Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 3-Slam Diego (Race 2)
Race #1: 1-Lil Town Sis switches to the Mullins barn off an encouraging effort at Turf Paradise on April 19 when finishing second off an 8-month freshening when dropped into a Maiden Claimer event for the first time. This 5-year-old mare has one prior effort over this track back in 2021 when finishing 3rd against better, and Berrios and Mullins are a strong 4 for 7 (57%) with a $4.51 ROI when teamed up with first starts off the trainer switch. 2-Collectmythoughts attracted decent tote support for April 23 unveiling when breaking slowly and finishing a non-threatening 5th. She made a solid move to reach contention approaching the half mile marker before tiring, however, in what’s essentially a better than looks on paper performance. This filly is likely to move forward with that race under her belt and two horses have returned to run well from that debut race. Apple Fest finished second on 5/14 and Ruby Nell won last Saturday. 6-Side by Side makes start number 9 today but comes off a runner-up finish against similar earning the field’s best last-out main track Beyer (62).
Race #2: 3-Slam Diego has run two strong races since switching to turf at this level including a recent troubled trip 5th on April 1. The filly encountered traffic issues before showing some decent run when shaking free late in deep stretch. She’s had six works since that effort for Mullins. 4-Rose Barton (Ire) is back on the turf after a disastrous main track try on April 8 when eased and walked off the course. This filly adds blinkers today; drops in for a tag and switches to barn’s go-to veteran pilot Desormeaux. 5-Tiergarten was claimed out of March Maiden win by conditioner Steve Knapp and seems appropriately placed for first crack against winners. Hernandez sticks.
Race #3: 3-Dazzlemesilver was overmatched when ambitiously placed in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby in last start but now drops back down into Maiden Special Weight where he had back-to-back 3rd place finishes to start his career. He has enough zip to get involved early on and should get decent positioning. 1-Austonian goes two sprints to a route for career start number three today and should appreciate the extra real estate being by Smiling Tiger who gets 18% with his dirt route prodigy. The colt’s debut effort was a solid 2nd place finish followed up by a tough trip in start number two. 5-Worcester makes first start back stateside for Baffert after getting pummeled in the UAE Derby but his two prior efforts over this course were super strong. He was 3rd in the Robert Lewis (98 Beyer) and had a runner-up finish to stablemate Hejazi in Maiden event (96 Beyer) back in January. The recent drills for this Empire Maker colt have been solid.
Race #4: 1-Awesome Taylor moves back to grass on the class drop and two prior turf tries to start the year this filly ran par and above for this class level. Vazquez takes over and has had good success riding for this barn. 2-Good Boo Joo stretches back out this afternoon on the class drop for Mullins and holds a significant advantage based on recent turf Beyer figs. A pair of sharp drills since that last try adds to the appeal. 4-Sweet Hello moves back to grass off runaway Maiden Claiming romp. She’ll take these as far as she can on the engine and could hold on for a piece of this.
Race #5: If today’s early pace is swift as projected by TimeformUS, things could set-up nicely for recent Maiden winner 1-Clooney. The 3-year-old gelding (going 2nd time blinkers) rallied strongly for the win over next-out winner Blue Dog who came back to score with an (87) Beyer on April 30. He appears appropriately placed by Sadler for first crack against winners. 4-Deservedly battled several challengers on the front end through some taxing fractions before relinquishing the lead and settling for second when facing winners for the first time on May 5. A big threat if he can avoid a similar early pace battle. 6-Quick Buck exits the same race as Deservedly when finishing 3rd while returning from an 8-month layoff and is eligible to move forward in this spot making second start off the freshening.
Race #6: 8-Inch may only be 2 for 21 lifetime but looks primed to take this allowance turf sprint after encountering traffic problems and then forced to swing wide at the top of the stretch before closing for the show spot. A projected live race flow should enhance his late punch. 3-Thunderheart steps up off sharp win and field’s best last-out turf Beyer (87). A beaten favorite in last pair 4-Please Focus cuts back to a sprint today for team O’Neill after flashing solid speed going longer. The gelding was a wire-to-wire winner three-back going 5 ½ furlongs.
Race #7: 9-Whimsical Heir was forced to steady sharply up the backstretch when caught in-between rivals in tight quarters in last start on April 29 losing valuable momentum. The filly makes her third start of the form cycle this afternoon for trainer Mark Glatt and can rebound in this spot with a cleaner trip. 4-Sharp Ride is by multiple Grade 2 winner Clubhouse Ride who gets an ordinary 10% with his 3-year-old & up debuting prodigy. However, this gal has worked extremely well in the a.m. for today’s unveiling and trainer Dean Pederson is a solid 4 for 15 (27%) with a $2.88 ROI with his debuting firster fillies. 5-Bold Choice makes career start number 13 today but merits respect off last runner-up finish on April 29 while earning the field’s best last-out main track Beyer.
Race #8: 4-Dendera adds blinkers today and drops in for a tag. This Leonard Powell-trained filly stretches back out to her preferred mile trip and should unleash a solid rally late for the win. 6-Sunshine Babe came up a neck short against this same level in most recent effort on April 28 and now makes key 3rd start off the bench today for low-profile connections. 7-Big Clare has not been out since June of last year but has worked well for today’s return try and has proven she can fire off the bench. The main issue with this mare from the D’Amato barn is, however, that she prefers to finish second as indicated by here 7 second place finishes from 15 career starts (15-1-7-2).
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