Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 1-The Wild Grazer (Ire) (Race #8)
Race #1: 3-Storming Chrome showed little in main track debut try the end of October but now switches to grass for career start number two. The sample is small, but this barn is 2 for 6 (33%) with dirt to turf second time starters and his sire Hard Spun gets 14% with grass sprint prodigy. A series of strong drills since that unveiling leads one to believe major improvement is likely. 1-Virat switches from the D’Amato to the Miller barn off sharp runner-up finish in most recent turf effort on October 22. The 3-year-old gelding co-tops the field’s best last out grass Beyer (74) and is the one to beat with a similar performance. Prat replaces Frey. 7-Trebbiano has a combined six second and thirds from 9 career starts including earning par for this class level in back-to-back grass tries this year. An obvious threat again.
Race #2: 4-Lookin for Revenge didn’t break alertly in most recent start October 10 when starting from outside post but looms a serious wire-to-wire threat today with a better start. A pair of runners have returned to win from that last race. 3-Palace Prince ships in from Turf Paradise off turf score and brings winning pilot Lindey Wade along for the ride. This 5-year-old gelding broke his Maiden over this turf course way back in 2020 and is main track starts aren’t awful when matched against this weak claiming bunch. 7-El Tigre Terrible goes sprint to route today but has lost 13 straight. On the positive side, this 5-year-old gelding has never started at this low of a claiming tag.
Race #3: 3-Big Stick goes turf to dirt and is likely to improve leaps and bounds in career start number two for trainer John Sadler. This juvenile colt is by Munnings who gets a solid 19% with dirt sprint offspring and barn has won last 4 of 6 (with 2 seconds) with MDSW to MDCLM second time starters. 4-Gotcha Lookin was trounced in lone synthetic start at Gulfstream back in August but now adds blinkers and shows up for a first-time tag for new conditioner Bob Hess. Prat takes over and the juvenile colt has flashed some speed in a.m. drills. 6-Big Hat Willie had little run in Churchill sloppy debut but now drops in for a tag and changes barns. This colt is by multiple G1 winner First Samurai and had a sharp bullet 5-furlong work over the track November 18.
Race #4: 1-First Premio moves inside on the class drop this afternoon and is a 3-time winner at this 1 1/16-mile trip. The veteran 8-year-old gelding has run above par in 2 of his last 3 turf tries and projects to get a favorable ground-saving trip from off the pace today. 6-Opry was a voided claim in last when just missing by a neck at this level as the beaten favorite and has since returned to work a “best of 38” 5-furlungs bullet in :59.1 on November 14. 7-Overdue was a strong winner from off the pace over this turf course three-back and if a quick early race flow comes to fruition this afternoon the D’Amato runner can work out a similar complimentary trip.
Race #5: The speedy 7-Equilove (Ire) goes turf to dirt; takes a substantial class drop and is expected to take this inferior claiming group wire-to-wire at short odds. 5-Where’s Frankie is another frontrunner shipping in from Canterbury for trainer Jonathan Wong. This filly rattled off 4 straight wins before last pair of defeats and is projected to be on the heels of the top pick if that one falters late. 2-Roses R Blue should be running on late at today’s reduced claiming level and can grab a piece of the underneath exotics. This filly isn’t a big fan of the rail and moves out a slot this afternoon.
Race #6: In a stakes race with suspect main track cheap speed coming from Angel Nadeshiko who returns to grass, it may be a good spot to take English import 5-Bellstreet Birdie who just might get a jump on the stone closers after showing some positional early zip in her most recent efforts abroad. The 3-year-old filly has won 3 of her last 4 starts and attracts Prat for today’s stateside unveiling. The one major caveat, however, is that trainer Mark Glatt is 0 for 19 with foreign shippers. 7-Sister Otoole was a stakes winner over the summer two-back over this turf course for trainer Graham Motion with Rispoli onboard. The 5-year-old mare’s recent 3rd in the Grade 3 Rood And Riddle Dowager at Keeneland earned her a solid best last-out (91) turf Beyer. 3-Quattroelle (Ire) comes off a sharp N2X win for Mullins.
Race #7: Class dropping 3-Nice Guy Clay has run par or better for this class level in all 5 career starts and projects to sit a nice stalking trip behind likely pacesetter Sayers. 9-Sawasdee has not run well in two prior starts here but that was against significantly better, and this gelding has run two-recent back-to-back strong tries including a lifetime best (79) Beyer in last. The gelding followed up that victory with a “best of 52” 4-furlong drill in :47 flat indicating he remains razor sharp for these low-profile connections. 8-Nolo Contesto returns off an extended 13-month layoff for Sadler for a career low claiming tag. This barn does well with layoffs and the 6-year-old has produced steady fast drills for his 2022 return.
Race #8: Irish import 1-The Wild Grazer (Ire) has trained well for her U.S. unveiling for conditioner Jeff Mullins and when last seen finished 3rd to G1 BC Juvenile Turf winner Victoria Road. Don’t believe there’s anything close to that type of quality in the Thanksgiving nightcap. 5-Shirley’s Dane goes route to sprint after flashing speed going a mile and is by Justify who’s gotten an impressive 4 for 8 (50%) thus far with turf sprint prodigy. The juvenile filly makes the all-important 3rd career start today for Mullins. 2-Cute Khloe outran her 30/1 odds in debut with good looking runner-up finish despite some traffic issues. 3-Golden Temper makes 2nd career start for trainer Carla Gaines who is 3 for 13 (23%) with second time starters on turf at Del Mar.