Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 2-Kid Azteca (Race 7)
Race #1: 1-Kawazaki (Ire) adds blinkers and drops in for a tag for the first time off the mini-freshening while making third U.S start for trainer George Papaprodromou. This barn is a strong 4 for 10 (40%) with $4.78 ROI the past two years at Santa Anita with MDSW to MDCLM dropdowns. The gelding should be forwardly placed throughout from the rail. Beaten favorite 2-Percolate (Ire) returns to grass off 4th place finish at Golden Gate and makes the all-important 3rd start off the bench for McCarthy. The colt also makes first start against Maiden Claiming types and picks up top turf pilot. 3-Lil Bro Coop was an improved 3rd when dropped to this $50K level in last DMR try and earned Beyer par (74) for this class level.
Race #2: 6-Darling Donna drops in class off subpar 6th place finish in last but was a smashing runaway Maiden winner with (75) Beyer two-back going 5 ½ furlongs. The 3-year-old filly projects to get a favorable pressing stalking trip today with outside draw. 2-Anna Volante adds blinkers off the claim and has good positional speed to coincide with inside draw. The 4-year-old filly goes turf to dirt on the cutback and has been successful going 6 panels on dirt. 1-Crimson Rose gets some class relief making Santa Anita debut.
Race #3: 5-Freedom Flyer goes route to sprint and gets some class relief dropping out of the Luther Burbank Handicap at Santa Rosa where she finished directly behind multiple stakes winner and next-out victor Natural Colour (GB). The speedy 3-Bulletproof One is 7 for 16 lifetime but has not been out in 13 months for trainer Peter Miller. The 5-year-old mare has run well fresh, however and likes this turf course. The main caveat may be that she finds today’s 6 ½ furlong trip a tad too far. 6-Stella Noir makes 2nd start off the bench; gets some class relief and lone try over this tricky downhill course resulted in a fast-closing runner-up finish when shaking free late in the Wishing Well Stakes last February.
Race #4: 3-Party Town appears to be the speed of the speed and comes in with improving Beyer pattern for trainer Val Brinckeroff. The gelding folded in lone 7-furlong try but that was against G2 competition when clearly overmatched. A potential wire-to-wire upset threat. 6-Conundrum is a multiple winner at 7-furlongs and takes a substantial class drop off dull performance on September 3. The gelding is reunited with winning rider from two-back and the 80 & 84 Beyers earned in recent win and effort three-back makes him solid betting choice in this spot. 5-Butkus was a sharp short-priced winner at Los Al 11 days ago against cheaper and now goes out for new connections.
Race #5: 4-Finnley’s Kitten should be much tighter making her second start off the bench today and finished a decent 3rd against similar on August 19. Trainer Vladimir Cerin has strong stats with horses making their 2nd start off an extended freshening. 5-Candy On Top owns the field’s best last out turf Beyer (60) and finished well enough from post 10 to finish 3rd at DMR going this mile trip. The 3-year-old filly should be set for best effort today making 3rd start off the layoff. Beaten favorite 6-A Little Bit Crazy exits same race as Candy On Top. She was a bit rambunctious early on but settled nicely on the rail and then tipped out the top of the stretch in what looked to be a winning move. The filly was quickly engulfed by challengers, however, and they easily swept on by.
Race #6: This is a wide open $16k N2L claimer and a perfect spot to try a mild upset. 2-Whiskey Blue goes two sprints to a route for trainer Mark Glatt which has been a high percentage maneuver for this barn. The 4-year-old filly is by a sire that gets 17% with his dirt route runners and she shows a strong bullet “best of 60” 4-furlong drill over the strip September 23 in preparation for this. 4-Awesome Pamela makes 3rd start off the layoff today and returns to her preferred main track oval Santa Anita where she’s (3-1-1-1). 3-Starship Sky is 1 for 25 but merits consideration for a potential runner-up finish or at the very least land as part of the vertical exotics at this reduced level.
Race #7: 2-Kid Azteca found a mile too far in last but moves back to a sprint for trainer Peter Miller where he was a beaten favorite 3rd two-back in a race that’s produced 3 next-out winners. Irish import 7-Gaelic Nation (Ire) makes U.S. debut; is by G1 winner overseas Siox Nation and has hinted at having some ability with last 3rd place finish back in June. This barn has had good success (2 for 4) with limited foreign shippers. Lady Clementine (7/30) and Hamwood Flier (5/29) both won making their first U.S. start 1-First Peace goes dirt to turf in second start and is eligible to improve with race experience and surface change. The juvenile colt is by G1 turf route winner Funtastic. Trainer Mark Glatt, however, has not hit the board with a dozen turf to dirt second time starters.
Race #8: 2-Redline is the obvious choice off back-to-back runner-up finishes at Del Mar where he earned a 92 and 93 Beyer. Hernandez and Sadler are 3 for 6 (50%) with their last half dozen sprint dirt starts at SA. Recent Maiden winner 6-Traegar is lightly raced and has room for further improvement after stepping up substantially in start number two. 4-Tio Magico goes route to sprint and makes 3rd start off the bench for D’Amato. This has been a productive move for this shrewd barn.
Race #9: The opening day Autumn Friday meet nightcap is a tricky $50k Maiden Claiming turf route. We’re leaning on the three Maiden Special Weight to Maiden Claiming droppers. 1-National Generaux (Ire) is on the improve; drops in for a tag for the first time and comes in with the field’s best last out grass Beyer (75). Class dropping 2-Tokamak adds blinkers today and makes the all-important 3rd start off the bench today for trainer Jack Sisterson. 8-New York Dreams (GB) has shown very little in both U.S. starts but today’s significant class relief can do wonders for form reversal.
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