by Jeremy Plonk
September 24, 2020
Santa Anita’s anticipated autumn meet opens Friday. Whether you’re a regular to the circuit or dropping by for the big weekend cards, the 1/ST BET app can help you bridge the gap with a data-driven process.
Selections provided by the 1/ST INDEX measure each contender against the 10 leading factors for each race. The 1/ST BET app looks at 52 handicapping factors and more than 200,000 past races to determine its AI selections. You can use the automated handicapping factors, or create your own factor filters to incorporate angles you prefer.
Xpressbet and 1/ST handicapper Jeremy Plonk provides his human insights to the AI picks for the Santa Anita Opening Day card.
RACE 1 (3:30PM ET) // OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 5 1/2 FURLONGS (TURF)
#6 Lucky Peridot (4/1) // 31% Win
#2 Fantasy Heat (5/2) // 21% Win
#1 Watch Me Burn (7/2) // 19% Win
#5 Mischiffie (2/1) // 14% Win
Jeremy’s Take: The 31% win rate for Lucky Peridot is second-highest on the program. She’s got a great post for a small field, and trainer Peter Miller has exceptional numbers at the Santa Anita autumn meet historically and in turf sprints here. Plenty to like. Rail speed of Watch Me Burn also intrigues in a race surprisingly short on early speed.
RACE 2 (4:05PM ET) // CLAIMING // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT)
#6 Trouville (4/1) // 27% Win
#5 Dehydration (3/1) // 23% Win
#3 High On Gin (6/5) // 14% Win
#1 La Rosa Drive (12/1) // 13% Win
Jeremy’s Take: The algorithm snubs 6-5 morning line choice High On Gin, who won last out on a big class drop and now takes a minor rise. Shorter distance may favor Dehydration in a rematch between those two, but there’s a decent amount of pace pressure. Flavien Prat takes over Trouville, which never hurts. No strong opinion here and a spread for me if playing multi-race bets.
RACE 3 (4:38PM ET) // CLAIMING // 5 1/2 FURLONGS (TURF)
#7 Ultimate Bango (5/2) // 23% Win
#6 Oil Can Knight (10/1) // 21% Win
#5 Psycho Dar (6/1) // 13% Win
#2 Blackout (3/1) // 11% Win
Jeremy’s Take: There’s not much separating Ultimate Bango and Oil Can Knight in the 1/ST INDEX, but the latter’s morning line price makes him the more attractive option, though mostly unproven on grass. Blackout should factor with a good draw for aforementioned SA autumn/turf sprint ace barn of Peter Miller and is my pick.
RACE 4 (5:10PM ET) // CLAIMING // 1 MILE (DIRT)
#4 Polar Wind (9/5) // 25% Win
#5 Promise Nothing (8/1) // 20% Win
#7 The Stiff (5/1) // 15% Win
#1 Race Home (10/1) // 14% Win
Jeremy’s Take: The horse who sits third behind speedsters Bronn and Promise Nothing should get a dynamite trip. Polar Wind or Big Hoof Dynamite appear most likely to be in that spot, and both broke their maiden over the SA main track. Comes down to the better price on those two for me.
RACE 5 (5:41PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT // 5 1/2 FURLONGS (TURF)
#9 Cassie Belle (5/2) // 32% Win
#8 Rickie Nine Toe’s (6/1) // 14% Win
#4 Bella Chica (5/1) // 11% Win
#2 Spanish Channel (20/1) // 11% Win
Jeremy’s Take: The 32% win rate for Cassie Belle is highest on today’s card and the 18-point spread to the second choice also is a daily high. This appears a solid single by the 1/ST INDEX and the 5-2 morning line price would be attractive. Big rider upgrade to Prat and will be rallying wide from tough post. If she’s beaten, it’s likely by early speed, so rail heat from Eddie’s Sister would be an alternative.
RACE 6 (6:12PM ET) // CHILLINGWORTH STAKES (G2) // 6 1/2 FURLONGS (DIRT)
#2 Qahira (2/1) // 30% Win
#7 Amuse (5/2) // 18% Win
#1 Message (7/2) // 17% Win
#5 Hang a Star (4/1) // 15% Win
Jeremy’s Take: The 12-point spread between Bob Baffert-trained Qahira and the rest of the field is the third-highest on today’s program, and yet the top four in the morning line for the Chillingworth are rather compact prices. She and stablemate Message appear to control the speed in a race not as fleet early as you’d expect for a sprint stakes. One of them should deliver.
RACE 7 (6:43PM ET) // EDDIE D STAKES (G2) // 5 1/2 FURLONGS (TURF)
#4 Grit and Curiosity (6/1) // 28% Win
#7 Big Runnuer (3/1) // 22% Win
#6 El Tigre Terrible (4/1) // 13% Win
#2 Give Me the Lute (12/1) // 11% Win
Jeremy’s Take: At 6-1 odds, Grit and Curiosity is the second-highest morning line price offered on top today by the 1/ST INDEX. He’s one of 2 interesting players for the aforementioned turf sprint powerhouse of Peter Miller, along with El Tigre Terrible. The price will be more attractive on the former, while the local experience sides to the latter. I’m in the El Tigre Terrible camp after his last impressed this eye. Curiously, the computer shows no love for 5-2 morning line chalk Wildman Jack under Abel Cedillo, who was a stakes star here in the 2019 SA autumn stand.
RACE 8 (7:14PM ET) // CLAIMING // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT)
#5 Fratelli (3/1) // 25% Win
#1 Nesbitt (4/1) // 15% Win
#3 Sly (6/1) // 13% Win
#11 Zorich (7/2) // 9% Win
Jeremy’s Take: Fratelli is a pretty solid choice and could add to a monster opening day for Peter Miller. He goes first off the claim, but looks like a good fit at the class/trip. Nesbitt likely the one to catch from the rail also playable. Don’t sleep on Bedrock, whose maiden win last out was a breakout performance for a horse whose dirt form has been clouded by poor turf results.
RACE 9 (7:45PM ET) // OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 1 MILE (TURF)
#1 Gypsy Spirit (GB) (3/1) // 25% Win
#6 Awesome Drive (5/1) // 20% Win
#5 Unicorn (10/1) // 15% Win
#2 Avenue de France (FR) (5/1) // 14% Win
Jeremy’s Take: Gypsy Spirit merits respect, but has been the beaten favorite at 6-5 and 7-5 in her last 2 races. You’re free to shop a little. Speedball Kitty Boom Boom will be the one to catch, and the 1/ST INDEX dismisses her as the 5-2 morning line favorite. That said, perhaps this is a race for a price. Unicorn’s 10-1 price attracts after racing farther in her last 2 starts and returning to a winning distance for her 3 starts back. Avenue de France gets a positive pace set-up for what looks to be the race’s best finishing kick.
RACE 10 (8:16PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT)
#9 Suezaaana (8/1) // 26% Win
#14 Scream and Shout (3/1) // 11% Win
#7 Enriched by Deb (10/1) // 10% Win
#13 Into Victory (4/1) // 10% Win
Jeremy’s Take: The 15-point spread between Suezaana and her rivals is the second-largest on today’s card. If it’s not her, then it’s open season, and that’s usually a solid place to focus, much less at an 8-1 morning line price (the best price on a top choice today from the 1/ST INDEX). Fair to be reserved on one that’s 0-15 lifetime, however, so demand a fair price, which I’d set around 6-1. Speedster Scream and Shout has some stamina questions, but just might run most of these off their feet. Into Victory could be the best finisher in the bunch and looks reliable for a top-3 finish.