Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 1-Big Frank Da Tank (Race #4)
Race #1: 6-Parco figures to be a handful in career start number two for new barn while dropping into face softer Maiden Claimers. The 3-year-old filly is by G1 winner Super Saver (who also broke his Maiden in start number two) and projects to get a nice stalking trip from outside post with 7 lb. apprentice aboard. This jockey/trainer combo teamed up to score with the gelding No Hang Charlie last month. 2-Vegas Dream has not been seen in nearly 8 months when flashing speed and tiring badly at Del Mar during the late fall meet. The 3-year-old filly adds blinkers and Lasix for 3rd career start and drops into face Maiden Claimers for the first time. She’s worked well in the a.m. for return try. 5-My Spy is by G1 winner Boisterous and debuts for the Miyadi barn that’s 3 for 9 (33%) with a lofty $9.93 ROI at Los Al the past 3 years with first time starters.
Race #2: 1-King Rob makes career start number 10 today with three seconds and three third place finishes on the resume. He’s run par or better for this class level on multiple occasions; has good early zip and draws the rail. He gets in light today and deserves one more chance to break through the Maiden ranks at this reduced level. 6-Westphal is lightly raced for trainer Peter Miller making only his third career start this afternoon. The gelding goes two-sprints-to-a-route and should appreciate the additional ground being by multiple G1 winner Exaggerator. 4-Corisca Flavor adds blinkers making 2nd start off the bench and should move forward today facing the same reduced $20k level Maiden Claimers.
Race #3: 6-Baby Kristen put away and soundly defeated three of the same fillies and mares she faces today with runner-up effort June 25 when earning a career and field’s best (70) Beyer speed figure. She’s drawn outside with good early zip and will be tough to beat with a similar effort. The obvious knock is her short price. A beaten favorite in last pair 5-Aria Aperta has speed; stretches out for her first afternoon start for trainer Craig Dollase and is wheeled back on only 6 days’ rest. The sample is small, but barn is 2 for 5 (40%) with $10.36 ROI with similar quick turnarounds. 3-Asylum was a well-beaten 3rd in that same June 25 event as top choice but could improve making second start at 5 ½ furlongs.
Race #4: 1-Big Frank Da Tank could wake up this afternoon with today’s return to the main track and class drop. The 4-year-old gelding makes his 2nd start off the layoff for trainer Adam Kitchingman who is 6 for 14 (43%) with horses going turf to dirt and barn’s go-to pilot Cedillo takes over who is a sharp 5 for 12 (42%) when riding for this outfit. A decent 5-furlong drill July 2 adds to the appeal. 3-Today Matters makes career start number 12 today but comes off career best try when missing by just a neck and earning the field’s top Beyer (66). The 4-year-old gelding has good tactical early foot and should be prominent from the get-go. 2-Vanisky is another coming off a career best effort and drops from $50k to $20k Maiden level. He picks up meet’s hot rider.
Race #5: Baffert looks loaded in here returning from his 90-day training suspension. It will be curious to see if his stable comes back firing fast or is a tad rusty off the layoff. 6-Rhetoric has not been out in 11 months after encouraging debut try when finishing 3rd behind multiple G2 winner Forbidden Kingdom. The son of Quality Road has trained smartly for return and adds Lasix. He’s outworked his stablemate 2-Western Cape who is a $400k Keeneland purchase by multiple G1 winner Curlin. Cape comes in with barn’s typical a.m. snappy drills. 4-Facetious adds Lasix for first main track try while returning off a near 8-month layoff. This barn typically does well with long layoff returnees and this colt has trained well enough for today’s comeback effort.
Race #6: 6-Self Isolation hasn’t tried dirt since December of last year but gets substantial class relief today and has good tactical early zip with outside draw. The filly gets back on Lasix this afternoon for the winning owner/trainer connections of Reddam Racing and Doug O’Neill. The filly has a handful of excellent dirt drills since last seen 6 weeks ago. 4-Hot on the Trail is another moving from grass to dirt after just missing June 5 by a neck at 23/1. The 6-year-old mare has multiple wins over this track earlier in her career so the return to the main track is likely to be well-received and a non-issue. 3-Warrior’s Moon finished a non-threatening 3rd when last seen on dirt over this course last September but comes off a decent win on the Tapeta up at Golden Gate over a next-out winner and appears to be in career top form.
Race #7: The speedy 2-Dancing Crane moves to dirt after back-to-back sharp efforts sprinting on grass at Santa Anita. This ultra-consistent filly is 4 for 10 lifetime and rarely runs a subpar race for trainer Mark Glatt. She should be tough to reel in with Hernandez taking the mount again. 4-Respect My Candor moves back to a sprint where she was a sharp dominating winner two-back. The 6-year-old mare has proven she can handle the dirt surface in the past and it’s likely an encouraging sign that jockey Ramon Vazquez climbs onboard for trainer Peter Miller. 5-Roses R Blue moves up in class but is improving and comes off a career best Beyer (72) over next-out winner Red Panty Night.
Race #8: 3-Scratchy Apache just missed finishing 3rd when last seen 8 days ago after a wide trip and could improve significantly today making 2nd start off the claim. This jockey/trainer combo are 6 for 18 (33%) with this claiming maneuver. Upset chance. The likely pacesetter 5-Whisky My God moves to afternoon racing today while dropping out of a stake event where he was overmatched finishing an even 5th. The 5-year-old gelding has recorded two victories over this daytime strip, however, and figures to be able to potentially run this weaker field off its feet with an alert break. 8-Big Cheddar stretches out today while returning to afternoon racing but comes into this race in top form and could very well land a piece of this with today’s favorable outside draw.
Race #9: Multiple graded stakes winner 3-Slow Down Andy appears to be the one to beat having won at this 1 1/8-mile trip in most recent start back in March in the G3 Sunland Park Derby. The Nyquist colt has 3 wins and a second from 5 career record for trainer Doug O’Neill and has been nicely coaxed along thus far after a minor physical setback. His return works have been super sharp, and the colt’s versatile running style gives jockey Mario Guiterrez some strategic options. 5-High Connection has two runner-up finishes after smashing Maiden win back in March and soundly defeated stablemate Doppelganger in the short G3 Affirmed field on June 11. The lightly raced talented colt by G1 winner Connect draws outside and appears to have plenty of early tactical zip which should serve him well in this spot. I’ve been chasing 4-Doppelganger for most of 2022 which has turned out to be a losing proposition thus far for this handicapper. The once Kentucky Derby prospect returns to blinkers today for Baffert while continuing to run in spurts while showing signs of real potential at times. While other times he’s appeared completely flat and spent. Perhaps the equipment change will help rejuvenate his form today as most of his superior earlier efforts were with the shades on.