Quick Picks for Saturday, January 11, 2013

Thanks to everyone on Twitter who asked for the races I'll be covering today. As always, if you would ever like me to take a look at a race, let me know on here or Twitter (@chare889). Today, we have a jam-packed race card at Gulfstream Park highlighting the action. If you're playing tomorrow, good luck!

Gulfstream Park R4: Maiden Special Weight--
I won't go into too much detail about this race because I discussed it in my previous post, but I like Alpha Roadster to improve off of his second place finish last time out. Don't leave off the Pletcher firster Constitution, however. His debut is highly anticipated and it wouldn't surprise me if he became a major player in the upcoming Kentucky Derby preps. For more in depth analysis of this race, you can see my analysis and hear Derbyologist and me discuss the race in our Sham Stakes video preview here:

Win: #7 Alpha Roadster (ML 10/1), Place: #6 Constitution (ML 4/1), Show: #2 Juba (ML 5/1)

Gulfstream Park R7: Allowance Optional Claiming $25,000--
This is a tough race being that the top contenders are all coming off of lengthy layoffs, for the most part. The post position is a bit worrisome, but I'm going to side with Secretive. This son of Indian Charlie saw immediate improvement when he switched to the dirt, as he broke his maiden over a mile at Aqueduct in November. He'll be stretching back out to one and one sixteenth miles, but he's placed in longer races on the turf, so that shouldn't be an issue. It's also worth noting that Bellamy Chief, who Secretive defeated in his most recent run, won next time out. Other interesting contenders include Elnaawi, who hasn't ran since finishing fifth in the Wood Memorial and Playing a Joke, who has been off since July, but has a sparkling record over the main track at Gulfstream.

Win: #11 Secretive (ML 5/1), Place: #6 Playing a Joke (ML 20/1), Show: #2 Elnaawi (ML 3/1)

Aqueduct R8: Allowance--
As is the case at so many tracks at this time of year, it looks like weather will be a factor at Aqueduct. The forecast suggests rain, so I'll be handicapping this race anticipating a wet track. In that case, I quite like Billy The Bull. Yes, he's been off for nearly a year, but this son of Holy Bull out of an A.P. Jet (son of an In Reality mare) should take to a wet track and he's typically forwardly placed, which should benefit him here. Irad Ortiz gets the mount. 

Win: #8 Billy the Bull (ML 6/1), Place: #5 Marriedtothemusic (ML 4/5), Show: #7 Ed's Magic (ML 4/1)

Oaklawn Park R6: Starter Allowance $30,000--
The weather has been a bit up in the air at Oaklawn, but the forecast looks clear, so I'll handicap this race on the premise that the track has dried and is rated at least good. The son of Street Cry, Barrio Baby, should appreciate the cutback to a mile after narrowly being edged out for second over a mile and an eighth in a NW1 allowance won by Pick of the Litter back in November. Others to consider include Bill of Rights who has consistently ran well while rising through the claiming ranks, as of late and Seven Slews, who impressively won a SNW1 allowance at Remington last time out. If the track is still sloppy, however, be sure to include Doctor Peter, who has ran well over those conditions at Oaklawn in the past.

Win: #2 Barrio Baby (ML 4/1), Place: #5 Bill of Rights (ML 5/2), Show: #3 Seven Slews (ML 12/1)

Santa Anita R7: Claiming $25,000-$22,500--
Kudos to @Dmrsurfside for making my life easy by asking me to handicap a race that includes two horses I've been following for quite some time. I've been a big fan of Danderek since last summer. In his last five races, he's only finished outside of the top three once and has notched two wins. In my opinion, he's the best horse in this race. Rafael Bejarano gets the mount on this eight-year-old son of Fantastic Light, but I fear starting from stall ten will severely hamper his chances. The other horse in this race from my virtual stable is Anythingscookin and he'll be my top choice here. He'll be on the lead in what will be his second start off the layoff. He has a nice record over the Santa Anita turf course and his last race was better than it looks. He set the pace and faded to fifth in a race that saw closers finishing in the top positions. If he can slow things down out front, he could take them from gate to wire. 

Win: #5 Anythingscookin (ML 6/1), Place: #10 Danderek (ML 3/1), Show: #6 Botch (ML 8/1)

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