Horse Racing Picks for Friday, May 15: Best Bets and Exotics at Santa Anita Park


Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images.

The return of action to Santa Anita sees a card loaded with class from top to bottom. Let’s dive into the action:

Race 3

  • Surface: Dirt
  • Distance: 5 1/2 Furlongs
  • Time: 4:30 p.m. ET
Horse Model Score
No. 9 Tale of the Union (8-5) 27%
No. 6 Oil Can Cat (10-1) 16%
No. 1 Silken Price (6-1) 13%
No. 5 Strictly Biz (12-1) 7%

I sure don’t think you are going to get a lot of value out of No. 9 Tale of the Union (8-5) here but this horse is a great story. Back in August 2018, Tale of the Union posted a blistering 101 speed rating and won by 8 lengths at Del Mar. He has been on the shelf ever since.

I actually don’t know the history here but it had to be an injury so it’s great to see a return to the track for a horse that’s been away this long. This Baffert trainee’s work tab indicates this horse will be everything he was at first ask and that should be enough to win here.

Enjoy the 9’s return to the track and look for ways to key this horse into your horizontal wagers.

[Bet now at TVG and get your first bet 100% risk-free up to $300.]

Race 5

  • Surface: Turf
  • Distance: 1 Mile
  • Time: 5:30 p.m. ET
Horse Model Score
No. 1 Heathers Grey (8-1) 22%
No. 5 Hollywood Girl (6-1) 16%
No. 9 Quinnie 11%
No. 11 Gypsy Spirit (7-2) 9%

This is a tough looking race but I’m going to land on No. 5 Hollywood Girl (6-1), a horse that seems to be improving and now gets the services of the hall of fame jockey Mike Smith. Smith and trainer John Shirreffs have won six of their 24 races together (25%).

This will be a step up in class for this horse and she will need to put her best foot forward but the work tab tells me she just might be able to do that.

No. 1 Heathers Grey (8-1) has the top last speed rating and is 40% at this surface and distance. The others will need to improve to beat her but I think they just might do that. Worth noting Sean McCarthy and Aaron Gryder are winless on the year together from 11 attempts.

You could make a case for quite a few other horses here but I will highlight No. 11 Gypsy Spirit (7-2) who comes in for Leonard Powell and Flavien Prat will get the mount. She’s had some awfully fine form in Europe and seems to be able to handle the firmer turf but this will be her first try in the states.

Bet: Hollywood Girl (#5) Win / Place / Show at 4/1 or better.

[Bet now at TVG and get your first bet 100% risk-free up to $300.]

Race 6

  • Surface: D
  • Distance: 6F
  • Time: 6 p.m. ET
Horse Model Score
No. 9 Adens Dream (9-5) 22%
No. 4 Treasure Hunter (7-2) 16%
No. 8 Oh Marvelous Me (5-1) 11%

This should be a wild event with older horses sprinting 6 furlongs over the dirt. There’s horses from all over the country converging for this race but I’m going to stick with a pony that has shown the ability to win at this track and over this distance in times that I don’t think any other can match.

If he can return to his 2019 form, No. 9  Arden’s Dream (9-5) looks a step above the rest of these horses.

The last effort she appeared a bit rusty after being off for four months and I think she’ll come loaded this time and be aided by the cutback to 6 furlongs. John Sadler is winning at a solid 33% clip over the last 30 and I expect his hot run to continue into this Santa Anita meet.

Bet: No. 9 Adens Dream at EVEN or better

[Bet now at TVG and get your first bet 100% risk-free up to $300.]

Race 9

  • Surface: Dirt
  • Distance: 5 1/2 Furlongs
  • Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Horse Model Score
No. 3 Ka’nah (6-1) 16%
No. 6 American Code (5-2) 11%
No. 4 Big Mel (4-1) 7%
No. 2 Canadian Luck (15-1) 2%

This feels like a two-horse race to me.

I’m all over No. 3 Ka’nah (6-1) who will get the services of Mike Smith and has been in as fine of form as you can ask for a maiden. The only knock on this horse is he hasn’t won yet but his return from a year-and-a-half layoff was sensational with a 100 speed rating.

No. 6 American Code (5-2) is a talented looking Baffert trainee that gets his current number one rider in Drayden van Dyke. The horse lost as an odds-on favorite at first asking but posted a blistering 1:12.8 6f workout since and looks like he’s going to be super game for this one.

I’m not overthinking this.

Bet: 3/6 Exacta Box

[Bet now at TVG and get your first bet 100% risk-free up to $300.]

**Jockey and Trainer stats are this year unless otherwise noted.

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