exotics.
Blingo: By turf superstar Artie Schiller, Blingo is making
his name known on the dirt, when he comes charging late. After four seasons on
the track with John Sheriffs, this guy is finding his stride. Owned by
connections that love to give their horses all the time they need, he was given
the time and grew into his gigantic frame. I think his new love of the dirt
could render him dangerous this year. Contender.
Game on Dude: Out to become the only horse to win the Santa
Anita Handicap four times, Game on Dude is also out to regain some of his last
respect. Not having won a race since the 2013 Pacific Classic, some may have
jumped ship on him. Also, after finishing 9th in the BC Classic,
some say he is on the decline. I believe Game on Dude is a horse that
everything must go his way of he spits the bit. Last out, he locked up in a
speed duel in the San Antonio before fading to fifth. I don’t see him getting
his way here. Contender.
Mucho Macho Man: Now six years old, Mucho Macho Man is
starting only now to show us what he is made of. The gigantic 17 hand stallion
is going into the Big Cap on a three race win streak. We all know he loves the
Santa Anita track and with Gary Stevens aboard, he is the horse to beat. If
Mucho Macho Man is on the lead at the 1/8th pole, he is going to get
to the wire first, no matter how hard Will Take Charge or Blingo is charging.
One to beat.
Will Take Charge: After firing his final work at Oaklawn, he
has safely arrived at Santa Anita. This son of Unbridled’s Song is ready to get
back to winning. He wants to redeem the whisker thin loss in the Classic and
his second in the Donn. He needed the Donn. He needed the race. Now, he is
ready to get back to racing This colt thrives on work. Look for him to be
running at the end. Contender.
Casey's Picks: Mucho Macho Man/Will Take Charge/Blingo box
~Written by Casey Laughter