By Sean Morris

Santa Anita Park Late Pick-5 Picks & Analysis for 22 May

By Sean Morris
Santa Anita is where we go to for our Friday Picks and Analysis
Santa Anita is where we go to for our Friday Picks and Analysis


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Our in-house handicapper Sean Morris casts his keen eye over the Late Pick-5 at Santa Anita Park this Friday and remember you can read all our Free Horse Racing Picks daily on our Picks page...

Race 5

There really isn’t much speed signed on in this race, which should work perfectly for the aptly named King of Speed (#8). It would seem this horse finally put it all together once turned back in distance for the G3 San Simeon, but Jeff Bonde is a sharp trainer and elects to stretch him back out around two turns right away. This leads me to believe that it wasn’t so much the distance that produced a career-best performance in his 2020 debut, but rather that he’s come back a better horse as a 4-year-old. Given the speed he just showed in that turf dash, he should have no trouble clearing this field from his outside post and he’s going to be tough to run down.

The morning-line favorite Odysseus (#1) also figures to get a favorable trip from his inside draw. He showed excellent tactical speed in his last start, when he bumped his career record to a perfect 2-for-2, but he’s likely going to need to improve again to beat this field. I have to use him even though I get the feeling he’s going to be an underlay.

Main:  1,8     Backup (priority):  4,6

Order of preference:  8-1-6-4


Race 6

I don’t have anything clever to say about this race. I think the two favorites on the morning line, Short of Ez (#9) and Papa Turf (#10), are the most likely winners. Both have run consistently well in their dirt sprint tries, are ideally drawn, and even maintained their form during a brief detour to Los Alamitos while Santa Anita was closed.

Fast Cotton (#6) is another that figures to take a good deal of money but I’m skeptical of his chances. His race two back sticks out like a sore thumb as it’s considerably faster than anything else he ran in 2019, and there’s going to be speed to go with him in this spot as he comes back off a lengthy layoff.

Main:  9,10     Backup (priority):  3,6,8

Order of preference:  9-10-3-8

Race 7

I’d love to be against Mayan Warrior (#10) in this race considering he’s going to be a very short price and is taking a somewhat suspicious drop in class, but there’s just not much competition for him. He ran well enough in two starts at Los Al after being a voided claim on February 15 at Santa Anita, and if he were to get back to his better races he’d simply be too much for this field to handle.

Since I wouldn’t be content to lean on Mayan Warrior too much, there is another horse I think merits inclusion as a ‘main’ play, and that’s Red Valor (#6). These two actually squared off against one another last time at Los Al, and though Mayan Warrior got the better of Red Valor, the latter had some trouble in the race. He’s clearly not in the same league as Mayan Warrior when the two are at their best, but Red Valor does have sharp early speed and ran some pretty good races at Santa Anita over the winter. Should Mayan Warrior regress at all, Red Valor will have a big chance.

Main:  6,10     Backup:  5,7,8

Order of preference:  6-10-5-8


Race 8

This feels very much like a two-horse race between Tizamagician (#7) and Nolo Contesto (#8) as the others either haven’t run fast enough to beat the pair, aren’t in good form at the moment, or are more turf-oriented.

If Nolo Contesto is truly going to be 6-1, which he is on the morning line, he’d make a fantastic bet. This horse was on the Derby Trail early last year and held his own against some promising sophomores before shipping cross-country and faltering in the G3 Matt Winn at Churchill Downs. I don’t hold that race against him, and he was switched to turf for the remainder of the year, where he didn’t have much success. It would seem dirt is unquestionably his preferred surface, and I expect John Sadler to have him ready to roll off the layoff.

Tizamagician was starting to feel like the second coming of Omaha Beach until he broke through the maiden ranks on New Year’s Day at Santa Anita, and he followed it up with a strong performance in the G3 Robert B. Lewis. I don’t think the field he faced in his stakes debut was stellar, but this is clearly a drop in class and he did run quite well in that spot. He’s an obvious contender.

Main:  7,8     Backup:  None

Order of preference:  8-7-10-11

Race 9

There’s a layoff involved, but Goodtingscominpink (#4) has races that tower over this field. This filly ran consistently well on the Santa Anita lawn in 2019 before she went off form at Del Mar over the summer and her year was cut short. Vladimir Cerin has solid numbers with bringing horses off layoffs, so I don’t see it as much of a negative, and there’s even a possibility this filly could improve from 3 to 4.

When it comes down to it, I’d much rather rely on Goodtingscominpink at a short price than the stretch-out sprinter On Mars (#6), who is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. On Mars no doubt ran well in her turf debut while getting very little pace to run at, but it’s not the kind of effort that warrants favoritism in a spot like this and there’s no guarantee she improves with more ground.

Main:  4     Backup (priority):  1,6,8

Order of preference:  4-6-1-8

Most Likely Winner:  Goodtingscominpink (Race 9)

Best Value:  King of Speed (Race 5)

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