Los Alamitos (Sunday-9/24/23) By Dean Keppler

Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner

BEST BET: 1-Outspoken (Race 4)

Race #1: 1-Divine Feminine stretches back out to a mile today– the distance of which he was a decisive winner back on July 9 over this course. The 4-year-old gelding makes his second start off the Gary Stute claim, and the barn is a strong 3 for 6 (50%) with a lofty $6.63 ROI for the past 5 years with this claiming angle. 2-Warrens Candy Man makes second start off the bench and second attempt at this $8k claiming tag level. The 5-year-old gelding owns the field’s best last-out main track Beyer. 3-Mongolian Kingdom is winless since last August but drops a notch this afternoon and makes his second start off the bench on the stretch-out.

Selections: 1-2-3

Race #2: Trainer Bob Baffert has a pair of juvenile fillies lined up for this six-furlong sprint. 6-Pinecone is by multiple grade 1 winner Gun Runner who gets a solid 18% with his debuting prodigy. This filly has been working swiftly in her a.m. drills the past several weeks and Hernandez sees fit to ride. She’s eligible to be any kind. Her stablemate 4-Miss Mind Changer (By Army Mule) is another who arrives on the Los Al scene after a series of sizzling morning drills. 1-Don’t Bring Crazy is the most experienced filly in the field and comes off an improved third-place finish when switched to dirt Sept. 3.

Selections: 6-4-1

Race #3: 1-Economical was a bit flat in the last two starts but three-back the 4-year-old gelding scored a sharp win going 6 ½ furlongs at Del Mar earning a (75) Beyer speed figure. He goes first off the claim this afternoon for low profile conditioner Rosemary Trela who is 5 for 20 (25%) the past 5 years with new barn acquisitions. 6-Curly Esa goes route to sprint, drops in class, and has run well over this afternoon course. The 4-year-old gelding is nicely drawn outside and fired a “best of 36” bullet 4 furlongs in :47 flat Sept. 7. 2-Fast Per Se showed speed and faded over the course eight days ago and figures to have the lead again when they turn for home.

Selections: 1-6-2

Race #4: 1Outspoken (By Violence) is eligible to move forward off her fourth-place debut finish Aug. 13 for trainer Michael McCarthy. She stretches out today with the addition of blinkers and could find herself on the lead from the rail. 3-Just Be You goes two sprints to a route for career start number three off an improving Beyer pattern. The blinkers come off today for Hollendorfer and the meet’s leading pilot takes over. 5-She’s My Niece finished second when stretched out to two turns in her recent runner-up effort Aug. 27. Another move forward for Team O’Neill puts her in the hunt.

Selections: 1-3-5

Race #5: 2-Ultra Power flashed brief early zip before tiring in Aug. 25 debut try and now stretches out for start number two. The well-bred Baffert Curlin colt is eligible to drastically improve on the stretch-out in the second start for a jockey-trainer combo that is an impressive 3 for 4 (75%) at Los Al with second-time starters. 3-Miracle Mark makes the all-important third career start coming off a troubled trip Aug. 26 when stumbling at the start and impeded in the stretch. A big threat late with clear sailing. The Sadler barn is only 1 for 21 at Los Al with debut runners but 6-Tapalo has trained well for today’s unveiling, is nicely drawn outside, and the barn has done exceptionally well this mini-meet going 2-2-1 from 5 starts. The juvenile is by multiple grade 2 winner Tapiture who gets 15% with his debuting prodigy.

Selections: 2-3-6

Race #6: Class dropping 4-Betty’s Song flashed speed and tired on Aug. 5 debut for Team Baffert and now descends quickly into Maiden Claimers for career start number two. The debut race that the 3-year-old filly exits from has produced a pair of next-out winners. The $290K Keeneland purchase, that’s now offered for $20k in start number two, raises some obvious red flags. 3-Hollywood Rumor has improved Beyer-wise with each subsequent start and run above par for this reduced class level in last back-to-back third-place finishes. The next logical choice if the likely heavy favorite from Team Baffert fails to fire. 1-Ocean of Lies removes the blinkers on the class drop and could wake up in this softer spot making the third start of the form cycle.

Selections: 4-3-1

Race #7: Turf to dirt 7-Song of Shadows has won two of her last three starts on both grass and dirt which includes a runaway maiden romp over this course three-back. A beaten favorite in last 2-Diamonds Danzing can rebound here in this spot shortening up to 5 1/2 furlongs. 6Shanghai Sunrise is 0 for 3 over this course but figures to get a live race flow to close into. The 5-year-old mare comes off a troubled trip third against a similar group in last and owns the field’s best last-out main track Beyer (69).

Selections: 7-2-6

Race #8: Trainer Martin Valenzuela has two live runners going to post in this 5 ½-furlong low-level claiming sprint. The veteran 7-year-old gelding 7-Midnight Special was a beaten favorite in last but shortens up in distance where he’s 4 for 10 and takes a sizable class drop this afternoon. His stablemate 5Around the Dial finished second behind Big Cheddar when facing this same class level Sept. 17. 8-Big Cheddar is a logical contender with his win over second choice in the after-mentioned event eight days ago but loses Vazquez to Midnight Special.

Selections: 7-5-8

Race #9: 6-Cowboy Mike was eased through the lane in his most recent try Aug. 13 but has managed to regroup and train well locally for Baffert since that subpar performance. The fact that Hernandez is back aboard is a positive sign. 5-Buck Owens closed for third at 67-1 Sept. 10 which was good enough for the field’s best last-out main track Beyer (77). The 3-year-old gelding stretches back out for a hot barn and the meet’s leading rider. He could potentially sit an ideal stalking trip behind likely pacesetter Cowboy Mike. Turf to dirt 3Wine and Whisky has run well in last pair of grass tries and finished second in his lone start over this course—albeit back in December 2020.

Selections: 6-5-3

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