Santa Anita (Friday-4/28/23) By Dean Keppler


Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner

BEST BET: 2-Dolly May (Race 1)

Race #1: A beaten favorite in last 2-Dolly May (Ire) goes first off the claim and cuts back to a sprint for her new connections. This barn is 4 for 6 (67%) with a $5.10 ROI with new barn purchases sprinting on grass. 1-Inner Beauty (Ire) has been plagued by layoff lines and returns off another 3-month freshening for trainer Jeff Mullins. This 5-year-old mare takes a substantial class drop today and fits well on raw numbers. 5-Katerini returns to her preferred distance (which is sprinting) and drops into a career low claiming tag for hot barn.

Selections: 2-1-5

Race #2: 7-Chrome Dessert makes first start for new barn after nearly a 7-month layoff. This filly’s works have been decent, and this jockey/trainer combo scored with Real Fire ($12.20) last Saturday. This filly appears to perhaps a hold slight advantage in a weak field. 5-LuLu Lemon Drop switches to the main track for start number three and lures Hernandez for trainer Peter Miller. 6-Side by Side returns protected and is back on the main track off the mini-freshening.

Selections: 7-5-6


Race #3: 1-Mecklenburg (Ire) has speed and the rail draw and when last seen at this reduced level was a strong wire-to-wire winner. This gelding has run par or better for this class level on multiple occasions and looks tough to reel in as the likely betting public choice. 2-Hudson Ridge has been sidelined for roughly 3 ½-months for Team Baffert but has been training sharply in recent a.m. drills. This 5-year-old prefers longer but returns for a career low claiming tag and lures Hernandez. 3-Rijeka (Ire) has proven he can fire fresh off the layoff for D’Amato and has some back class. 5-Rip City is another coming off a freshening and taking a sizable class drop. This gelding is a true mile specialist for conditioner Doug O’Neill.

Selections: 1-2-3

Race #4: 1-Divine Rascal makes second start off the claim today and drops back down to $16k purchase price where he finished a sharp 2nd on March 9. The gelding has speed from the rail and switches to jockey Tiago Pererira who is 5 for 12 (42%) with a $3.37 ROI with this barn’s dirt sprint runners. 6-Sonofafinch ships in from Golden Gate off the 10-month layoff and makes first main track appearance for trainer Jonathan Wong. This gelding is bred to handle the dirt (by Smiling Tiger); starts for a first-time tag; and has been training steadily for return effort. 5-Krixus Flash drops in class; goes 2nd time Lasix; and makes second start off the bench for trainer Gary Stute.

Selections: 1-6-5

Race #5: Trainer Brian Koriner sends out firster 4-Grand Tiger off a string of snappy morning drills and this barn has solid numbers with turf debut runners the past 3 years (5 for 26/19%; $3.07 ROI). 6-Moon Ice returns off an 8-week mini-freshening and has hit the board in 4 consecutive turf sprint tries at this level. An obvious fit again but a shaky win proposition. 9-Barely Functional moves back to turf where he was second at 35/1 on March 18 debut with a (69) Beyer.

Selections: 4-6-9

Race #6: 1-Nickel Nickel Nine makes career start number sixteen this afternoon and has had 10 ITM finishes over the synthetic footing at his Northern California base. The 5-year-old gelding makes first start on dirt and off the Wong claim today, however, and this barn is an impressive 8 for 17 (47%) with a $3.20 ROI with 1st off the Claim synthetic-to-dirt runners routing. 10-Buck Owens goes two sprints to a route and drops again for Hernandez and Miyadi. This is a high percentage jockey/trainer combo. 6-Donttestyourluck co-tops the field’s best last out main track Beyer (64) with recent second place finish at this level.

Selections: 1-10-6

Race #7: 2-Sunshine Babe had an eventful tough trip in the most recent start April 7. The 5-year-old mare stumbled badly at the start and settled back next to last. She then made a decent strong late bid (when stuck behind traffic late) and galloped out strongly when finally shaking free. She’s confidently moved up in class making her second start off the bench. 3-Eleuthera moves back to turf where she was a strong 2nd at this mile trip two-back. 5-Golden Again was a game second against similar in most recent try. She fits well again here.

Selections: 2-3-5

Race #8: The Grade 1 winning 1-Eda has been sidelined over a year for trainer Bob Baffert and now starts back up in an allowance event off an encouraging worktab. This filly brings a stellar career record (7-5-1-0) with obvious back class. She should handle these if ready with Hernandez back aboard. 4-Teddy’s Barino owns the recency edge and has won five of her last six starts for Glatt. Smith knows her well. Eda’s stablemate 6-Heels Up is also training very well for her return try and will be the better price of the Baffert pair.

Selections: 1-4-6

Race #9: First time gelding 6-Battle Call has not been out since last April when racing at Oaklawn but returns on turf off two sharp back-to-back 5-furlong drills and lands in a suspect field. The jockey/trainer combo of Ellingwood and Sadler are 11 for 28 (37%) with a $3.21 ROI. 5-Heartbreak Kid (first time gelding) shortens up off the 3-month freshening and makes first start for a tag. This 3-year-old colt adds Lasix today; has trained well for his return and showed life on the turf last fall against better. 2-Warrior Road switches back to grass and makes second start at this reduced Maiden Claiming level. 8-Charlie’s Ghost has not been out in over a year but returns as a first-time gelding and has good positional early zip.

Selections: 6-5-2

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