CA Update: GGF, Santa Anita, Los Al

6 Feb

After an unexpected hiatus for pipeline repairs, Golden Gate Fields resumed racing Thursday and will field cards of 9, 10, and 10 races on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, respectively.

The added demand has increased the field sizes nicely, as Saturday’s Late Pick 4 features fields of nine in each race, and Sunday’s 10-race card offers five races with fields of nine or more, including 10 and 14 in the Late Double. Golden Gate has typically been guaranteeing its Late Pick 4 pools at $100,000 on Saturdays, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see it do so again this weekend.

After a brief stint at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans, jockey Kent Desormeaux recently announced he is shifting his tack to the Bay Area for an extended period of time. His aim is to supplant Hall-of-Fame rider Eddie Delahoussaye as the leading Cajun rider of all time. As of today, Desormeaux stands 354 wins shy of passing Delahoussaye’s career total of 6,384. Desormeaux has two mounts on Friday’s program for trainer Arnold Torres, aboard Kenji’s Journey (10/1) in the second race and On The Wings Of (8/1) in the ninth and final.

STAKES DUO ON THE DOCKET SATURDAY AT SANTA ANITA

Three-year-old fillies with their sights set on the Kentucky Oaks get the top billing Saturday at Santa Anita in the $200,000 Las Virgenes Stakes (G2). As one might guess, it’s a five filly affair with Bob Baffert holding a pair of aces in Gingham (6/1) and Stellar Sound (5/1). But not so fast pardner, as it’s trainer Richard Baltas who’s holding the nuts in Venetian Harbor, who’s been installed as the heavy 2/5 morning-line favorite after a runaway 10-length win in her main track debut on Dec. 29.

Having drawn just a field of five, the Las Virgenes is carded as the 5th of 9 races and will go to post at approximately 2:28pm.

The real main event for horseplayers is the $100,000 Thunder Road Stakes for four-year-olds and upward going a mile on the turf course. Contention in this 10-horse field runs deep with last year’s winner, True Valor (7/2), being installed as the tepid morning-line favorite.

Among a number of potential price plays includes Northern California invader, Mugaritz (8/1), who hails from the powerful Jonathan Wong barn and gets “Money” Mike Smith in the saddle. Mugaritz is an impressive 8 for 14 lifetime and two-for-two on turf, and seems unlikely to remain at his sticker price of 8/1.

Back class belongs to River Boyne (5/1) who is seeking his first win in over a year, but boasts an impressive 6 for 11 record over the track and is 7 for 20 at the distance for trainer Jeff Mullins. And in a field with an abundance of front-running speed, the tactical advantage could belong to closer Frontier Market (4/1), who joins the John Sheriff’s stable after a couple of in-the-money finishes for Chad Brown in stakes company back East.

Post time for the Thunder Road, which is carded as the 7th of 9 on Saturday, is approximately 3:31pm. The Rainbow 6 Jackpot stands at $135,744 heading into the weekend at the GRP.

LOS AL RETURNS FRIDAY NIGHT

After a brief hiatus for Super Bowl weekend, thoroughbred and quarter-horse racing resumes at Los Alamitos starting at 6:00pm Friday night. There will be a Pick 6 Carryover (straight, no Jackpot) of $6,774 over races 3-8 on Friday night’s program.

Friday night’s simulcast lineup is probably the best so far of the new year with harness action from Cal Expo, Meadowlands, Woodbine-Mohawk, Miami Valley and Yonkers all on the docket, along with six Australian tracks combined (A-B-C-D, Caulfield and Morphettville).

Post times for Saturday and Sunday cards at Los Al are 6:00pm and 5:30pm, respectively.

Don’t forget, Blue Devils Bingo is in the house every Saturday night starting at 6:30pm. Bingo games routinely pay $1,000 or more and a $40 buy-in gets you up to 10 games a night. Bingo doors open at 4:30pm.

 

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