By Michael Patricks
Golden Gate Fields winds up its Fall race meeting with 12 races this Saturday and Sunday. Los Alamitos, by comparison, will offer twin-bill racing programs all weekend long and be the sole point of focus from southern California. The Jockey Club will be open at 10 a.m. Thursday through Sunday next week, even though northern California will remain dark through Christmas Day. Santa Anita and Golden Gate will begin their primary race-meetings on Wednesday, December 26th and doors will open at 10 a.m. here in Santa Rosa with great anticipation for Malibu Stakes Day.
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Race Me Home methodically grinded home in the Claiming Crown Jewel, but since that race wasn’t a 3-mile event for European stayers going over fences, his performance did little in the way of getting the blood flowing towards aspirations at a profit.
With wet conditions all around northern California and a general uncertainty as to which surface horses will run on in the competing editions of the Miss America from Golden Gate, I’ll turn my focus to a spot play from Los Alamitos Race Course that I find very interesting.
Los Alamitos Race Course-Race 6
Post Time: 2:58 PST
Take: #1 Gemini Journey 4/1
The late Pick-4 begins with a Starter Allowance race for filly and mare sprinters and there are plenty of familiar names signed on in this cast.
#5 Lucky Student is the 5/2 morning line choice off a win for $8,000 at Del Mar where she sat a perfect trip before drawing away. She’s got some speed, but she is cutting back in distance and there is competing speed bracketing her from both stalls. The presence of Van Dyke will keep her price in this area, but she could be involved in quite a line up heading into the far turn. She didn’t have a straw in her path last time; I just can’t see it all breaking her way this time around and won’t be endorsing her at the odds.
#6 Herunbridledpower is the 7/2 second-choice and she’s shown great fondness for running over this strip with three wins in four starts (note, she also has three wins at this track over quarter-horses which are not included). Her jockey knows her very well and she seems better at Los Alamitos than Lucky Student is. She always shows up in Cypress; she’s the one to fear.
If the pace is as lively as I believe it will be, then I think this race could fall right into the lap of my selection, and that’s # 1 Gemini Journey at 4/1. She’s off a decent third-place effort against $16,000 sellers at Del Mar where she found her best stride late. She should get a nice tracking trip from down inside while being able to stay in close enough contact with the top-two choices and come with a nice run through the lane. If she ran on well at Del Mar chasing :22.2 and :45.4 fractions, she should really perk up chasing what looks like sub-:22 fractions to the ¼ in here while competing at the same distance. Also, it’s worth pointing out that Ruben Fuentes gets off # 8 Princess Kendra in order to ride Gemini Journey. Given those two have had such a huge body of work together, I have to think his departure to ride this filly for Genaro Vallejo speaks volumes.
# 8 Princess Kendra at 6/1 does like this track and surface but she’s wheeled back fairly quickly and exits a couple of route races where she hasn’t shown a lot of gate speed. She will be coming late and is a solid proposal to round out lower rungs over vertical tickets, but she will probably have a lot of work to do turning for home. Princess Kendra is 1-for-1 over a wet surface which is worth noting in case the track has any moisture in it, but she’ll have to find a way to lay closer up early on than she typically prefers if Delgadillo hopes to do more than pass some tired ones through the lane.
Daily Double Players:
A Race 5-Improbable (6/5) to Race 6-Gemini Journey/Herunbridledpower (1 with 1,6) ticket costs $4 and could return a decent yield.