Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 1-Velvet (Race #3)
Race #1: 1-Heart of the Night is by multiple Grade 1 winner City of Light and has been training steadily for her unveiling for McCarthy. She shows a sharp “best of 46” 4-furlong blowout drill in :47 flat July 28. This gal appears well-meant in the opener. 6-Happy Gal just missed by a neck in Indiana Downs grass debut June 28 for previous trainer Wesley Ward and now heads west for new connections. Her racing experience offers a big edge over a handful of non-starters. 8-La Peer is by Girvin who is a tremendous 4 for 12 (33%) with his 2-year-old first time starter prodigy and this filly debuts for winning connections.
Race #2: 6-Island Life looks quick enough to grab the early lead in here and she could get brave up front if left alone with aggressive gate rider Maldonado. 2-Righteously is reunited with previous trainer Ed Freeman after being snatched up for $10k at Los Al on June 25. She should be forwardly placed throughout in this low-level claiming affair and this 4-year-old filly is 2 for 3 here coming off back-to-back runner-up finishes. The slow starting 8-year-old mare 8-Li’l Grazen drops to a career low claiming level looking for some immediate form reversal for trainer Peter Miller and attracts the meet’s leading rider. Hernandez was onboard for a 3rd place finish two-back and she’s a three-time winner over this racetrack.
Race #3: An $875K Keeneland purchase by American Pharoah 1-Velvet has hit the board in all 4 career starts and now makes her 2nd start off the long layoff after a troubled trip 2nd in return try. She moves all the way inside today; stretches back out and owns the field’s best last-out turf Beyer (78). The Day’s Best Bet. 7-Gimme Mo Baby has not been seen in 6 months but adds blinkers today; goes 2nd time Lasix and has been training well for George Papaprodromou who teamed up with jockey Joe Bravo for a pair of winners last Saturday including an upset win in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby. 8-Kitty Kitana (GB) has been freshened after beaten favorite 3rd place finish in the Grade 3 Sweet Life at Santa Anita back in February. She stretches out for the first time today; gets Lasix back on and drops back down to face straight Maiden Special Weight types.
Race #4: 2-Palagio has been freshened for this and showed a much-improved performance when stretching out to today’s mile trip back in May. This lucrative jockey/trainer combo already have 3 wins at the current meet. 1-Go Jo Won has sharp gate speed and the rail. The 3-year-old drilled swiftly over this track July 25 going a bullet 4-furlongs in :46 flat which was the best of 64 workmates for that morning. Likely favorite 5-Hero Status has improved with each subsequent start and now stretches out for the first time for trainer Mark Glatt. The 3-year-old colt is bred to go long (By Flatter) and comes in here with the field’s best last out main track Beyer (88).
Race #5: 1-Barnfield was trounced when last seen back in May when facing winners for the first time but returns as a first time gelding today for Sadler and has trained well enough for his return. The 75 turf Beyer he earned two-back when placed first via DQ is certainly fast enough to handle this suspect group. 3-Settecento returns to the turf for a barn that’s a solid 7 for 22 (32%) overall the past 2 years with new acquisitions. This 4-year-old gelding has shown enough over the grass to factor in here. 6-Goldini doesn’t exactly get the blood flowing but has run well enough at a mile to be competitive at this level and hails from top turf connections.
Race #6: Class dropping 5-Empire Pass moves back to dirt where he was a sharp winner three-back against slightly better and this barn has solid numbers with the turf to dirt surface change. A sharp work over the track July 24 adds to the appeal. 4-Everlys Girl cuts back to a sprint; drops in class and should be forwardly placed today for trainer Brian Koriner. She’s not shown much since runaway Santa Anita Maiden win back in March but has been freshened for this and appears appropriately placed this afternoon. 1-Loma Vista is one of two D’Amato trained fillies in here and comes off a career best Beyer (69) at this 6-furlong trip.
Race #7: The speedy 5-Stressed cuts back to 5 furlongs and moves back to turf making her second start off the Peter Eurton claim. This barn is a strong 4 for 11 (36%) with this claiming angle and she shows 3 works since her last runner-up main track finish. Recent Maiden winner 7-Snark has been competitive in all three turf sprint tries and has worked extremely well for her first start against winners. Jockey Joe Bravo retains the mount and is clicking close to 28% to start this meet. 2-Del Mar Drama was a sharp winner two-back with an (84) Beyer which is right on par for this class level. The 5-year-old mare has shown a flexible running style and that versatility should serve her well in this spot today.
Race #8: 4-Flipit adds blinkers and drops back down to face Maiden Claimers off an even 4th place finish at Pleasanton July 3. This barn has 3 wins from 10 starts so far this meet and leading pilot Juan Hernandez sees fit to ride here. Churchill invader 5-Slam Diego makes first start off the claim for conditioner Jeff Engler and comes in off a decent runner-up finish at Churchill. He showed improvement when stretching out to a mile in last. 6-So Softly makes career start number 11 this afternoon but has hit the board in last 5 consecutive starts and could do just that again this afternoon.