Racing at Santa Anita With Marc Doche: Grade I Santa Monica & Five For O'Neill

Marc DocheCorrespondent IJanuary 30, 2011

FOLKESTONE, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: James Doyle riding Liberty Lady (L) win the Play Blackjack At Handicap Stakes at Folkestone racecourse on April 21, 2011 in Folkestone, England  (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/ Getty Images)
Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

The scratch of Pinkarella from the featured Grade I $250,000 Santa Monica for older females sprinting seven furlongs on the main track leaves the meet’s second leading trainer, Doug O’Neill, with five starters today after sending out six last Sunday.

Off a dazzling four length victory in the Grade I La Brea on opening day last month, Switch is the even money favorite for John Sadler in the field of seven. The four-year-old daughter of Quiet American had previously finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Churchill Downs in November and will go over $750,000 in career earnings with a victory today.

She’ll face challenges from her barn mate Mona de Momma, who was last seen winning the Grade I Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs last May, and a pair from leading trainer Bob Baffert, who’s Mother Ruth and Gilded Gem brought home the exacta in the Kalookan Queen here three weeks ago.

The co-feature sees older females rolling six and a half furlongs down the hillside turf course in the $70,000 (added) Wishing Well and Givine, making her first start in the U.S. for Julio Canani, is the 5-to-2 morning line favorite after winning 5-of-8 starts in France.

O’Neill sends 8-to-1 shot Southern Fireball, who won her only race over this layout, and Baffert starts his first runner of the meet on the turf with Subsidized, who is listed at 9-to-2 after winning 3-of-5 starts last year.

We’ll hope that showers forecast for this afternoon and evening stay away long enough to not disrupt today’s card and …

We’re off to the races!

Best Bet of the Day (ROI based off $2 WPS bet)

Race 6 - #6 Make It Cozy (8/1 ML) – Three-year-olds go a mile on the turf for a $50,000 tag and No. 6 Make It Cozy appears to be lone speed today after he flopped here in the California Breeders’ Championship on the dirt on opening day after being stuck dueling in between runners. He gave a nice account of himself against what has proven to be a solid maiden field in his only turf start going a mile at Del Mar last summer.

Yesterday’s Result – Off the board with Jeranimo (-$6.00)

Total for 2010-11 Santa Anita meet – (-$45.50)

Late Pick 4

Leg 1 – Race 6 (6,9) –  Along with our Best Bet, we’ll also use No. 9 Dancing At Dark reuniting with Joe Talamo, who guided him to a pair of resounding victories at Hollywood Park in November. He was 7-to-2 in a field of 12 in the Cal Derby in his last start, but was eased and finished last. A sharp five furlong work since should have him back on track.

Leg 2 – Race 7 (2,4,8) – Along with No. 8 Switch and No. 2 Mother Ruth, we’ll use No. 4 Sweet August Moon, who has trained brilliantly since her last start in December. The draw back with her is that it usually takes her a race or two off the break to be at her best.

Leg 3 - Race 8 (4,6,7,8,9) – We’ll use five of the nine entrants in a difficult to figure Wishing Well. Most notably we’ll leave off 3-to-1 second choice No. 5 Reba Is Tops, who wheels back after barely beating softer nine days ago in what was supposed to be the final start of her career.

Leg 4 – Race 9 (2,3,5,9) – We close the day and the week with a competitive group of three-year-old fillies in this maiden special weight event sprinting six and a half furlongs on the main track and we go four deep.

Recap – (6,9) w (2,4,8) w (4,6,7,8,9) w (2,3,5,9) – Total cost of ticket = $60

Make sure to follow me on Twitter @mdoche for last minute changes caused by scratches and much more!

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Good luck!

Yesterday’s Result – (-$72)

Total for 2010-11 Santa Anita meet – (+$3,499.30)

Total for 2010 Del Mar meet – (-$554.55)