Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 1-Mr Frisk (Race #9)
Race #1: Trainer Phil D’Amato has three mares entered in the Monday holiday opening Grade 3 Las Cienegas Stakes. 6-Amy C is 2 for 3 over the SA downhill turf course and has been freshened since Senator Ken Maddy Stakes October 29 where she earned the field’s best last out grass Beyer (90). This mare runs well fresh. 5-Brooke Marie returns to southern California after slugging it out in Kentucky this summer and fall and is a perfect 1 for 1 over this tricky course. She has good positional speed in a race that looks light on early zip. Amy’s stablemate 3-Lady Edith makes first start for new barn while shipping east. The 5-year-old mare was previously trained by Clement; is a multiple stakes winner and trained well locally.
Race #2: 5-Nyvan should show more speed stretching out for the first time for Team O’Neill and both grass starts to start her career were solid. 6-Golden Temper goes two sprints to a route; adds Lasix and blinkers and is by multiple G1 winner Goldencents who gets a respectable 14% with his turf prodigy. 9-Point and Shoot was hardly disgraced in 4th place debut try going long when dismissed at 53/1 and can move forward off that effort. Adds Lasix this afternoon.
Race #3: 1-Filthy Fast is by multiple G2 winner Kobe’s Back who is 1 for 19 with his debuting prodigy. Nonetheless, this filly has the rail; and some snappy a.m. drills for a barn that can fire at first asking. 6-Anybody’s Choice goes turf to dirt and adds Lasix for career start number two and had a good educational experience in debut when breaking slowly. This filly shows 4 works since that effort and should improve immensely in second start. 5-Liberal Lady is by multiple G1 winner Mor Spirit who gets an average 13% with his debuting first time starters. This gal attracts Prat for unveiling.
Race #4: A probable single on most early pick 4 and 5 tickets 1-Who’s Candy has speed and the rail with recent turf Beyers that tower over this field of colts and geldings for trainer Brian Koriner. The obvious knock is the short price. 6-Missed Call goes dirt to turf making second start off the bench and broke his Maiden over this grass course. A solid jockey upgrade to Hernandez. 2-Tofino Bay should appreciate the cut back to a sprint this afternoon.
Race #5: 5-Sweet Hello adds Lasix off a much-improved runner-up finish in last at DMR and returned with a bullet 5-furlong drill Christmas Day. Dettori starting the meet off strong. 7-Miss Commander was no match for runaway winner Hot Thoughts in December 11 debut but will be tough with any normal second out improvement. Sadler is 11 for 42 (26%) the past 2 years with second time starters at SA. 4-Miss Kaline gets the complete makeover today. She adds blinkers and Lasix; goes turf to dirt; and drops back in for a tag off the mini freshening.
Race #6: It’s not often you see this top barn with a turf debut runner never mind two but 1-Lucky for You is a $400k Keeneland purchase by Uncle Mo who debuts for Baffert off a string of snappy bullet drills since the beginning of November. Mo gets 13% with his grass sprint prodigy and this filly looks very live with Hernandez signed on. 3-Denim in Gold tossed her head and was away slowly in debut but made a sharp late move to grab the show spot in very encouraging unveiling. She’s trained well since then for Adam Kitchingman and should be a handful with a better break. 5-Socially Smart was a bang up second off a long layoff finishing ahead of Denim in Gold and fits well here if she can avoid a potential bounce this afternoon.
Race #7: 1-Nice Guy Clay was a sharp winner off the claim at Los Al earning the field’s best last out main track Beyer (80) which is above par for this next step up in class. The gelding is lightly raced and still offers some potential upside. 2-Established has not been seen since October 7 voided claim but has run well over this strip and trained solid enough for return try. Prat was aboard for runner-up finish back in June of 2021. 6-Next Revolt comes in off a sharp win at DMR and improving Beyer pattern. 7-Italiano is reunited with winning rider off recent Mullins claim and barn has solid numbers with new acquisitions.
Race #8: 1-Coulthard (Ire) adds Lasix; makes 2nd start off the layoff and when last seen at this reduced level for D’Amato was an 8/1 upset winner 4-back. 5-Classier is unproven on grass and hasn’t been out since last January for trainer Bob Baffert. Having said that… he’s trained extremely well for return and attracts Hernandez in this spot. Coulthard’s stablemate 4-Motorious (GB) moves up off sharp return win where he earned the field’s best last out grass Beyer (92). 3-Give Me the Lute moves up in class making second start off the claim for trainer Peter Miller. The 7-year-old gelding projects to get a clear early lead in here.
Race #9: 1-Mr Frisk improved substantially on the stretch out in start number two for Baffert and co-tops the field for best last out Beyer (83). The son of Arrogate adds Lasix today; moves inside and shows 4 solid drills since last effort. Main rival 8-Riverside also adds Lasix and has improved Beyer-wise with each subsequent start for trainer John Sadler. Baffert’s other 3-year-old colt 4-Harlocap is by multiple G1 winner Justify who stretches out today off runner-up debut finish behind good looking Glatt colt Spun Intended. 6-Navy Man goes two sprints to a route off two solid efforts for McCarthy and his sire Bolt d’Oro get a strong 18% with route runners. He was defeated by two Baffert firsters in both starts and faces a similar scenario this afternoon dealing with a pair of heavy hitters from that barn once again.
Race #10: 5-Agatino (Ire) adds blinkers and makes third stateside start for D’Amato off the extended layoff. This 4-year-old gelding looks primed for top effort. 6-Degree of Risk returns as a first time gelding off troubled trip in the Let It Ride Stakes on November 11. D’Amato’s other gelding 1-Tio Magico moves all the way inside today and should trip out nicely with rail draw. 4-Weegee is super sharp right now for Mullins and owns the field’s best last out grass Beyer (87). A mile is perhaps a tad too short for him, however. The speedy 2-Balladeer faded to 4th after carving out some fast fractions in most recent start and projects to be winging it on the front end once again. He could hold on for a share.