The 74th edition of the Big 'Cap takes place at Santa Anita on Saturday afternoon as part of a wonderful program that also includes the Grade 1 Kilroe Mile and Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks. However, the Santa Anita Handicap is the featured event on the program and the feature features a strong field of eleven going postward led by the 4-5 morning line favorite, Twirling Candy. Here is the analysis:
Needless to say, I am going to try and beat the 4-5 favorite in here and I will attempt to do that with #3 Gladding, who could very well go right to the front and steal this race on the front end. I really don't see much else in here that will be a competitive speed position with this horse. He could do exactly what he did in the Grade 2 San Antonio, when he took the lead, set the pace, and went all the way in front. He beat several others in this field in doing so. The Sire is 2002 Belmont Stakes winner, Sarava. For second, I will go with #5 Twirling Candy, although I loathe the 4-5 odds on a horse that has yet to go this distance. I know he was awesome in winning the Grade 2 Strub at 1 1/8 miles last time out on February 5, but his lone loss came at that distance as well. Of course, that was over the cushion track at Hollywood in the Grade 1 Goodwood, so it was a different surface, but if there any doubts at all on a 4-5 shot, I think you have to look elsewhere. The horse that might be poised for a very big effort on Saturday is #10 Aggie Engineer. Joe Talamo has never missed the money in seven career pairings with this gelding, winning three of those races. He is also 7 for 8 in the top three at Santa Anita, again most of those efforts coming when the track was synthetic. The February works are very strong here, so Aggie Engineer could be peaking at the right time. Bob Baffert is entering four different horses in the Big 'Cap and the price to like in this race is his with #9 Tweebster at 15-1. He was second to Twirling Candy in the Strub and also race second behind Indian Firewater in the Grade 2 San Fernando. Mike Smith will be aboard and I think this one can really outrun his odds in this spot. Here is the play for the Grade 1 $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap:
$5 WP #3
$1 EX 3-5 with 3-5-8-9-10
$1 TRI 3-5 with 3-5 with 1-8-9-10
The Fountain Of Youth was a complete wash last weekend, so the blog currently sits at a disappointing MINUS $44 for the year. Remember, They Are Off accepts no responsibility for any wagers placed in conjunction with these selections. They are merely suggestions. Tune in again next week for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!