Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 1-Haskelled (Race #6)
Race #1: The lightly raced 9-Double Fantasy has won 2 of 4 career starts for trainer Rolando Quinonez and makes her second start off the mini-freshening this afternoon. The 5-year-old mare comes off an even 4th place finish at Los Al against better. 5-Unwritten Code moves up the class ladder today off sharp looking score in last where she earned a field’s best (76) Beyer. She’s proven over this racetrack with frontrunning wire-to-wire Maiden score last January. 6-Optimas has trained well since runner-up finish at Turf Paradise and appears well-spotted here.
Race #2: The daughter of Uncle Mo 4-Wudi ran a bang-up 2nd in debut for Baffert posting the field’s best last out Beyer (73) and is the obvious one to beat in her second career start. This lucrative jockey/trainer combo are 5 for 8 (63%) with a $3.35 ROI with 2nd time starters at SA. 7-Teena Ella set a solid pace before tiring in November 12 debut for trainer Richard Mandella while attracting plenty of tote support. That race has since produced a pair of next-out winners including G1 Starlet victor Faiza. The filly adds Lasix today and is drawn outside with speed. Baffert’s other filly 5-Doinitthehardway goes two routes to a sprint and also drops out of the G1 Starlet while making her 3rd start off the layoff.
Race #3: 2-High Heater has good gate speed; drops in class today and was a sharp second over this strip two-back behind Doc Adams who has won 4 straight. 6-Big Buzz exits the same race as top choice when a decent late closing 4th. Heater’s stablemate 3-Zimba Warrior is 0 for 11 at Santa Anita but makes 2nd start off the claim at reduced level for lucrative jockey/trainer combo that have a long history of success together.
Race #4: 6-Yo Time attracted solid tote support in debut when finishing a disappointing 5th. He adds Lasix today and is likely to improve this afternoon for D’Amato who is 7 for 16 (44%) with a $2.88 ROI with 2nd time starters at SA with Prat aboard. 5-Rhythem On Stage improved dramatically with move to dirt in last with sharp runner-up finish at 22/1. The 3-year-old has been gelded since and switches to Hernandez. Multiple G1 winner Stay Thirsty is only 9% with his 3-year-old & up first-time starters but 3-Thirsty has trained well at San Luis Rey Downs for his unveiling for Peter Miller and looks live at first asking.
Race #5: 4-Rain Diva showed speed and faded late without much of an excuse in most recent start at Los Al and now makes her second start off the layoff today on the class drop. The 6-year-old mare is reunited with winning rider and is a 3-time winner over this racetrack. 2-Tizzy Twister was a 11/1 upset winner over this strip two-back against slightly cheaper and could be the beneficiary of a heated pace up front. 5-Ardis is drawn outside of main pace rival and usually needs clear sailing for optimum results. Having said that she takes a sizable class drop like top choice. 6-Righteously has been disappointing as of late but comes off a two-month freshening for Mullns and has trained decent enough for her return. Prat takes over but has started out somewhat chilly so far in comparison to some of his other meets.
Race #6: 1-Haskelled makes 2nd start off the long layoff for Team O’Neill on the stretch-out and first star for a tag. The 4-year-old colt owns the field’s best last out Beyer (70) with recent 5th place finish at Los Al and barn has high percentage with this substantial class plunge. 5-Batukhan (Ire) was no match for runaway winner Pittsburgh in last main track effort but fits with this group making career start number 11. 9-College Boy goes two sprints to a route as a first-time gelding for hot barn.
Race #7: 3-Hennys Crazy Train makes 2nd start off the extended layoff coming off a wide closing 5th and has since returned to drill a sharp 5 furlongs in sub :59 Christmas Eve Day. This gritty mare is 4 for 9 lifetime and drops in class today for Team O’Neill. 8-Little Rachael is reunited with winning rider off the Librado Barocio claim who is a solid 5 for 14 (36%) with a $3.37 ROI with new barn purchases. The 6-year-old mare loves this strip. 2-La V. has been plagued by layoff lines but has speed from the inside and comes off a decent runner-up finish back in October where he earned the field’s best last-out Beyer. 4-Bowl of Cherries moves up off the win and claim at Los Al and is wheeled back off short rest.
Race #8: A son of Blame 6-Henry Q has not been seen since beaten favorite 4th place finish back in June against straight MDSW types but has trained well for his return try. This jockey/trainer combo have won 2 of 3 starts this meet including La Deuxieme Etoile ($15) and One Silk Stocking ($16.60). 4-Nullarbor is a $500K Keeneland purchase by Candy Ride who drops in for a first-time tag in career start number three. The colt has flashed speed and faded in both starts for Baffert and cuts back to a sprint today with the addition of Lasix. Hernandez and Sadler team up with FTS 2-Motorcade off some decent enough a.m. drills. The 3-year-old colt is by multiple G1 winner Accelerate but this sire is only 3 for 62 (4%) with debuting prodigy. Mixed feelings and shaky confidence for the win slot.