On Track with Johnny D: St. Pat’s Pot o’ Gold Awaits

There’s a $548,670 pick-six pot of gold carryover at the end of the St. Patrick’s Day rainbow Thursday at Santa Anita and horseplayers nationwide are going to need the luck of the Irish to earn shares of a total pool expected to kiss over $3 million. Double carryovers in California pick six pools always are notable events, but when a pot o’ gold grows from Saturday into Sunday and then all the way until Thursday, St. Patrick’s Day…well, that’s a pretty special occurrence.

We figured you might like to take a whack at the pick six, so below are some shared sextet thoughts. Of course, we’re not naïve enough to imagine that we’re going to completely solve the pick six puzzle, but we’re also not so cynical to believe that it’s impossible. We’ve hit pick sixes before—some small, some large—although we’ve never cashed for a six-digit payoff. Perhaps Thursday will be that day?

The idea here is to provide some handicapping thoughts to those seeking pick-six sequence advice. Mix and match what’s offered below with whatever thoughts you might have. Remember, just one overlooked winning horse can boost your ticket from a frustrating five to a successful six out of six.

Also, please note that Santa Anita offers a $300,000 guaranteed late pick four Thursday. That’s important because that wager begins with the fifth race and offers immediate redemption for those holding lifeless pick six sheets.

Good luck!

Thursday Santa Anita Pick Six Analysis

(Pre-Scratch Contenders are listed in Post Position Order. Suggested Ticket Below)


3rd Race – Leg A

Overview: Thursday’s massive double pick six carryover begins with a $75,000 maiden claiming race for 3-year-old fillies at five and one-half furlongs. There’s really no strong single in here, but light tickets might try escaping the heat with just #1 Oh Great Idea. We suggest players take a look at the tote board before this race to see which fillies are taking action and which ones are dead on the board. There are two first-time starters: #5 She’s Memorable and #6 Midnight Swinger, so consulting the tote is a good idea.

  1. Oh Great Idea 9/5 – High percentage trainer Peter Miller dips this one into the claiming ranks for the first time off a layoff. She has speed and ran well enough first time out to anticipate that she will fire well off the layoff. She also gets in light with capable apprentice David Lopez. It’s always difficult for a horse to win off a long layoff, but this one must be respected.
  1. Foxy Fresh 5/2 – She takes a slight class dip off a troubled debut. Trainer James Cassidy is 24% with second time starters at 4-1 or less. Check the tote action.
  1. Noble Perfection 8-1 –She showed speed to slightly better first out going a furlong longer than this. She ended up last in that race and returns with second-ranked jockey Santiago Gonzalez up. Improvement is possible.


4th Race – Leg B

Overview: Cal-bred maiden fillies and mares race downhill over the turf course in the second leg of the monster pick six. Traditionally it’s best to favor runners that already have shown ability to handle the hillside course. #7 Algorhythmic fits the bill nicely and may be a single for some players. Many in here have tried the unique layout without much success. Perhaps, #6 Lucy De, who cuts back from a mile race last out, might find the hillside course to her liking.

  1. Silver Starlight 8-1– She’s been consistent in her last three which have been spread out over about a year. She bobbled at the start of her last and could run better. Still, she’s a bit of a reach in here.
  1. Lucy De 5/2 – She comes in here off a close second-place finish going a mile on grass. That race fits well and jockey Pratt has ridden her before. Interesting to note, though, that Santiago Gonzalez, who rode Lucy De last out, moves to #3 Silver Starlight.
  1. Algorhythmic 3-1 – Her first out was a corker down the hill that she lost by a nose. She then failed on dirt after hopping at the break and then showing speed. A repeat of her first race makes her very tough in here.
  1. Rebarules Again 6-1 – She’s had just two starts and the most recent was a slow-ish, troubled trip down the hill. Leading rider Rafael Bejarano returns in the saddle and he’s 20% out of 260 races for trainer Mark Glatt. She’ll need to improve, but she’s got a right to do just that at 6-1.
  1. Stylistic 7/2 – She comes out of a decent downhill try when third, beaten five lengths. She showed speed in that race and has a nice outside draw in here. She is a 6-year-old mare with just four starts, though, so she’s obviously had to overcome some notable physical issues to get back to the races and this is her third start in a short time period.
  1. All For Charity 8-1 – Don’t expect this one to draw into the race, but if she does she deserves an outside look even though she’s already started once for a tag. Trainer Phil D’Amato is 25% off a 90+ day layoff and 18% first-time trainer change, two angles at play here. Also, jockey Tyler Baze is 21% with 90 D’Amato starters. She’s a reach, but ought to be considered if she draws in.


5th Race – Leg C

Overview: This one mile main track test for Cal-bred fillies and mares figures to have a popular play in #7 Cheekaboo. One handicapping question we have is: Where’s the Speed? If you can find the runner to make the lead in here, you just might have the key to an upset play in the pick six. Smaller tickets probably will have to single #7 Cheekaboo from the outside box.

  1. Take It Easyplease 5/2 – Horseplayers that emphasize the importance of class will not like this one. She was second in a $16,000 non-winners of three last out and now moves into an allowance test. However, she’s got some fast sprints in her past performances and she’ll probably attempt to steal this one from an inside post. She moves from the Steve Miyadi barn to the Richard Baltas shedrow and leading rider Bejarano is aboard. He’s 28% with Baltas runners, but the trainer is just 15% first race after a trainer change and, according to Mike Hogan of Daily Racing Form, Baltas is just 18-1-1-4 with a $0.37 ROI over the past five years in the first start following the claim and a layoff of 45 days or more!
  1. Stole A Kiss 6-1 – This 5-year-old mare hasn’t raced on dirt since the fourth start of her career as a 2-year-old right here at Santa Anita. Trainer Keith Desormeaux took this one for $25k last out and, according to Mike Hogan of the Daily Racing Form, the trainer is 23-9-2-2 with a $3.86 ROI over the past five years in dirt routes in the first start following a claim. Brother Kent will handle the riding chores.
  1. Tee Em Eye 12-1 – Look for this one to show more speed with jockey Edwin Maldonado in the irons. She won her first start for trainer Karen Headley, failed in an allowance sprint and now stretches out. At least she’s lightly raced and untested going two turns.
  1. Cheekaboo 5/2 – She’s been in the money in all four starts, including two runner-up finishes before breaking her maiden at one mile over this track. She can’t be ignored and may be a single on some tickets.

6th Race – Leg D

Overview: This $16k sprint for 3-year-olds ought to have one of the afternoon’s most popular singles in #6 Shiny Nugget. He makes sense. Deeper tickets will look for knockout blows in the form of #1 Cherokee Dynasty and perhaps #5 Media Melee. All things considered we couldn’t knock anyone looking to get out of the race with just #6 Shiny Nugget.

  1. Cherokee Dynasty 8-1 – While this one hasn’t raced as fast as others in here, there are subtle signs that this one might be better than shown. Dropped to state-bred maiden $50,000 in his second start after a failed try against solid 3-year-old Ralis and next out winner Hot Ore, this colt used that long Los Alamitos stretch to close to break his maiden. He wasn’t competitive in an allowance race next out and has been gone since that start in early January. He’s a reach in here, but the tumble in class for sharp trainer Steve Miyadi and the presence of the barn’s go-to rider Santiago Gonzalez suggests that maybe there’s more to this one than initially meets the eye.


  1. Media Melee 4-1 – This gelding broke his maiden for $30k last time out in a wire-to-wire effort, his first start in blinkers and second out since being gelded! He’s improved with each race (according to Beyer Speed Figures) and he won’t need much more improvement to handle this group. Trainer Doug O’Neill makes an aggressive move with this one by dropping him in for $16k right out of the maiden score. It is a bit puzzling that jockey Edwin Maldonado is not back in the irons off the winning effort.


  1. Shiny Nugget 9/5 – Can’t argue with anyone looking to single this one in the pick six. That last race is stronger than anything posted by any other runner in this field. ‘Nugget has speed to be in the mix from the start and a repeat of his last will be good enough to win this.


7th Race – Leg E


Overview: Speed’s been strong down the hill this season and there’s plenty of speed signed on in this congregation. Handicappers will need to decide whether to play one of the frontrunners or to look for a closer to buck the trend and to catch the leaders from behind. The rail is expected be out on the course and that position tends to also favor speed.


  1. Big Move 5/2 – Comes off a layoff for trainer Tim Yakteen—he’s just 10% with horses off 90+ days. Leading rider Bejarano is up and together with Yakteen is 28% out of 74 mounts. Big Move has won down the hill.


  1. Madame Mousse 7/2 – Her hill try one back and second career start was a corker and a repeat of that maiden win would top these. She didn’t fare well in a dirt start last out and that matched a poor main track first out. Maybe she’s just better on the weeds?


  1. Moonie 6-1 – Here’s an interesting piece to the puzzle at 6-1. She’s been getting a bit better with each start and just might have enough juice in the tank to move forward once more and to pull an upset in here for the low-profile connections of trainer Edward Freeman and jockey Mario Gutierrez. She’s a bit of a reach, but not out of the question.


8th Race – Leg F

Overview: There’s not much talent in this race, so if any of the first timers can run even a little bit this one is up for grabs. This field of fillies and mares includes four five-year-old maiden mares and one six –year-old! It’s certainly not your father’s Santa Anita nightcap. Nevertheless, players will need to solve this riddle in order to collect that pick six pot of gold.


  1. Sugar Cat 6-1 – She’s a first-time starter from the rail for trainer Kathy Walsh with a couple of quick works at Los Alamitos– :46 3/5 gate move Jan. 30 and a 1:00 gate work on March 5. If she can run at all, she’s got a shot in here. The meet’s second leading rider Santiago Gonzalez is up.


  1. Feather Spirit 6-1 – Breaking from the far outside (one of my favorite gates for a first-timer) is this 5-year-old mare from the Mike Puype barn. This outfit is not known for having first-timers ready to fire…let alone a 5-year-old…but this race is so empty she just might fit on big tickets.


  1. Gymnast Jadie 5-1 – This filly showed speed to better in her first and only start. She takes the most significant class drop in racing—from maiden allowance to maiden ‘bottom’ (in this case Maiden Claiming $20k). Leading jock Bejarano replaces Chantal Kruse in the irons—a notable upgrade. One wrinkle is that Gymnast Judy’s previous outing came over the hillside turf course and today’s contest will be decided at six and one-half furlongs on the main track.


  1. Maid Easy 8-1 – Jockey Chantal Kruse moves from Gymnast Jadie to stay with this filly. Don’t know if she had her choice of mounts, but Maid Easy has a couple of even efforts at the level under her belt this season. She’s not without an outside chance.


    1. Lizzy’s Tizzy 8-1 – Starting at 7/2 odds last out in a field that included #3 Turf Club Queen (a 6-year-old mare at 15-1) and #7 Maid Easy (at 8-1), Lizzy’s Tizzy had a troubled start. Her only other race was a runner-up effort at this level in August at Del Mar in 2014!

The Fat Ticket:
1, 3, 4 with 3, 6, 7 with 3, 5, 7 with 1, 5, 6 with 6, 7 with 6 = $324

The Thin Ticket:
1, 3, 4 with 7 with 7 with 1, 5, 6 with 6, 7 with 6 = $36

BTW if you hit the pick six for mad stacks based on what you read here don’t be ashamed to wet the author’s beak!

Race On!

On Track with Johnny D: St. Pat’s Pot o’ Gold Awaits

On Track with Johnny D |

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