$100,000 Thunder Road (G3)
Race 7 (Saturday, February 9, 2019: 5:30 p.m./ET; 2:30 p.m.PT)
Mile on the turf (four-year-olds and upward)
A quintet of rivals take on the multiple graded stakes winner RIVER BOYNE, who makes his 2019 debut against older horses, including the rapidly improving equines OHIO, DESERT STONE, and 2017 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) third place finisher BLACKJACKCAT. We’ll start our discussion with the equine who draws the inside post position:
#1 RIVER BOYNE (IRE) loves this Santa Anita turf course, with six wins from six lifetime starts over it. Most recently, he defeated #4 DESERT STONE by a head in the Mathis Brothers Mile (G2) on Opening Day. The one to beat. #2 OHIO (BRZ) won the Fitzsimmons Mile at Turf Paradise last time out by over six lengths and faces tougher in this spot. Pegasus World Cup (G1) winning trainer Michael McCarthy conditions. In with a shot.
#3 LE KEN (ARG) was well beaten in the Seabiscuit (G2) two starts ago but came back to only lose by a half length in an allowance race last time out, finishing ahead of #5 TRUE VALOUR. Seems like a possible exotics candidate.
#4 DESERT STONE (IRE) had a traffic filled trip in the Mathis Brothers Mile (G2) and only lost by a head. If he can get a better trip, he has a big chance. That said, he faced a large field and got a fast pace to chase last time. This time around, he faces a smaller field with not as much projected pace on paper. He likes to sit off and make a run; needs the right trip under new jockey Joel Rosario.
#5 TRUE VALOUR (IRE) makes his second start off a five-month break for trainer Simon Callaghan, who wins at 23% with runners making their second start off a layoff between 61-180 days. Before moving to Southern California last year, this horse won a Group 3 race in Ireland. Possibility at a price.
#6 BLACKJACKCAT makes his first start for the Jerry Hollendorfer barn. This gelding was terrific in 2017, winning the Del Mar Mile (G2) and finishing third in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1). However, he has failed to show that great form since and his last start was a poor effort, a 10-length loss to OHIO. Siding with others.
1. #2 OHIO - Hoping for a career best effort.
2. #1 RIVER BOYNE - Always runs a good race.
3. #4 DESERT STONE - Trip play.
LONGSHOT VALUE PLAY- #5 TRUE VALOUR - Group 3 winner makes his second start off the layoff.
I’ll make a straight win bet on my top choice and play an exacta box using my top three picks.
BANKROLL PLAY ($50 Budget)
$20 Win: #2 OHIO $5 Exacta Box: #1 RIVER BOYNE and #2 OHIO and #4 DESERT STONE ($30)
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