Santa Anita (Monday-10/9/23) By Dean Keppler


Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner

BEST BET: 5-Coffee in Bed (Race 2)

Race #1: 5-Fore Flag is 1 for 17 and usually prefers to finish underneath but comes off a decent runner-up try Sept. 2 when making his first start in nearly six months. The 4-year-old gelding cuts back to a mile this afternoon and projects to get a live early race flow flattering his closing style. The speedy 4-Talklessworkmore has hit the board in 12 consecutive races notching a pair of victories in that sequence. 1-California Bay was a solid maiden winner over this turf course going today’s mile trip three-back. He can bounce back here off two subpar tries at DMR.

Selections: 5-4-1

Race #2: 5-Coffee in Bed drops out of the grade 3 Torrey Pines for Hall of Fame conditioner Richard Mandella and is back on the SA main track where she’s run two sharp races. The 3-year-old Curlin filly makes her third start of the form cycle this afternoon and looks primed to get back into the winner’s circle. 4-Cliquish comes off a career-best Beyer when falling just a neck short when finishing a game third Aug. 31. This filly was a nine-length runaway maiden winner over this strip back in March. 1-Blue Wildcat has never been two turns in 22 career starts but has good speed and the rail draw. The 4-year-old filly’s sprint Beyer numbers match up well here.

Selections: 5-4-1

Race #3: 8-Precocious Times makes third start off the bench today for trainer John Sadler off an improving Beyer pattern and broke her maiden at SA when last seen over this turf course. 1-Rugelach was claimed off a sharp 7 ¾-length maiden win Sept. 1 in her first start in Southern California and looks well-placed for her first crack against winners. The Ron Ellis barn clicks close to 30% with new acquisitions. 3-Ruff Ride has seen her turf Beyer(s) increase with each subsequent start since debuting on the new surface back in March. The 3-year-old filly finished behind Precocious Times in her most recent start Sept. 3.

Selections: 8-1-3

Race #4: Class-dropping 2-California Tiger removes the blinkers today making his third start off the bench for Mullins and figures to be forwardly placed. The 3-year-old gelding by Smiling Tiger came up a nose short when last seen over the SA strip back on May 28. This looks like graduation day. 5-Logon to Win comes off a career-best Beyer (73) with his second-place finish Sept. 22 and is a logical fit again. 7-Red Falcon debuts off an encouraging work tab for conditioner Dean Pederson who has solid stats with Cal-bred maiden claiming first-time starts. However, Falcon’s sire Mastery is only 5 for 127 (3%) with debuting prodigy. Some mixed feelings regarding this 3-year-old gelding’s chances at first-asking..

Selections: 2-5-7

Race #5: A beaten favorite in both career starts 9-Thermal goes turf to dirt for Sadler and has enough grass pedigree to suggest she can break through in her first start at Santa Anita. The Nyquist filly flashed good early zip in both main track starts and switches to top turf pilot Rispoli this afternoon. 5-Uffda was off a step slow and had some traffic issues on Sept. 1 debut when finishing third and is eligible to move forward off that effort stretching out another furlong. Trainer Phil D’Amato doesn’t have a high percentage of grass debut winners but 3-Laudatory (By Cairo Prince) has worked swiftly in the a.m. and lures Hernadez for today’s initial outing. This juvenile filly might be the exception.

Selections: 9-5-3

Race #6: The 3-year-old gelding 4-Too Much Info hasn’t won since breaking his maiden in his debut last August but gets some class relief off a series of decent tries including a near-miss two-back at DMR. Tepid choice. 7-Tahoe Secrets slices his claiming tag in half, gets in light with 7lb apprentice, and has run above par for this class level on multiple occasions in recent starts. 6-All the King’s Men showed improved speed in the most recent effort Sept. 23 when coming off a career-best Beyer against similar. The gelding projects to be forwardly placed once again this afternoon.

Selections: 4-7-6

Race #7: 3-X J Rascal (Ire) shortens up this afternoon for trainer Kristen Mulhall after settling blistering front-end fractions in the latest two-turn try before understandably tiring late. The 3-year-old gelding is still looking for his first stateside win and should find the 6 1/2-furlong downhill course to his liking. His stablemate 6-King Apollo is proven over this tricky downhill course and has been freshened for this. 1Daniel’s Magic has been ultra-consistent for conditioner Eoin Harty as indicated by his overall 3-4-4 record from 17 starts. He makes his third start off the bench this afternoon with an improving Beyer pattern and projects to work out a decent ground-saving journey from the rail.

Selections: 3-6-1

Race #8: The lightly raced 7Mor Tequila returns off a three-month freshening for Baffert off sharp back-to-back wins at this 6 ½-furlong trip. The 3-year-old gelding is nicely drawn outside for another favorable stalking trip and has trained very well for this afternoon’s return try. First-time gelding 3-Escape Route can be inconsistent at times but returns to Santa Anita where he’s 1-3-1 from six starts– and like some of the other others lined up in here–exits a live race from Aug. 26. Multiple-stakes winner 2-Desmond Doss is the class of this field and comes off a sharp runner-up finish in the aftermentioned Aug. 26 event. The veteran 7-year-old is eligible to move forward off that last effort.

Selections: 7-3-2

Race #9: 10-Oakhurst must negotiate today’s outside draw but has a good closing kick and he should be able to work out a decent off-the-pace trip with leading pilot Hernandez back aboard. The 4-year-old filly by Mr. Speaker makes the all-important third start of the form cycle for conditioner Phil D’Amato and should get up in time. 1-Eddies New Dream has hit the board in seven of his last eight starts including a sharp win in the Solana Beach last out at Del Mar. The multiple winner over the track and distance draws the advantageous rail and projects to sit another favorable journey with regular rider Mario Guiterrez aboard. The speedy 7Hamwood Flier (Ire) hasn’t been out since December of last year but won this event in 2022, is undefeated on the SA grass course, and is proven off the layoff. The 5-year-old mare will take these as far as she can on the front-end.

Selections: 10-1-7

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