Santa Anita (Friday-1/20/23) By Dean Keppler

Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner

BEST BET: 6-Big Switch (Race 2)

Race #1: 3-Ready Soul drops in class today and makes 2nd start off the claim for Hernandez and O’Neill. This lucrative jockey/trainer combo are 3 for 5 (60%) with a $4.88 ROI at SA with this claiming maneuver. The 6-year-old gelding was a sharp winner at this level two-back and has trained extremely well since last subpar performance. 6-Moody Jim (Ire) is a multiple winner over the track and distance. 2-It’s My House hasn’t shown much on turf but has good speed from the inside.

Selections: 3-6-2

Race #2: 6-Big Switch is 3 for 5 lifetime and comes in as a fresh horse off an encouraging snappy worktab for trainer John Sadler. Three recent 5-furlong drills indicate it’s all systems go for this talented multiple stakes winning filly. 4-Micro Share returns off a 9-month hiatus and when last seen was outrun badly in the G2 SA Oaks when eased and walked off the track. She’s trained well for return, however, and prior efforts indicate there’s some talent. 5-Trouville should show more speed from the rail with the stretch-out today and makes 3rd start off the form cycle with an improving Beyer pattern. The 3 for 30 mare gets in light again but usually settles for the underneath exotics.

Selections: 6-4-5


Race #3: 1-La V. has speed and the rail and makes 2nd start off the bench this afternoon while switching back to turf. She did close from off the pace to win 5-furlong grass sprint here last April indicating she’s more than a one-dimensional runner. 3-Unwritten Code stretches out seeking 3rd straight win but three prior grass attempts were not good. 2-Soaring Sky has been freshened and takes sizable class plunge today for Kimuru/Sadler who won with Kirstenbosch ($8.60) last Sunday.

Selections: 1-3-2

Race #4: A decent runner-up late finish on grass after a slow start gives 2-Tom’s X S the nod in here for Smith and Cassidy. He’s by G1 winner Tom’s Tribute who gets a respectable 16% with his dirt sprint prodigy. 7-Magnificent Ride makes career start number 11 today with several ITM finishes at this MDSW level. He goes 2nd off the mini freshening today with competitive figs and switches to Prat. 4-Six Feet adds blinkers for career start number two after flashing some speed in debut try some 8 months ago. The gelding returns off the layoff with a decent looking worktab.

Selections: 2-7-4

Race #5: 6-Rylan Jayne makes the all-important 3rd career start today and drops in for a first-time tag for Hernandez & Miller. 8-Smart Kitten also drops in for a tag for start number two. This barn has good numbers with MDSW to MDCLM dropdowns and switches to go-to pilot Maldonado.  3-Foolish is by multiple G1 winner Practical Joke who gets 18% with his 3-year-old & up debuting prodigy. He comes in with some solid a.m. drills and top connections, but barn is only 1 for 22 with FTS’s on turf. She’s tough to endorse on the win end with those numbers.

Selections: 6-8-3

Race #6: It’s always tough for a recent Maiden claimer winner to move up against accomplished runners and win again but 1-Big Bell should get a favorable ground-saving stalking trip in what’s projected to be a swift early pace. 4-Never Sway hasn’t shown much of late but comes off two months rest and should get a better race flow to set-up his late kick. 8-Head Start makes 2nd start off the bench and takes a sizable class drop after being pummeled against better on November 26. The 4-year-old filly starts for hot barn.

Selections: 1-4-8

Race #7: The multiple graded stakes placed 3-The Grey Wizard (Ire) comes off a runner-up finish in the G2 Hollywood Cup for trainer Graham Motion earning the field’s best last out turf Beyer (90). The 4-year-old gelding is the class of this field but needs some pace to run into. 4-Agatino (Ire) is still looking for his first stateside victory and second career win for D’Amato. He removes the blinkers today, switches to Hernandez and merits respect for top connections. 1-Dominant Soul has speed and the rail but has folded going shorter in last pair. He does get in light, however, with 7 lb. bug aboard.

Selections: 3-4-1

Race #8: 7-Gold Rush Candy has been freshened for Team Baffert and this lucrative jockey/trainer combo won with returnee Recall and Reload ($9.80) in last Sunday’s nightcap. 1-My Man Bags is super sharp right now making 2nd start off the Glatt claim, and 3rd start off the bench. 4-Club Cal goes route to sprint off a decent runner-up closing 2nd and now makes first start for new barn off the claim. The projected fast early pace would certainly enhance his chances. If either 8-Let’s Rejoyce or 9-Sunrise Journey can shake free without any demanding pace pressure, they could be long gone. We’re playing against such a scenario.

Selections: 7-1-4

Race #9: Stone-closer 4-Feathers (Ire) has won 2 of her last 3 starts and now makes first start for new connections off the claim. She’s proven at this trip. 5-Harper’s Gallop goes turf to dirt making second start off the bench and gets substantial class relief this afternoon. 3-So Much Happy has good gate speed and inside draw. The veteran 7-year-old mare is a multiple winner over this track and distance.

Selections: 4-5-3

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