Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 3-Busy Paynter (Race #1)
Race #1: 3-Busy Paynter is wheeled back on short rest after a strong runner-up finish over the local footing December 9 and makes 2nd start off the bench this afternoon. This 6-year-old mare loves this racetrack as indicated by stellar record (9-2-3-2). 5-Ca Dreamer has done most of her running during the evening program against better quality stock but has been successful in her limited afternoon appearances. 7-Where’s Frankie is unproven over the local setting but has speed; is drawn outside; and comes in off a wire-to-wire score against cheaper at DMR for trainer Jonathan Wong. The filly loses Vazquez to Busy Paynter, however.
Race #2: 4-Baby Kristen returns to the main track this afternoon where she’s been ultra-consistent rattling off 4 straight wins prior to most recent unsuccessful grass attempt. She’s reunited with winning rider and appears to be the one to catch again today. 1-Glorious King is lightly raced and has improved with each subsequent start since July debut for trainer Dan Blacker. The filly comes off a good second November 12 at this level finishing in front of a trio of runners that return here. 2-She’s Bulletproof exits the same race as second choice when finishing a wide closing 4th. A positive sign to see Prat return and a swift early contested pace would certainly enhance her chances.
Race #3: 9-Gotcha Lookin goes 2nd time blinkers today and makes second start off the bench for trainer Bob Hess. The colt drops from $50k to $30,000 tag this afternoon and is eligible to move forward. 1-Argentina Cries (Ire) was a beaten favorite 3rd against similar 2 weeks ago at DMR and returned to drill a sharp 4 furlongs since that effort. The gelding has speed and the rail. 4-Take Charge Curly returns as a first time gelding off a 2-month freshening and both pair of efforts to start career were competitive for this level.
Race #4: Trainer Bob Baffert has owned this race in previous years and has 3 of today’s 5 entrants. 5-Arabian Lion is a $600k purchase by Justify who is drawn outside with speed and has posted two sharp Beyer figures to start his career. He’s trained well since last runner-up finish at Keeneland and is obviously bred to handle today’s stretch-out. 2-Carmel Road was trounced in tough G1 Breeder’s Futurity back in October but has since regrouped nicely with a series of sharp a.m. drills including a “best of 30” 5-furlong work in :59 flat on December 9. 3-Fort Bragg completes the Baffert trifecta coming off an impressive Maiden victory November 4. The Tapit colt removes the blinkers today; has already proven he can handle a distance of ground and comes in with three 6-furlong stamina drills.
Race #5: 1-Trojan Way has posted back-to-back (60) Beyers which is above par for this class level. The 3-year-old filly has speed and the rail while returning off the 2-month freshening. 8-Margot has shown little in two starts against much stiffer Maiden Special Weight competition at DMR and GG but is eligible to spring to life this afternoon with class drop and new barn. 2-Parco is the more accomplished of the pair of Papaprodromou-trained fillies lined up in here coming off a decent 2nd at SA when finishing in front of a next-out winner.
Race #6: This looks like a spread race for those participating in the traditional $2 Pick Six. 3-Equipo A set a pressured pace and faded to 3rd just 8 days ago going this same 5-furlong trip. The gelding switches to top pilot this afternoon but must avoid another pace duel. 6-Minoso has won 3 of last 4 against cheaper and starts for new barn this afternoon off recent claim and GG synthetic victory. His stablemate 7-Whoa Buddy is also starting for trainer Gary Greiner off recent claim and GG win and figures to have some pace to close into this afternoon. The veteran gelding makes career start number 63 today.
Race #7: 6-Bonita Leona showed speed and tired going 6 panels at SA in most recent effort November 6 but should find the shorter 5-furlong trip more appealing this afternoon. Trainer Steve Knapp is a solid 4 for 18 (22%) with a $2.92 ROI at Los Al with 2nd off the claim runners. 2-Kaely’s Candy has won two straight under the light since returning off a 2-year hiatus. She’s already proven she can handle the additional distance and projects to be on or close to the lead again this afternoon. 4-Keep Your Coil returns to her preferred oval today where she registered a win and runner-up finish two and three-back.
Race #8: 6-Hoodlum returns to the main track where he registered his lone victory back in May at SA. The gelding hasn’t done much since in several turf attempts but could be a stretch-running threat this afternoon with projected swift early pace. His 107 late pace TimeformUS figure indicates he’ll be motoring through traffic for the potential mild upset. 3-So I’m Told stretches back out today and co-tops the field’s best last-out main track Beyer (77) off recent runner-up effort at DMR. 2-Settecento has not been seen since being snagged for $25,000 back in June when finishing second here. The gelding returns protected for shrewd barn.
Race #9: 5-Carmen Miranda was elevated to victory via DQ in most recent turf start November 25 when crossing the wire 2nd and now makes second start off the extended layoff for trainer Phil D’Amato. This 3-year-old filly has run well over the main track here and Prat sticks. 2-Tiger Spice was a beaten favorite disappointment in last start November 12 at DMR but was extremely sharp in first two career starts to begin her career this summer. She moves inside today; shortens up a ½ a furlong and could potentially trip out nicely in this spot. 3-Starship Defiant has not been seen since wire-to-wire October score at SA when snagged for $10k by conditioner Bob Hess but must be respected off the (74) Beyer she earned that afternoon.
Race #10: Trainer Peter Miller has a pair of 3-year-old contenders in the Saturday nightcap. 5-Finneus looks best over his stablemate coming of a strong 2nd place finish going a mile at DMR where he earned a field’s best last out (88) Beyer. If the projected fast early pace comes to fruition, he should be picking off the competition late. 3-Beef Winslow has been freshened and returns as a first time gelding today. He finished 3rd here when last seen back in September and is reunited with winning rider this afternoon. 1-Doc Adams is super sharp right now having won 3 straight and was a strong runner-up here in lone start back in July.