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Called to Serve to Upset Big Cap, Departing the Pick in Texas Heritage

Posted by Pete Mitchell on 3/1/2013 3:51:47 PM

Who: Thoroughbreds – Ron the Greek, Called to Serve, Game On Dude, Departing
What: Horse Racing Betting Tips – The Santa Anita Handicap, The Texas Heritage
Where: Santa Anita, Sam Houston
When: Saturday, March 2nd

A stellar field of ten is expected to head postward this Saturday in the 76th Running of The Santa Anita Handicap, with multiple Grade 1 winners Ron the Greek and Game On Dude vying for favoritism. I’m calling for razor-sharp Called to Serve to spring the upset. On Saturday evening, Fair Grounds shipper Departing should get the best of seven rivals to earn his first stakes score in the Texas Heritage at Sam Houston. Let’s take a closer look at these races below.

#1-Ron the Greek (5-2) is the Big Cap’s defending champ, and #9-Game On Dude (6-5) won this race in 2011…neither would be a surprise on Saturday. Ron the Greek exits a romping 11 ¼-length score in the Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park, in which he earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 115 in the sloppy going. Not to be outdone, Game On Dude posted a career-best 116 Beyer last out in winning the Grade 2 San Antonio by more than six lengths. Whew! Both have a pair of wins at the 1 ¼-mile distance, and will take plenty of beating. Still, I believe that the up-and-coming #4-Called to Serve (6-1) will be up to the task at a square price. While he ships in for the race, you’ll notice he broke his maiden here last spring in his first start since being gelded. Called to Serve won his last two starts (both stakes at 1 1/8 miles) easily…the extra furlong should hit him right between the eyes. He’s been rattling off bullets in the a.m., and his connections have been pointing to this race all along. Picking up the services of Hall of Famer Gary Stevens won’t hurt either. Dropping five ponds off his latest victory (123 to 118) should also help immensely, as Ron the Greek will tote 122 lbs. and Game On Dude 125 lbs. If the speedy #2-Handsome Mike (20-1) can make Game On Dude work hard early, and Ron the Greek runs into traffic from the back of the pack, the race could set up perfectly for Called to Serve from mid-pack. I’ll bet on Called to Serve to win and place at odds of 5-1 or better, and key him top and bottom in exactas with Ron the Greek and Game On Dude.

As for Departing, here are my comments from last week’s article, when I thought he was running in the Grade 2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds:

“The merits of #14-Departing (12-1) in The Risen Star are concealed by his relatively low Beyer Speed Figures and his outside post. I’m willing to overlook both, and believe this colt could be special. This Claiborne/Dilschneider homebred passed his two-turn debut easily, finishing very strongly while under a hand ride. It’s not his fault that the pace was so slow. You’ll note he had no trouble attending a fairly quick pace (:22 flat) in his six-furlong career bow. His Beyer that day (82) is the best career debut winning Beyer in the Risen Star field…an indication that he’s got real talent… Departing is in good hands, too, with the trainer/jockey combo of Stall/Hernandez posting super numbers in 2012-13, winning with 10-of-34 starters for a lofty ROI of $3.89… I’m looking for #14-Departing to take a big step forward in his second two-turn try, and win the Risen Star with a strong late run. I’ll bet on him across the board (win/place/show) at odds of 6-1 or better.”

If I liked him last week, you know I like him even more in this much easier spot.

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

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