You gotta love the autumn. Cool crisp air, the leaves are changing colors and the sport of horse racing is hitting a fever pitch. Count me as all in. As soon as a great card concludes at Belmont, I will cast my gaze towards Santa Anita, where a terrific 11-race program is back loaded with big races. It would also seem to be a perfect storm of a Pick-6, with a carryover of $55,260, tons of fresh cash coming in, and a bunch of singles to give me some real confidence to hit this thing.
Race 6 – You may have guessed that the young queen of western juveniles would be one of my singles, but no. While Executiveprivilege has done absolutely nothing wrong, and is a must use, there are a couple of other fillies in here who I will be using that have a little more attractive odds. Beholder has all the looks of a filly with a future and only lost the Del Mar Debutante by a whisker. If she is not used too hard early, she could be long gone on the generally speed favoring main track of Santa Anita. Shipping in from the East is the grey filly, Salamera, who has run three solid races at Calder and Saratoga. She couldn’t handle Kauai Katie last time, but with her tactical running style might appreciate the 1 1/16 mile trip today.
Race 7 – Much like Executiveprivilege, I believe Know More has done enough in winning the Best Pal and running a strong second in the Del Mar Futurity to be a front runner in his division, and the horse to beat today. Having said that, first time on dirt, and first time around two-turns, could be the recipe for an upset. Capo Bastone was super impressive in his debut, and then his Futurity was good enough to look for a big run this afternoon. Carving and Den’s Legacy are both stepping up in class for trainer, Bob Baffert, but both have good enough form where if they move up at all going 1 1/16 miles on the dirt, they might become the new talked about juvenile heading to the Breeders’ Cup.
Race 8 - In an interesting Zenyatta Stakes, I will go three deep. Include Me Out has been the best older female of the year in California and is the one to beat again today. She should appreciate the move back to dirt and looked great earlier this year at Santa Anita. The two that I think could beat include a late closer and the speed. Amani faced the boys in the Pacific Classic and ran okay, but in Chile she was a dirt horse. If she gets a solid early pace to run at, she might swoop right by them all in the lane. Love and Pride invades from the East, and actually beat even better last time, but was fortunate to do so. Having said that, as the controlling speed, and as a filly that has never looked better, she is a real threat to take them all the way around.
Race 9 – I am not a believer in the overall quality of the California turf females this year, but I am a believer in Marketing Mix. The hard-hitting four-year-old is better than these, and a normal run by the consistent filly should carry her to victory today. She is single #1.
Race 10 - Game on Dude is 4-for-4 lifetime at Santa Anita, and is simply the best horse in the Awesome Again Stakes. That seems like an imposing combination for his competition today. I expect another big effort from America’s gelding and that should mean a rather routine win, sending him to the Breeders’ Cup Classic the right way.
Race 11- In the only non-graded stakes of the sequence, three-year-old fillies will sprint down the hill in the day’s finale. This race looks the perfect fit for Byrama, who I believe is best on the grass and as a late-running sprinter, which is exactly what she gets today. After running into an absolute buzzsaw last time in Reneesgotzip, things should look a whole lot easier for her and leading rider, Rafael Bejarano. It’s not easy to close with three straight singles, but I like them all a lot, and sometimes you just have to go for it.
I’ve been saying for years that I wish there was a smaller minimum for the Pick 6, but it remains $2, so this Pick 6 will cost you $72 …
Executiveprivilege, Beholder, Salamera / Know More, Capo Bastone, Carving, Den’s Legacy / Include Me Out, Amani, Love and Pride / Marketing Mix / Game On Dude / Byrama
Good Luck to All!