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ARCADIA, CA – Saturday’s $200,000 Palos Verdes Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park looks like the perfect time for another one of trainer Peter Miller’s claiming horses to turn into a champ; the only question is which one to bet.
The Palos Verdes is a 6-furlong dirt sprint open to all horses ages 4 and up. This year’s edition is the seventh event on a 9-race card and has a local post time of 3:30 PM.
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Here’s a look at the full field for the Palos Verdes:
1. Pyron 6/1 – He returns to the graded stakes ranks for the first time since finishing fourth in the May 2019 Chick Lang Stakes (G3) at Pimlico while still with trainer Steve Asmussen. Current conditioner Mark Glatt claimed him for $40k last July and saddled him to 2 straight 6-furlong victories on the west coast. He likes to fly home in the stretch and pick off fading horses.
2. Wildman Jack 6/1 – He makes just his second try on dirt after finishing fourth in last August’s Bing Crosby Stakes (G1), where despite getting caught in a wicked pace duel, he was the only speed horse who didn’t fall apart. Abel Cedillo shows faith leaving the horse directly to his outside in order to ride this Doug O’Neill trainee for the second time.
3. Shooters Shoot 3/1 – He takes a considerable cut back in distance after routing in each of his past 4 tries, including finishing a rusty seventh against local optional claimers in his first start after a 7-month layoff. Trainer Peter Eurton wins 22% going route to sprint and adds blinkers, but new jockey Mario Gutierrez is on a 2-for-48 streak riding for Eurton.
4. Captain Scotty 8/1 – He takes a massive step back up to the graded stakes ranks after winning 2 straight while being risked for a mid-range tag. He suffered a major fall from grace after winning last year’s edition, but his trainer (Miller) has proven time after time that he can magically turn a horse around to produce a career-best effort on a big day.
5. Shashashakemeup 4/1 – Speaking of magically turning a horse around, Miller claimed this entry for $50k out of a Churchill Downs dirt sprint and promptly saddled him to a career-best 96 Beyer Speed Figure next out. He shares the same owner as multiple graded stakes-winning reclamation project C Z Rocket and seems to be on an eerily similar upward trajectory.
6. Ax Man 3/1 – No entry seems to have as much tough luck at the graded stakes ranks as this guy, who’s shown the ability to win by daylight against lesser but can’t seem to finish within 5 lengths of the victor at this level. The good news is that he won his only try going this short by 9 1/2 lengths, but that also came against restricted-sale and homebred maidens.
7. Take the One O One 5/2 – The fleet-footed California-bred takes his sixth shot against graded stakes company after finishing a career-best third by 1 1/4 lengths in the 1 1/16-mile San Antonio Stakes (G2) last time out. Like Ax Man, he won his only start going this short, but it came against state-bred maidens. Trainer Brian Koriner is 1 for his last 9 tries going route to sprint.
8. Kneedeepinsnow 10/1 – He returned from a light break with a dominating gate-to-wire local victory going 6 1/2 furlongs that netted a career-best 91 Beyer Speed Figure. He has a local record of 4-2-2-0 and the underrated Ruben Fuentes picks up the mount for trainer Shelbe Ruis, who’s started this meet hot (7-3-2-1 record through Thursday).
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