Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 11-Paulliac (Race 3)
Race #1: 3-Carver is a $435K Keeneland purchase by Pioneerof the Nile who had some issues in October 21 debut and is eligible to move forward off that effort for trainer John Sadler who typically does well with second time starters. His debut race has produced a pair of next-out winners. 2-Heartbreak Kid was trounced over the main track in last but returns to grass this afternoon and both turf attempts two and three-back were competitive at this level. Irish import 1-Shadow Creek (Ire) makes U.S unveiling for new conditioner Paddy Gallagher after finishing 3rd in a robust field of 15 back in May at Roscommon. The juvenile colt is by multiple G1 winner Gleneagles (Ire). 8-Ashcroft heads west for trainer Wesley Ward and makes 2nd start off the bench today after finishing 4th October 15 over the Keeneland grass. Irad Ortiz gets the call and is in town to ride in the G1 Matriarch Stakes.
Race #2: 5-Frost Alert ran decently in last considering it was the geldings first start in 15 months while attracting a decent amount of tote support. He goes first off the claim today for trainer Steve Knapp who has above average numbers with new acquisitions. 1-Agrigento drops from $50k to $20,000 Maiden Claimers this afternoon making 2nd start off the layoff for trainer Leonard Powell. The 4-year-old gelding earned a field’s best (63) Beyer in last and gets in light today with 10 lb. bug taking over. 6-Midnight Majesty goes turf to dirt on the class drop for Prat and Miller with good positional speed. 4-UR Pressed improved some when dropped to this bottom level in last but will likely be over bet.
Race #3: 11-Paulliac (Ire) was flying late to just miss in his first U.S. try in last for the D’Amato barn and is eligible to move forward off that encouraging effort. Prat rides back. 4-Hawker makes the all-important 3rd career start today and tries grass and stretching out for the first time for trainer John Sadler. This juvenile colt is by the prolific Triple Crown winning sire Justify who has already had tremendous success in the breeding shed. 7-Single Track Mind (Ire) is on the improve since arriving stateside and comes off a career best grass route try where he earned a field’s best (71) turf Beyer. 3-Russells Hustle had little chance from outside post when overmatched in the G3 Zuma Beach Stakes but drops back down into the Maiden Special Weight ranks this afternoon where he’s run some decent efforts.
Race #4: This $32,000 Maiden Claiming sprint for juvenile fillies over the main track is a complete tossup and is a good place to try a new shooter. It’s also the opening leg of the mandatory 20-Cent Pick Six. 3-Prestigious is by American Freedom who gets an ordinary 12% with debuting prodigy but this barn has had great success locally with Maiden Claiming first time starters. Trainer Luis Mendez has done well at this Autumn meet with limited starters and is 4 for 11 (36%) with a $3.02 ROI with MDCLM debut runners. 1-Cherry Chaos has speed and the rail while moving back to the main track today making first start for a tag. She could be tough to reel in with an alert break. 13-Sweet Halo draws in from the AE’s going turf to dirt on the class drop with plenty of early zip to get some position despite outside draw.
Race #5: 7-Speed Boat Beach has continued to train well for Baffert since disappointing 9th place effort in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint and now will try and stretch-out this afternoon in his first start back in southern California. This barn has a stellar record with these stretch-out types. 4-Ah Jeez is 0 for 2 going this mile trip but comes off a sharp win sprinting where he sat and finished well earning a field’s best last out (80) turf Beyer. A big chance if he can employ similar tactics. Recent Maiden winner 3-First Peace is improving with each subsequent start and is proven at the distance. He must avoid a potential pace battle with top choice.
Race #6: 7-Brace for Impact showed little in return grass try off an extended break but moves back to the main track today and his efforts two and three-back were on par for this class level. The lightly raced 8-Resilent has shown ability in all his starts and comes off a career best Beyer (83) while making his 3rd start off the layoff this afternoon. A logical threat if he takes to this racetrack. 2-Square Cat moves back to dirt after recent sharp turf win on November 6. The gelding’s lone main track try was at Los Al last December where he finished a close-up 3rd beaten less than a length. 1-I Know Cash Flow has speed and the rail and is reunited with winning rider for trainer Peter Miller.
Race #7: 6-Regal Glory is an accomplished multiple Grade 1 winner for trainer Chad Brown and the class of this field. The 6-year-old mare won this event last year; is 12 for 22 lifetime and 7 for 15 going this mile trip. The speedy 5-Hamwood Flier (Ire) has won 2 of 3 since arriving stateside and now gets ultimate class test this afternoon attempting to win first graded stakes. Not only is it his first graded stakes try, but a Grade 1 at that. A tall order but certainly within reach. 7-Wakanaka (Ire) ships west for Mott and owns the field’s best rallying kick as her 114 TimeformUS late pace figure indicates. She’d be the most to benefit from a pace meltdown.
Race #8: 7-Street Art goes two sprints to a route and makes second start off the Bill Spawr claim. He’ll likely try and wire this group this afternoon. 8-Papale returns off a 4-month freshening for trainer Mark Glatt and is proven to run extremely well off the layoff. A strong “best of 43” sub :48 4-furlong frill on November 27 hints at this gelding’s readiness. 4-Bright Leaf has been freshened since last runner-up finish at this oval where he earned a career and field best last out (81) Beyer. The colt shows steady a.m. drills in preparation for this. 2-Petruchio goes turf to dirt for Team O’Neill and this geldings three previous main track tries were formidable.
Race #9: 5-Earl’s Rock (Ire) is one of two geldings from the D’Amato barn that are part of the closing day nightcap. This lightly raced 4-year-old exits the same November 5 race (as a few others in here) when making his first start off an extended layoff. He’s reunited with winning rider today and should be a handful with any normal second off the bench improvement. 6-Ready Soul goes first off the claim for Team O’Neill off strong win against cheaper. He has some back class and a versatile running style which should serve him well in this spot. 4-Mecklenburg (Ire) moves up off sharp wire-to-wire win when returning from a 11-month hiatus and is dangerous again on the front end if left alone to carve out moderate fractions. Rock’s stablemate 10-Lincoln Hawk must negotiate post 10 but comes off a strong runner-up effort at this level in most recent start where he earned a field’s best last out (93) grass Beyer. He’s trained well since that effort and Ortiz gets the call.