Santa Anita Handicap tops big weekend in horse racing

The $1 million Santa Anita Handicap long has been one of the biggest days of the season in Southern California racing. Some early race history was portrayed in the movie “Seabiscuit” in which his final race was a comeback win in the 1940 Big Cap.

There is melancholy looking back at last year’s win by Shared Belief. It was his last win, as the champion died in December after a bout of colic.

This year’s version may not have a Seabiscuit or Shared Belief-type animal, but for $1 million, nine well-matched horses will take a swing Saturday. The Big Cap headlines an exciting day at Santa Anita, at which the Kilroe Mile, San Felipe and San Carlos stakes also are on the undercard.

The Big Cap favorite is Effinex (2-1), who is shipping in from Florida for trainer Jimmy Jerkens. His past two starts to end 2015 were terrific. He won the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs in a gritty decision over Hoppertunity. Before that, he was second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic to eventual Horse of the Year American Pharoah.

Next are Donworth (3-1) and Imperative (3-1), who both lost to Hoppertunity last out in the San Antonio. Even though Hoppertunity won the Big Cap prep, he now is sidelined because of injury.

The 1¼-mile distance is a seldom-used distance even for top handicap horses. So pedigree, stamina and class are usually key factors. I like Donworth, Effinex and Imperative in the Big Cap.

Two Kentucky Derby preps on Saturday — the Tampa Bay Derby and San Felipe — are offering 50 points to the winner. The San Felipe drew a strong field of seven headed by Mor Spirit, who won the Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita last time out. Mor Spirit did have his training briefly interrupted in mid-February, but has two sharp workouts since.

His main foe could be Exaggerator, who ran a game second to Nyquist in the San Vicente. He is a Curlin colt who should improve as the races get longer.

Another key contender is Cal-bred Smokey Image, who is undefeated in six starts. This will be a test for class facing open company for the first time. In the San Felipe, I like Smokey Image, Exaggerator and Mor Spirit.

The top three horses in the Kilroe Mile hardly can be separated in Om, Bal a Bali and Bolo. Whoever gets the best trip could decide it.

Om will go down in history as the only horse to defeat American Pharoah. But since switching to turf, he has carved out an even better resume.

Bal a Bali was the 2014 Horse of the Year in Brazil and shows a powerful late kick on turf.

Bolo won the Arcadia last out, the local prep for the Kilroe. He ran a career-best speed figure to beat Obviously and Om.

Om ran a bit flat in the Arcadia, but I look for him to rebound by taking advantage of a perfect rail post at one mile. My choices in the Kilroe are Om, Bal a Bali and Bolo.

The Tampa Bay Derby is loaded with early speed, so it should help to be a stalker or closer type. My picks are Destin (9-2), Rafting (6-1), Brody’s Cause (5-2) and Economic Model (5-1).

Richard Eng’s horse racing column is published Friday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. To get his Santa Anita picks, email him at rich_eng@hotmail.com. Follow on Twitter: @richeng4propick

ad-high_impact_4
Sports Betting Spotlight Videos
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Football Week 12
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart, and John Lukasik discuss their picks for College Football Week 12.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 11
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart, and John Lukasik discuss their picks for NFL Week 11.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 10
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart, and John Lukasik break down the NFL Week 10 slate.
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Week 11
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart, and John Lukasik break down college football week 11 match ups.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 9
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and John Lukasik pick their best bets for week 9 of the NFL football season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Week 10
Description: Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and John Lukasik pick their best bets for week 10 of the college football season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 8
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and John Lukasik pick their best bets for week 8 of the NFL football season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Football Week 9
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and John Lukasik pick their best bets for week 9 of the college football season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Football Week 8
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and John Lukasik pick their best bets for week 8 of the college football season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 7
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and John Lukasik pick their best bets for week 7 of the NFL football season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Football Week 7
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and John Lukasik pick their best bets for week 7 of the college football season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Week 6
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and John Lukasik pick their best bets for week 6 of the college football season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 5
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and John Lukasik pick their best bets for week 5 of the NFL football season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Week 5
Todd Dewey and John Lukasik go over their picks for week five of college football.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 4
Todd Dewey and John Lukasik go over their picks for week four of the NFL.
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Football Week 4
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and The Cromwell sports book director, John Lukasik go over their picks for week four of college football.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 3
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and The Cromwell sports book director, John Lukasik go over their picks for week three of the NFL.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Canelo vs. GGG
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and The Linq Hotel sports book director, John Lukasik go over the lines and their picks for Canelo vs. GGG 2.
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Football Week 3
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and The Linq Hotel sports book director, John Lukasik go over their picks for week three of college football.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 2
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and The Linq Hotel sports book director, John Lukasik go over their picks for week two of the NFL.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 1
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Matt Holt go over their picks for week one of the NFL.
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Week 2
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and USIntegrity president Matt Holt goes over their picks for week two of college football.
Sports Betting Spotlight: New York Giants
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Sunset Station sports book director Chuck Esposito go over the lines for the 2018 New York Giants season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: New York Giants
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Sunset Station sports book director Chuck Esposito go over the lines for the 2018 New York Giants season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Buffalo Bills
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Sunset Station sports book director Chuck Esposito go over the lines for the 2018 Buffalo Bills season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: New York Jets
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Sunset Station sports book director Chuck Esposito go over the lines for the 2018 New York Jets season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Miami Dolphins
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Sunset Station sports book director Chuck Esposito go over the lines for the 2018 Miami Dolphins season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Atlanta Falcons
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Wynn Sports Book Director Johnny Avello go over how the Atlanta Falcons will perform in the 2018 season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Carolina Panthers
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Wynn Sports Book Director Johnny Avello go over how the Carolina Panthers will perform in the 2018 season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: New England Patriots
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Sunset Station sports book director Chuck Esposito go over the lines for the 2018 New England Patriots season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Description: Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Wynn Sports Book Director Johnny Avello go over how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will perform in the 2018 season.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like