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The Thursday eight-race program (first post 1 p.m.) begins with what appears to be a very strong maiden juvenile sprint for fillies. #8 Desert Steel and #6 Lookin for Money both were visually quite impressive in the Barretts March Sale Preview session and both seem fit and ready to fire right now. Toss in #2 Kyankes, a quick-looking daughter of Rockport Harbor and it’s very likely to take a very nice prospect to win four and one-half furlong dash. Desert Steel may be the quickest of the lot but we’ll use all three in our rolling exotics.
The Sunday program offers eight races with the featured Honeymoon Stakes carded as the fourth. First post reverts to the usual 1 p.m.
Kentucky Derby day at Santa Anita offers an 11-race program with early first post of 11:30 a.m.
The opener, a restricted claiming sprint for fillies and mares, has little depth and should be won by either #5 Truly Beautiful or #6 Real Bright Boots, though neither are what you’d call trustworthy. The former drops to her lowest level ever, retains Talamo, and probably beats this field with a repeat of her race before last. The latter, freshened for three months, returns cheap and could get brave if she can establish a clear lead. Tread lightly here.
First post on today’s nine-race Kentucky Oaks day program is 12:30 p.m.
The opener, a bottom-rung claiming sprint for fillies and mares, doesn’t have much depth and we’re thinking the winner will be either #2 Firendesire or #5 Mahalo Princess. The former likes this track and is a fit on figures, while the latter should be a strong pace factor on the class drop and will appreciate this abbreviated trip. ‘Princess gets the slight edge but both should be used in rolling exotic play.
Kentucky Derby week begins with an eight-race Thursday program (first post 1 p.m.).
The opener is a 2-year-old dash that should find #8 Wake Up Nick receiving plenty of wagering support. Bred to be very quick (Cindago) and showing excellent speed in a recent gate drill, the O’Neill-trained colt seems cranked up and ready to win right now. He’s 5/2 on the morning line but don’t be surprised if he leaves considerably lower.
The Sunday program begins with a $16,000 claiming sprint for fillies and mares and finds #3 Sidebar listed as the 6/5 morning line favorite. She’s home free with anything close to her best race, though the big class drop is of some concern. #5 Queen of the Hill, first off the claim for O’Neill, is raised three levels off a highly-rated bottom-rung score and will be tough if Sidebar fails to fire.
It’s Gold Rush Day at Santa Anita on Saturday with an 11-race program featuring several good races for California-breds. First post is 1:00 p.m. There’s a $61,540 Pick-6 carryover (races 6 thru 11).
The first-ever spring season of racing at Santa Anita begins today with an eight race program and a late first post of 3 p.m.
Southern California-based two-year-olds get their first opportunity in the opener, a four and one-half furlong sprint for state-bred fillies. #2 City Ride and #5 Robo Girl reportedly have done some good work in the morning and look like the ones to beat. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics with slight preference going to Robo Girl.
The Easter Sunday program offers a nine race program and mandatory payouts in the Pick-5, the Pick-6 and the Super High 5.
The opener is pretty much unplayable; #4 Wine Country Wanda was eight lengths clear of the rest when second in a similar spot last month and is listed at 2/5 on the morning line. Use her as a rolling exotic single if you’d like, or simply pass the race.
Racing resumes after a six day break (seems like longer!) with a strong program offering a number of attractive wagering opportunities.