Tropical Park Oaks & Santa Anita Opening Day SCORES - Super Screener
Super Screener

Tropical Park Oaks & Santa Anita Opening Day SCORES

Photo By: Liz Lamont/Eclipse Sportswire

Tropical Park Oaks

The Super Screener identified #13 Isla Road as an “A” horse and made her both a TOP WIN and TOP LONG SHOT pick.  As incredulous as it might sound, the wagering public let her go at monster odds of 31-1. She nearly won this race, finishing second by a short neck to Our Bay B Ruth, who was the Super Screener’s Top “B” horse.  Here’s what the Super Screener had to say about Isla Road and Our Bay B Ruth before the race:

#13 Isla Road, from the white hot barn of Ralph Nicks, got the poor draw but if her jock can work out a decent trip, she’ll be a force to reckon with at a big price. Exits the same race as #3 La Australiana and finished ahead of that rival coming from well off the hot pace similar to the set up here. That was her first race off the break and all form cycle analysis is pointing toward another strong move forward for this lightly raced filly with a lot of upside.

#4 Our Bay B Ruth just keeps improving in small, incremental steps which is the ideal form progression pattern you want to see in a young filly. She moves forward again here against easier. Is 5 for 7 in the Exacta racing on turf. Very reliable.

During our Friday webcast on Facebook, we talked about Isla Road and why I liked her so much.

First thing to note is just how balanced she lays out energy.  Regardless of the distance or surface she has never submitted a BRIS Pace or Speed Rating lower than 83. Horses that lay out energy in this way are very tactical. They can be put anywhere in the race to accommodate any pace set up, which makes them so consistent and reliable. Note also that she had moved forward in all three dirt sprint starts before taking a step back in her turf debut — but she followed that effort up with another nice move forward. It was quite reasonable to project that with just this 3rd start off the layoff she would take another nice step forward here. She certainly got the right pace set up and managed to secure a decent position in the early going from that far outside post. Not that we pay too much attention to trainers but Ralph Nicks is off to a blazing start at this meet and he has been pointing to it all summer and fall. That only added more conviction to the pick.

In the end the $8 suggested Exacta wager paid nearly $1,400 and we were just a nose away from cashing a huge $.50 Trifecta that would have paid around $2,000.

Did you cash? Tell us about it below in the comments or at!

Robert J. Frankel (G3)

The Super Screener called the Exacta, cold, as the top pick Mirth narrowly defeated her stablemate Tiny Tina, who was flying late in another turf affair that favored those coming from well of the pace. Jockey Mike Smith picked up on that earlier in the day and reserved Mirth off the pace rather than have her forwardly placed as she has for most of her career. 

The pace projects to be close to par with moderate pressure. #6 Harmless will likely lead the way and #7 Mirth, the Super Screener Top Win pick, will press very comfortably passing that rival easily in the final stages of the race. #7 Mirth put on quite a show in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf setting blazing fractions while opening up 6 lengths on the field at one point. Held on through 1 1/8 miles before being passed by superior rivals. Drops in against much, much easier here and the pace set up could not work out any better for her. No question about her ability to get this distance but how much did that BC effort take out of her?  That nearly 60-day break will help mitigate a significant regression here. If you have doubts about this one, consider her stablemate #1 Tiny Tina. This is just her 3rd start since May and form cycle analysis indicates a strong move forward here on the distance cut back and Prat climbs aboard. Will offer good value.

A top suggested Super Screener Exacta wager clicked for $469.

Mathis Bros. Mile (G2)

Things sort of worked out in this race as two of the Super Screener “A” horses hit the Trifecta and a Top Long Shot pick, Originaire, completed the Exacta at odds of 13-1 but we didn’t include that one in the 2 hole in suggested wagers so no cashing in this one. Once again closers dominated the Superfecta as the predicted hot pace with heavy pressure materialized. Give extra credit to Neptune’s Storm who pressed throughout but held on gamely to 3rd place. This horse is just so darn reliable and the perfect “vertical single” type.

Malibu (G1)

Was there any doubt?  Omaha Beach just dominated this field as expected and has earned his way into the Pegasus coming up next month, which will be his final race, unfortunately. Complexity was a pace factor early on but struggled on this surface and tired badly along with the pace setter, Much Better.

La Brea (G1)

The Super Screener Top Value pick, Hard Not to Love, who we rated as an “A” horse and ranked just above Bellafina, got the job done coming from last to first in an impressive stretch drive at unexpectedly ripe odds of 11-1. Here’s what the Super Screener had to say about this filly before the race:

There are no double-digit long shots to consider here unless they let #7 Hard Not to Love go off 10-1 or higher. She does take a step up here for sure but should pop a big race in this just her 5th lifetime start. She is proven on the deep Santa Anita surface which is a major advantage here and moves up if the track is playing kind to presser types. Nearly laid out those ideal 90+ BRIS Pace/Speed rating figures in her last race. Provides a lot of value at 8-1 or higher.

Bellafina ran a good race off that top she submitted in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint but she regressed a bit here which was the risk we had pointed out prior to the race.

She’ll (Bellafina) be bet hard off that strong 2nd place finish in the Breeders’ Cup F&M Sprint in which she submitted a lifetime top on a track she loves but she is not invincible knowing it was that last race to which she was pointed.

Despite the hot and pressured pace, Bell’s the One failed to close on this tough Santa Anita surface.  Something to take notice of as shippers may struggle with their first race on this deeper, tiring surface. A key Super Screener screening criterion will be to look for horses with prior success on the Santa Anita dirt track over the past year.

American Oaks (G1)

This ended up being quite a chalky outcome with the logical favorite, Lady Prancealot, getting up in time over the 3rd choice in the field Mucho Unusual. All signals pointed to Vibrance moving up here to hit the Exacta and she did get a great trip tracking the soft pace but had nothing left in the end as closers dominated the Trifecta.

Tropical Park Derby

With the scratches of two of our top four ranked horses, that moved up Halladay into our top 3 picks. The pace complexion changed some with scratch of the pace horse, A Thread of Blue, and that worked to Halladay’s favor as she very comfortably left the outside post and slotted into a good spot before taking the lead for good on a very leisurely pace. 
We indicated that Mike Maker had a very strong hand here with the three fillies he had entered. Temple and Kadar, both closers compromised some by the change in the pace set up, finished 3rd and 5th, respectively, while Faraway Kitten surprised some getting the best of her stablemates finishing 2nd while taking advantage of the slower pace. One handicapping lesson to take out of this…when Maker has three horses going in these big fields on turf, you have to respect the least likely of the trio as, while they may not win, they do hit the board quite often and usually at big odds.

We closed with hitting the Santa Anita Late Pick 4 several times, but with odds-on chalk winning each of the 4 races, the payout was quite paltry.

Next weekend features the San Gabriel (G2), the Sham (G3) and the Santa Ynez (G2) to be run at Santa Anita with firm turf expected. GP also has a nice stakes line up with the headliner being the Kitten’s Joy (G3).  We’ll select from the best these tracks have to offer so don’t miss a beat as we kick off the New Year. 

Until next weekend, Go Fast & Win!

Mike Shutty