SATURDAY HANDICAPPING LOOK-IN ON KEY EVENTS AND POTENTIAL PLAYS FOR JAN 4

AQUEDUCT: Based on her Thoro-Graph figures, Pauseforthecause (3-5) is worthy of the flattering morning line. If there is indeed a pause for cause, it’s that she’s coming in off paired tops, which often leads to regression.

Of course, that might not matter; she’s clearly best on paper. The only potential upsetter we’d consider would be second choice Kept True (4-1).

She is forward-looking and within hailing distance of the favorite but here, too, it’s a filly returning quickly off a career top; 15 days. The good news is that she gets five pounds (123-118) from the favorite and is value at early line odds.

GULFSTREAM PARK: Chance It (9-5) is a solid favorite to win the Mucho Macho Man, the first of three preps leading up to the Florida Derby. He’s fastest, proving it more than once, and he’s fresh, pointed to this by Saffie Joseph Jr. Tyler is a perfect fit.

But As Seen On TV (5-2) is 2-for-3 lifetime, fast enough to compete, has won over two different surfaces and is bred on both sides for today’s added trip. The team of Kelly Breen and Paco is quite formidable.

A live price shot is undefeated Solo Volante (8-1). The knock is this will be his dirt debut but positives include two visually impressive performances showing strong late kick and will appreciate the hot pace he’s sure to get. He’s bred to run as far as they write races; both wins were at two turns.

SANTA ANITA: It’s a Sham, this West Coast three-year-old Santa Anita Derby launch pad, a six-horse field featuring a pair from the Killer B’s; Baffert and Baltas. The race goes through Baffert who saddles the favorite and co-second choice, Authentic (8-5) and Azul Coast (5-2), respectively.

But the Baltas colt, Taishan (5-2), is also fast, meaning he can also win. He’s plenty quick enough and broke maiden at today’s one-mile trip. Of course, that’s a two-turn mile on the Left Coast as opposed to Gulfstream’s one-turner.

Need I remind? Value is the buy-word.

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