Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 2-Self Taught (Race 3)
Race #1: 1-My Destiny made second start in Southern California a winning one under the lights August 27 and has run some sharp races at Gulfstream and Tampa prior to shipping in. The 5-year-old mare shows a 3-furlong blowout for this on September 18. 2-Take a Leap put together back-to-back scores here two and three-back and cuts back to a sprint this afternoon. 6-Draw Me showed little in September 4 return try at long odds but merits a look in this easier spot.
Race #2: 2-Busy Paynter is wheeled back on 8 days rest and looks for back-to-back scores for trainer Milton Pineda. This barn has sent out all live runners this mini meet. The veteran 9-year-old mare 1-Coalinga Hills is a 4-time winner during the afternoon card here and has been freshened since speed and fade 5th place finish July 9 behind top choice. 6-Chay Up and Away trailed throughout in flat effort in short field at Ferndale but has had prior success here.
Race #3: 2-Self Taught goes first off the claim for trainer Ron Ellis and was likely snagged for $25K with this circuit in mind. The 5-year-old gelding has a stellar record here (4-2-1-0) and Maldonado knows him well. He finished in front of next-out winner Tizhotndusty who came back to score with a (87) Beyer at DMR. 6-Senor Jobim makes first start for claiming giant Jonathan Wong who is 2 for 2 here with first off the claim runners adding blinkers. 3-Box of Chocolates was runner-up here only 6 days ago. 1-Clem Labine goes first off the claim for barn that’s 3 for 9 (33%) with a $3.16 ROI with new acquisitions. This 11-time winner would be the beneficiary of a pace collapse.
Race #4: 7-Shvere Arbeter is wheeled back on only 6 days rest looking for back-to-back wins on the class hike. Jockey Ryan Curatolo lands here after guiding Keep Your Coil to victory in last at short odds. 6-Keep Your Coil is also coming off a win and short rest (8 days). The 4-year-old filly owns the field’s best last-out Beyer (72) and gets sufficient rider replacement with Maldonado taking over. 5-Red Hot Lass showed little in Del Mar debut in most recent start the end of July, but now makes first start for Team O’Neill that’s 5 for 15 (33%) with new barn purchases at Los Al.
Race #5: 4-Parco showed improved speed in most recent start and this filly’s Beyers have improved with each subsequent start this year. She might have found a field she can handle. 8-Sweet Heidelberg has consistently hit the board at this bottom level but has yet to show that winning desire. 3-So Softly may be 0 for 13 but has 8 combined second and third place finishes on the resume and comes off a runner-up finish at this same level here 8 days ago. She’ll likely take these as far as she can on the front end.
Race #6: Beaten favorite 2-Rocky Gibraltar goes route to sprint and first off the claim for trainer Steve Knapp. This barn is 6 for 18 (33%) with this angle at Los Al. 4-Sonic Brees comes in here off back-to-back runner-up finishes and a voided claim. The 4-year-old shows 4 works since that last 2nd place finish and fits well again off recent form and Beyers. 1-Arrest was a recent Maiden winner at DMR and now faces winners today making initial start at Los Al. The 4-year-old gelding will have to improve, however, to compete with top two.
Race #7: 3-Tom Bombadil stretches back out this afternoon for new barn and was a sharp second here three-back when flashing good speed in game try. Trainer Reed Saldana is 3 for 9 (33%) with a $3.42 ROI with 1st off the claim runners routing at Los A.l 7-Grenada Flavor owns the field’s best last-out Beyer (73) with runner-up closing finish in most recent start off 6-month layoff. The 4-year-old gelding is the one to beat with any normal second-out improvement but not sure he’ll get enough pace to close into. 1-Westphal broke Maiden over this strip three-back.
Race #8: It’s hard to separate 2-Bye Bye Buggsy and 3-Loana who exit the same August 25 grass sprint and ran similar races. We’re leaning on 3-Loana for a potential upset. This barn is a strong 3 for 4 (75%) with a $5.05 ROI with a runner-up finish with second time starts at Los Al. This juvenile filly is by Neolithic who is 5 for 17 (29%) with dirt route runners, so today’s surface switch should work in her favor. 1-Carla is a $950K Keeneland purchase for Baffert that finished 2nd in lone start at Del Mar on September 4 behind overlooked runaway winning stablemate Huntingcoco ($16.60). This lucrative barn is a strong 9 for 15 (60%) the past 3 years at Los Al with second time starters. 2-Bye Bye Buggsy ran well in debut beaten only a length and is bred to handle dirt for McCarthy. This barn is 3 for 8 (2 wins at Los Al) with 2nd time starters going turf to dirt.
Race #9: 5-Mr Impossible goes sprint to route making 2nd start off the layoff and should appreciate getting off the rail. Today’s likely pacesetter is 2-Durante who goes 2nd off the claim and lone start over this oval was a 4th in the G2 Los Al Futurity last December. Beaten favorite 3-Winslow goes turf to dirt and first off the claim for trainer Peter Miller.
Race #10: 4-Vella goes first off the claim for trainer Steve Knapp who clicks over 30% with new acquisitions at Los Al and this 6-year-old mare was a game winner here two-back. 5-Nice Ice goes turf to dirt making 2nd start off the bench for Miller and is reunited with winning rider who was aboard for sharp wire-to-wire win last September. 3-Busker Allie was much-improved 2nd at 22/1 when switching back to dirt for trainer Phil D’Amato and now cuts back to a sprint this afternoon. This filly’s lone start here was a well-beaten 3rd in debut.