The Peter Miller trained Calculator is the 8-5 morning line favorite for the $100,000 Sham (G3) despite having not notched a victory yet, and looks not only for his diploma but the valuable 10 Derby points that are awarded to the winner.
The colt has started four times, running third and fourth in the maiden ranks, and then running second to American Pharoah in a pair of Grade 1 races, the Del Mar Futurity and the Frontrunner.
American Pharoah is currently listed as the early betting favorite for the Kentucky Derby (G1), currently listed at 10-1 at Bovada.
El Kabier is currently atop the Derby points standings with 21. The colt is listed at 16-1 in early Derby betting at Bovada.
The Sham will offer up 10-4-2-1 points to the top four finishers as part of the Road to the Derby series of races.
The co-feature on Saturday’s card at Santa Anita is the $200,000 San Pasqual (G2) for older runners going 1 1/16 miles on the main track.
The Bob Baffert trained Hoppertunity is the 9-5 morning line favorite in a field of 11. The colt had to hop off the Derby trail last spring after a runner up finish in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) due to a foot injury and looks as if he will be a major player in the handicap division in 2015.
The colt won the Clark Handicap (G1) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 28 in his second race after coming back off a 6 ½ month layoff.
The colt faces a tough group that includes Santa Anita Gold Cup (G1) winner Majestic Harbor, Native Diver (G3) victor Big Cazanova and Oklahoma Derby (G3) winner Tonito M.
Aqueduct was closed on Wednesday and Thursday and only got in two races on Friday before canceling again. Jockeys complained about the wind and ice on the track. There was a spill in the second race when Apex broke his ankle and became the 11th horse to be euthanized in the last 20 days of racing.
Track officials are meeting on Saturday morning and may cut racing days. The temperature for Saturday at the Big A at post time is forecast to be just 20 degrees, and there is a chance we will not seeing racing again.
I am going to concentrate on warmer climates for Saturday. My Best Plays Report for Saturday will include my strongest plays from Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita.
Let’s head out to Santa Anita for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Santa Anita Race 6 The Sham G3 (3:00 PT)
7 Calculator 8-5
8 Hero Ten All 4-1
3 Rockinatten 7-2
1 St. Joe Bay 8-1
Analysis: Calculator is still a maiden but put in two solid efforts in runner up finishes in the Del Mar Futurity (G1) and Frontrunner (G1) behind American Pharoah, who would have been the betting favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile except for a foot bruise knocking him out. The third place finisher in the Frontrunner was Texas Red who came back to win the Juvenile while fourth place finisher Lord Nelson exited the Frontrunner to win the Speakeasy Stakes. The colt comes back here off a three-month break after he suffered a foot bruise and was scratched out of the Juvenile. The Peter Miller barn is 6% winners with runners coming back off a 61-180 day layoff. The colt has worked well and anything close to his last two efforts makes him very tough to beat here as the chalk.
Hero Ten All made a good late rally to run them down and break his maiden at Los Alamitos in his second career start. The colt ran second to Dortmund in his debut, that foe coming back to win the Los Al Futurity (G1) in his most recent outing. The Jeff Mullins trainee still looks as if he has plenty of upside and he should get an honest pace in front of him in this spot.
Rockinatten broke his maiden in his third career start, prompting the early pace and drawing clear late going seven furlongs at Gulfstream Park West. Two back he ran third behind Hubba Shake, who came back to win the Armed Forces Stakes in his next outing on Oct. 4.
WIN: #7 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 7,8 / 1,3,7,8
TRI: 7,8 / 1,3,7,8 / 1,3,4,7,8
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