Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 2-Carver (Race 5)
Race #1: 2-Ancient Peace ran well in her debut try on December 3 considering the tough outside draw and wide trip. The filly adds blinkers this afternoon; moves all the way inside and returned with a sharp bullet drill since that race presumably with new equipment in place for trainer Graham Motion. Hernandez sticks and had 4 wins opening day. 8-Bolt’s Broad was Dq’d from main track win four back and has run some solid turf efforts since then including running par or better on two occasions. She shook free too late in recent 3rd place finish when blocked with run. The filly’s recent a.m. drills have been solid. 10-La Peer has run some recent strong turf efforts, but post must negotiate tricky outside draw.
Race #2: 1-Salto de Tigre owns the field’s best last out Beyer (77) with recent runner-up finish at Los Al 2 weeks ago. The 3-year-old gelding broke her Maiden over the track at the beginning of the year and figures to work out a nice trip from the rail. 6-Sonic Brees comes in with an improving Beyer pattern making second start off the claim and is projected to be on or close to the lead this afternoon. 2-Allaoutthemoney has run some competitive figures at this level for trainer Jonathan Wong and returns to racing venue where he’s had some prior success.
Race #3: 3-Classical Cat made his turf debut a winning one for trainer Phil D’Amato back in October over this strip and projects to sit a nice stalking trip again from just off the speed today. The lightly raced son of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Mendelssohn figures to continue to improve for top barn. Graded stakes winner 5-Nagirroc ships west for trainer Graham Motion off a 3rd in this year’s BC at Keeneland and back-to-back 80 plus turf Beyers. This is a significantly softer spot today. 2-Tostada (Ire) makes his stateside unveiling in this stake event for Cerin and Hernandez. The juvenile colt has faced some solid runners overseas including finishing second behind a multiple repeat winner when last seen back in September.
Race #4: 4-Chipper makes 3rd start off the layoff today and first off the claim for trainer George Papaprodromou. This barn is a solid 4 for 12 (42%) with new acquisitions the past 3 years at SA with main track runners. He’s run well over this racetrack and owns the field’s best last out Beyer (74) with recent runner-up finish at Los Al on December 10. 5-Nolo Contesto is 1 for 17 with 7 second place finishes but stretches back out today making 2nd start off the extended layoff and back-to-back tries at this reduced claiming level. The 6-year-old projects to be on or close to the lead this afternoon. 3-Star Sailor should improve for Team O’Neill making second start off the bench and stretching back out. The colts lone win came at a mile.
Race #5: 2-Carver showed much improved early zip in last on the stretch out when carving out some snappy fractions and settling for 3rd. He makes the all-important 3rd career start today for trainer John Sadler and a repeat of that last (72) turf Beyer would make him tough in here. 10-San Anton (Ire) makes his stateside debut for D’Amato who typically does well with his Maiden imports. This juvenile colt has run some competitive races over in Ireland and has trained well locally. 3-Single Track Mind (Ire) comes in off back-to-back strong efforts at this distance and level for trainer Mark Glatt and top turf pilot Rispoli is back aboard again for another crack at getting this colt out of the Maiden ranks.
Race #6: 5-Big Bell has been freshened for trainer Tim Yakteen and is reunited with Prat who was onboard for runner-up sprint debut try back in June of 2021. This lucrative jockey/trainer combo are 4 for 10 (40%) overall with Maiden starts at SA and the soon to be 5-year-old has trained well for her return. 2-Worthiness adds blinkers today and comes off a career best Beyer (54) when finishing a closing 3rd at Los Al on December 9. 9-Warren’s Show Biz is making career start number 12 this afternoon but just missed at Los Al by a nose in last with a (59) Beyer. The filly makes her 3rd start off the bench this afternoon.
Race #7: 6-Kitty Kitana (GB) is one of two Phil D’Amato trained fillies lined up in here. This gal cuts back in distance today off a beaten favorite runner-up finish at DMR back in November and was a decent 3rd in the G3 Sweet Life in lone downhill try back in February. Kitty’s stablemate 10-Slevka (Fr) makes his U.S. debut off solid form overseas having a victory and 4 runner-up finishes from 6 career starts. She’s trained well locally; adds Lasix and gets Hernandez. Beaten favorite 8-American Lily has never gone this far or been on grass but has a ton of early zip from the outside for trainer Peter Miller and has won 2 of 3 career starts. This filly is by multiple G1 winner Bayern who gets a respectable 16% with turf sprint runners. 2-Honey Jar has been freshened and has run well over this downhill course for trainer Michael McCarthy.
Race #8: It’s difficult to get overly excited about any of the chances of this bottom-level claiming group based on their inconsistent shaky form. We’ll try 5-Candy for Carmel who stretches back out today and takes a significant class plunge coming off recent non-threatening 8th place finish at Del Mar back on November 11. This barn has done well over this strip with 50% claiming class droppers going 9 for 27 (33%) with a $2.47 ROI. This gelding has already run over par for this class level as Woodbine staple pilot Kimura looks for first southern California victory. 6-Egomania must be respected off field’s best last out (77) main track Beyer when finishing 3rd at 34/1 but is hardly a shoo-in. 1-Sippin N Kissin is 1 for 17 but fits snuggly at this N2L $16k claiming level and comes off a career best (75) Beyer at Los Al.
Race #9: 5-G Laurie heads west for Motion making career start number three and tries a much softer spot dropping out of a G1 at Woodbine where she finished a solid third. This juvenile filly adds blinkers today; attracts Hernandez and shows a solid main track 4-furlong local drill on December 22. Recent Maiden winner 8-Tea N Conversation earned a strong (80) Beyer in closing score down at DMR and projects to get another favorable live race flow to set-up her late kick while taking first crack at winners. 4-Decorated My Life (Ire) ran well to finish 2nd in the G3 Jimmy Durante over a handful of the same runners she faces today and that was her first start on U.S. soil.