Horse Racing Predictions -Santa Anita Handicap Saturday, March 2, 2013

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The roster of previous winners of the Big Cap reads like a who’s who of racing superstars; Seabiscuit, John Henry, Lava Man, Affirmed. Alysheba and Spectacular Bid to name just a few. So which runner in this field of 10 will add his name to that illustrious Horse Racing Predictions list? Here’s my prognostication:

Horse Racing Predictions#1 RON THE GREEK was the winner of this race last year, but most handicappers (myself included) believed his victory was pace aided with a ridiculous fast early pace flattering his late run. But there’s no question he’s a classy animal who has a world of talent.

#2 HANDOME MIKE jumps from restricted four-year-old stake races to the older handicap division and is likely to find the water too deep.

THE RACE
$750,000 Santa Anita Handicap (G1)
Santa Anita
Race 10 (Saturday, March 2, 2013: post time: 7:30 p.m./ET; 4:30 p.m./PT)
1 mile and one-quarter on the main track (four-year-olds and up)

#3 DEACON SPEAKIN’ ran for a $50,000 claiming tag two races back. Hard to see him joining the Big Cap alumni list.

#4 CALLED TO SERVE has dramatically increased his Beyer Speed Figures since transferring into the Nick Canani barn and has two bullet works this month over this surface. Is this recently turned four-year-old this good?

#5 CLUBHOUSE RIDE has won just one race from his last 14 starts (and that was sprinting down the hill). Today’s race is going long on the dirt.

#6 RICHARD’S KID takes blinkers off and it certainly feels like now or never time as this eight-year-old hasn’t performed up to his new owners expectations since they acquired him prior to the 2012 Pacific Classic.

#7 JOHN SCOTT is a hard trying Cal-bred who has won 50% of his career starts. Problem is, none of those victories have been against a field like this.

#8 STEPHANOATSEE has just one published workout since his debut in California 28 days ago. Is that cause for concern or a sign his Derby winning trainer is happy with his current condition?

#9 GAME ON DUDE is the 125 lb. highweight who has beaten up on tomato cans in his last two races. And before you take even money (or less) on him, also keep in mind a mile-and-one-quarter is not his best distance. Not saying he can’t win; just think he’s going to be overbet given his probability of winning.

#10 GUILT TRIP got dusted by CALLED TO SERVE in the Discovery Handicap (G3) last November at Aqueduct. Handicappers have to ask themselves if that race has any relevance.

Horse Racing Predictions SELECTIONS
1. #4 CALLED TO SERVE – Victory would relaunch Stevens’ career.

2. #1 RON THE GREEK – Defending champ is the class of the field.

3. #9 GAME ON DUDE – May be vulnerable at the distance.

LONG SHOT VALUE PLAY: #8 STEPHANOATSEE – Utmost respect for trainer.

Horse Racing Predictions WAGERING STRATEGY
It’s a reach, but the significant improvement #4 CALLED TO SERVE has shown since transferring into his new barn is too hard to ignore. Added bonus is the tactical riding ability his jockey (Gary Stevens) has, not to say the additional motivation he’ll have to win this. Let’s key him in $10 exactas over the five other runners that I respect: #3 CALLED TO SERVE over #1 RON THE GREEK, #6 RICHARD’S KID, #8 STEPHANOATSEE, #9 GAME ON DUDE and #10 GUILT TRIP.

Horse Racing Predictions BANKROLL PLAY
$10 Exactas: #3 CALLED TO SERVE over #1 RON THE GREEK, #6 RICHARD’S KID, #8 STEPHANOATSEE, #9 GAME ON DUDE and #10 GUILT TRIP ($50).

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