San Vicente Stakes Picks

Creative Cause begins Kentucky Derby march against five rivals in San Vicente Stakes

by Kenneth Strong, Horse Racing Handicapper,

2012 Road to the Kentucky Derby

San Vincente Stakes, Santa Anita, Race 7, Sunday, February 19, 2012

3-Year-Olds, Grade II, 7 furlongs, Dirt, Purse $150,000

San Vicente Stakes Picks

1. Creative Cause

2. American Act

3. Lets Get Crackin

4. Captain Obvious

Bet the San Vicente Stakes at the web’s best racebook: Twinspires

Kentucky Derby hopeful Creative Cause makes his first start of 2012 in the 7-furlong San Vincente-G2 on Sunday at Santa Anita and appears to have a solid class edge on both paper and performance.

Only five rivals have signed on to battle the grey 3-year-old colt by Giants Causeway, who was last seen finishing a good third beaten only a length in the 2011 Breeders Cup Juvenile by Hansen and Union Rags. Creative Cause gave it everything he had in the Juvenile and would seem to have a class edge similar to that shown by Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom in his return to the races at Gulfstream Park yesterday not flashy but when the running started it was over.

Trained by Mike Harrington, Creative Cause has been working bullets at Hollywood Park in preparation for his 2012 debut, and two of those bullets came at six furlongs, which should have him ready for the tricky seven furlong distance of the San Vicente. Creative Cause has only run once at Santa Anita, winning the Norfolk Stakes-G1 last October by 3 -lengths over fellow San Vicente entrant Drill.

Leading Santa Anita rider Joel Rosario, who has ridden Creative Cause in his last two starts including the Norfolk win, will be aboard again on Sunday at a short price. Listed at 3-5 on the morning-line youll be lucky to get even money on Creative Cause at post time, but that would at least represent good value. With that scenario unlikely, well make a small exacta play instead.

American Act showed good quality speed to break his maiden by two lengths going 5 -furlongs in a Maiden Special Weight on January 16 at Santa Anita. The horse he defeated in that race, Bodemeister, came back to romp impressively in his next start and is being touted as a Kentucky Derby hopeful. American Act looks like the speed of the race, and should have enough pedigree to get the seven furlongs. He now gets his trial by fire on the class raise.

Lets Get Crackin ran the best race of his career to finish third beaten 2 -lengths by Kentucky Derby hopeful Midnight Transfer in the San Pedro going 6 -furlongs at Santa Anita on January 22.A hard-trying sort who is dead-fit, Lets Get Crackin gets blinkers off for this, his third start off the layoff, and could make a solid run from off the pace to round out the exacta.

Drill defeated Creative Cause last year in the Del Mar Futurity-G1 but has not won since and just doesnt seem to be moving in the right direction. Although he at one time appeared to have enough class to win this race, he just hasnt improved in his five stakes appearances since. He looks more like a horse that needs a rest.

Captain Obvious makes his first start of 2012 and second start in North America in the San Vincente. The Irish-Bred colt by Choisir finished fourth beaten 6 -lengths in his US debut in the Real Quiet Stakes at Hollywood Park last November after a slow start. He was never going to win that race, but he could improve this year. Hes also had a recent 6-furlong gate work and gets blinkers on for this.

Smoking G comes into the San Vincente off a decent Maiden Special Weight win going 6-1/2 furlongs on the turf at Santa Anita. The main thing going he has going for him however, is the rider switch to Corey Nakatani from apprentice Flores.

Well be playing Creative Cause over American Act and Lets Get Crackin in the exacta and reversing those combinations for less.

Good Luck!