Handicapping

Los Alamitos TB Picks 7/2/15


It is Los Alamitos Season! And with the start of one of my favorite thoroughbred meets at one of my favorite tracks, I have full card selections for each day of the meet, and just for day one, full card analysis.  Here is day one, headlined by the $25,000 Bertrando Stakes for California Breds.

  • Race 1:
    • A nice race to start the meet features 5 mares going six furlongs.  Speed is key at Los Alamitos and whoever can get in front early should win easily in the sprints at the meet.  Here, there are two speedsters, Prima Gianna and Shy Rosa.  Both love to get out to an early lead.  Shy Rosa is the obvious choice in class, but I will drop to Prima Gianna. I think she can take to the long stretch better than Shy Rosa.  And to hit the exacta, hoping that Twelve Folds can pick up late.
  • Race 2:
    • It is now maiden time at Los Al, with 9 horses going 5.5 furlongs.  Big Hat Charlie is the morning line favorite, but mainly due to his earnings and that he is starting as a Gelding for the first time.  I see him as a beatable favorite.  My hand goes to Artic Warrior.  Two straight runner up efforts have left me wanting more.  Although he is winless in 7 starts, three of those game in 2013 at Hollywood Park and one of them happened in January of 2014, before having an extended break til May 1st of this year at Santa Anita.  He has been improving nicely and I like him a lot.

  • Race 3:
    • This is the first of two races that I absolutely love.  Here is a $50,000 maiden special weight for 2yo fillies.  Two horses that I look at in this field are Pulpit Rules and Vronsky’s Devka.  Pulpit Rules is a 4 time starter who had gate troubles in her first two races before just breaking slow last time out but finished 3rd.  I liked what I saw there enough to put her on top.  Vronsky’s Devka is one that I think will improve on this start.  I like her pedigree and added her to my virtual stable.  Although I think it will be hard to get past Esmeralda Belle and Aiming Straight, both only had success at 4.5 furlongs, and will probably take a step down with the added half a furlong.
  • Race 4:
    • Heading back to 5.5 furlongs will send us to a race with a few Los Alamitos night time thoroughbred jockeys in it, Vinnie Bednar and (my favorite Los Al jockey) Cheryl Charlton.  Cheryl Charlton is the highest money earner at Los Alamitos in the nighttime thoroughbred races this meet and is in the money 62% of the time.  During the daytime thoroughbred meets last year, she had one win and was in the money 40% on 20 starts.  Lifetime, she has been in the money 55% of the time (2,070 starts).  While I hate handicapping the jockeys, she is on a very live horse in Nevada City.  If this 4yo gelding can overcome the start trouble that has plagued him in recent starts, he has a huge chance here.  However, if Cowtownmary can get to the lead, hard to stop the chalk here.  This should be a great race to watch.
  • Race 5:
    • This race seems to be a two horse race between Takem By Surprise and Keegers.  While the morning line favors Takem By Suprise heavily, and I agree with it, Keegers gets the nod here.  He was off a bit slow in his last start, but did well in previous starts at the maiden level.  But the big plus is the second place effort he posted here last summer.  Could get a nice price on him.
  • Race 6:
    • One of the most wide open races of the day, this $8,000 claiming leaves a lot to ponder on.  If you are doing any multi race wagers, I would suggest spreading deep; this will be one of the hardest races to get a pick out of.  I lean towards Jacksons a Bobcat who ran very well at Golden Gate and at the nighttime thoroughbred races here.  His one start at Santa Anita wasn’t anything special however.  Weak choice, but the best I could come up with.  Triunfo will be making his 7th start at Los Al.  How will experience work out for him?  And what will Leothelion show in his first start since 2013?
  • Race 7:
    • Now time for the Bertrando Stakes.  Soi Phet is the obvious stand out for me.  Winner of this race last year as well as the Los Al Mile, he seems to have a liking for the Los Alamitos track.  He has only made one start this year, in the Tiznow Stakes, which was the comeback race due to a weird trip to the Grade 1 Tokyo Daishoten (won by Hokko Tarumae).  If his owners thought that he was good enough to face the best of Japan, than they must see something in him.  Kent Desormeaux said of the Japanese race that “the start was good and we were able to get a good position.  We were right up there with Hokko Tarumae until the backstretch and Soi Phet felt good.  I think the distance was too far.  More than the track not having suited him, I think the distance was too far.”  Soi Phet was close behind for the early part of the 1 1/4 mile race.  I like Soi Phet due to his Los Al form, which is 2 for 2.  Rousing Sermon seems to fit here but his form has been lacking so I will shy away.  Old Man Luke may have been running against lesser, but he could jump up nicely in what is a somewhat week field here.  Ambitious Brew is another one to watch out for, with Mike Smith aboard.  I will be using him and Alert Bay undernearth.
  • Race 8:
    • The final race of the day is another $50,000 maiden special weight, this time for 3yo and up fillies and mares.  I don’t love the first time starters in this spot, but do love the horse that will be making her 6th start, West Mid.  A perfect amount of time since her last start, she ends up in a pretty easy field with no serious threats.  Ebony Princess and Alyeska are nice plays underneath.
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