Friday, January 23, 2009

Sunshine Millions - Santa Anita

Sunshine Millions Turf
You don't always get bags of quality with the Sunshine Millions but you do get full competitive fields and this race is a prime example. The first thing I've noted is that home field advantage seems to count for a great deal in the Turf races. A horse based at the host track has been successful in every running so despite the fact that Soldier's Dancer is scary I'm not going to make him my selection. The distance is his favorite but there has to be a question over his ability to travel since much of his success has been at Calder. I'd definitely use him underneath in exotics but I think we have a chance to get a price home. It may wind up being a decent betting race because Presious Passion and Soldier's Dancer should both take money. Presious Passion needs a longer race and a field that doesn't include Lucky JH. The Carla Gaines trained Lucky JH is the fastest horse in the race both in terms of early speed and speed figures. He has had most of his success sprinting. He is 9-6-1-1 in sprints, the only time he failed to hit the board was in his career debut. At a route he is 9-2-2-3, still a decent record but not totally convincing. He ran a blinder in this race last year but this time he has to face Presious Passion who I think will spoil his chances. Strong chance, but not my primary selection. The horse I've settled on is Liberian Freighter. He has always been a consistent horse on the grass but I think his record is somewhat sullied by his races at a mile or less. He never finished badly in those races but all of his turf wins have come beyond a mile. He really came to hand at the end of last season and I think his works indicate that he's ready for another step up. I also give an outsiders chance to Mr. Chairman. He is a very good horse at 8.5-9f on the grass. I'm using him underneath on all my tickets, I'd also use he and Lucky JH in multi-race exotics.

Liberian Freighter

Sunshine Millions Oaks
I don't really have a clue where to go with this race. It's not one that I would likely play in the straight pools. I'd probably just use two or three horses to get me to the next leg of a multi-race wager. Ten Churros is the obvious horse that catches the eye. She's got great speed but probably was asked to go further than she wants in her last three races. 6f should be just right for the Baffert speedster. She's the class and the one they have to catch. I think Emmy Darling is a trap horse, although a return to sprinting should suit her I really don't think she is very good. Hooh Why is the main danger to Ten Churros. She is simply a solid horse. She very nearly wired a field that included Patena, a recent second place finisher in the Lecomte and she boasts a solid record in sprints. She won't be able to keep pace with the real speed in here but I think that makes her more dangerous. Speed duals are always a danger with young horses in sprints. Certainly Dancing Erin and Leigh McLovin have some early speed. Beltene has decent looking form but I'd likely just use her defensively. She is not the kind of undefeated horse that looks as though she could be dangerous at higher levels. A state-bred stakes might be stretching her a bit. But still if you need a third horse she is a better candidate than any of the others.

Ten Churros

Sunshine Millions Sprint

This field may be somewhat fluid with the possibility of Big Bad Leroybrown, Machismo and Devoted Magic coming out to run in the Palos Verdes. Likely one of them will scratch but at least one of them will stay. I'm not sure that any of them matter aside from Machismo as a pace factor. If he comes out Dancing In Silks looks like the lone speed all of the sudden and he is a very dangerous customer already. Dancing In Silks has struggled to stretch out, he is 4-0-1-2 in races at 7f or more but he is 4-3-1-0 in races shorter than 7f. To me that's a pretty clear indication of preference and it makes him a massive contender. In my opinion he is the best Californian in the race. Georgie Boy needs more ground or at least a heavier pace to rally into. There are no indications that he is the same horse who was a terror on the Triple Crown Trail. He still looks out of sorts. In Summation is solid but thoroughly beatable. He very rarely steps up his game to snatch a victory he generally just runs the same race and hopes that no one else is having a good day. Yesbyjimminy is a hot horse but I can't take him purely off a Calder win streak with no synthetic experience. Carnacks Choice is a very interesting horse if you think his Keeneland form will transfer to Santa Anita. He didn't seem to care much for the Turfway version of synthetics but he has been an awesome force at Keeneland. First time with Pletcher might make him eligible for a bit of improvement. If nothing else hopefully it just results in getting a campaign that makes sense. He ran 11 times last year and the only times he did well was in his two synthetic races. A failure to capitalise on that preference may be what prompted the trainer change. It looks like a big step up but this is the weakest renewal of this race I've seen and he also was beaten only a neck by Talent Search at Keeneland. That form would be good enough here. I'll have to watch the board to get a true primary selection. For this space I'll just hedge with my top two horses.

Dancing In Silks
Carnacks Choice

Sunshine Millions Distaff
I'm not a big fan of this race, for those who read the original version of this post you'll know that I liked Briecat and very little else. Now that she's been scratched I'm generally inclined to pass the race but now with a significant pace presence out of the race it may open things up for a price horse. I still hate Leah's Secret in here because of her inability to win at two turns. She's a one turn horse. Dawn After Dawn might be able to control the pace without Briecat and at one point she was more than capable of winning a race like this. Perhaps the long rest will have refreshed her and could bring her back to her best form.

Dawn After Dawn

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