Last week the Pasadena Stakes was won by Hariboux after a change of tactics by
jockey Umberto Rispoli that saw him closer to the pace than any of his previous
starts in the States. Alternatively my selection of Liar Liar got a questionable ride
from Ruben Fuentes after he positioned himself farther back than any of his
previous starts, not quite the spot I was envisioning when I handicapped the race.
Nevertheless, the beauty of horse racing is there is always another day/ card to
remedy the ails of a losing day. It just so happens that this week is the probably the
best card Santa Anita has had to offer all year, with 12 races, five of them Stakes, and
a slew of tough undercard events that present a bevvy of long-shot opportunities.
For this weeks pick I will head to the 7th race on the Santa Anita card, the China
Doll Stakes, for my selection of the number 10 Beguiled. Beguiled, 10-1 on the morning line, does not have
the best Sheet figure in this race but with young horses they can improve tremendously in
just a small amount of time, and I think that is what is happening with Beguiled.
Her 15 last time out is competitive in this field and I think making her second start off the layoff, a move that trainer Phil D’Amato wins with 21% of the time, with just about six weeks since her last start, could indicate a new top this time around. A new top off of a layoff, with four to six weeks till a horses next start is one of the best moves using the Ragozin Sheets.
Additionally I believe the addition of blinkers will help this filly a whole lot. Last time out broke from the two post and got a great trip throughout, once jockey Drayden Van Dyke wanted to go, Beguiled inhaled her competition and had the lead in the blink of an eye. Down the lane though, Beguiled drifted inward slightly, perhaps a sign that she lost focus once she grabbed the lead so easily.
The addition of blinkers looks to be the perfect move for D’Amato, who is 10% when doing it, a step up to Stakes company after a maiden score and the fact that jockey Drayden Van Dyke sticks around all add up to Beguiled being my selection in the China Doll Stakes at 10-1.