BREEDERS' Cup action returns to Santa Anita this weekend and with it comes California Chrome - the so-called ‘Rockstar of Racing’ and his legion of adoring fans.
He lines up in tomorrow’s Classic, having already landed career highlights including the Kentucky Derby and the Dubai World Cup.
The bargain buy finished third in this race as a young pretender in 2014 and ironically it’s a young pretender who looks to be his biggest challenger this time around.
Arrogate, trained by Bob Baffert, who enjoyed Triple Crown success with American Pharaoh last year, comes into the race on the back of a brilliant performance at Saratoga.
The three-year-old won that race by 13 lengths and could be anything. But at 11/4 he’s too short, so I’d rather sit back and enjoy the spectacle.
Elsewhere, the Mile (11:40pm) is being dubbed by many as a battle between Tepin and Limato, with Alice Springs pencilled in for third.
However, for me there’s reasons to take on all three. Tepin and Alice Springs have both had long seasons and the former was beaten at Keeneland last month.
Limato has got the ideal draw and the track should suit, but he needs to prove he stays this trip.
I’d rather hunt for some home-grown each-way value in the form of IRONICUS, who has never finished outside of the places in his career.
The latest second at Keeneland came after a break and should leave him primed for a big performance, with Betway offering 11/1.
Washington DC heads the market in the Turf Sprint (9.05pm) but seven defeats in a row means you need a huge leap of faith to back him.
Bobby’s Kitten showed in 2014 that stamina is key in this race and for that reason my eye is drawn to CELESTINE.
She’s been mixing it with the likes of Tepin over a mile and the way she travels suggest she’s worth a chance over this trip. Take the 10/1 each-way.
The show gets on the road at Santa Anita tonight and the Europeans will be hopeful of claiming a prize or two in the juvenile races on turf.
Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore have combined to win three of the last five editions of the Juvenile Turf so Intelligence Cross is sure to have plenty of supporters.
This race looks wide open to me, though, so I’m happy to swerve it. If you are having a bet, Betway are offering money back if you finish second.
Brothers Joseph and Donnacha O’Brien bid to make history with Intricately in the Juvenile Fillies’ Turf.
She has a really good chance based on her Group One win in the Moyglare last time, but there doesn’t look to be much between her and a number of others in the field.
I’m therefore going to fire just the one bullet tonight and, although he’s short, I just can’t see past DORTMUND in the Dirt Mile (10.05pm).
Bob Baffert’s four-year-old has only been beaten five times in his 13-race career and all of those defeats have come at the hands of either American Pharoah or California Chrome.
He doesn’t meet anything of that calibre here and I’m not in the slightest bit concerned about the drop back to a mile, as you need to stay in this race. Even money is a very fair price.
Dortmund 10.05pm Santa Anita (Fri)
Celestine e/w 9.05pm Santa Anita (Sat)
Ironicus e/w 11.40pm Santa Anita (Sat)