Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 4-Saffa’s Day (Race #8)
Race #1: Beaten favorite 4-Spring Spinning deserves another chance after breaking a tad slowly and racing wide last week and now goes first off the claim for new conditioner Reed Saldana. This barn is 4 for 17 (24%) with new acquisitions at Los Al and scored with recent claim Take a Leap on June 26. 1-Sweet Heidelberg drops a notch in class off an improving Beyer pattern and career best runner-up finish. This jockey/trainer combo scored with the gelding Vetoed on June 25. 2-Wetherly goes turf to dirt on the class drop and makes her 3rd start off the layoff for trainer Peter Eurton. The 3-year-old filly by Malibu Moon cuts back to a sprint and should improve facing softer. Her first two starts over the main track at Del Mar, however, were not very good.
Race #2: 2-Irish Circles makes the all-important 3rd career start and second attempt at this reduced level for trainer Sam Nichols. The 4-year-old gelding appears to be on the improve and has fired Beyer figures that (at least on paper) are fast enough to beat this weak group. 5-Daring Danny showed little in May 29 unveiling but adds blinkers today and returns as a first-time gelding for trainer Tim Yakteen. He’s eligible to move forward in 2nd career start. 1-Tex Hanley has not been seen since voided claim back in January at Golden Gate but returns sprinting and has trained steadily in the a.m.
Race #3: 1-Stay Happy is 3 for 3 at this distance and 2 for 2 over this racecourse and appears to be the one to beat dropping back down to the $12,500 claiming level. The 6-year-old gelding is 6 for 17 lifetime and is reunited with rider who was onboard for back-to-back wins back in September. 2-Swamp’n Ain’t Ez moves up in class off a recent upset win under the lights but has run well over this surface in prior efforts and looks to be today’s likely pacesetter. He could be tough to reel in with an alert break. 6-Active Account drops in class today and when last seen here back in December just missed by a neck against tougher. The gelding should be motoring home late.
Race #4: 3-Kolomio is by multiple G1 winner Constitution who gets a solid 19% with his 2-year-old offspring according to DRF Formulator. This lucrative jockey/trainer combo are 5 for 20 (25%) with a $3.84 ROI when teaming up together and this juvenile could come out running. Of the pair of Peter Miller-trained juvenile colts 4-South Coast Route might be the better value. He comes in here off some decent a.m. drills for conditioner that’s 3 for 7 (43%) with $3.48 ROI the past 2 years with debut runners at Los Al. This 2-year-old colt is by multiple G1 winner West Coast and looks well-primed for today’s unveiling. The other Miller juvenile 6-Abeliefinthislivin is by 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winner Arrogate and has been training well (like his stablemate) at San Luis Rey. He attracts top rider Hernandez for unveiling and is nicely drawn outside.
Race #5: The speedy 6-So Softly has already had several chances to break through the Maiden ranks with today being career start number 10. Having said that and despite being beaten favorite in last 3 starts, she cuts back in distance today and gets in light with top apprentice. We’ll give her one more chance this afternoon to potentially wire these going 5 ½ furlongs. 5-Topanga Canyon has been sidelined for a year and returns with a $30k price tag for trainer Michael McCarthy after finishing an even 5th on the Del Mar turf. Although the sample is small, this barn is 2 for 3 with runners dropping down from MDSW to Maiden Claimers at Los Al and this filly has trained steadily in the a.m. for her return try. 7-Roses N Gold quickly descends into the Maiden Claiming ranks after showing very little in June 18 unveiling for trainer Doug O’Neill when breaking slowly at the start. The 3-year-old filly by multiple G1 winner Goldencents need not have to improve much to compete here.
Race #6: 5-Franklin One Star ships in from Golden Gate where he’s been flashing good speed and could be today’s pacesetter. This gelding also broke his Maiden in debut over this oval with a (72) Beyer so the switch to the main track should be a non-issue for Team O’Neill. 3-Finglas Lad returns as a first-time gelding today and makes his second start off the bench for trainer Peter Miller after a disappointing return effort. He takes a sizable drop in class today; cuts back to 6 furlongs and when last seen over this strip he was smashing Maiden winner by 5 lengths. Improvement likely this afternoon for top connections. 2-Kimmer should appreciate cutting back in distance and moving to the main track. This gelding broke his Maiden sprinting.
Race #7: Trainer Doug O’Neill has two colts represented in this 5-furlong Maiden Special Weight sprint. We’ll lean on 5-Giovinazzo who is owned by the conditioner and comes in with a slew of bullet drills over at San Luis Rey for unveiling. He’s by G1 winner Sharp Azteca who is 3 for 16 (18%) with his first-time starter offspring. 6-Mister Iceman has also worked well for unveiling and is by G1 winner Girvin who is off to a fast start as a freshman sire going (7-3-1-0) with his 2-year-olds thus far. The colt attracts top rider Juan Hernandez who is 4 for 10 (40%) overall when piloting for these connections. 3-President Z holds the experience edge over all these other juvenile colts and was legged up for this with turf sprint at Santa Anita where he was away slowly from the gate. He’s trained well since then.
Race #8: Another affair that has a pair of Peter Miller-trained runners represented. 4-Saffa’s Day goes turf to dirt and makes 2nd start off the layoff today on the class drop. The 4-year-old gelding showed excellent form with competitive Beyer figures at Oaklawn Park prior to moving to the west coast and projects to be forwardly placed this afternoon if not on the lead. Equally effective on dirt and turf 6-Solo Animo has rattled off three consecutive wins for trainer Phil D’Amato and has been freshened for return to the races today while being absent since January. The 5-year-old has worked extremely well in the morning for today’s return effort. The lightly raced 3-Finally Here is a 6-year-old gelding but still may have room for further improvement making only career start number three. He moves to the main track today after two turf starts last summer and should have no issues with the surface change with Uncle Mo as his sire.
Race #9: 4-Demurra is a 4-year-old filly by multiple G1 winner Empire Maker who debuts with Lasix off some encouraging a.m. drills for trainer John Sadler who has been firing on all cylinders at this current mini afternoon Thoroughbred meet. The addition of Hernandez in the saddle only adds to the appeal. 2-Ten Rings is a $300k Keeneland purchase by multiple G1 winner Pioneerof the Nile who debuts for winning connections. 3-Lillypop has not been seen since finishing 2nd on the grass at Del Mar way back in November of 2020 but has trained sharply for extended layoff return effort. This barn did score recently with Brandon’slawyer off 238 days rest.