Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 5-Mask Off (Race #4)
Race #1: 3-McWherter has speed; makes 2nd start off the layoff and has never faced this level of reduced bottom-level claimers in 19 career starts. This lucrative jockey/trainer combo are 7 for 16 (44%) when teamed up at this oval. 7-Bob’s Sniper stretches out off a sharp victory under the lights August 14 and just missed three-back against better during the afternoon card. 8-Scratchy Apache is another coming off an evening score for winning connections.
Race #2: 4-Three Point Oh goes turf to dirt on the class drop for trainer Eddie Freeman and should appreciate cutting back to 6 furlongs. This filly has good positional speed to stay close early. The speedy 5-Mining Crypto adds blinkers; makes second start off the mini-freshening and owns the field’s best last-out main track Beyer (57). 6-Glorious Spring showed little in grass debut against straight Maiden Special Weight types but could improve substantially with today’s surface change and class drop.
Race #3: 6-Western Cape is a $400K Keeneland purchase by Curlin that’s already run par or better for this class level in 2 of his 3 career starts and drops in for a tag today for trainer Bob Baffert. 5-Candy for Carmel moves back to dirt where he was a sharp runner-up two-back earning a (72) Beyer against slightly better. 1-Rafikki goes two sprints to a route for Team O’Neill and drops in for a tag for the first time this afternoon. This 3-year-old gelding is by multiple G1 route winner Shaman Ghost and should appreciate the stretch out to today’s mile trip.
Race #4: 5-Mask Off pressed the pace before tiring on most recent effort August 27 and should be much tighter making 2nd start off the 9-month freshening. The gelding drops from $50K to bottom-level $20,000 tag for trainer Jonathan Wong and should be long gone here. 8-Mongolian Box drops again making 3rd start off the layoff and could wake up at this reduced level and cutting back to a sprint. This colt has some nice drills over this racetrack. 9-Hiding the Brick is 0 for 9 but has run some Beyer figures that would be competitive against this suspect group.
Race #5: 5-Smiling At Val goes 2nd off the claim for trainer Steve Knapp whose 5 for 16 (31%) with a $3.65 ROI with this angle at Los Al. The gelding scored his Maiden victory two-back on August 11 over a pair of next-out winners and drops back to more of a realistic level this afternoon. 6-Butkus makes 3rd start off the mini-freshening; cuts back to a sprint; slashes his claiming price tag in half and was a decisive Maiden winner with a (85) Beyer over this strip last June. 3-Arthur Spooner cuts back to a sprint and should move forward off dull try when coming off 4-month layoff. He finished 3rd in lone try over this racetrack.
Race #6: 6-Eddie’s On Patrol is by Square Eddie who gets a strong 19% with his 2-year-old first time starter prodigy. This filly has trained well enough for her unveiling and doesn’t appear to face any world beaters in this spot. 5-Paytricia owns the experience edge over several of these and comes off back-to-back troubled trips. 4-Draw Near showed little in Maiden Special Weight synthetic try at Golden Gate at long odds but is eligible to show more life with substantial class drop and surface change.
Race #7: 2-lalic (Fr) is unproven on dirt but goes first off the claim for trainer Peter Miller and makes 3rd start off the extended layoff. She’s a big stretch threat here if this mare takes to the new surface. 3-Bye Bye Bertie is one of two mares trained by Leonard Powell and gets both class relief and Lasix back on this afternoon. 1-Spring Spinning goes turf to dirt on the cutback and was a stalking Maiden winner when last seen over this strip on July 3. This filly should be able to save ample ground from the rail and get a lively race flow to close into.
Race #8: 1-Big City Lights is undefeated for trainer Richard Mandella and returned off a long layoff to score decisively over next-out G2 DMR Derby winner Slow Down Andy. The colt has had 4 sharp drills since that effort. 2-The Chosen Vron is 5 for 9 lifetime and drops out of the G2 Pat O’Brien where he was an even non-threatening 5th. 4-Desmond Doss makes 2nd start off the mini-freshening off disappointing effort at Del Mar but was a sharp winner over a short field in the Bertrando Stakes two-back when last seen here.
Race #9: 1-Jeweled Shillelagh looks like a runner for trainer Michael McCarthy who won with his last pair of debut starters at this oval (Wizard of Westwood-7/3) and (Procrastination-7/4). This juvenile colt is by multiple G1 winner City of Lights who is 3 for 15 (20%) with 2-year-old first time starters and comes in with a string of snappy a.m. drills. He might get lost in the betting here and offer some value. 2-Odonata goes 2nd time blinkers; is on the improve and makes the all-important 3rd career start for Team O’Neill. Baffert has a pair of debut runners in 7-Nielson and 9-Gandolfini and they’re both likely to attract plenty of wagering support. They’re difficult to separate. Of the pair, we’ll side with Gandolfini who is by TC winner Justify who is a strong 7 for 28 (25%) with his 2-year-old first time starter offspring. This colt draws the outside and has worked swiftly in team drills with barn’s top prospects and established stakes runners.