Santa Anita Handicap; A Few from the Breeders’ Cup Classic Ready to Battle
Santa Anita Handicap 2014; A Few from the Breeders’ Cup Classic Ready to Battle: The 2014 Santa Anita Handicap is set for Saturday, March 8th, 2014 in balmy Arcadia California at Santa Anita Park. It is a (GI) race for horses four-years-old and up shooting for a grand prize of $750,000 running 1 1/4 miles on the dirt.
“The Big Cap” as it’s often referred to, was held in 1935 after the track opened in late 1934 and offered a minimum purse of $100,000, which was quite a large sum for a horse race back then. In its early years, the race was dubbed the “Hundred-Grander” by horsemen and racing media. The nickname “The Big Cap” has also been in-use dating back to that era.
Seabiscuit is one of the most prominent figures from the early years of the race, which proved to be a metaphor for his career. In his first two attempts to win it in 1937 and 1938, he lost in photo finishes, with the second loss to a horse carrying 30 pounds less than he was. He suffered what was believed to be a career-ending injury while preparing for the 1939 edition. Amazingly, he came back to run in the “Hundred-Grander” in 1940, finally winning in what would be his last race. If you haven’t seen the movie “Seabiscuit”, I highly recommend it.
The speed record for the Santa Anita Handicap is held by Affirmed at 1:58.60 in 1979. The most wins are from 4 horses with 2 a piece: John Henry (1981,1982), Milwaukee Brew (2002,2003), Lava Man (2006,2007) and Game On Dude (2011,2013). The most wins by a jockey is by Bill Shoemaker with 11 and the most wins for a trainer are 8 for Charlie Whittingham.
Santa Anita Park is putting on a Big ‘Cap Day Festival infield that starts at noon which includes music, craft beer, VIP and General admission packages with lots of fun freebies. There will be over $1.6 million at stakes for the horses so get out there and take advantage of the late guaranteed $500,000 pick 4. Also, Santa Anita Park will be gifting tickets to the first 15,000 fans in attendance. These tickets will be for General Admission to the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Friday races on October 31st, 2014. Can we say “Hello Halloween” in a better way? It’s their way of saying “Thank You.” Go online to Santa Anita Park and check it out.
The 2014 Santa Anita Handicap is the 9th race of the day on a card of 11 with a start time of 4:00 pm PST. Saturdays entire card looks fantastic which includes race #5 the San Felipe Stakes (GII), race #7 the San Carlos Stakes (GII) and race #8 the Frank E. Kilroe Mile Stakes (GI).
Guest Handicapper Sigifredo Mendoza: This week we have the return of our guest handicapper Sigifredo Mendoza, to take on this monster race. Just in case you missed his great ‘cappin of the Risen Star, where he picked the winner Intense Holiday, here is a little bit about my friend along with his picks and analysis. Sigifredo Mendoza (Sigi), is a Venezuelan Industrial Engineer who is 30 years-old and loves horse racing. He mostly follows racing in the United States and South America as those are his favorites. Sigi has been following United States racing since 1996, loves the racehorse Cigar and has just kept on doing it. His grandfather started with the tradition years back and almost bought a horse but for some reason declined the negotiation. (Then the filly won 12 races…..haha). He is an amateur handicapper and mostly does it for fun! Take it away Sigi!
Sigi’s Picks: This is not the Breeders’ Cup rematch everyone is pointing to between Mucho Macho Man and Will Take Charge. Looking at the Big Cap field, I think this is a different situation. This time out, Game On Dude is in a very good post position which should allow him to take the lead without pressure (there are no speed horses outside of him) plus the lack of speed in the race, to set the pace. Despite all, Mucho Macho Man is a horse who loves the Santa Anita Track and is in his best form, ready to chase the pace and strike at the right moment. His last work was really impressive and he’s ready to roll. Another horse I really like in this race is Blingo, who ran well last time out, showing the ability of his early years. I know Will Take Charge is going to be one of the favorites but the pace scenario and inside draw may hurt him. I don’t think Santa Anita is the best track for this guy. So my pick is Mucho Macho Man to win, followed up with Blingo and Game On Dude and I’ll be playing an exacta 2/3-7. I’m taking a few lines to write about the South American horses this week at Santa Anita and Gulfstream. In the Frank E. Kilroe, the champion miler in Argentina, Winning Prize and the graded stakes winner Suggestive Boy are looking to hit the board. I think Winning Prize will be very tough. Suggestive Boy might need the race but is a good one to follow. In the Gulfstream Park Handicap the great runner Brujo de Olleros, a horse who started his career in Maronas – Uruguay, is a “pingo” in my book. In South America, when a horse is really good, they call him a “pingo”. (I, horseflynawall, personally love this). His last work indicates he’s ready to run a big one. Some friends ask me, “Is Brujo a real pingo?” I answer, firmly “Yes.”
Sigi has called the 2014 Santa Anita Handicap like I see it and we are pretty much on the same page. So here is my goofy two-cents. I’m somewhat biased with Mucho Macho Man being my favorite, so I’m glad I’ll be south of the border and not tempted to wager. This looks like a big chalk-fest to me between Mucho Macho Man, Game On Dude & Will Take Charge. I want Mucho to win but I have to say Game On Dude looks a little scary in here. With Blueskiesnrainbows out, he’ll have control of the speed and if he’s loose on the lead, could be “Game Over”. I don’t think they’ll send Mucho to the front, so he’ll stalk and try to press the pace. Will Take Charge may get bundled up in the back but if he gets his usual late run going, he could turn the tables after losing by a nostril in the Classic.
Game On Dude has a nice post with the #7, could make history here with a third win in this race and I don’t know, I wouldn’t be all that sad to see him steal it. He should have better odds of the three returnees from the Classic and could burn the metal right off his shoes. However, Mucho Macho Man is working like a monster right now and is my favorite. I’m tossed, time for a beer and the beach. At least Sigi can make a decision in this race.
I want to sincerely thank Sigi for taking the time to look this over and handicap this race. Nice job and looking forward to your South American boys this weekend. He always does a fantastic job and I can’t wait to share another article with him soon and pick more Pingos. Sigi and I have so much fun chatting on Twitter and he’s a great person to follow for great tips to horses. If you would like to follow him his Twitter address is @sigimendoza and mine is @horseflynawall. Good luck to everyone and safe race.
Santa Anita Handicap 2014 Post Positions & Odds
1. Will Take Charge 2/1 L.Seaz/D.Lukas
2. Mucho Macho Man 9/5 G.Stevens/K.Ritvo
3. Blingo 8/1 A.Gryder/J.Shirreffs
4. Imperative 12/1 K.Desormeaux/G.Papaprodromou
5. Rousing Sermon 12/1 R.Bejarano/J.Hollendorfer
6. American Blend 20/1 J.Talamo/C.Gaines
7. Game On Dude 5/2 M.Smith/B.Baffert
8. Hear the Ghost 20/1 J.Rosario/J.Hollendorfer
7 Game On Dude $9.60 to Win, $3.60 to Place, $3.60 to Show
1 Will Take Charge $3.00 to Place, $2.60 to Show
3 Blingo $5.40 to Show
Also ran: 2 – Mucho Macho Man , 8 – Hear the Ghost , 5 – Rousing Sermon , 4 – Imperative , 6 – American Blend