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Halfway Home

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Hard to believe but we have passed the half-way mark of the Santa Anita meet.

Two-for-one blog postings as we review the weekend:

Today, with a Pick Six carryover of more than $188,000 to shoot at, bettors poured in $1.4 million. With 55 winning tickets, the payoff was $15,792 on a tough but handicappable day. My $144 ticket went up in smoke in the first leg when I doubled the ticket but did not include the “other” Baffert horse, first-time starter PRIME CATCH ($13.80). Does any trainer win more often with the longer price of his two horses?

I came back and crushed the 5th race (see Free Sample below), giving out HOCKEY THE GENERAL ($12.00) as one of my Best Plays, which keyed the trifecta for $725. I also had an exacta box that hit, returning $86.20 for a buck.

Missed again with BRIGHT DESIGN (which ended my Pick 4 hopes as well) in the 6th, didn’t care for OBRIGADO in the featured San Luis Obispo, was dead wrong about “single” IGRAINE in the 8th, and had the last race winner on top. What’s the lesson here? Sometimes being right once is enough to make for a very profitable day…money management is more than half the battle.

Bob Baffert saddled three winners today to move into a tie with John Sadler for second place in the standings. This was a throwback to one of those days from a few years ago as Baffert won with a maiden, a turf horse and got an allowance win with a decent 3-year-old filly. Two riding wins for Aaron Gryder, who took down the bookend races on turf. Incidentally, according to turf stats supplied by Brad Free of DRF, these were Gryder’s first two turf wins of the meet (from 58 mounts).

OBRIGADO won the San Luis Obispo today but got some help from stablemate ONE OFF, who herded ON THE ACORN out badly through the lane. The winner held on by a half-length as ‘OFF was correctly disqualified back to third on a no-brainer call. ‘ACORN, who was moved up to second and might have won with a clean trip, is proving to be some claim by Mike Mitchell and the Indizguys Stable.

Two days into the ShowVivor contest and I’m KO’d. I’m just playing for fun on the Free Picks portion of the website but I sure didn’t last long when I went with SAIL ON SUNSHINE in the 3rd. The saddle slipping halfway through the race didn’t help matters but that’s racing. In two days, about three quarters of the original 5,676 contestants are already eliminated. I’ll keep posting my ShowVivor horse each day despite the quick hook.

Congratulations to Terry Turrell for whipping me in the Fans’ Forum handicapping contest today. The meet-long contest is run in tournament style, and Turrell now advances to the Final Four. He made his money right off the bat with GARY’S GOT RHYTHM, who is owned and bred by his son Toby (publisher of Winner’s Card). Nice job.

On Saturday, Michael Baze got a riding double, including pulling off the big upset on HELLO LUCKY in the featured Las Flores. I like this rider, who is getting on some live mounts for new agent Nick Cosato. HELLO LUCKY, along with bomber SELF INSURED in the 10th caused the big Pick Six carryover.

FETE did it again, taking his second straight downhill race in the 5th, which was his sixth win from his last seven starts (Saratoga, Delaware, Hollywood Park on Cushion Track, Santa Anita turf). Talk about the ultimate professional–he is now eight for 17 lifetime.

Tough beat of the day: A friend of mine played a large Pick 4 ticket that spread the the first and second legs, singled OLYMPIC MILER in the 9th and had nine of 12 horses covered in the last. You know what’s coming right? One of the three uncovered horses won the finale as the Pick 4 returned a whopping $64,919. The worst part? He had the runner-up LEGATE, who was a flying second at 29-1. On my suggested P4 ticket I used eight of the 12 and missed. Moral of the story: If you need to use more than 75% of the field to feel comfortable, just spend the extra money and buy the race. You obviously don’t have a feel for the race when using that many runners, so there is nothing wrong with using the ALL box once in awhile. Just cut down somewhere else, if necessary.

Congratulations again to Noble Threewitt on his 96th birthday and official retirement. I joined a number of well wishers at his house after the races and had a good time celebrating his big day.

Take two off and see you on Wednesday.

To view Free Samples of Premium Plays from the past two days, click on the links below:Â Premium Plays for Feb. 25Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Premium Plays for Feb. 24

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