Santa Anita (Monday-2/20/23) By Dean Keppler

Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner

BEST BET: 3-Princess Adaleigh (Race 8)

Race #1: A small group of older colts and geldings go long on the grass to start the holiday Monday card. The lightly raced 4-Our Shining Light (Ire) is unproven going this far but comes off a decent sprint victory looking for his 3rd consecutive win and projects to be on or close to the lead this afternoon in a race that lacks any serious early zip. 5-General Mathis is a proven commodity over this 1 1/8-mile trip with recent fast closing win on January 27 and is eligible to move forward making 2nd start off the long layoff. 2-Oncoming has run back-to-back solid efforts with a recent win at this trip and runner-up finish against similar at this same level.

Selections: 4-5-2

Race #2: 2-Sonoran is a standout on paper for the Baffert barn off both local efforts that resulted in runner-up finishes with Beyers of 78 and 83. The Ride On Curlin colt goes 2nd time Lasix today with Velasquez back aboard. His main threat is likely his stablemate 5-Castle Island who debuts off a solid and steady worktab. The $440k Keeneland purchase by multiple G1 winner City Of Light debuts with Lasix and attracts Hernandez. 6-Don Corleone is a $1.2 million dollar colt by More Than Ready who hasn’t been seen since disappointing 10th and last place effort in DMR debut back in September. He now makes first start in the Miller barn with Pratt off a strong worktab.

Selections: 2-5-6


Race #3: 1-Naismith drops back down in class and stretches back out to winning Maiden distance from two-back. The 5-year-old moves inside and projects to get a favorable ground-saving trip. 5-Flint Stroll goes 2nd off the claim for Team O’Neill dropping back down to $32k claiming purchase tag level that resulted in sharp runner-up finish two-back. This gelding is 0 for 7 at a mile, however. 4-What a Dude heads west and makes first start for the D’Amato barn. This colt was trounced in both dirt starts at Aqueduct in last pair but returns to turf today where he’s shown some ability in his first four starts.

Selections: 1-5-4

Race #4: 5-The Chosen Vron has won 4 straight and brings a stellar 9 for 13 record into today’s $100k Tiznow stake event for conditioner Eric Kruljac. He loves this strip and has trained sharply since his last victory. The obvious knock is the very short price and likely single on everyone’s early multi-race horizontal exotics. 1-Coalinga Road comes off a recent turf victory in the Unusual Heat Turf Classic but has run equally well over the main track for trainer Carla Gaines including posting a strong (96) Beyer two-back at DMR. 4-Leyas Candy steps up off career best win and Beyer (91) at this mile trip and Hernandez sticks. He’s likely to be tracked intently by heavy favorite.

Selections: 5-1-4

Race #5: 7-Dancing Rinca was a beaten favorite 4th in most recent after a wide trip try but now cuts back in distance and makes 2nd start off the bench for trainer Neil Drysdale. The 4-year-old gelding shows a sharp 5-furlong workout since that last effort and Hernandez climbs aboard today. 2-Admiral Halsey makes first start for the Miller barn off 9-month layoff and posted back-to-back runner-up finishes at this level when last seen. This barn is fully capable of winning off extended breaks. 1-Classically has not been seen since 8th place troubled trip back in September of 2021 and returns today as a gelding with the addition of blinkers and Lasix. The good news is there’s no class drop, and Pratt is back aboard.

Selections: 7-2-1

Race #6: The veteran 8-year-old gelding 1-Sunrise Journey was a voided claim in most recent start where he finished second but now moves to the rail today with aggressive gate rider Maldonado back aboard. He’s 13 for 41 in his career and could be long gone with an alert break at this $20k claiming level. 6-Big Talker has no sprint try attempts in 17 career starts but has been competitive at this level in recent efforts and could relish the turnback if and when a quick early pace materializes. 4-Jack Sixpack has only one dirt attempt way back in his October 2021 debut, but recent sharp main track a.m. drills at Los Al (and his breeding) suggests the surface change is fine. This barn has solid numbers with these layoff types.

Selections: 1-6-4

Race #7: 1-Cuban Crisis has a handful of close finishes against straight Maiden Special Weight types and should enjoy today’s class drop for trainer Mark Glatt. Dettori takes over and figures to work out a good trip with today’s rail draw. 6-Precocious Times returns off a 13-month hiatus and drops in for a tag today making his second start stateside for Hernandez and Sadler. 7-Strikingly ships west for new barn and makes first start for a tag. He shows a series of snappy local am. drills and gets excellent turf pilot for southern California unveiling.

Selections: 1-6-7

Race #8: 3-Princess Adaleigh removes the blinkers today and comes off a sharp runner-up try at this level where she earned a career and field’s best (80) Beyer speed figure. A strong wire-to-wire threat today as the lone speed. Her stablemate 2-Youteyourhonor is reunited with winning rider and is proven at 7 furlongs. 6-Kristi’s Tiger goes first off the claim for trainer Librado Barocio who is 0 for 13 this meet, but a strong 5 for 13 33%/$3.15 ROI the past 5 years with new acquisitions. This mare has a pair of runner-up finishes going 7 panels.

Selections: 3-2-6

Race #9: 1-Symphony Perfect (Ire) makes first stateside start off the layoff for trainer Michael McCarthy with the addition of Lasix. This stakes winning filly overseas attracts Velasquez and is likely to come out running. This jockey/trainer combo teamed up with recent turf sprint 9/1 winner Tulsa Tornado on February 5. An upset chance in wide open field. 8-Tom’s Beauty was a sharp winner at this level in last where she earned a career and field’s best (86) Beyer. A similar effort makes a repeat win well within reach for trainer Jeff Mullins. 6-Dance to the Music has good early zip and fires fresh. She’s bred to handle today’s switch to turf.

Selections: 1-8-6

Race #10: 1-Double Fantasy finished in front of a trio of the same runners on January 22 with beaten favorite 2nd place finish behind next-out repeat winner Unwritten Code. The 5-year-old mare moves all the way inside today. 9-Bonita Leona wasn’t far behind top choice in last and switches to hot rider. 6-Head Start steps up off sharp win and makes 3rd start of the form cycle for Team Mullins.

Selections: 1-9-6

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