Santa Anita (Friday-6/2/23) By Dean Keppler


Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner

BEST BET: 1-Tom Horn (Race 4)

Race #1: 2-Ghostly Act made up some good ground to finish 2nd while closing from last in most recent effort on May 12 despite being forced to steady and chasing a slow pace. The 3-year-old gelding moves inside today and owns the field’s best last out turf Beyer (69)– a figure he earned against comparable Cal-bred Maidens. 5-California Bay stretches out in career start number two for trainer Jeff Mullins after a better than average 4th in debut. A beaten favorite in last 3-Johnny Paycheck has run two competitive races at this level going today’s mile trip and projects to be on or close to the lead again today for D’Amato.

Selections: 2-5-3

Race #2: 1-Hennys Crazy Train goes synthetic to dirt returning to Santa Anita this afternoon for conditioner Tim McCanna and takes a substantial class drop. This mare has speed and the rail draw and has run par or better for this class level on multiple occasions. The switch to jockey Juan Hernandez adds to the appeal. 2-Bella Renella returns to afternoon racing after an allowance runner-up finish over at Los Al on May 6, and now makes her 2nd start off the claim today for trainer Milton Pineda. This barn clicks close to 30% with this claiming angle and this mare had won 4 of 5 against cheaper prior to that last start. 3-Sheza Girly Girl was overmatched in last pair but was an impressive winner three-back from off the pace when facing similar with a 77 Beyer.

Selections: 1-2-3

Race #3: 1-Time to Party moves from post 10 to the rail today after a subpar try against much better in the Opening Verse Stakes at Churchill on May 4. This gelding had won 2 of 3 prior to heading east to Kentucky and is 4 for 7 going this mile trip. 3-Vantastic comes off the mini-freshening after stringing together back-to-back wins for Eurton earning a 91 Beyer in each start. He’s had had roughly 10 weeks to recover from those sharp wins, and the gelding’s recent a.m. drills have been quick. 2-Spirit Maker steps up in class having won two straight for Sadler and comes in off a career best Beyer. Another move forward–while making third start of the form cycle– puts him squarely in the hunt versus this strong group of colts and geldings.

Selections: 1-3-2

Race #4: 1-Tom Horn has flashed good positional speed in all three career starts for trainer Steve Miyadi and now makes first start for a tag today and 3rd start off the bench. The barn switches to go-to pilot Hernandez who clicks close to 40% when riding for these connections. This colt could be long gone from the rail with an alert break. 2-Montana was a wide closing 2nd when dropped to this level in last start on May 6 and Desormeaux climbs aboard for longtime client and winning conditioner Bob Hess. 4-Stan From Malibu goes turf to dirt dropping from MDSW to Maiden Claimers today and is bred to handle the surface switch. The 3-year-old gelding is by Stanford who gets a solid 16% with his dirt sprint prodigy. The switch to Maldonado indicates he’ll likely be forwardly placed.

Selections: 1-2-4

Race #5: 3-Unkept Secret has not been out since being claimed for 50k at Churchill back in November of 2022 but has trained very well for today’s return to action and should love the grass. This filly is by multiple Grade 1 winner Secret Circle who is 13 for 49 (26%) with turf sprint offspring. Upset chance. 1-Free and Humble rallied for 3rd off the 7-month layoff against straight MDSW types when saving ground and tipping out late but now drops in for a tag making her second start off the bench. She should be tough on the class drop; goes 2nd time Lasix today and Hernandez is back aboard. 5-Encolpion has been off for a year after an encouraging runner-up finish last May over this turf course against Maiden Special Weight types and now returns for a $62,500 price tag. This is usually not the most positive sign, but the Eurton barn has been red-hot all meet and placing their runners in winning spots.

Selections: 3-1-5

Race #6: 4-Charlotte Harbor turns back to 6 furlongs on the class drop and is reunited with her winning rider this afternoon. This 4-year-old filly should be picking off horses late and has run above par for this class level in the last 3 main track starts. 6-Everlys Girl returns off a two-month break and is another taking a sizable class drop today for trainer Victor Garcia. 1-Spoiled Rotten steps up off sharp win and projects to be forwardly placed again with today’s rail draw. A strong factor if she can clear these early on and establish a comfortable rhythm on the front end.

Selections: 4-6-1

Race #7: 8-Gritty Girl will look to employ similar “run and gun” racing tactics again from her outside post after a strong gate-to-wire score against cheaper on April 28. She held well despite a 1:08.4 split for the 6 furlongs. 2-M Is for Magic moves up off sharp win and could potentially have another forward move left making her 3rd start off the extended layoff. Jockey Tiago Pereira won a half dozen races over Memorial Day weekend. Her stablemate 6-She’s Got a Way was a beaten favorite 3rd in last against similar but co-tops the field’s best last out grass Beyer (77). The 4-year-old filly fits well again with Hernandez. She was a sharp winner two-back going 5 ½ furlongs.

Selections: 8-2-6

Race #8: 3-Established is a re-claim for trainer Tim Yakteen off an impressive 4 ¼ length score on May 12 and returns protected today. This 7-time winning gelding projects to sit another favorable stalking trip and has strung together wins in the past. The class dropping 6-My Man Bags has good gate speed and comes off an excusable subpar effort on April 28 after stumbling at the start. He was an impressive wire-to-wire winner with an (87) Beyer two-back and a similar effort would make him very tough to overhaul with Hernandez climbing aboard. 4-Fast Per Se moves back to the main track while making the first start for the Knapp barn and has flashed good speed at Golden Gate against similar.

Selections: 3-6-4

Race #9: 7-Keen to Go was gelded after sharp looking Maiden win from far off the pace and could potentially get another live race flow to close into this afternoon for trainer Jeff Mullins. A repeat is within reach. 1-Birth of Cool steps up after just missing by a nose after a challenging trip on April 29 and broke his maiden going this 1 1/8-mile trip. This gelding makes his second start off the claim today; Hernandez takes over, and he should get plenty of pace to close into late. 2-Tallis makes the all-important 3rd start off the long layoff for Desormeaux and Hess. This gelding comes off a career best grass Beyer when shaking free late against several of these and is bred to handle the extra real estate.

Selections: 7-1-2

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