California Cup Oaks – Race 6 at Santa Anita – Post Time 5:30 PM Eastern (2:30 Pacific)

Closing Remarks won impressively and with maturity in her career debut in August, in a turf sprint then stretched out to stakes company the first week in October and ran very well when fourth of nine and just a nose from the third horse, who came back to win her next start. That was an “OPEN” (not restricted to statebreds) stakes, as compared to this race for Cal-Breds only. For her third career start she stepped up even higher in class, into the Grade 3 Jimmy Durante Stakes. In that race she was running very well early when third and fourth, before running into a BRICK WALL at the most critical stage of the race. Finding no room to run, Rispoli gave up and she finished last of 10. Rispoli wanting to ride her back is a BIG SIGN and particularly considering the third and second horses came back to win and finish second, respectively, in the OPEN Blue Norther Stakes, Closing Remarks has a big shot to win with a trouble free trip.

Sensible Cat and Westward Breeze form an uncoupled entry from the Gaines barn, sharing the same owner. Sensible Cat won a turf route easily in her second career start in November then followed that up with a win in a dirt route in a similar Cal-Bred stakes last month at Los Alamitos. Smith was up for the turf win and gets back up while Hernandez, up for the last win, moves to Westward Breeze. Westward Breeze won at first asking on turf in a sprint in October then stretched out to two turns and moved to dirt for the same stakes won by her stablemate. It may not have been she did not like the dirt as she really had no shot after getting sandwiched badly at the start and losing many lengths. Still, she put herself in the race and was just three lengths back with a quarter mile to go until she ran out of gas from having to rally mid-race. The dam has produced two foals that really like routing on turf so this gal could run as well going long on the grass just as she did in her turf sprint debut and that gives her a strong chance.

Handicapper Picks

Win:

Closing Remarks to win at 5 to 2 or more.

Consider Sensible Cat and Westward Breeze at 7 to 2 or more, for smaller amounts than on Closing Remarks.

When making multiple win bets, use a “Dutching” tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. A Dutching tool lets you set the amount you want to bet or the amount you want to win, then based on the odds your bets are proportioned accordingly. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Double:

Race 6: Closing Remarks, Sensible Cat, Westward Breeze

Race 7: The Chosen Vron, Play Chicken, Warrens Candy Man

Pick 3:

Race 6: Closing Remarks, Sensible Cat, Westward Breeze

Race 7: The Chosen Vron, Play Chicken, Warrens Candy Man

Race 8: Ward ‘n Jerry, North County Guy, Brandothebartender

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California Cup Derby – Race 7 at Santa Anita – Post Time 6 PM Eastern (3 pacific)

The Chosen Vron won impressively in his debut three weeks ago, powering away early and never looking back in a field of 10. It might be asking a lot to stretch out to two turns and move from maiden to stakes but these are just three year olds and it’s not out of the question. The only other foal of the dam won its only dirt route and Rosario rides back, so from the rail The Chosen Vron should be able to get the lead with ease from the start and run even better, which means a stakes win in his second career start.

Warrens Candy Man runs in a stakes although he’s a maiden, with five starts under his belt. The first four were on turf and including a half-length defeat to Play Chicken and his most recent was his first start on dirt, a decent third place finish in the same race The Chosen Vron won which is likely why trainer Lewis entered him here. Being a FULL brother to multiple stakes winner Warren’s Showtime, who has won routes on dirt and turf, and with Prat riding, Warrens Candy Man may not be good enough to win but being a maiden in a stakes so likely high odds he has a big shot to complete a profitable exacta or trifecta.

Play Chicken won his debut going a mile on grass, no easy task, then ran poorly when cutting back to one turn on dirt in the Golden State Juvenile Stakes. Stretched back out to a mile last month for the nearly identical King Glorious Stakes and adding blinkers, Play Chicken ran big to post the 13 to 1 upset and is now on a pattern for even better, so rounds out a trio of win contenders here.

Handicapper Picks

Win:

The Chosen Vron to win at 9 to 5 or more.

For smaller amounts, consider win bets on Warrens Candy Man and Play Chicken at 4 to 1 or higher.

This is the perfect race for using a “Dutching” tool like the free one at Amwager, because it will allocate the win bets based on odds, putting more on the lower odds horse automatically. That is just one of many other great features and perks at Amwager.com

Exacta:

Box The Chosen Vron, Warrens Candy Man and Play Chicken

Trifecta:

The Chosen Vron, Warrens Candy Man and Play Chicken over ALL over The Chosen Vron, Warrens Candy Man and Play Chicken

(Played in combination, the two bets above cover any two of the three finishing first and second, or first and third)

Double:

Race 7: The Chosen Vron, Play Chicken, Warrens Candy Man

Race 8: Ward ‘n Jerry, North County Guy, Brandothebartender

Race 9: Tigre Di Slugo, Fashionably Fast, Loud Mouth

Pick 3:

Race 7: The Chosen Vron, Play Chicken, Warrens Candy Man

Race 8: Ward ‘n Jerry, North County Guy, Brandothebartender

Race 9: Tigre Di Slugo, Fashionably Fast, Loud Mouth

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Turf Classic Stakes – Race 8 at Santa Anita – Post Time 6:30 PM Eastern (3:30 Pacific)

Ward ‘n Jerry drops from the Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup, where he was beaten just four lengths in a 12 horse field, into this Cal-Bred Stakes and that’s significant, particularly as he finished second in this race last year off the same prep. He then won the Grade 3 San Luis Rey Stakes on the Santa Anita turf, both under Prat, who gets back on after two races with other jockeys. That’s pretty much all I need to see to give him slight preference among three which can win here.

North County Guy also ran in the Turf Cup, where he finished 10th, but prior to that at this nine furlong turf trip, and at Santa Anita, he won very nicely by almost four lengths. That effort was good enough, if repeated, to have a say in the outcome here and particularly as just before that he was in the thick of the action in the grade 2 Del Mar Handicap and was only beaten three and three-quarter lengths (similar to what Ward ‘n Jerry was beaten in the Turf Cup), North County Guy deserves respect as a contender here.

Brandothebartender has not finished worse than third in 10 straight and although he has only won one of those he is VERY intriguing here. An eight year old with over a half million dollars in the bank, he makes his third start off a layoff and gets Rispoli back, who rode him to a miss by a neck in August at Del Mar with a 105 Equibase figure close enough to the 107 Ward ‘n Jerry earned in the Turf Cup to make him a contender. Blinkers come off and he gets the rail and he could go to post at high odds so I will not leave him off my contender list.

For the exacta I’m adding Margot’s Boy and Cono in the second position for more coverage.

Handicapper Picks

Win:

Warn ‘n Jerry at odds of 2/1 or more.

For a smaller amount, North County Guy and Brandothebartender at 4 to 1 or more

This too is the perfect race for using a “Dutching” tool like the free one at Amwager, because it will allocate the win bets based on odds, putting more on the lower odds horse automatically. That is just one of many other great features and perks at Amwager.com

Exacta:

Ward ‘n Jerry, North County Guy and Brandothebartender over Ward ‘n Jerry, North County Guy, Brandothebartender, Margot’s Boy and Cono.

Double:

Race 8: Ward ‘n Jerry, North County Guy, Brandothebartender

Race 9: Tigre Di Slugo, Fashionably Fast, Loud Mouth

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