On an exciting Sunday of racing, handicapper Keeler Johnson provides free picks for Monmouth Park, Remington Park, and Santa Anita.
#4 Waist Deep (2-1) wired the one-mile Sapling S. at Monmouth three weeks ago, but can he cut back to 6 furlongs for the Smoke Glacken? #5 Pickin’ Time (3-1) was a game runner-up in the Sapling after encountering trouble during the opening furlong. A gate-to-wire maiden winner sprinting 4 1/2 furlongs at Monmouth, Pickin’ Time can potentially turn the tables for jockey Joe Bravo and trainer Kelly Breen, high-percentage connections who have teamed up to strike at a 35% rate over the last 60 days.
#7 Avant Garde (6-1) has won four straight races since being claimed in June by trainer Jesus Lander, steadily climbing the class ladder while improving his Brisnet Speed ratings with every start. The stoutly-bred son of Tonalist was particularly impressive in a Sept. 5 starter allowance race at Gulfstream Park, rating in traffic before unleashing an eye-catching burst of acceleration to dominate by 4 1/2 lengths. The 1 1/8-mile distance of the Oklahoma Derby (G3) should be well within reach for this up-and-coming sophomore.
The 6-year-old gelding #4 C Z Rocket (8-5) has enjoyed a career renaissance since being claimed in April by Peter Miller, rattling off four straight victories against increasingly tough competition. The son of City Zip parlayed a pace-tracking trip into victory in the Pat O’Brien (G2) at Del Mar last month, setting the stage for a sharp effort here in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G2). In a race without much speed on paper, C Z Rocket can track the pace and roll to victory if he breaks alertly.
Stretching out over 1 1/2 miles for the Tokyo City Cup (G3) should suit #3 Tizamagician (2-1) just fine. A son of two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Tiznow out of a mare by Dixie Union (sire of Grade 1 Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags), Tizamagician is bred to handle marathon distance. He fired off a career-best effort on Sept. 5 at Del Mar, wiring a one-mile allowance race with a 98 Brisnet Speed rating, and his tactical speed will be an asset in this seemingly paceless race.