Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 9-Cause She’s a Lady (Race 8)
Race #1: 3-Bye Bye Buggsy adds blinkers and moves back to the turf in career start number 3 for trainer Michael McCarthy. This juvenile filly posted a solid turf figure in DMR debut on August 25 and makes initial start for a claiming tag. This barn clicks close to 30% with this sizable class drop. 1-Cheekiest broke slow and was never involved on October 1 debut effort. This barn is, however, having a strong autumn meet and is 3 for 10 (30%) with a lofty $6.06 ROI the past 2 years with MDSW to Maiden Claiming class droppers on grass. 6-I’m Still in It showed little in DMR debut back in August when breaking from the rail but moves outside this afternoon for Glatt and drops in for a tag. The sample is small, but barn is 3 for 8 (38%) with MDSW to MDCLM dropdowns with horses making their second start at Santa Anita.
Race #2: 6-Menitirosa comes in with an improving Beyer pattern and owns the field’s best last-out Beyer (55) with decent runner-up finish on October 15. That may be enough to handle these. 3-Hot Rod Jimmy made a belated 4 or 5 wide bid entering the stretch in debut over the Tapeta at Golden Gate while never a threat to the top 3 finishers. This barn has had a pair of winners here, however, and the gelding does drop in for a tag this afternoon. 1-King Zog could not capitalize when having the rail and speed in most recent start nearly 3 weeks ago when tiring to fourth but fits again with competitive speed figures for this level. A beaten favorite in 2 of 4 career starts now.
Race #3: 6-Finnley’s Kitten cuts back to a sprint and looks primed for top try today making her third start off the extended layoff for trainer Vladimir Cerin. This 4-year-old filly shows a much-improved bullet 4-furlong drill October 24 in preparation for this. 4-Magic Game goes two routes to a sprint; makes 3rd start off the mini-freshening and did earn a (65) Beyer in 6 ½ furlong debut effort back in April of 2021. 1-Good Boo Joo moves inside, and the blinkers are back on for this Mullins filly who makes her 3rd start off the layoff this afternoon. She flopped in most recent start but was a good 2nd two-back over a pair of next-out winners.
Race #4: Baffert has a pair of juvenile colts lined up in here. 1-Fort Bragg is the more accomplished of the duo adding blinkers today after being Dq’d from his Maiden victory October 10 after lugging in and interfering with a rival during the late stretch run. His debut try two-back was another sharp try when he finished 3rd with a (90) Beyer to stakes winner and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint hopeful Speed Boat Beach. The $700K Tapit colt is likely to be sent hard from the rail with Maldonado and never look back at a short price. Bragg’s stablemate 5-Reincarnate makes main track debut after back-to-back runner-up finishes on grass. He’s by multiple Grade 1 winner Good Magic who is 3 for 10 (30%) with his dirt route prodigy thus far. 3-Odonata was trounced and overmatched in the G1 American Pharoah October 8 but drops back down to the MDSW ranks where he’s been competitive in 3 prior starts.
Race #5: 2-Barristan The Bold drops out of back-to-back graded stakes events and into a $25k claimer which isn’t as extreme as it initially sounds considering the gelding was taken for $32K last September. He gets Lasix back on which should help immensely. 10-Grit and Curiosity draws way outside but comes in with the field’s best last out Beyer (84) and improving pattern for Mullins. This will be the gelding’s 3rd start off the bench this afternoon. 1-George Herman Ruth has been absent over 15 months but makes first start for the Miyadi barn who has solid numbers with new acquisitions and horses returning off long layoffs. The gelding had some good races over this turf course prior to hitting the sidelines.
Race #6: 2-Crypto Munny is one of two Papaprodomou-trained geldings in here and looks best of the pair. The gelding goes turf to dirt; route to sprint and drops from a $50k to $20,000 claiming tag. This looks like the appropriate winning level. 10-Cold City has speed and is nicely drawn outside for trainer Jeff Mullins making second start at this bottom-level $20K claiming tag. He hasn’t been out in nearly 2 months and recent works don’t necessarily scream readiness. Nonetheles, he’s the one to beat off last main track Beyer speed figure. 1-Dadstar was no match for Peter Miller-trained winner Shardial on 9/23 at Los Al, but was game enough to hold the place spot. This barn (0 for 19) is still looking for their first win of the meet.
Race #7: 1-Touch of Zen was an improved 3rd in most recent start despite appearing to be green and still inexperienced throughout the mile running on October 9. Once taken off the rail past the ¾ marker he rallied nicely down the middle of the track to grab the show spot and galloped out well enough. His main rival appears to be 7-Donner Lake who exits the same race finishing in front of our top choice when finishing second just short of the (74) par for this class level. The colt was parked 2-3 wide for a long way before leveling off late in the stretch run and running on gamely. 2-Orth is 0 for 11 but comes off a runner-up finish in last while sprinting at this level. We’re not convinced he’ll show same punch at today’ s stretch-out to a mile, however, as his sire is only 2 for 50 (4%) with grass route runners.
Race #8: 9-Cause She’s a Lady has good stalking speed; goes turf to dirt; is drawn outside and projects to sit a favorable trip for Team O’Neill. That combined with today’s significant class plunge makes this filly the day’s best bet and most likely winner on the Friday card. 6-Anna Volante cuts claiming purchase price from two-back in half after back-to-back subpar efforts. Perhaps there’s some improvement forthcoming, however, making 3rd start off the mini freshening this afternoon and continued decent a.m. drills leading up to this try. Not sure she’s fast enough to find the front here and is able to sit and rate, but 3-Grandiosely must be respected off recent Los Al Maiden victory where she earned a strong (67) Beyer which is above par for this class level.
Race #9: 2-Shocking Grey finished a good 2nd at 21/1 when wide in debut effort for Mullins and should be a handful with any normal second-out improvement. This conditioner is 6 for 23 (26%) the past 3 years with 2nd time starters on grass. 3-Candy On Top comes off a 2nd place finish and goes two routes to a sprint today. 8-Don’t Ju Forget finished an even third behind top choice when switched back to grass and has two sharp works since that effort for Miller.
Race #10: Trainer Phil D’Amato has two strong chances in the nightcap. 2-Agatino (Ire) makes U.S. debut off March Maiden victory over at Dundalk. He adds Lasix today for stateside unveiling and this barn typically does well with these import types. He should be the better price of the pair. A beaten favorite in two of his last three efforts 3-Midnight Jostar has had tardy beginnings in his last 4 consecutive races but usually comes running strongly late. 7-Go On was well bet when finishing 3rd against better in most recent try when making first start back since short stay over in Dubai. The son of Nyquist stretches out this afternoon and should improve off that effort. The speedy 5-Balladeer returns west after failed attempt at Kentucky Downs when he was unable to last despite carving out some slow fractions. He did press and win from slightly off the pace when breaking Maiden over this turf strip 4-back and certainly fits well on Beyer numbers. He’ll likely take these as far as he can with switch to aggressive gate rider.