Royal Delta (above, winning 2012 Beldame Invitational Stakes) should improve off of her 2013 runner-up in the Beldame as she targets a three-peat in the Breeders' Cup Distaff. (Photo by Eclipse Sportswire)
Selections by Bob Ehalt and Shawn Rychling
1st race – (11) U S Citizen drops in class and will meet a few of the same suspects he beat when running second on Sept. 27 on this same course. (6) Yankee Rebel has shown steady improvement and looks to fire best shot against previous rivals. (5) Love de Car was not far behind when running 6th last time and lightly-raced gelding is eligible to improve.
2nd race – (6) Door’s Open showed nice improvement last time off a 7-week freshening and is 3-for-3 lifetime at Santa Anita. (2) Got Even takes a drop in class, has never run out of the money at this track and is capable if he can shake off 10 months of rust. (9) Cat Burglar took a big step forward in second career start last time when switching to dirt. Oddly turning back from a 1 1/16 miles here and Baffert may be planning to send hard from the gate.
3rd race – (7) Tamarando drops into this spot out of two Grade 1 starts. Banged the gate at the start last time and still managed to hit the board in a tougher field. (2) Life Is a Joy is unbeaten in three starts and has improved with every try while racing in open company each time. (1) California Chrome won a similar race two back with a career-best figure, and only question mark is lack of a start on dirt.
4th race – (2) Cal Gal is making her debut, but has posted the fastest figures among this group. (6) Harlington’s Rose goes third off the layoff and drops in class after a decent Grade 1 effort. She is also the only one entered that has raced at a mile or beyond and as such offers excellent value. (8) Stole a Kiss has yet to run on dirt, but has moved forward in two starts since the debut.
5th race – (2) Charming Kitten needed that last race off a layoff and had to go five wide that time as well. He is plenty capable of running back to that effort at Colonial in July. (7) Kid Dreams freaked at Hawthorne last time and we have to figure he regresses a bit off that huge effort. (3) Den’s Legacy ran fairly well on the Derby trail before switching to the turf. He has three decent grass efforts since and is working spectacularly up to this race which signals he may be sitting on a big effort for Bob Baffert. Tough to pass up 10-to-1 on the morning line, too.
6th race – Breeders’ Cup Marathon, 1 ¾ miles, dirt – (8) Blueskiesnrainbows is the only horse in the race with a win over the track and he actually has two victories. Has never run this far, but breeding says he can and one of his top efforts came four back with solid third in Grade 3 at 1 ½ miles. Argentine invader (4) Ever Rider has been off since June, but has tried this distance 12 times in his career with three wins and eight in-the-money finishes. Tough to ignore those numbers in a race like this when the horses have slim histories at this distance. (3) Commander went gate-to-wire at 1 3/8 miles last time and should have the fitness to get two more furlongs. (2) Cease enters this race in good form and has some back class to boot.
7th race – Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, 1 mile – (5) Bobby’s Kitten took major step forward romping in the Pilgrim at Belmont. Good chance to duplicate that effort with four weeks off for Chad Brown. (13) Bashart followed up pair of Saratoga grass wins with strong second in off-the-turfer at Keeneland in which he had to steady early and move four wide on the turn. Had lead in the stretch despite that trip and just missed. Note he can win on the front end or while rating. Pletcher trainee is a major player and likely best value in the field. (2) Giovanni Boldini has three strong starts, but best efforts are on the synthetic surface, and his trainer won this race in 2011 and 2012. (7) Aotearoa improved smartly with a win when switching to turf and it came on this course.
BOBBY'S KITTEN WINNING PILGRIM
Photo by Adam Coglianese/NYRA
8th race – Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile – (12) Goldencents is 2-for-4 lifetime at Santa Anita and popped a big figure last time. Thinking a mile is the perfect distance for this one especially compared with six or seven furlongs. Also have to like recent jockey upgrade. (3) Hymn Book ran a strong race off a freshening most recently and note the last time he came off a brief freshening he improved his figure in second start back and that was in a Grade 1. Likely to get the fast early pace he needs to close as well, so we like him on expected value. (4) Brujo de Olleros gave Graydar a run for his money last time and is a bounce candidate, but is going third off the layoff with five weeks between tries. (10) Verrazano could win for fun as he did in the Haskell or flop like he did in the Travers debacle, so that coupled with his first trip west make him hard to take at a short price.
9th race – Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, 1 mile – (12) Testa Rossi rallied five wide from the clouds in U.S. debut to win her fifth straight race and figures to only improve for Chad Brown. (8) Chriselliam has shown steady improvement in five starts and has two starts at today’s distance, which sets her apart from her Euro sisters. (6) Vorda should get backing at the windows, but has not run beyond six furlongs. (13) Sky Painter makes third career start after running a strong second to our top pick.
10th race – Breeders’ Cup Distaff, 1 1/8 miles, dirt – (4) Royal Delta is the defending champion and certainly eligible to turn the tables on the ‘Princess’ in this race. She has had a couple rough spots this year which included a flop in Dubai, but she is still 3-for-6 in 2013. (6) Princess of Sylmar is tough to bet against after besting our top pick last race. Only real knock is that this is her first trip away from the East Coast. (5) Beholder is 5-for-6 on this strip and just might be able to slip away on the front end here in a third-off-the-layoff try. (2) Authenticity ran second to our third choice last time out.
ALL EYES ON DISTAFF
11th race – (9) Smoke House adds Lasix and will try to turn tables on our second choice, who carries a few more pounds. (6) Grilla has two straight wins off the layoff. (1) Sergeant Pepper Mhf has a win at today’s distance and completed the trifecta with our top two last time.
Best Bets: Bobby’s Kitten (7th); Royal Delta (10th); Best Value: Blueskiesnrainbows (6th); Testa Rossi (9th)
Bob Ehalt founded The Hot List in July of 2011. Each day he and Shawn Rychling offer selections for New York and Kentucky races for a variety of wagering outlets. For more information, email email@example.com.