Friday, April 8, 2016

Handicapper's Corner: Santa Anita Oaks (G1)

Songbird Singing Her Tune in Santa Anita Oaks

by: Laurie Ross

This year’s Santa Anita Oaks (G1) attracted six hopeful three-year-old fillies and one Songbird. The 1 1/16-mile event is the last step for California fillies on their way to the Kentucky Oaks.

#1 SONGBIRD (Medaglia d'Oro - Ivanavinalot, by West Acre) hasn’t put a hoof wrong in her six race career.  Last year’s Juvenile Filly Champ picked up in 2016 where she left off, galloping along on the front end and winning the Las Virgenes and Santa Ysabel stakes by daylight.  Songbird has been compared physically to another daughter of Medaglia d'Oro,  Champion Rachael Alexandra.   

Half of the Santa Anita Oaks field has viewed Songbird’s impressive hindquarters in previous races. Unless something untoward happens, Songbird will perform her customary romp against this group.  Who can check in for a minor award?  

#7 BELLAMENTARY (Bellamy Road - Shananies Song, by Eltish) has improved in each of her three starts. She has the speed to take the lead if Songbird will let her and appears to be best of the rest.  

The longest shot on the board at 30-1, #4 KAY KAY (Pleasantly Perfect - All of Her Twist, by Forest Wildcat) is the only stalker in the field.  In her first start of the year, the Vladimir Cerin charge chased a loose on the lead Bellamentary.  The added distance should help and she’ll be fit for her second start. 

#5 FOREVER DARLING (Congrats - Darling My Darling, by Deputy Minister) has a bad/good race cycle and is coming up to a “good” race.  She had excuses for her two stakes losses, an ambitious start in BC Juvenile Fillies after winning her maiden, and shipping for the Rachael Alexandra (G2) last time out.  In between, she scored a victory in the Santa Ynez (G2).  Her dam is a multiple G1 winner and a half-sister to Japanese Champ Zeno Rob Roy.  Richard Baltas puts first time blinkers on Forever Darling.  If she runs back to her Santa Ynez form, she’ll be competitive for second or third place.

#2 SHE’S A WARRIOR (Majestic Warrior - Blabby B., by Tabasco Cat) is still a maiden, but only by the narrowest of noses.  She tries hard and almost caught that elusive first victory, but she’s hindered by speed favoring tracks. Her speed figures aren’t that bad and she could claim a minor award.

Poor #3 JADE PRINCESS has had a view of Songbird fading into the distance in three starts.  The Baffert trainee has an excellent pedigree, but isn’t up to this level of competition, even if Songbird wasn’t in the race. 

#6 MOKAT (Uncle Mo - Flashy Frolic, by Premiership) has shown her preference for turf. She doesn’t belong here.

#4 KAY KAY  

A short field with an overwhelming favorite isn’t a good betting race and I would recommend avoiding the betting window, sit back and enjoy watching Songbird romp. However, sure things on paper don’t always pan out on the track. Even Secretariat and Zenyatta lost.  So, if you must wager, here’s my suggestion:
Total bet $72
$2 Trifecta Key = $24   1/7,4,5
$2 Super Key = $48      1/7,4,5,2
$28 towards hanging out at the infield Brewfest.

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