Most of my race preview blogs are about Graded Stakes races, however for today I found a very intriguing situation in an Optional Claiming 6 furlong event at Los Alamitos. As you know, I look for Rest then Best horses, and in this race, there are no fewer than 3 horses with that pattern, along with a couple of others that sport very fast speed figs. In post position order:
- 12-1 Anthonysgotgame :2 Best. Layoff. He comes in off of a 3 month layoff after showing a nice improving pattern before his last race, where they tried him on the Turf. I tend to discount layoff horses; however this trainer has 37% winners with his entries coming off of 90 day+ layoffs. I also like that he is showing confidence as Anthonysgotgame is being raised AGAIN in class after a non-winning effort. Jockey Perez has been having a nice meet. He will need a big step forward, but he is an interesting longshot!
- 6-1 Jury:7 Best. Layoff. This 3YO is coming back after a 10 month layoff. He scored nicely in his 2YO debut to post that 13.7, and simply due to maturing, it is easy to project that he could post a much faster number as a 3YO. Hollendorfer is an excellent conditioner and does quite well with his layoff returners. Rider Arroyo has decent stats also. Leave him out at your own risk!
- 9-2 Pulmarack: 9 Best. One race regression. He bounced slightly to 8.4 in his most recent after posting a very quick 6.9 Best at Del Mar in late July. Also trained by Hollendorfer, he has solid jockey Gonzalez aboard. I do not love the regression, but his best is competitive with these. Will need to turn things around.
- 20-1 Z Smoking Gun:5 Best. One race regression. He also bounced, and quite severely in his last, which was his SoCal debut. Very good connections. A turnaround could make him competitive.
- 6-1 Eltiojohnny: 13.7 Best. One race in US. Ran OK in his US debut, after some trouble, going 5 furlongs on the Turf. Decent connections. Will need a big step forward.
- 20-1 Midnight Officer:4 Best. One race regression. He comes in off a 4 month layoff and he has never posted a Number that would be competitive with these. Connections have modest stats. Would be a total surprise.
- 20-1 Espirito Bueno:6 Best. Even pattern. Has been regularly posting figs in the 13’s and 14’s, while competing on Dirt and on Turf. Very modest stats for connections. Would shock me.
- 8-1 Blue Anchor:3 Best. Rest then Best pattern. Here is the first of the RTB horses, who returned after 9 months on the bench to post that 7.3 Best in a very competitive effort against $20K claimers. It is likely he needed the race, and I do like that solid conditioner Glatt steps him up in class after a non-winning try. Jockey Theriot has modest stats, and I do note that Pedroza moves to Pedro Cerrano. Dangerous longshot!
- 5-1 Gutsy Ruler:9 Best. Fading pattern. His Numbers have steadily faded after posting that 7.9 Best in late April. Connections have modest stats. Needs to turn things around.
- 7-2 Tough Sunday:0 Best. Rest then Best pattern. The second RTB horse posted a very fast 6.0 Best, finishing second against similar after an 8 month break. Connections have solid stats. My main concern is a possible bounce, as he is coming back in only 3 weeks. My top pick!
- 6-1 Pedro Cerrano:6 Best. Rest then Best pattern. The third RTB horse has a 10.6 Best, which is slower than others in here; however, it should be noted that he scored with authority in his return after a 6 month vacation. He is also only a 3YO, so future explosive improvement is certainly likely. Solid connections, and as mentioned Pedroza ends up here. Very Dangerous!
This is a very interesting race, as several have competitive Numbers and positive patterns, topped by the 3 RTB horses. I expect Tough Sunday to be tough, and I also expect Blue Anchor and Pedro Cerrano to run well. As mentioned there are a couple others that would be no surprise.