Santa Anita Park's re-opening week kicked off with a bang last week as handle was up and fan interest seemed to be at a near all-time high. The Great Race Place will follow it up with four straight days, (Friday through Monday), of exciting racing action.
After nearly cashing last Saturday in the third race, a 5 1/2 Furlong Turf Sprint for Maidens, we are going to head back to the third race this Saturday for another turf event, this time 1 Mile on the Turf for three year olds. This race presents itself with a key Sheets angle that I have had success with in the past and it falls on the 2 horse Distant Vista for trainer Phil D'Amato who is 5/2 on the morning line.
Generally speaking European shippers Sheets numbers in races overseas are not on par with North American runners and races here, but for those that do win first time in the States, their numbers have tended to be better or right in line with their American counterparts. In 2018 I hit two big scores using this method with Line of Duty in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf and Expert Eye in the Breeders' Cup Mile. Both runners Sheet figures had exceeded or matched their American foes.
Although our odds in this race won't be as good as those Breeders' Cup runners, I think we may get 5/2 or better due to the presence of Liar Liar and Margot's Boy in this race. I have played Liar Liar in his last two starts but his numbers are trending the opposite way, 14 last time out, 12 two back, so he is a toss for me in this spot. The 4, Margot's Boy, is the only other horse in this spot who scares me due to his Sheets pattern and being the only speed in here. Margot's Boy paired up 17's in his first two starts then ran a new top with a 14 last out. He has had time off for this but he should regress off that new top or pair up again with a 14.
Circling back to my selection with Distant Vista and his Sheet pattern; another reason why the Sheets are the best tool to use while handicapping is they give you the ability to accurately look at European shippers, no mater what barn they are in or how hyped they are, if they are too slow to compete then they are a toss, and most of the time you can get a good price on the competing horse you like.
Distant Vista's last two starts were a 16 and 26, both on synthetic and the last being his first career win in a Handicap race at Dundalk going 7 furlongs. Without the 16 last out this horse would be a toss for me, but his 16 shows signs he is improving and in his first start at three I believe he will run a significantly new top here, which would put him right in the thick of things.
Since he is making his U.S debut it would also be nice to see how Distant Vista is doing at Santa Anita, with free works at Xbtv.com you can do just that, and judging by his work on May 4th I would say he is doing just fine and is ready for a top effort, plus it doesn't hurt that the best jockey in California picks up the mount, Flavien Prat. The play for me will be Distant Vista singled in all Horizontal wagers, and a $20 exacta Margot's Boy to Distant Vista, since there is a real possibility that jockey Drayden Van Dyke slows the pace down on the front end and gets away with an easy lead.
If that is the case I don't want to be left empty-handed if Distant Vista happens to make a big move for place money in his U.S debut.
Good luck to all today !