Santa Anita Park
San Carlos H. (G2)
7 Furlongs (All Weather Track) - 4 Year Olds And Up - $150,000
The San Carlos Handicap (G3) drew a contentious field of six. For a sprint, the race has come up short on early speed. This may result in a race where the final quarter is run as fast as the first. Keeping this in mind, because of the small field, we can take a look at how this scenario may play out with each horse.
Star Nicholas drew the rail which has produced 30% of the winners of 7 furlong races at Santa Anita this meet. Unfortunately he does not possess the early speed that would take true advantage of the post position. But, with a preferred late running style and a field of only six, the rail should not compromise his race. He is also an all-weather specialist having cashed a check in 9 of 10 starts on synthetic tracks. The good news stops there. In the San Carlos he will be facing the classiest competition he has yet faced. As with most late running horses he runs best into a hotly contested pace and I don’t think he’ll get that until late when everyone will be finishing. Pass.
I see three very promising signs for Halo Najib. The first is that he ran very well while returning to sprinting in his last race. Since then he has continued to train like a sprinter. His work tab displays some very sharp works. It should also be noted that Bejarano has enough confidence in him that he passed the mount on Past The Point. Halo Najib usually looks to make a late run but won’t make up any ground on the best of these. He was closer than usual in his return race and his works hint at new tactics. So, I won’t be surprised to see him close throughout the running. I don’t usually like a horse second back in sprints, especially one that is not known as a sprinter but he’s showing signs that he’ll improve albeit not enough to win.
Yankee Bravo is the real dark horse in this race. He’s a classy horse that has been away more than nine months. It is a very difficult distance for a return and the field is too talented to expect him to win. I think he’ll need a miracle to win this race. He was, and may continue to be a very nice horse, but I don’t think he’s placed to win this one. Perhaps the connections have something else in mind a little down the road. I’ll pass, but hope he does well.
Past The Point likes to run on the front, that will be a big advantage. He will inherit the lead and if the pace is soft, as noted in the introduction, he should have plenty left to finish. He is cutting back in distance and that extra conditioning will serve him well the last 1/8th. This race will be a handicapper’s favorite; third off a layoff. And, the three works he shows since his last race say he’s still fresh. If the race goes in 46 or slower he’ll be hard, maybe impossible, to catch.
Georgie Boy, the likely favorite, is nine of ten in the money on synthetics. He has won two of three at this distance and three of five at Santa Anita. If that’s not scary enough, he’s also learned to rate. However, he has probably done his best racing while making the pace or sitting just off of it. In my opinion he should revert to that style of running for this race because he is the only horse that can put needed pressure on Past The Point, and still win. If Halo Najib does not change tactics, without Georgie Boy up close Past The Point will find himself comfortably alone on the lead. That will spell disaster for the field. But I think they will continue to try to rate him and that will be his undoing. This will also be his third race back off a layoff. He shows one maintenance drill since his Jan 24th race and that work seemed sub-par. Unless he is up close in this race he is vulnerable.
Mutadda. If Thomas Amoss is shipping a horse across country one should take notice. He’s also been working perfectly up to the race. But, beyond those considerations I don’t find anything to like. Here’s a few of the negatives. A Grade II is a big, difficult step up in class from an overnight stakes at Fairgrounds. Synthetics aren’t a surface he has excelled on. He’s shipping a long distance. And, he’s another horse that wants to run late in a race where all but one horse shows that preference. He’s in over his head. Pass
Win:----Past The Point --Out in front and holds off Georgie Boy by a nose.
Place:--Georgie Boy ------They rate him a little and he comes up a nose short.
Show:--Halo Najib--------I talked myself into it with all the positives.
1-----Star Nicholas-----M. Baze----------114-----12-1
3-----Yankee Bravo-----A. Solis----------116-----15-1
4-----Past The Point----J. Rosario-------115-----4-1
5-----Georgie Boy-------G. Gomez--------120----3-5
Friday, February 20, 2009
Santa Anita Park