1st: 5-3-6-7-4…Getoffmyback (5) is a 4YO gelding who has only two seconds in 6 starts this year, but is coming into this one off a second place finish — as a favorite — at Santa Anita. Three starts back, he was beaten a head by a horse who went on to win his next out. Picks up a good bug boy, which gives him a 9-pound weight break from the last out. My pick. Summer Buddha (3) drops significantly in class. If he runs back to his maiden win, he could be a candidate. Papa Royale (6) goes for the barn of Doug O’Neil off a maiden victory. Loses his rider, though. I go with the 5 to win/place and then key over/under the rest.
2nd: 3-1-2-5-6…Where Y’at Joe Joe (3) is a mouthful for any track announcer, and he may be a handful in this one. Very consistent stalker who has hit the board in 13 of 25 lifetime starts. Won his fourth lifetime race last out and should be tough if he runs the same race back. Pedro Cerrano (1) makes his first start of the year, and has been training well for a hot trainer, in Peter Miller. Can’t dismiss. Geologist (2) takes a huge class drop after a brief respite and has been working well. Would not be a surprise, at all. I bet the 3 to win/place and then box the 3-1-2 in the exacta.
3rd: 2-6-4-1…Cheekaboomboom (2) is a true closer in a field without an abundance of speedsters, but still figures to get a good trip on the stretch-out to 11/16-miles. Picks up former rider, Flavian Prat, for a barn that does well with horses that go from a sprint to a route. Alsatian (6) has hit the board in five of the last six starts, and stretches back out from his mile start last out. Blinkers seemed to help in his last start, and it could prove the difference today. Over Par (4) loves to run second, with six seconds in 17 lifetime starts. Beaten a nose last time. I bet the 2 to win/place, bet the 2-6-4 exacta box.
4th: 8-3-2-6-4-5…Classy Tune (8) ran a huge one in her last and backs up a furlong, which should help her. Ran third to Mopotism in her first try. Should be tough in this spot, but this is a loaded field (look at today’s “Pedigree of the Day on www.thepressboxlts.com). Pretty Owl (3) has worked well for a tier one trainer/rider combo. Slim Fit (2) ran good at Delaware and ships here for a top trainer. My pick, though, is Literary Critic (6). Top pedigree with a ton of quality works. I bet the 6 to win/place show and then wheel over/under all the other numbers.
5th: 6-8-10-9-3-1-5…Tyfosha (6) ran a game second to a filly that has already come back to win, again. This one cost $410,000 at OBS this March and she is ready to return on her investment for trainer Doug O’Neill. Worked a bullet on July 8 at Santa Anita. Game and ready. Just a Smidge (8) is a first time starter for the combo of Baffert and Bejarano. They have combined to win over .30% of the time. Had a super work on July 12. Fracas (10) burned up the front end in her first go, cutting fractions of :214/5 and 46 flat. Tired in that one, understandably, and should benefit. Mapit (9) goes first time for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who has solid numbers with debut runners and 2Yos. I bet the 6 to win/place and key over/under all the rest. My Best Bet of the Day.
6th: 12-3-6-7-13-14…If the AEs get in, you need to look hard at including them. But, if not, I go this route. Nodiac (12) is a deep, deep closer in a wide open race, and will need a cleaner trip than what she got last time out. But the third time off a layoff, a top rider and a high percent trainer makes this one look good on paper. Family Meeting (3) goes for Tom Proctor and is another deep closer. But she performs much better against Florida-breds only. Frenzified — born and bred in Great Britain — will be forwardly placed, but doesn’t close the best. Comes off a brief rest and should be ready to go, despite trainer’s record off this type of layoff. I bet the 12 to win/place and then key over/under the rest of the numbers.
7th: 7-9-10-3-11-12-2…Another wide open affair that will become more open if the AEs draw in. If not, I settle on Absolutely Stylish (7) and Giant Expectations (9) as the two horses to key upon. The former comes off a huge maiden victory and will face winners for the first time. But he did beat a horse by the name of Honor and Courage. Look out. The latter ships here after two straight victories in New York against NY-breds only. Gets Gary Stevens up today and may be tough. I bet the 7 to win/place and key the 7-9 over/under the rest.
8th: 4-11-2-1-9-6-3…Bowies Hero (4) ran a huge one against Oscar Performance (who came back with a wire to wire win in his last Stakes performance) in a G3 event at Belmont in his last out. A repeat performance of that makes him tough here. Caribou Club (11) caught a bear in his last, running a tough one to Yoshida — who will turn out to be a Stakes winner before long. Bird Is The Word (2) is another closer, who will have a shot with Gary Stevens jumping into the saddle. I bet the 4 to win/place and then box the 4-11-2 in one exacta and then key the 4-11 over/under the rest.
9th: 4-3-6-1-12-11…Spiced Perfection (4) is a beaten favorite two times in a row, but had trouble in both of them. A better trip today could be the answer. Helen’s Tiger (3) made the lead in her first time out, before faltering. Should benefit from that out. Smiling Tigress (6) gets blinkers and comes off two straight nice works. I bet the 4 to win/place and then box the 4-3-6 in the exactas.
10th: 4-5-6-7-1-8…Private Prospect (4) takes a big class drop off three solid runs in a row. Makes West Coast debut today, but could be OK since he has trained at Santa Anita since May. Que Chistoso (5) takes a huge class drop from 35C to 16C and is going for a good barn. If he runs like he did in March, he could be solid. Belisarius (6), an Irish-bred, is another class dropper for a top barn. Have to respect. I bet the 4 to win/place and key over/under the rest of the numbers.