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Santa Anita Handicap 2017
Santa Anita Handicap Predictions
By Brent Sedo
The feature event among other graded-stakes events, the Santa Anita Handicap field will include Shaman Ghost (2-1), last seen finishing a solid second to Breeder's Cup Classic winner Arrogate in the (G1) Pegasus World Cup.
Since winning Canada's top race, the Queen's Plate in 2015, Shaman Ghost has shown improvement as an older horse, with a pair of graded-stakes wins in the US last year, including the Grade 1 Woodward at Saratoga, where he scored the 9-1 upset over the heavily favored Frosted.
Posessing excellent tactical speed and a solid kick into the lane, expect Shaman Ghost to settle off the pace down the backstretch and then try to reel in the front runners as the field turns for home.
One of those he'll likely have to run down is Midnight Storm (8-5), a former turf runner who is two-for-two since being switched to dirt by trainer Phil D'Amato.
Breaking from the inside post in the SA Handicap, jockey Rafael Bejerano is expected to gun for the lead right out of the gate and then play catch-me-if-you-can with the rest of the field. He won't want to face too much early pressure so he still has something left in the tank when the charge from the back begins. His ability to get the 1 1/4 mile distance is somewhat in question, particularly since, like Shaman Ghost, he'll be carrying high weight in the field at 122 pounds.
One hoping to emulate the turf-to-dirt success of Midnight Storm is Isotherm (12-1), a late runner who comes in off a win in the 1 1/4 mile (G2) San Marcos Stakes on the turf at Santa Anita, a race where the final half mile was run more than two seconds faster than the opening half mile. If he can show that kind of late speed on the dirt track, Isotherm couldl be in the mix as they approach the wire.
Undefeated in his first six starts in his native Argentina, Hi Happy (12-1) shipped north and made his US racing debut in the (G2) Seabiscuit Handicap at Del Mar, finishing seventh in a strong field.
He showed lots of improvement last out in the San Marcos, where he was able to make a bid for the lead at the top of the lane, before being nosed out of third place at the wire. He'll be getting lasix for the first time in the SA Handicap, and that might be the difference in helping him move forward into the top three.
The Santa Anita Handicap goes Saturday, March 11 from Santa Anita Race Track. Post time is 5:00 PM Pacific.
Entries w/ML Odds
1) Midnight Storm (8-5)
2) Gangster (30-1)
3) Shaman Ghost (2-1)
4) Isotherm (12-1)
5) Hard Aces (15-1)
6) Follow Me Crev (8-1)
7) Twentytwentyvision (12-1)
8) Hi Happy (12-1)
9) Imperative (5-1)
#1 - Shaman Ghost
#2 - Isotherm
#3 - Hi Happy
#4 - Midnight Storm
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