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Normally Santa Anita is run very professionally by quality people who have served in the racing industry for decades. Today, however, wasn’t one of those days. From the conclusion of the 6th race on, it looked like the Keystone Kops had taken over.

First, TIJERAS, a gelding that had been away for 17 months and was returning off a very short work tab for trainer Rafael DeLeon, collapsed after the 6th race near the tunnel where the horses enter and exit the track. It appeared to be a case of heat exhaustion, which is not entirely uncommon on hot days like this. The usual steps were taken and the horse was finally removed from the track, alive but not on his own power. He had to be rolled onto a tarp, which was then dragged via pulley system into the horse ambulance. The delay took about 30 minutes but the horses for the 7th race were able to come onto the track and get in a brief warmup.

A few minutes before the 7th, an announcement was made that UP IN THE GODS (3-1 second choice in the 8th race), who earlier in the day had been announced as a first-time gelding, was actually a full horse. Apparently he grew back his testicles sometime during the day (that’s a joke just in case anyone thought I was serious!). Then followed another announcement saying that the horse had been scratched out of the finale. As we have been harping about here, late gelding announcements SHOULD result in a horse being scratched in order to protect the betting public.

In the meantime, # 5 in the 7th race (!), QUICK AS RAY, was being shown as a scratched horse on the tote board. As the horses were loading into the gate, you could hear Trevor Denman’s phone ring in the background. He quickly made the announcement that QUICK AS RAY was NOT scratched but rather #5 in the 8th race was the correct scratch. ‘RAY’s 30-1 odds were posted back on the board and the horses went about their way, with the big longshot getting up for second at the wire. Complete chaos. Who was at fault? Probably someone working in the tote room who misheard Denman’s announcement. It wasn’t exactly The Great Race Place today.

On a more positive note, Clinton Potts rode three winners today, including pickup mount SPECIALIST MORGEN J (for Mike Mitchell) in the 5th race. This Polish Numbers gelding acted like he absolutely loved the turf. Another impressive turf winner was French import RICHE AMERICAINE for Julio Canani. She looked like she was just getting warmed up going nine furlongs, so she could develop into one of the top marathon turf distaffers around here.

Back-to-back winners for owner Bob Bone and trainer Art Sherman as they scored with SOUL CITY SLEW ($27.00) and BULLISH YIELD ($4.80) in races 3 and 4.

The ShowVivor contest ended today as two of the final three contestants got KO’d when DALICIA ran out in the 7th. The winner, Michael Jacavage from Pennsylvania, had picked TALE OF THE SCALE, who finished third in the day’s opener. Another round of the popular contest will start in the next few days.

Frustrating day for me on the my Premium Play selections. I gave out a $128 Pick 6 ticket that “singled” three horses. Well, those three all won (BULLISH YIELD, VORACIOUS and RICHE AMERICAINE). And I had last race winner CHIEF STORM CLOUD ($22.40). However, I missed price horses SOUL CITY SLEW and SPECIALIST MORGEN J and had to settle for four, which pays exactly the same as having zero winners. In the Pick 4, I missed the first leg but had the last three, which only counts if you came back and played the late Pick 3. If so, the return was a healthy $86 (on what would have been a $16 investment).

Good card tomorrow…10 races also on both Sunday and Monday. Good luck.

To view a Free Sample of today’s Premium Plays, click on the link below: Premium Plays for Feb. 16

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