Handicapping Picks for 04/22/2012

Race #9 - Rating = 1

#6 Harrods Creek - Fair odds 2/1
#2 Bourbon Bay - Fair odds 2/1
#1 Dhammer - Fair odds 5/2

Very few horses these days can run a marathon like this 1 ¾ mile race with success, but all 3 listed can and they form the bulk of the probability in this year’s San Juan Capistrano Handicap. Harrods Creek gets slight preference as he was coming back from nearly 4 months off on 3/24 in the similar Pan American Stakes at a mile and one-half, finishing 4th and getting tired at the end. Prior to that he missed by a head at this 1 ¾ mile trip to Eagle Poise, on a synthetic track, which Eagle Poise likes but Harrods Creek doesn’t necessarily, compared to turf, which Harrods Creek likes but Eagle Poise does not. Harrods Creek won nicely at a mile and one-half on the grass in October and so with top form shown at this distance and on turf I’ll give him slight preference particularly as he should improve 2nd off the layoff.

Bourbon Bay won this race in 2010 and did not run in it last year, instead taking a shot in the $5 Million Dubai Sheema Classic in the United Arab Emirates and finishing 11th of 14. It took Bourbon Bay 3 races to get back to winning form, taking the Cougar II Handicap last July, but he went off form again, recovering it with victory last month in the San Luis Obispo Stakes at a mile and one-half on this course, the same race he won in 2010 before winning this race. As such, and wit Rosario up for the 1st time in victory last out and back aboard again, Bourbon Bay would be no surprise if winning.

Dhammer was making his U.S. debut and first start after 5 ½ months off on 3/24 in the Grade 3 Tokyo City Stakes at a mile and one-half on the main tack so his neck defeat at the wire has to be considered a strong effort he can improve upon, moving back to turf where he has earned 2 of his 3 career wins. Bejarano rides back after getting to know him and so improvement is likely, perhaps enough so to post the mild upset win.

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You can get my selections and analysis for the entire Santa Anita card at www.equibase.com, www.trackmaster.com as well as at the Xpressbet, Twinspires, Keeneland Select and TVG handicapping stores.