Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 5-Sweet Hello (Race 4)
The new $1 Pick 6 begins in race four. Santa Anita has returned to a traditional Pick Six payoff structure (70% of net pool to perfect tickets or carryover; 30% to consolations). There are No more single-ticket pick-six jackpots. In addition, a new daily $3 all-turf Pick 3 will be available on the last three turf races each afternoon. The Friday all-turf $3 Pick 3 sequence begins in race five.
Race #1: A three-time winner over the Santa Anita turf course 4-Margot’s Boy returns for a $32 claiming tag off an extended layoff. He’s proven he can fire fresh and has trained steadily for today’s return to action. 6-Give Me the Lute shortens up off the Papaprodromou purchase and makes his third start of the form cycle for the new barn. A beaten favorite in last 1-Maven returns to the SA turf course where he was a sharp gate-to-wire winner two-back with a (90) Beyer. The six-furlong distance is stretching the gelding’s distance limitations, but he’s eligible to hold on for at least a share of this with an inside rail draw.
Race #2: The lightly raced 1-Poetica was a game maiden winner of last despite breaking through the gate and co-tops the field’s best last-out main track Beyer for Eurton and Hernandez who are an impressive 12 for 24 (50%) together at SA the past 3 years. 3-Essential Business was a beaten favorite last at Los Al in the most recent effort Sept. 16 when having a disastrous trip. That subpar try is a complete toss, and the 4-year-old filly can bounce back this afternoon. 2-American Lily returns to Southern California off a five-month freshening for Miller and is 2 for 2 over the SA course.
Race #3: 7-Grazed makes start number eight today but has the type of grinding up-close running style that should serve him well in this spot stretching back out to six furlongs. The 4-year-old gelding has hit the board in all three starts of 2023 and this might finally be the spot he can break through the maiden ranks. 5-Man O Rose hasn’t been out since his lone start last November but has trained swiftly during his a.m. drills in preparation for today’s return try. He adds Lasix, attracts Hernandez, and his sire Stanford gets a respectable 17% with his grass sprint prodigy. 1-Grand Tiger has surrendered the lead in all three career starts thus far but makes his second start off the mini-freshening this afternoon for conditioner Brian Koriner and owns the field’s best last-out grass Beyer (72).
Race #4: The speedy 5–Sweet Hello is a solid gate-to-wire threat this afternoon for trainer Bob Hess and jockey Edwin Maldonado making her second start at this reduced $16k claiming tag. This filly was a 17 ½-length maiden winner over this course three-back. 3-Like No Other goes two sprints to a route and makes a second start off the claim for Eurton. The filly gets in light this afternoon with 7 lb. bug taking over. 6-Point and Shoot has not shown much life of late beaten double digits in four of her last five starts, but takes a sizable class drop this afternoon and moves back to the main track for sharp barn.
Race #5: 4-Last Call Paul switches to turf as the most accomplished runner in this field with a pair of second-place finishes to start his career. The colt faded in his most recent start Sept. 4 when hooked through some taxing early fractions but is eligible to bounce back in his grass debut. 9-Nestucka switches to turf in his second career start off an even wide fifth-place finish Sept. 2. The juvenile colt is by Grazen who gets 17% with turf sprint runners. Improvement likely. 2-Potito (also by Grazen) makes the all-important third career start for trainer Carla Gaines. He’s likely to improve with the move to turf with the addition of blinkers and a top turf pilot takes over.
Race #6: 2-Eltonsingsanother flashed speed and tired on Aug. 13 debut when put in a tight spot and is eligible to improve substantially this afternoon on the class drop and having that racing experience on her resume. Trainer Mark Glatt is a solid 4 for 13 (31%) with MDSW to Maiden Claiming second-time starters and this lucrative jockey-trainer combo has won 4 of their last 5 starts together. 5-Just Is came up just a nose short two-back at this same level and a repeat of that (70) Beyer speed figure would make her tough to beat against this suspect group. 4-Rosie and Rules makes start number 11 this afternoon but drops back down to the $50k maiden claiming level where she finished second two and three-back. The daughter of Smokem makes her SA debut today.
Race #7: Class-dropping 4-Lone Scout makes the all-important third start off the bench today for conditioner Bob Hess and earned above par for this class-level two-back. This gelding has been hampered by back-to-back outside draws but moves inside today and should be able to work out a decent journey. He was a maiden winner over this grass course last May at Santa Anita. 7–Thirty Four Coupe moves back to the turf today and removes the blinkers on the class drop. The 4-year-old gelding projects to be on or close to the lead this afternoon and did break his maiden over this turf course. 10-Numero Dix (GB) must negotiate the outside draw but was a solid fast-closing second in the most recent effort Aug. 24 against similar.
Race #8: It’s hard to pick against likely heavy odds-on favorite 5-Eda who has won seven straight for Team Baffert including a grade 1, grade 2, and a pair of grade 3’s in the sequence. This special filly is 4 for 4 at Santa Anita and going this 6 ½ furlong trip. 7-Lady T was a wide fourth in the grade 3 Rancho Bernardo Aug. 27 when finishing behind top choice but can improve in this spot returning to SA where she’s 2-4-0 from seven starts. This filly was a sharp winner two-back and makes her third start of the form cycle this afternoon. The lightly raced 1-Clearly Unhinged is in top form right now coming up only a head short in the grade 1 Test at Saratoga when beaten by multiple grade 1 winner Pretty Mischievous. She returns to the West Coast and is proven over this racetrack.
Race #9: 1-Crypto Man makes third start of the form cycle in the Friday opener nightcap for trainer Simon Callaghan off two decent turf tries this year and moves to the rail for top turf pilot. 3-Quintecents drops back down into maiden claimers making third start off the bench for winning jockey-trainer combo. 2–Six Magpies (Ire) hasn’t been out since November of last year but adds blinkers, Lasix, and drops in for a tag today of an encouraging work tab.