Champagne Picks 12/29: Santa Anita Park

Juvenile expert Andrew Champagne takes a look at the second race at Santa Anita
Andrew Champagne
Sat, December 28, 6:32 AM EST

I love Sunday’s second race at Santa Anita. It’s drawn a full field of 2-year-old fillies set to go a mile on the turf, and we’re likely to get solid prices across the board. It’s the type of race I get really excited for, and if the morning line odds hold up, I think there’s a real chance for us to make some money. Let’s take a look!

The Top Pick (Maybe)

#14 NU PI LAMBDA needs some luck to draw in, as she’s the third also-eligible on the list. However, if she gets in, I think she’s the horse to beat. This race is pretty light on early speed, and she’s shown a lot of it in her three starts to date.

Nu Pi Lambda hasn’t gone two turns yet, but I don’t think that’ll be a problem. Offspring of City Zip can go long, and I think she may get a very easy trip if she makes the lead and clears the field. I’m taking the stance that she’d be tough to catch if that setup materializes, so I sincerely hope she draws in.

The European Invaders

#9 BROADBEACH is the morning line favorite after running second in her unveiling overseas. She ran well at a big price at Newmarket and will get the services of Joel Rosario here. Additionally, #8 REDUCTA rallied to be third in her American debut earlier this month at Del Mar, and it’s logical to think she’ll take a step forward second off the bench.

There are some holes here. Broadbeach hasn’t run since August, and Reducta likely needs to improve a bit to get the job done here. However, I need to use them both, especially since it’s not like the U.S.-based runners have done a whole lot to this point.

The Longshot Who May Want Turf

#11 HONOR HOP showed little in her debut going short on dirt at Keeneland. She was ninth of 12 that day and shows up here for new trainer Patrick Gallagher. With that being said, though, I think there’s some stuff to like here. She’s bred to go long, and the presence of damsire Dynaformer in her pedigree hints that she could want the lawn. Add in that Joel Rosario saw fit to ride in that debut effort, and I think there’s some talent here.

Honor Hop is 20-1 on the morning line, and there are plenty of unknowns to consider. However, if you’re going price-shopping in this big field, this is the longshot I’d recommend. There’s a chance this is the trip she wants, and perhaps she’ll improve with a start under her belt.

How I’ll Play It

Obviously, this centers around if my top pick draws in. If she does, I’ll be keying her up and down in exactas with the other three horses I’ve mentioned. If she doesn’t, I’ll simply box the underneath horses.

2 units: Exacta key box, 14 w/8,9,11 (if 14 runs)

2 units: Exacta box, 8,9,11 (if 14 does not run)

By Andrew Champagne

Andrew Champagne
AndrewChampagne
Andrew Champagne is a horse racing handicapper with a specialism in juveniles. One thing is for certain, Champagne gets the party started.
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