SANTA ANITA NOTEBOOK

The return of a two-time Classic winner highlighted the weekend of the winter/spring meeting at Santa Anita.

San Pasqual S. (G2): CALIFORNIA CHROME (Lucky Pulpit) inched to the lead in early stretch and held off a solid late test in posting a measured 1 ¼-length victory in his seasonal debut under Victor Espinoza. It was a strong return race for the 2014 Horse of the Year, off since a runner-up in the 2015 Dubai World Cup (G1), and the Art Sherman-trained horse sped 1 1/16 miles on the fast main strip in 1:43 2/5.

Sham S. (G3): Speedway Stable’s COLLECTED (City Zip) moved to the lead at the top of the lane and kept all comers at bay, securing a 1 ¼-length tally for trainer Bob Baffert. The talented three-year-old got one mile on the fast main oval in 1:38 with Martin Garcia in the irons.

Track Stats

From a total of 34 races held at the Arcadia, California racetrack during the past week, favorites won at a 44 percent clip and the top two betting choices combined for 68 percent of the wins. From 34 frays contested on the dirt oval, six animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (18 percent), while there was no grassy action this past week.

Speed had little edge for the duration of the week and it is worth noting that 26 of the 34 (76 percent) winners broke from posts outside the first three slots (posts 1-3 performed poorly). Runners traveling a bit off the rail appeared to be on the best part of the track most of the week.

Meet Totals

Races:

 

95

Dirt:

 

76

Turf:

 

19

Favorites:

 

32 (34%)

2nd Choices:

 

17 (18%)

Turf Wire:

 

3 (16%)

Dirt Wire:

 

16 (21%)

 

 

 

HORSES TO WATCH

Thursday (1/7)

2ND – TOLDEO EDDIE (Ministers Wild Cat) has turned things around with a pair of wins in succession and could be a fine claim for Robertino Diodoro after this sharp score. The seven-year-old gelding continued his fine run on this main oval and makes a lot of sense right back with similar.

5TH – JUST GOT LUCKY (Papa Clem) overcame breaking poorest of all, running down a clear leader in the lane en route to a fine tally, her second straight. A neck clear on the wire, the Jorge Gutierrez trainee posted a solid final time and we like the current form run.

Friday (1/8)

4TH – TRYST (Candy Ride) sat in second behind a runner who opened up a huge lead in the lane and while the well-backed four-year-old didn’t graduate, we liked how she stayed on late and tab her a contender for sure next time for Richard Mandella.

7TH – ANNIE’S CURLS (Curlin) could not reel in the winner but ran a big one while well clear as the runner-up. It marked the second straight fine run for conditioner Kristin Mulhall and the sophomore filly will be tough next time with even slight improvement.

Saturday (1/9)

4TH – DENMAN’S CALL (Northern Afleet) moved to the fore nearing midstretch and strode home a fine first-out winner under the guidance of Mario Gutierrez. The Doug O’Neill-trained gelding came home fast in what could have been a solid field of prospects and we will keep a close eye on him going forward.

Sunday (1/10)

1ST – CHEEKABOO (Unusual Heat) swept to the front in the lane and cruised home a fine maiden winner in most facile fashion. The Peter Eurton trainee proved he can run well on the dirt for sure and has a lot of options going forward.

6TH – BLUSHING ANGEL (Colonel John) was last turning for home but put in a fine late rally to be a clear second while making it a race in the end. The Richard Baltas trainee could be a major player next time out with even slight improvement.

A Look Ahead

A pair of graded races will take the spotlight this weekend at Santa Anita. Saturday’s feature is the $200,000 La Canada S. (G2), while Monday will play host to the $100,000 Megahertz S. (G3).