Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler
BEST BET: 2-Sai Con (Race #1)
Race #1: 2-Sai Con speedy gelding by multiple G1 overseas winner Kingman makes second start for a claiming tag for trainer Richard Baltas and should have things all his own way on the lead. A wire-to-wire Maiden breaking score appears likely for today’s opener. 1-Kazuhiko drops; has been freshened, and has already run par twice for this class level on the turf. 3-Dance Company blinkers off today while returning to grass on the cutback and class drop are part of today’s complete makeover. Improvement likely.
Race #2: 4-Big Bell lands in a short weak field of $20k Maiden Claimers off the mini-freshening and has proven he can handle the main track with a good runner-up try last June in debut. Although the sample is small, trainer Tim Yakteen is (3 for 6) 50% with a $3.20 ROI with turf-to-dirt and 1st off the layoff runners. 3-Glory of Chrome adds blinkers off troubled trip when beaten less than a length at this level and could easily find the winner’s circle in here. 2-Keep It Classy three consecutive 2nd place finishes at this level makes this 5-year-old mare a logical threat again this afternoon.
Race #3: 1-Sommer Daisy makes the all-important 3rd start off the bench and returns to a mile on the cutback. This 4-year-old filly broke her Maiden at this same trip last September at Del Mar and is reunited with winning rider on class drop. 7-Tayet somehow managed to find stretch traffic problems in a 5-horse field in last effort and looms a BIG threat this afternoon making her 2nd start off the bench. 4-Warrior’s Moon is only 1 for 19 lifetime, but has good tactical speed and comes off a 2nd place effort at this same level.
Race #4: 2-La Pulcinela goes first off the claim for trainer Manuel Ortiz coming off a 2nd place finish as the beaten favorite against softer. This 4-year-old filly should be forwardly placed going sprint-to-route and returning to the mile where she’s a multiple winner. 5-Midnight Jamboree is ultra-consistent for trainer Bill Spawr and should improve making her 2nd start off the layoff. She finished behind super sharp next-out winner Bye Bye Bertie in last. 3-Happy Trails seeks third straight victory but is unproven at a mile.
Race #5: 1-Busker Allie was DQ’d from Maiden score two-back and didn’t have the best of trips in most recent try February 4 when slow into stride and wide. This 3-year-old filly gets key rider change to top turf pilot Rispoli who is 9 for 27 (33%) when riding for D’Amato in Maiden Special Weight grass events. 2-Abhita owns a distinct Beyer advantage off last pair of turf tries but once again will likely have to negotiate a trip from well off the pace at short odds. 5-Councilwoman Jilly lightly raced filly should move forward today making her 3rd career start for trainer Paddy Gallagher. She just might find herself on the lead in here by default.
Race #6: 4-Head for Business logical choice off the freshening with 4 runner-up placings from 9 career starts for red-hot Hess barn. This 5-year-old gelding has run par or better for this level multiple times and drops again today. It’s now or never, but tough to endorse with much confidence. 2-Mad Catter has consistently hit the board at this level and comes off a mini-freshening for a barn that’s been super productive and live this current meet. 1-Conundrum makes first start for a tag and has trained well enough up north for his southern California debut.
Race #7: 2-Shoppingforpharoah adds blinkers/lasix and cuts back to a sprint for trainer Jonathon Wong. This speedy filly could be tough to reel in going down the hill. Lightly-raced 1-Big Switch has shown some nice ability for trainer John Sadler with 2 wins from 3 career starts. She’s unproven on grass, but will be a handful if she handles it with the addition of Lasix today. The other Sadler runner 5-Unbridled Mary also adds Lasix and has been freshened off Maiden turf score back in mid-November. This 3-year-old filly has trained well in the interim for 1st start against winners.
Race #8: 2-Devil Moon is a son of Malibu Moon and has some eye-catching drills for debut including a “best of 54” 4 furlongs in :46 flat from the gate 3 days ago. Mandella is 6 for 24 (25%) with Maiden Special Weight turf runners at Santa Anita. This colt has the look of a potential stakes runner. 1-Mo Gold has run excellent in both runner-up placings on the lawn locally and removes the blinkers today for trainer Jeff Bonde. Two sharp a.m. drill since beaten favorite effort indicates the son of Uncle Mo remains razor sharp. The knock is obviously the short price. 6-Admiral Halsey removes the blinkers today making the all-important 3rd start off the bench for top turf conditioner Phil D’Amato.