Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 1-Gillian Elizabeth (Race #7)
Race #1: As his name suggests one of two Doug O’Neil-trained colts in here 2-Major Nyquist is by multiple G1 winner Nyquist who gets 14%-win clip with his turf sprint debut runners according to DRF Formulator. This juvenile colt has trained well for unveiling and attracts meets leading rider for initial start. 1-Kid Azteca must negotiate the rail draw but has worked smartly for today’s debut and barn is a strong 4 for 12 (33%) with $3.35 ROI the past 2 years with debut runners. 3-President Z sports a “best of 60” 4-furlong gate drill May 28 in preparation for this but barn’s 1 for 35 record with debut turf runners makes him difficult to endorse on the win end.
Race #2: 1-Starship Defiant has speed and the rail and stretches back out for trainer Lorenzo Ruiz. The 4-year-old filly was a good 2nd at this trip facing better two-back and is reunited with jockey Ryan Curatolo who had 4 wins on the card last Sunday including Continental Divide at $45. 4-Zahra looks to reverse the decision over outside rival Best of Show and perhaps will do just that if the pace comes up a tad quicker. The 6-year-old mare just missed in last as the beaten odds-on favorite. 3-Bossy Soul is a multiple winner at the distance and moves up off the claim for trainer Jonathan Wong who typically clicks close to 30% with new barn purchases. That percentage isn’t nearly as good in Southern California, however, where he’s 1 for 14 the past 2 years.
Race #3: It’s hard to separate the two fillies Court Snort and Cherry Chaos who both chased home a runaway winner in their May 20 unveiling and simply had too much to do late. We’ll give the edge to 4-Court Snort who galloped out impressively ahead of the race winner and makes the all-important 3rd career start this afternoon. 5-Cherry Chaos adds blinkers after troubled trip when breaking slowly and racing greenly. Improvement is likely with the equipment change for jockey/trainer combo that scored with 2nd time starter Lov U Mean It June 4. 2-Satin Doll has trained decently for initial outing and Team O’Neil lands the services of jockey Juan Hernandez indicating there’s some potential talent here.
Race #4: Beaten favorite 2-So It Would Seem removes the blinkers; goes turf to dirt and first off the claim for trainer and part owner Ryan Hanson. Her dirt tries have been very competitive for this level which included a strong 2nd three-back when claimed initially. She moves inside with good early zip. 3-Haute Lady hasn’t shown much in 4 career starts but drops into Maiden Claimers for the first time and has every right to improve on that fact alone. 4-Sweet Heidelberg might actually appreciate getting off the rail after back-to-back starts on the inside and will likely get first run on our top choice cutting back a ½ furlong.
Race #5: In a race that traditionally favors frontrunners 6-Rosenquist figures to be grinding away on the lead again and could keep motoring along taking a significant class drop today for trainer Kristen Mulhall. The gelding broke his Maiden with similar tactics three-back–and although the sample is small– Mulhall is 3 for 8 (38%) with a $3.20 ROI with horses dropping 50% in claiming price. 3-Bud Knight owns the field’s best last-out turf Beyer (79) with a runner-up effort against this level in last but remains 1 for 25 lifetime and has finished second 9 times. A hard sell for the win end at too short of a price. 7-Goldini is eligible to move forward for the D’Amato barn making his 2nd start off the layoff and taking a sizable class drop today. The gelding only needs to improve a few lengths to compete here.
Race #6: 3-Ko Olina moves back to her preferred surface (main track) and makes 2nd start off the bench for trainer Luis Mendez. This conditioner is 5 for 19 (26%) going dirt to turf and this filly could very well shake free here. 4-Vella lost all chance when breaking through the gate in most recent start and faded to finish 7th after chasing early on to no avail. The 6-year-old mare goes 2nd off the claim today for trainer Jonathan Wong who routinely clicks close to 30% with this claiming angle. Her effort two-back resulted in a decent 2nd against this caliber of runners. 6-Annie Graham was pulled up in lone debut dirt try, but that was back in 2020 and this filly has since been very competitive over the synthetic surface up at Golden Gate. She makes her 2nd start off the mini-freshening today and switches to jockey Kyle Frey who has 2 wins and 1 second in last 4 starts for this barn.
Race #7: 1-Gillian Elizabeth was visually impressive breaking her Maiden May 6 for trainer Carla Gaines. She battled early on in-between horses in a tough spot before easing off the frontrunners and circling the field late to win going away. In my opinion, it was far more impressive of an effort than the (66) Beyer she earned for the victory. She moves all the way inside to the rail today and is in a good spot to repeat despite facing winners for the first time. 6-Deise Delight makes first start in 8 months for trainer Doug O’Neil but has run competitively on grass against these types in the past and has decent early tactical foot. 2-M Is for Magic is a 0 for 14 Maiden with 5 runner-up finishes but sports the field’s best last out turf Beyer (72).
Race #8: 5-Sunny Lane was sold at auction and heads west for new barn off Maiden “off the turf” score at Horseshoe Indianapolis. The 3-year-old filly defeated next-out winner Captaire in that event who came back to earn a (68) turf Beyer. She’s lightly raced; appears to have some good tactical early food and is drawn outside in this short field. She does meet older, however. 2-Lisette gets some major class relief this afternoon dropping out of the G2 Margarita and $100k stake at Sunland Park. She makes the all-important 3rd start off the bench as well. 4-Trouville has not shown much lately but heads back to Santa Anita and is reunited with winning rider who was onboard for her last win last fall.
Race #9: 4-Nang Singha goes dirt to turf off 3 runner-up finishes to begin career and now makes first start for trainer Jeff Mullins who is 5 for 13 (38%) with $4.58 ROI the past 2 years at Santa Anita with new acquisitions. This 3-year-old filly is by G1 winner Paynter who gets a solid 15% with turf runners. 3-The Ginger Queen was wrapped up after being interfered with making her last try on April 17 a complete toss out. Her grass efforts two and three-back resulted in competitive runner-up finishes for this class level. The 4-year-old filly makes first start for new barn. 7-Team Concept has good positional speed, cuts back to a mile and switches to Hernandez this afternoon.