Santa Anita (Friday-3/31/23) By Dean Keppler

Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner

BEST BET: 6-Baladi (Race 5)

Race #1: 1-Cherubic Factor ran excellent off the 9-month layoff coming up only a neck short at this level March 4 and figures to be a handful with any normal 2nd off the bench improvement. A pair of 3-furlong sharpening drills since that strong try adds to the appeal. 3-Law Abiding steps up in class and is wheeled back on short rest after impressive score against $32k claiming N2L caliber runners March 19 when adding blinkers. The 4-year-old colt owns the field’s best last out turf Beyer (84). 2-Inch makes 3rd start of the form cycle with improving Beyers and should be motoring home late from the rear of the pack.

Selections: 1-3-2

Race #2: 5-My Amigo is an interesting longshot and worth considering in this bottom-level Maiden Claiming event. He was moving nicely along the inside before getting stuck behind a tiring horse losing all momentum on March 4. The colt drops his claiming tag in half today and goes 2nd time blinkers. 4-Lemon Drop Shot is 0 for 14 with 9 second place finishes. The 5-year-old gelding has consistently run faster Beyer figures than anyone else in this weak field but has managed to squander chance after chance. 2-Vinny the Coin has not been out in 4 months and returns as a first time gelding with the addition of Lasix at this drastically reduced level. He’s shown good speed in both previous tries against better. 3-Extra Innings cuts back to a sprint this afternoon and gets some class relief for conditioner Craig Lewis. This barn has above average numbers on the turnback in Maiden Claiming events.

Selections: 5-4-2


Race #3: The speedy Golden Gate shipper 3-Nauvoo removes the blinkers today on the class drop for trainer Jonathan Wong. The gelding has proven he can handle the main track with Fresno wire-to-wire win last fall and looks tough to beat at this reduced level. 5-Big Swede makes first start off the claim for trainer Vladimir Cerin and this barn typically does well with new acquisitions. 2-Algeria (Ire) has never tried dirt but takes a sizable class drop today for hot barn and makes 3rd start off the layoff.

Selections: 3-5-2

Race #4: 6-Tennessee Moon was no match for runaway Maiden winner Liberal Lady February 10 but it was a good trey for this level for team O’Neill. 4-In Color can move forward in 2nd start off the bench and second try at this reduced level for D’Amato. 2-Paid in Gold is by multiple G1 winner Ransom the Moon and Glatt and Kimura teamed up to win with first time starter Left Hand Man ($16.80) on March 5. This 3-year-old filly has some sharp looking a.m. drills.

Selections: 6-4-2

Race #5: 6-Baladi ran a lot better than his recent 6th place finish indicates in recent effort March 3. The gelding was off slowly; rushed up along the inside past the half mile marker to grab the front; and then held on gamely to deep stretch along the inside before tiring and surrendering in the final yards. 3-Bold Endeavor has won 2 of his last 3 starts and now makes first start off the Tim Yakteen claim. This veteran 7-year-old gelding comes in here with the field’s best last out main track Beyer (92) — which is above par for this class level. 2-Impossible Task goes first off the claim and looks appropriately placed for his new connections. This 6-year-old gelding looks like the potential pacesetter today.

Selections: 6-3-2

Race #6: 1-No Hang Charlie goes first off the claim today for trainer Cesar DeAlba and gets a complete makeover this afternoon. The 5-year-old gelding goes dirt to turf; adds blinkers and cuts back in distance. He gets the rail with good gate speed and aggressive rider and there is some grass breeding on the dam side to take into consideration. Perhaps he keeps going here for the upset. 2-Finally Here was a good second at this level two-back earning close to par for this class level. 5-Kanderel is a multiple winner over this track and turf course and takes a substantial class drop today for the Papaprodromou barn.

Selections: 1-2-5

Race #7: Trainer Bob Baffert has a pair of talented 4-year-old fillies that are hard to separate in here. 6-Ganadora has speed from the outside and drops out of three consecutive graded stake tries. She may be tough to reel in late if allowed to settle to a nice rhythm on the frontend. Her stablemate 2-Adare Manor was a beaten favorite second at this level in most recent try February 18 and now makes 2nd start off the layoff. This daughter of Uncle Mo won the Grade 3 Las Virgenes last February and was second in the Grade 2 Black Eyed Susan and SA Oaks. She’s a perfect 2 for 2 going a mile and the obvious one to beat. 4-Big Switch steps up in sharp form and continues to work well in morning drills for Sadler.

Selections: 6-2-4

Race #8: 5-Loyal to a Fault was a sharp looking Maiden winner February 5 when drawing off late with the addition of Lasix. Her recent works have been strong, and she’s already proven that today’s stretch-out to a mile is well within her wheelhouse. 1-Golden Again was a sharp winner sprinting two-back on grass earning a strong (68) Beyer. The filly projects to sit a nice ground-saving trip from the rail. 3-Carole Lombard broke her Maiden going this mile trip on turf three back. She looks well-spotted for D’Amato.

Selections: 5-1-3

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