Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 2-Lookin for Revenge (Ire) (Race 6)
**Races 5, 7 and 9 are off the turf and have been switched to the main track.
Race #1: The Friday opener features a pair of Baffert fillies that are hard to look past and this barn frequently rune one-two in these Maiden events. 2-Conquistar is a $825K Keenland purchase by Quality Road that stretches out in career start number two after an encouraging beaten favorite runner-up finish 4 weeks ago. She earned a strong (83) Beyer in that unveiling and is bred to be even better going long. Her stablemate 1-Doinitthehardway was trounced and eased in most recent start while sprinting but stretches back out today and draws the rail with speed. She’s trained well since that last disappointing effort and goes 2nd time Lasix today. 3-Sweet Trouble drops back into MDSW ranks after a solid 4th place finish in the G3 Las Virgenes. 4-Ruby Nell finished a sharp 2nd despite a tough trip in turf debut behind a next-out winner and now switches to the main track for start number two. The $1.2 million dollar purchase is by Bolt d’Oro who was a multiple G1 winner on dirt.
Race #2: 4-Righteously finished a well-beaten 2nd against similar back in early January and now makes 2nd start off the bench for Mullins. The 5-year-old mare figures be on or close to the lead with today’s stretch-out to a mile. 1-Sangre Azul is a logical threat to repeat off sharp win at this mile trip on February 10 where she earned the field’s best last-out Beyer (64). 2-Flatterwithjewels battled with Sangre Azul in last coming up a ½-length short, but it was strong performance for this level, and she figures best of the rest.
Race #3: 2-Whimsical Heir finished a decent 3rd in debut behind next-out repeat winner Tecumseh Caroline for trainer Mark Glatt but has been sidelined 3 months since then. The 4-year-old filly by multiple G1 winner Orb retains Hernandez, however, and barn has solid stats with second time starters. 6-Bold Choice goes turf to dirt and cuts back to sprint where she’s had some success for trainer Steve Knapp. The blinkers are added this afternoon for 2nd start off the mini freshening. 8-Ashleys Sandcastle finished an even 4th on February 3 debut but barn typically improves a runner’s performance in second career start and Pereira is having a fabulous meet.
Race #4: The class dropping 4-Mentirosa has speed in a pace-less affair and could be tough to reel in late with an alert break. He was a sharp second at this level at Los Al two-back. 6-Let Him Do adds Lasix off the freshening for trainer John Sadler and appears appropriately placed after finishing a beaten favorite 3rd behind top choice when last seen. This jockey/trainer combo have had good success with runners returning off 61-180 day’s rest. 1-Top of My Game hasn’t shown much of late but takes a sizable class drop today and has run back figures that are at least on par or better for this class level.
Race #5: 4-Bronko Nagurski was a much-improved 3rd in last on turf when finishing behind the second choice in most recent effort February 3 but can easily reverse that decision today for trainer Steve Miyadi. He was a step slow in lone dirt try in debut and likely not a reflection of how he can handle the main track. This colt appears set for best try to date and should appreciate the additional 1/8 of a mile. 6-Herecomegeorgieboy is a logical threat off back-to-back runner-up finishes at this level on turf going a mile. Like the top choice, however, his lone try over the main track in his debut was a non-threatening 9th. 1-Ghostly Act has been beaten a combined 35 lengths in both local starts but makes first start around two turns today. The 3-year-old gelding is by Acclamation who gest 13% win clip with his dirt route runners.
Race #6: A sharp winner of last 2-Lookin for Revenge makes first off the claim for trainer Sergio Morfin who clicks close to 30% with new acquisitions at SA. This 6-year-old gelding owns the field’s best last out main track Beyer (77) and is tough to pick against at short odds. The speedy 4-No Hang Charlie drops in for a career low claiming tag today for barn that’s had decent success with horses taking substantial class drops. He figures to carry his speed a long way at this reduced level. 3-Outright is a multiple winner over the track and distance and finished second behind top pick in most recent try despite a wide journey.
Race #7: 2-Uncontrollable drops out of three consecutive graded stake affairs for McCarthy and adds blinkers today for her 3rd start off the bench. Velasquez climbs aboard. A Maiden winner two-back 1-Carole Lombard is unproven on dirt but drops back down to a more realistic spot this afternoon and adds Lasix for D’Amato. She draws the rail again and projects to get a favorable ground-saving journey. Her sire Grazen gets 16% with dirt route runners. 4-Golden Again has been ultra-consistent for trainer Steve Knapp and has proven to be just as effective over the main track.
Race #8: 5-Bold Endeavor proved best over several of these on December 31 when holding on by a nose with a (91) Beyer and now drops back down to the same winning level while making 2nd start off the Peter Miller claim. He figures to sit an ideal trip behind likely pacesetter Midnight Mammoth. 2-Order and Law has been freshened since finishing 3rd in the after mentioned December event behind top choice. 3-Baladi goes turf to dirt and drops back in for the $50k tag. The gelding continues to train well and should be motoring home late.
Race #9: 8-Low Expectations comes off a wire-to-wire Maiden $50k main track score back on January 15 where he earned a solid (79) Beyer figure. A similar effort makes him a big threat versus this group if he can clear this field. 2-Hacking It Up (By Nyquist) improved substantially with the switch to turf in most recent 7/1 upset win and is a threat right back with similar trip despite the surface change. The gelding broke his Maiden on dirt at DMR in career start number two. 5-Zio Jo steps up off recent turf Maiden score off short rest and retains Hernandez. He’s a legitimate threat right back facing winners and is bred to handle the switch to the main track.
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