It’s Saturday. You’re playing Santa Anita. And you’re in the mood to bet a filly that looks overmatched on paper but that might sneak up and get a piece of the pie at a price. Well, you’re in luck. Because have I got the filly for you!!! (Maybe. We don’t make promises here.)
First, let’s take a moment and acknowledge the hot start trainer Ryan Hanson, aka the husband of Michelle Yu, is off to at the Santa Anita meet. Four starters. Two winners and a second. And check out that historical ROI with maiden claimers. That’s +23% for those of you who failed 5th grade math.
Now for the horse. Yes, I’ll concede that she’s in tough, not only as she climbs in class, but against multiple droppers from the MSW ranks. The jump from maiden $30k to maiden $50k is tough enough as it is. And with five of her six foes dropping DOWN to maiden $50k, American Falls needs to make a modest jump up on the Beyer scale if she’s to make her presence felt late in Race 2 on Saturday. But is that impossible?
The two favorites, True Validity and Queen of the Track, both figure to be way up close early. Might they duel each other into submission? True Validity is stretching out from 5.5 furlongs to this mile distance. And Queen of the Track has been pulling the old speed-and-fade move in her two route starts, one of which (Yes! I see it!) saw her beat American Falls by over 20 lengths. So if those two run each other into the ground, American Falls fits on Beyers with the rest of the field, the possible exception being Super Klaus, a second-time starter who was 90-1 in the debut when 8th of 11 on grass.
Look, I’m not a total idiot here. I think class is a major factor in handicapping just like everyone else. But if you project a quickish pace early in here, American Falls might be the one left running at the end. And at 15-1, you can afford to be wrong about a horse like her 93% of the time.