This Weekend’s California Horse Racing Pushed Back By Rain

Written By Dave Bontempo on March 23, 2023 - Last Updated on March 24, 2023
Handicapping Santa Anita's weekend slate

The Great Race Place juggled this weekend’s schedule.

Friday’s card at Santa Anita in Arcadia was canceled amid prospects for three inches of rain. It will be made up Monday on a special card that includes free admission, program and parking along with $2 hot dogs, $3 beers and $5 margaritas.

Saturday’s nine-race card starts at 1 p.m. and will be highlighted by the $100,000 Desert Stormer, a six-furlong sprint that drew a field of five.

Sunday’s nine-card begins at 1 p.m.

California horse racing bettors can wager remotely through the TVG app. Additionally, they can access the action all weekend on FanDuel TV, varied simulcast outlets or by attending the events in person at the Arcadia oval.

A Look Behind Cancellation Decision

The track continues emphasizing horse racing safety. Last year, Santa Anita officials said it had one of the best safety records of all the horse tracks in North America.

By making decisions in advance, Santa Anita also maintains the ability to reschedule events on dark days.

This trend might catch on one day across the entire industry. Tracks could embrace the potential of rainouts by seeking additional replacement days in advance. A postponement won’t have to cause a disruption

“By running on Monday instead of Friday, we’re going to allow both the main track and our turf course an extra day to dry out before we run on Saturday,” said Santa Anita Director of Racing and Racing Secretary Jason Egan. “This will also enable us to run on the grass all three days and it will give horses a chance to return to training prior to racing this weekend.”

Saturday’s Feature: The Desert Stormer

Bettors look for advantageous spots, regardless of race level. The main event has only five horses, but it may be tricky.

The small number of entries will appeal to bettors in their handicapping. Prices won’t be solid, but gamblers may feel confident about a selection and load up more in a situation like this.

From the rail out

Violent Runner

She won several consecutive races, but hit a wall in the $100,000 Las Flores, finishing a well-beaten sixth. She ran well to the turn and didn’t have it.

However, she rebounded at seven furlongs in a lower-level race and comes up again, hoping for a better result.

Half Past Twelve

This is her first race since last June after peaking at the allowance level. The first goal after that type of break is to refresh for the upcoming season. As a result, contending here would be a bonus.

Dance to the Music

Where’s the tune? She finished fifth, fifth and ninth in her last three races. This isn’t the pattern of an endorsement coming into this.

Elm Drive

She hasn’t raced since September. In that race, she ran hard to the turn and disappeared from contention.

Stella Noir

She won at allowance optional claiming and was in contention around the turn in the Wishing Well Stakes. But she hasn’t delivered in stakes company

Betting Observations

Even with just a five-horse field, you still have to wonder who to trust. This is tough to call because none of these horses have the profile of a winner.

Trainers all think the field isn’t loaded and any improvement by their entry will get the job done. For bettors, this is a looks play. See who appears eager to run that day or go with a connection you like.

If nothing looks strong to you, pass.

Here’s another race, the highest purse in a non-stakes affair, at $67,000. It is one mile on the turf. Don’t get your hopes up. It doesn’t look much easier.

Here’s the field from the rail out:

Be Punctual

He finished fifth in debut. Now, he tries the turf.

Country Boy

An improving fourth at this level on his second try and might be a fit. But he must stretch to 1 mile.

Johnny Paycheck

He tries to take this job and loves it. He must stretch out from six furlongs but has the tutelage of Phil D’Amato, one of Santa Anita’s leading trainers.

Silent Heat

It’s his first time on the turf and just his second race. He finished seventh in his debut.

Old Pal

Like Silent Heat, it’s just his second race and first time on turf. However, he finished second in his debut. Connections hope that a horse running well will take to the new surface.

J.D’s Rude Boy

Bettors will flock to him for two reasons. Firstly, he has done 1 mile on the turf. Although he finished seventh, that will be a significant accomplishment in this field.

Second, he then went 1 1-8 miles and finished fourth. He comes into a very good spot.

My Ransom

The ninth at a mile on the turf may do him no favors, but a subsequent second and third on shorter turf surfaces will. Having run three straight times on turf will be considered a positive in a turf race.

Chrome To Riches

The turf might not be his spot, but bettors will spot the California Chrome breeding and perhaps believe he is suited to go long, turf or not.

Ahh, California Chrome. The name always makes Golden State bettors smile.

They made plenty with him when California Chrome won the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. Additionally, he won the Dubai World Cup. He was twice named American Horse of the Year.

And this year, with his first year of eligibility, he’s on the ballot for the National Racing Museum Hall of Fame.

In this race, bettors may not trust too much back form. But they may reach an easy conclusion and that’s valuable in any event.

Other Options at the Great Race Place

Between races 6 and 7 Saturday at Santa Anita, Golden State bettors can access the Louisiana Derby, the latest Kentucky Derby Prep.

Just as the San Felipe stakes here on March 4 crowned an entry in Practical Move, the $1 million Louisiana Derby is an excellent betting race. There are 12 entries.

Major contenders include the red-hot Instant Coffee, winner of the Lecomte, and Sun Thunder, who finished second in the most advanced Louisiana Derby prep, the $400,000 Risen Star.

Check out who might join California-baptized Practical Move in the Run for the Roses on May 6.

And Don’t Forget Golden Gate Fields

Located up in Berkeley, this is a Friday-Sunday meet featuring a fun level of racing. You can bet it via the app, Fan Duel TV or by simulcasting at Santa Anita.

Angles matter here just as anywhere else. At Golden Gate, speed is usually rewarded and the track can pay big too.

And the exceptions will pay big.

In just a six-horse field in last Friday’s opener, Griffith Park shook free on the lead at 20-1. Rancho Red ran him down to win at 7-1 and The Chief Has Tricks rallied into third at 12-1.

The $1 trifecta paid $223.

That’s awfully nice for a short field.

And guess who just won a race up there last weekend? None other than Tripoli, who captured the 2021 Pacific Classic at Del Mar.

Bettors Nailing It: Santa Anita Highlights from Last Weekend

The gamblers are on a roll, picking out the chalk even in large fields and playing them.

Short-priced winners were all over the place last weekend as gamblers appropriately bet down the horses they liked.

One nice payday illustrated the magic of a big field, even when chalk reigns supreme.

In Friday’s race 7, bulging with 15 entries, gamblers correctly forecast that Soul of Midnight would run his second strong good race in two tries. They made him the 8-5 favorite and he won with the urgency of someone running late for a train.

Although he romped, second went to Glass Beach at 13-1 and third to Buck Owens at 10-1. The $1 trifecta paid $405, a handsome return for a favorite on top.

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Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo is a writer for PlayCA, and has covered the horse racing and boxing industry extensively since the 1980s. He was an award-winning writer at the Press of Atlantic City. As a broadcaster, he has won the Sam Taub Award for Excellence in Boxing Broadcasting, issued by the Boxing Writers Association of America. He has called major fights for HBO, ESPN, Showtime, and other networks since the 1980s. He is in the New Jersey and Atlantic City Boxing Halls of Fame. Dave shifted gears to cover the emerging legalized sports-betting industry in 2018. He now serves as the go-to authority on horse race betting across multiple websites, including PlayCA and California Casinos.

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