Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 1-Devil Among Us (Race 8)
Race #1: 4-Mr Navigator moves up in class and stretches out off recent win over the synthetic at Golden Gate for trainer Jonathan Wong. The 5-year-old gelding has run some competitive figures over the main track and figures to be forwardly placed this afternoon. 3-Roaring Tiger is also switching back to dirt off a 3rd place finish at GG and makes first start for new barn off the claim. Trainer Reid France clicks close to 30% with new barn purchases. 7-Chris Fix was outrun making first start against winners on the turf at DMR November 27 when finally breaking through the Maiden ranks in career start number 13. The gelding moves back to dirt on the class drop today and appears more appropriately placed.
Race #2: 1-Krixus Flash has never ventured past 6 furlongs in 7 career starts but is by Govenor Charlie who gets 17% with his dirt route prodigy. The juvenile gelding makes second start off the bench; drops in class and shows two decent drills since his last non-threatening 7th place finish at DMR. He’s expected to show more early zip today from the rail. 5-Lord of Light drops from $50k to $30,000 tag this afternoon and last two tries against better weren’t awful. 3-Violet Crown goes turf to dirt and drops back in for a tag today.
Race #3: 6-Bowl of Cherries has been 1st or 2nd in last 3 of 4 tries while sprinting on dirt and owns the field’s best last out Beyer (75) speed figure. 7-Sailing Along adds blinkers today on the class drop and has worked extremely well over the local surface the last couple months. 1-Northern Gem gets the complete makeover today looking for some form reversal. The 4-year-old filly goes turf to dirt; cuts back to a sprint and drops her claiming tag in half.
Race #4: 3-Cross Examine stretches out for the first time today after putting together some solid efforts at this $20k Maiden Claiming level at all 3 southern California venues. The 4-year-old is by multiple Grade 1 winner Quality Road so today’s mile trip is expected to be well within his distance limitations. 6-Inesperado was a non-threatening 3rd when returning off an extended 11-month layoff and is eligible to move forward off that effort. The 5-year-old gelding earned a solid figure over this track last December. 1-Rusty B Cause has yet to be a serious threat in 4 career starts but at least has Beyers that are heading in the right direction for hall of fame rider.
Race #5: 6-Sonic Brees has been a popular commodity at the claiming box in recent months and now goes out for low-profile successful connections this afternoon off October 28 runner-up finish. The 4-year-old’s recent a.m. drills have cranked up in recent weeks and he’s proven over this racetrack. He stretches out today and should find himself on or close to the lead. Trainer Jonathan Wong has a pair of 4-year-old geldings arriving from Golden Gate lined up in here and they both exit the same November 27 event finishing 4th and 5th respectively. Of the pair, a plausible case can be made that 3-Sumo ran much better than his stablemate in that event after breaking a step slow and launching a sustained 5-wide bid to finish 4th. The gelding broke his Maiden over this course. 2-Allaboutthemoney also returns to the Los Al main track where he was claimed for $25k three-back off a solid 3rd place finish behind multiple repeat winner Disc Jockey.
Race #6: 5-Magnificent Ride makes career start number 11 this afternoon but has run faster Beyers in most of his lifetime starts than this entire field combined. The gelding has run well over this course and appears to have found a field he can finally handle. Maybe. 3-Smile for Glory looks like the main threat to short-priced top pick making the all-important 3rd career start off an 8-weeek freshening. The lightly raced gelding comes in with an improving Beyer pattern and has trained well for his return. A wire-to-wire threat. 1-Lemon Drop Shot has a combined 8 runner-up finishes from 10 starts and now makes his second start off the extended layoff for trainer Jonathan Wong. A logical threat once again.
Race #7: The speedy 1-Respectfully goes first off the claim for trainer Librado Barocio who is a solid 4 for 13 (31%) with a $3.18 ROI with new barn purchases. This filly removes the blinkers today; is reunited with top rider and proven over this racetrack. 4-So It Would Seem comes in off back-to-back wins and now makes first start for trainer Peter Miller off a strong field’s best last-out (79) Beyer. The main concern is whether she can produce recent top efforts over this new racing surface. 7-Harper’s Gallop is one of two Leonard Powell-trained mares entered here. This gal has been freshened; is proven over this racetrack and has faced much better in previous outings.
Race #8: The D’Amato barn has done well with turf to dirt second time starters at this racetrack and 1-Devil Among Us fits that bill coming off an even 5th place grass finish November 6 at DMR. The 2-year-old colt is bred to handle the main track and switches to Hernandez who seems to be on all live runners this mini-meet. 10-Thirsty Pappa returns as a first-time gelding for new conditioner Peter Miller and shows a long set of a.m. drills in preparation for this. Of the new shooters we prefer 11-Bronko Nagurski (By Grazen) who debuts for trainer Steve Miyadi who is a solid 5 for 20 (25%) with a lofty $5.66 ROI at Los Al with newcomers. 6-Eddie Crosswire has trained well for his unveiling and is by Square Eddie who gets a strong 19% with his 2-year-old debuting prodigy. However, trainer John Sadler is only 1 for 19 (5%) at Los Al the past 5 years with first time starters. A cause for slight pause.