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Speed Dangerous in Hal’s Hope, San Fernando

Posted by Pete Mitchell on 1/13/2012 5:36:46 PM

Who: Thoroughbreds – Jackson Bend, Successful Mission, Soaring Empire, Prayer for Relief, First Strike, Tapizar
What: Horse Racing Betting Tips – The Hal’s Hope, The San Fernando
Where: Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita
When: Saturday, January 14th

Jackson Bend (2-1 Morning Line) will be favored in the Grade 3 Hal’s Hope at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, but beware of the speedy Successful Mission off the layoff. At Santa Anita, 3-time Derby winner Prayer for Relief will get plenty of support at the windows in the Grade 2 San Fernando, but likely favorite Tapizar could lead this field on a merry chase. Let’s take a brief look at the major players in these featured events.

There should be an honest pace in The Hal’s Hope, with early-speed types like Successful Mission, Decisive Moment and Will’s Wildcat signed on. You would think that this sets up nicely for mid-pack types like Jackson Bend and Soaring Empire, but keep in mind that Successful Mission doesn’t need the lead, and could fall into a comfortable stalking trip, getting the jump on the closers turning for home. Successful Mission has been training lights out for his return from a nearly 8-month break, and note he won last March off a similar hiatus, albeit on grass. Jackson Bend picks up the services of John Velazquez, and has worked well since his solid third in The Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Seven furlongs is his best distance, but the one-turn mile shouldn’t pose much of a problem for this tough little competitor. He’ll make his presence felt in the late going. Soaring Empire has done his best running at Gulfstream, and like Successful Mission, has been working smartly for his return from a lengthy layoff. He’ll be in the mix. I’ll key #4-Successful Mission first and second in exactas with #1-Jackson Bend and #7-Soaring Empire. The tickets will look like this: 4/1,7 and 1,7/4.

Prayer for Relief is by far the most accomplished horse in The San Fernando, with a bankroll in excess of $1MM. However, this race has the look of a prep, as trainer Baffert is expecting the colt to excel at longer distances later in the year. The screws haven’t been tightened yet, so tread lightly. Tapizar, on the other hand, looks like a horse that will do his best running from seven furlongs to 1 1/16th miles, which happen to be the distances of his three career wins. He’ll be reunited with jockey Corey Nakatani, who was aboard for a front-running, second-level allowance score at Belmont Park last fall. Tapizar owns a Grade 3 gate-to-wire victory at this track and distance (a year ago in The Sham), and I’m expecting a repeat performance. I’ll bet on Tapizar to win at odds of 4-5 or better.

Those are my horse racing betting tips for the weekend. Best of luck and happy gambling!

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