Well, the best-laid plans of mice and men. Our three best long shots of the day Saturday — Hot Grip, America’s Starlett and I’ll Prey for You — all ran out, but I’ll Prey for You was right there for second at 18-1 before having to settle for a close fourth. The thing is, when you play long shots, all you must do is hit a very low percentage and you make money. Imagine how long a horse like Peace Pledge (81-1) can keep you going.
A look at today’s card:
Beforeshewasmama (first race), Seasons (fifth), Rough Idea (eighth), and Lady Elizabeth (10th) offer the best price plays.
Beforeshewasmama has been beaten double digits in both career starts and is 30-1 on the morning line, but she’s the only one of the 4-year-old fillies who is stretching out to two turns for the first time and she might like the added distance. Don’t dismiss her.
Seasons has the added attraction of the Alex Solis-Patrick Gallagher team, which is potent. The 5-year-old mare was off slowly last time and a bit rank, but she was closing in the stretch and undoubtedly needed the race after an 11-month layoff.
Rough Idea stretched out to a mile last time and is back to maybe her preferred distance at 6 1/2 furlongs down the hill. He retains the services of the capable Enriquez if he draws in off the also-eligible list.
Finally, the nightcap is a wide-open affair and includes five horses that could win, six if you include one off the also-eligible list. Lady Elizabeth is the best price play, but Formal Rush, Mark Set Go, Ready Maid, Trick a Cat and Britney Heat are all live.
Some other key horses to watch:
First — CONCINNOUS is sitting on a score today. She was four-wide into the stretch last out and looks tough here. STAR’S PROMISE is the filly to beat, but she’s going against the synthetic track’s anti-speed bias right now.
Second — E BRADLEY might be the best bet of the day with Richard Migliore in the saddle. Watch out for first-time starter Warren’s Sassy Cat, however. The morning works for his debut are not bad and he’s 12-1 on the morning line. I expect that price to come down.
Fourth — G.I. BETTY figures to be closing in the stretch for the dynamite duo of Solis and trainer Bruce Headley. If she doesn’t get to the wire first, TONJA’S WORLD just might.
Fifth — KALOOKAN YEAR deserves a look in this spot. She was wide into the stretch last time and retains the services of Joel Rosario, who is having a banner meet.
Seventh — The other candidate for best bet of the day is ALMACITA, who broke slowly last time but drops back into a sprint and will be closing in the stretch. Michael Baze stays aboard.
Ninth — If Zenyatta makes this dance, it could be one of the best Santa Margarita Handicaps in recent years. Nashoba’s Key vs. the unbeaten Zenyatta? What more needs to be said. I’ll stick with the champ, Nashoba’s Key, until Zenyatta wins a Grade I, but don’t get caught up in the hoopla and ignore the Bobby Frankel-trained Double Trouble here. She’s dangerous.