Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 8-Heartbreaker (Race #11)
Race #1: 5-Ma France makes first start for D’Amato on U.S. soil after showing a runner-up finish in a field of 14 in lone start at Dundalk back in February. The 3-year-old filly adds Lasix today and is by multiple G1 winner Caravaggio. This shrewd barn excels with these types of imports on grass. 9-Velvet a beaten favorite in last pair but has shown ability with improving Beyer numbers in each subsequent start. This filly comes off a long layoff (March 2021) but has drilled sharply in the a.m. for top connections. 2-Quick Romance is by multiple G1 winner Kingman(GB) who gets a strong 24% with his first-time starter offspring. This filly probably wants to go longer, however.
Race #2: 4-Violent Runner was a runaway wire-to-wire Maiden winner May 14 and looks to be the speed of the speed again facing winners for the first time. A repeat of that (69) Beyer would likely be more than enough to handle these fillies. 2-Talkative Gal finished 2nd and in front of a few of these same gals when returning to action May 20 off a 7-month layoff. She goes 2nd time Lasix today and a potential move forward makes her a BIG threat this afternoon. 3-Pequena Tormenta finished right behind Talkative Gal in that same May 20 race; makes 3rd start off the bench today and shows a “best of 79” snappy 4-furlong drill in the interim.
Race #3: 4-Shut Up Michael shortened up and exploded late for a convincing win in last for D’Amato earning the field’s best last-out Turf Beyer (77). The move up in class from $60k claimers to $75k should not be an issue. 5-Redline cuts back in distance and moves back to grass for trainer Keith Desormeaux. This lightly raced colt broke her Maiden on turf three-back. 2-Cowboy Charlie removes the blinkers today and will likely take these colts and geldings as far as he can on the front end.
Race #4: 5-Corsica Flavor finished 2nd at the $50k level in most recent effort and now drops again for Gallagher on the stretch-out. This barn is 5 for 10 (50%) with $4.10 ROI the past 3 years with horses dropping 50% or more in claiming price. 1-King Rob has 3 runner-up finishes from 8 career starts including back-to-back 2nd place finishes running at par or better for this level. The gelding has speed and the rail and may have finally found a field he can handle. 3-Today Matters is making career start number 11 but gets some class relief today moving back to the main track and previous dirt tries against this level have been solid enough to merit respect.
Race #5: If a swift pace materializes early on 3-Queen of Pompeii should be the beneficiary. She makes her third start off the bench today and 2nd start against winners. The 4-year-old filly cuts back to a sprint this afternoon where she was a sharp Maiden winner two-back over next-out winner She’s a Joker who she also faces today. 8-Buy Wave Buy has not been out in 6 months but has run well enough off the freshening in the past and removes the blinkers today for new barn. The 6-year-old mare has some back races that fit well here. 7-Miss O’Brien has speed; is drawn outside and comes off a nice Maiden victory over next-out winner Busker Allie. The 4-year-old filly must avoid, however, getting locked into a taxing speed duel.
Race #6: 7-Lady Maryann showed improved early foot in start number two when no match for runaway winner Fun to Dream. The 3-year-old filly makes the all-important 3rd career start today and another forward move should catapult her into the winner’s circle. 1-A Little Bit Crazy was well-backed in Northern California debut for trainer Jonathan Wong on May 21 when finishing a good third beaten 2 lengths and now heads south for start number two while moving to the main track. This filly is by win-early sire Stanford. 6-Lucy L has been working extremely well for today’s unveiling; debuts with Lasix and attracts Hernandez.
Race #7: Beaten favorite 1-Miss Louna (Fr) didn’t show much run in U.S. unveiling April 10 when away slowly but is eligible to move forward in a BIG way this afternoon for top connections. This French import stretches out today and moves inside to the rail where she should be able to save a ton of ground and make a sustained bid late with clear sailing. This lucrative jockey/trainer combo are 5 for 12 (42%) with a lofty $8.56 ROI the past 4 years. 2-Javanica makes the all-important 3rd start off the bench today and gets some major class relief dropping out of the G2 Royal Heroine and G3 Wilshire. The other Leonard Powell-trained filly 3-Freedom Flyer makes her 2nd start off the extended layoff today and comes off a good second at this level earning a very competitive (84) grass Beyer.
Race #8: The wildcard in here is lightly raced Gulfstream Park shipper 6-Disc Jockey who sports a solid overall record (7-3-3-0) for trainer Bob Hess and cuts back to a sprint this afternoon where he’s had previous success. It’s hard to gauge where he fits class-wise here in Southern California but we’ll soon find out. 2-Law Abidin Citizen was a sharp wire-to-wire winner off the mini-freshening and now goes first off the claim for trainer Eddie Truman. This barn doesn’t have great success with new acquisitions, but this veteran gelding looks like the commanding front runner once again. If he can avoid a Beyer bounce and regression, he should string together back-to-back wins. 3-Apprehend has not been seen since breaking Maiden by a nose back in December of 2021 at Oaklawn but has trained decently for return effort and attracts Hernandez in the saddle.
Race #9: The undefeated 5-Bolden makes his grass debut today for D’Amato off and impressive win while returning from an extended layoff. The 4-year-old colt continues to train well indicating he remains in top form and is bred to handle the surface switch being by Square Eddie. Although his grass Beyers are going in the wrong direction 1-Caerulean has hit the board in 4 consecutive turf sprints and must be respected on that fact alone. 7-Johnny Podres cuts back to a sprint off a sharp score going a mile for Miyadi. He’s winless at 6 furlongs but this consistent 5-year-old rarely runs a poor race.
Race #10: This 6-furlong main track $20k claiming N3L is extremely competitive with several different directions one can go in. 4-Dance Company goes 2nd off the claim today for trainer Mike Puype and this jockey/trainer combo have a win and second place finish with this claiming angle. The 4-year-old gelding cuts back to 6 furlongs; drops in class while likely having plenty of pace to set-up his late run. 7-Manitowish owns the field’s best last-out Beyer (78) after finishing 3rd at this level in most recent try May 22. Although all these wins have come at Los Al, trainer Lorenzo Ruiz and jockey Edgar Payeras are 6 for 8 (75%) with a lofty $6.87 ROI with 2nd off the claim runners. This gelding has a win over the track and distance. 6-Foreman showed speed and tired in last and now makes his 3rd start off the layoff. The gelding has not returned to his Tampa form of 2020 and 2021 but fits well here with another move forward.
Race #11: 8-Heartbreaker was a good 2nd off the extended layoff when facing winners for the first time and making his turf debut. This barn clicks over 40% with horses making their 2nd start off greater than 180 days thus making a move forward more than likely this afternoon. The son of G1 winner Jimmy Creed is nicely drawn outside with speed. 7-Cherubic Factor has been stuck at this level for some time now but has run very well in recent starts with several ITM finishes and has posted some of the best turf Beyers in the field. The gelding had significant traffic troubles in last when finishing behind Heartbreaker. Another that’s likely to move forward making his 2nd start off the bench is 1-Constant Conflict for trainer Mark Glatt who has two geldings represented in here. He showed good tactical early foot off a 9-month layoff when tiring to finish 4th while showing all signs of needing that race and has since returned to work nicely in the a.m. All his grass sprint tries have been credible.