Free Rose can play spoiler once more in Shoemaker Mile

The Grade I, $400,000 Shoemaker Mile, the co-feature at Santa Anita this Saturday, drew a strong cast of seven. HEART TO HEART ships in from the east, while Cal-bred WHAT A VIEW tries his hand in another Grade I. BAL A BALI, BOLO and FREE ROSE, no strangers to the California turf scene, are also present. Post time for the Shoemaker, the seventh of nine races, is 7:05 p.m. EST. It’s one of several key races in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game this Saturday, so be sure to take these predictions into account!

#5 FREE ROSE (12-1) is no stranger to winning via upset, as he took both the La Jolla Handicap and Del Mar Derby last summer at 28-1 and 11-1, respectively. He closed out his three-year-old campaign with a hard-fought second in the Twilight Derby over this course before the rigors of his campaign caught up to him in the Hollywood Derby. Richard Baltas has this one drilling bullets, and he can get a horse ready off long rest (20%). Look for Norberto Arroyo Jr. to position FREE ROSE just off the speed before making a late move.

#2 WHAT A VIEW (3-1) ran second in three straight to kick off his year, two in graded stakes, before fading to sixth in the Maker’s Mile. After winning a confidence-booster in a state-bred stake, he could be ready to rebound in a big way in the Shoemaker. Tyler Baze has the call.

#3 BAL A BALI (3-1) loses Javier Castellano but picks up Mike Smith, the regular rider of #7 BOLO. BAL A BALI topped WHAT A VIEW by a head in the Kilroe Mile two starts ago before coming up empty in Churchill’s 1 1/8-mile Turf Classic on Derby Day. Cutting back to a mile may go a long way in getting him back to the winner’s circle. He’d be a nice defensive measure to have in all wagers, as a pace meltdown is not out of the question here.

Favored #1 HEART TO HEART (5-2) may be challenged early, as was the case in the Maker’s Mile with WHAT A VIEW last time out. HEART TO HEART has also missed the board in two prior starts at Santa Anita, so he looks like a poor play on top. Julien Leparoux sees fit to ship in though.

The play: $2 exacta box 2/3/5, $4 win 5 ($16)

DFJ analysis: Flavien Prat’s Shoemaker mount is not that appealing to this handicapper (#4 FARHAAN, 4-1), but he may still have a good day at the races. All but one of Prat’s five other mounts are 4-1 or below in odds.

Rafael Bejarano offers quality over quantity in his three mounts on Saturday. He rides favored Individual Design (6-5) in Race 2 and Shezroxie (6-1) in Race 4 before getting a leg up on Vale Dori (8-5) in the Beholder Mile.

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