GamingToday welcomes Jon Lindo, a syndicated handicapper, long-time thoroughbred owner, publisher of the Lindo Report, and contributor to Race Day Las Vegas and Thoroughbred Los Angeles radio shows
Arrogate, the best horse in the world according to international rankings, will head a very representative group of U.S.-based runners on the Dubai World Cup program this Saturday.
After upsetting California Chrome in the $6 million Breeders Cup Classic at Santa Anita last November, the Bob Baffert trained Arrogate validated that effort by dominating the $12 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 28. A win in the 1-1/4 mile $10 million Dubai World Cup this Saturday would bring his earnings in those three races alone to over $13 million dollars. He will be odds on to do just that with regular rider Mike Smith.
Others expected for the World Cup include the U.S.-based Gun Runner, Hoppertunity, Keen Ice, and Neolithic. Four Japanese-based runners, including the temperamental Lani, and as many as five horses based in Dubai fill out the World Cup lineup.
Four American runners are expected to compete in the $2 million Golden Shaheen at six furlongs on dirt, including Mind Your Biscuits, Stallwalkin’ Dude, Imperial Hint, and the California-based St. Joe Bay for current Santa Anita leading trainer Peter Miller.
The Al Quoz, a turf sprint lengthened from five furlongs to six this year, has attracted Americans Long On Value and Richard’s Boy. Norberto Arroyo Jr. will be in from California for the call on the Peter Miller trained Richard’s Boy.
The $6 million Sheema Classic on turf is expected to be headed by Breeders Cup Turf winner Highland Reel along with the defending champ Postponed. Sharp Azteca may be the single American hope in the Godolphin Mile.
Epicharis, who earned 50 qualifying points and a spot in the Kentucky Derby winning the Hyacinth Stakes in Tokyo in February, is expected to start in the UAE Derby. Trainer Todd Pletcher is expected to start Master Plan, who most recently raced in the OBS Championships in Ocala Florida.
Make plans to get up early Saturday morning to catch all of the action on a fantastic card of racing from Meydan City in Dubai.
Apprentice jockeys Austin Solis and Evin Roman were each disqualified in separate incidents in turf races down the tricky hillside course last week. Both young riders showed their inexperience and lack of strength trying to get their mounts to run a straight course. I would demand stronger jockeys when playing races down the hillside turf sprints at Santa Anita.
• Long-time horseplayer advocate and self-appointed “watchdog” Andy Asaro has posted requests on website message boards like www.paceadvantage.com asking fellow horseplayers to boycott betting on races from Santa Anita from March 23-26.
This is in response to the problems with the Jackpot Pick Six format that reared its ugly head again on March 5 when the ninth and final race originally scheduled for the turf was switched to the main track while the horses were in the paddock in race eight.
This resulted in all selected runners being considered winners for that specific wager and in essence ensured no single ticket could win the jackpot.
It will be interesting this week to see if the handle drops on the Pick Six at Santa Anita.
I understand the California Horse Racing Board will discuss amending the rules for the Jackpot Pick Six to cover such situations at an upcoming meeting, so kudos to Asaro for making enough noise to be heard.
• Speaking of jackpot pick sixes, the Santa Anita Pick Six Jackpot going into Thursday is $346,241. The minimum bet is $2. Gulfstream Park’s Rainbow Six is just a $.20 minimum wager and that jackpot has now grown to $856,950 going into Wednesday’s program.
• Santa Anita based jockeys competing on the Dubai World Cup this Saturday include Mike Smith, Victor Espinoza, and Norberto Arroyo Jr.
• Note that the turf course was much kinder to speed over the weekend. Watch to see if this trend continues, though likely rain Tuesday and Wednesday of this week and possible rain on Saturday could change things.
Top Lindo play
Santa Anita, Thursday, Race 5, Will Tell (No. 6): Grey gelding didn’t appear to care for route game March 4. He shortens back to a sprint and should get a nice pace pressing trip from outside post. A potential single to cap off the Santa Anita Pick Five on Thursday.