Los Alamitos (Friday-9/22/23) By Dean Keppler

Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner

BEST BET: 1-Modera (Race 5)

Race #1: 2-Fast Investment showed improved speed before fading when stretched out to today’s mile distance Aug. 31 and is eligible to move forward off that effort making a second start off the extended layoff. The 3-year-old filly co-tops the field’s best last-out main track Beyer and retains hot rider. 4-Midnight Silence exits the same race as the top choice when a troubled trip fifth (sandwiched and clipping heels) and was runner-up in three consecutive efforts prior to that Del Mar try. An obvious threat again at this level. 1-Dorine’s Wild Cat goes two sprints to a route for Ellis and gets in light from the rail.

Selections: 2-4-1

Race #2: 5-Awesome Taylor is unproven over this course, but she stands out against this group based on her last main track Beyer (70) while closing for a runner-up finish Aug. 26. This filly slices her claiming tag in half for Team O’Neill. 2-Vegan takes a sizable class drop this afternoon coming off a series of sharp tries against better under the lights. The 6-year-old mar has proven she can handle the stretch-out to 6 furlongs. 1-Drizella has run well over the afternoon course going (1-1-3) from 5 starts.

Selections: 5-2-1

Race #3: 6-Miss Pixy Stix and 4-Capo Sorella exit the same Aug. 17 event that’s produced a pair of next-out winners. We’ll give to edge to Pixy who is nicely drawn outside and projects to sit a favorable stalking journey with Vazquez who got on track with 4 wins last Sunday afternoon. Capo has flashed speed in both starts, goes second-time blinkers today, and appears to be slowly on the improve. Turf to dirt 3-Lightning and Reign drops in for a first-time tag today, but the barn is only 1 for 21 (5%) the past 5 years with this big class-drop maneuver.

Selections: 6-4-3

Race #4: Turf to dirt 2High Heater comes off back-to-back sharp grass tries at Del Mar and Horseshoe Indianapolis and has run just as well over the main track including a runner-up finish at this level last September. 4-Blameless defeated the top choice two-back over turf and projects to be forwardly placed again in this spot for barn looking to end a 0 for 13 skid and current mini-meet. 1-Departure goes two sprints to a route this afternoon and the 5-year-old gelding’s two-turn efforts have been solid.

Selections: 2-4-1

Race #5: 1-Modera fell just a neck shy in the most recent try Aug. 17 against similar, and this 3-year-old filly followed up that effort with a swift bullet 4-furlong drill Sept. 9 in :46.3. She cuts back to a sprint today and is reunited with winning rider. 2-R Girl’s Werth It makes the second start off a 10-month layoff and the first start for a new barn off the claim. Trainer Val Brinckerhoff is 3 for 12 (25%) for the past two years with new acquisitions. 6-Mango Moon was trounced at 3-1 when last seen Sept. 9 in a disappointing effort but is eligible to bounce back here going out for new connections. This barn has sent out all live runners for this mini-meet, and Vazquez takes over. She is a logical contender if she runs back to her runner-up finish two-back.

Selections: 1-2-6

Race #6: First-time gelding 1-Duty First just missed by a nose when dropped in for a first-time tag on Aug. 27 and is a logical choice right back at that level for Mullins and Berrios. The gelding’s last two Beyer figures (73,70) are tops in this field. 7-Logon to Win was a bang-up second when last seen at this reduced level over this track three-back. The 3-year-old colt fits well here on the class drop and turn-back in distance. 3-Cribbage Board flashed speed and tired when making the first start in over a year and now the gelding drops in for a first-time tag. Improvement is likely for a chilly barn.

Selections: 1-7-3

Race #7: The multiple graded stakes-placed 4-Principe Carlo has good speed, exits a “key” race Aug. 26, and makes the third start of the form cycle this afternoon for Barocio and Vazquez. A potential gate-to-wire upset threat. 3-Lovesick Blues goes turf to dirt on the turnback and has run well over the afternoon Los Al strip– including a runner-up finish in the Bertrando two-back. 5Moose Mitchell was overmatched in the grade 2 Pat O’Brien Aug. 26 but rattled off three straight sharp wins prior to that last subpar finish. One potential caveat considering the likely short price, however, is that he’s 0 for 2 over this course.

Selections: 4-3-5

Race #8: The speedy 3-Seahawk Mary makes the third start off the bench today for a hot barn and figures to be tough to reel in late. She’s worked three times since that last fifth-place finish at DMR including a “best of 117” 4-furlong bullet drill Sept. 17. Of the Jorge Periban-trained fillies firster 6Magic Secret (By Munnings) has trained well for today’s unveiling. This jockey/trainer combo scored with firster French Onion July 2. 2-Just Is comes off a sharp runner-up finish Sept. 3 when just missing by a nose but steps back up to face Maiden Special Weight types this afternoon. A tougher spot.

Selections: 3-6-2

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