December 26, 2009

A Treasure Trove of Stakes the Day After Christmas

The festivities begin at Calder Race Course where the headliner is the match up of star geldings Presious Passion and Cloudy’s Knight in the W.L. McKnight Handicap. A full field of 11 will frame the two, but all eyes will be on the speedy superstar and the ageless wonder, and a win by anyone else would be a little disappointing to the majority of fans. Provided the turf course is firm enough, I like Presious Passion as his front running prowess should prove too much, but I have great respect for Cloudy and I expect him to be the one who is closest to the winner at the wire. Presious Passion will soon be seven and Cloudy’s Knight ten, but you would be hard pressed to find a better distance horse in the country right now than either of these two.

This Ones For Phil tries to climb back up the ladder of the nation’s top sprinters and will be my selection in a very interesting edition of the Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap. The talented four-year-old, Biker Boy, is in fine fettle and should prove his chief opposition. The Stage Door Betty Handicap has two sharp locals vying for favoritism in Sweet Repent and Jessica is Back. I am looking for a class advantage though, and the Michael Matz trained Morena may fit the bill. The Peruvian import is coming off her best race in the U.S. when she was second in the Falls City, and a repeat of that performance can be enough to take this.

Opening Day at Santa Anita offers up a quartet of stakes. Of great interest is the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes, with no less than 13 possible winners in the wide open contest. Likely to be favored will be the Bob Baffert trained Misremembered who ran a huge race to be 2nd in the recent Clark Handicap. I am going in a different direction with my selection and tab Baffert’s other runner Mythical Power. Although he has been away from the races for several months, Mythical Power was on the verge of stardom after his romp in the Lone Star Derby and may prove best of all in the tough field. Baffert has always been high on him and should have him ready to roll. In the La Brea Stakes, 12 three-year-old fillies will try to get a grade 1 win and a jump start on their careers as older fillies. Gabby’s Golden Gal and Evita Argentina are the biggest names in the race, but there are several others ready to win a big race. My selection is Kays and Jays, who will use her early foot and rail position to take this field wire to wire. A tough task to be sure, but one the daughter of Macho Uno may be ready to accomplish.

In the Sir Beaufort Stakes, The Usual Q.T. towers over the field and if he can handle the cut back in distance, he will win his sixth consecutive race. He will also solidify his standing as the top three-year-old turf horse in the nation, a title he claimed with an impressive win in the Hollywood Derby. The fourth stake today is the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes featuring the undefeated Caracortado stretching out to a distance of the ground for the first time. Caracortado figures to be bet heavily, so I am looking for a little value. I am going to try and beat him with my selection Wolf Tail. The O’Neil charge is an experienced sprinter coming off his best race yet and should appreciate the two turns today.

4 comments:

LDP said...

Oooooo this does look like an appitizing day of races! I'm also looking forward to Lava Man tomorrow, providing the weather being good enough for his connections to deem it safe enough for his comeback race. Brian, a little news on Cuvee Uncorked, she will be running in the Interborough Handicapp, which may serve as a prep for the Barbara Fritche Handicap!

Brian Zipse said...

Thanks for the update on your favorite horse Dani, I will be watching her.

An update on today's races has one of my picks, This Ones For Phil, scratched...Biker Boy now becomes the selection.

Celeste said...

In the McKnight, I am truly torn. How about a dead-heat? LOL! I'd like to see both Presious Passion and Cloudy's Knight win. :) Ok, just call me a sentimental fool and you would be correct.

Anonymous said...

WELL TODAY IS ANOTHER DAY.....btw what i s the phrase that harvey pack use to say at the end of the program?.....its sunday after christmas and LUIS SAEZ has the late daily double@calder all gift wrapped.....