Down to the Wire + Weekend Quick Picks 1/10/2015

This week on Down to the Wire, we discussed the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita -- a race in which both of us are firmly against the heavy morning line favorite Calculator. Below, you can also find my plays for the weekend meeting from Sha Tin and I'll be posting full card analysis and plays for Sunday at Santa Anita for DanonymousRacing and I'll post a link to that here when it becomes available.

Sha Tin (Hong Kong) Plays:

Race 4: #9 Precision King
Precision King is a runner who wants and needs the lead, so when he hopped out of the gate last time out, his race was over right there as he had to work much to hard to get to his preferred position out in front, Here, however, he's drawn beautifully in stall two from which he should be able to get to the lead without too much effort if he jumps alright. There is one other source of early speed here in California Bounty, who is drawn in stall nine, but doesn't do his best running over 1200m. Aside from that, I don't see much other early speed and if Precision King is allowed to lope along out front at a good tempo, he could perhaps eek out one more victory at this level.
Play: #9 Precision King to win/show & 9 / 1, 2, 3, 12 / 1, 2, 3, 12 

Race 5: #10 Athena Baby
Three-year-old son of Swiss Ace made a good impression in his debut over 1200m in which he not only closed well into a slow pace, but looked a horse who'd prefer further, which he'll get here. Not to mention he figures to improve in what will be his second local start and he's drawn well here. 
Play: #10 Athena Baby to win/show

Race 10: #1 Universal Union
Universal Union has for the most part ran well in the time he's been in Hong Kong, particularly over this course and distance. While he disappointed last time out, he was found to have bled, so that run can be forgiven. He lost by only a short head two back over this distance when carrying only one pound less, so he certainly fits at this level. Most importantly, however, he'll be wearing blinkers for the first time here, which figures to allow him further improvement as he's notoriously been one who's lost focus at crucial times in races. Moreira aboard for the first time never hurts either. 
Play: #1 Universal Union to win 

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