Santa Anita (Saturday-03/05/22)

Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner

BEST BET: 3-As Time Goes By (Race #9)

An action-packed BIG ‘CAP DAY includes an 11-race card today in Southern California featuring six graded stake events with three Grade 1’s!

Race #1: The lightly raced 8-Gold Phoenix was a troubled trip second in U.S. unveiling finishing behind next-out winner Mucho Del Oro who came back to win with a (90) turf Beyer. This 4-year-old gelding by multiple G1 winner Belardo has worked well since that effort and should be a handful with any normal second out improvement for top turf barn. 11-Newpark comes out of that same race as top pick and is nicely drawn outside with plenty of early zip. 5-City Rage likes this turf course and makes 2nd start off 7-month freshening for trainer Mark Glatt. Improvement likely.

Selections: 8-11-5

Race #2: A $1.7 million dollar purchase by terrific debut sire Gun Runner 4-Taiba comes in with all the usual Team Baffert first time starter winning criteria. The expensive colt has trained swiftly and attracts Velasquez for unveiling. As of this writing this lucrative jockey/trainer combo are 6 for 9 (67%) with a $3.31 ROI with debut runners the past 3 years. Baffert could fill out the exacta with firster 5-Mauritius who is by G1 winner Twirling Candy and attracts Prat off, yet another encouraging work tab. 2-Overrule will likely need a race being by G1 winner Mastery who typically doesn’t excel with firsters but hails from hall of fame connections.

Selections: 4-5-2

Race #3: 5-Savvy Girl produced quick dividends off the claim with late rallying score off mini freshening; has trained sharply since that effort and has a versatile running style which should serve her well in this spot. A repeat is well within reach this afternoon. The other Mullins mare 8-Storming Lady was a beaten favorite in last but is a multiple winner on the grass and should move forward today making her 2nd start off the layoff. 1-Bristol Bayou is super sharp right now for hot barn switching back to grass. A ground saving trip is likely with rail draw and she seems to be a better mare than when last seen on turf back in February of last year.

Selections: 5-2-1

Race #4: 4-Cezane makes 2nd start off the layoff for Baffert; has trained strongly since that disappointing 3rd place finish and should find the 7-furlong distance today ideal. 1-Brickyard Ride has speed and the rail and moves back up to face graded stakes competition seeking 3rd straight. This consistent 5-year-old is 10 for 20 lifetime and 8 for 11 at Santa Anita. 9-Shooters Shoot comes into today’s stake event in sharp form after being plucked for 50k two-back by trainer Richard Baltas. This gelding has run well at today’s tricky 7-furlong distance before and has been competitive against this caliber in the past.

Selections: 4-1-9

Race #5: 1-Closing Remarks has good closing kick and lands in what’s projected to be a hotly contested pace. The 4-year-old filly faces a stiff class test today but draws well and should sit a nice ground-saving trip for excellent turf journeyman. She did finish within 1 length of G1 winning filly Going Global last summer. Upset chance. One of two G1 turf runners lined up in here 10-Going to Vegas has been freshened since fading badly in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf; has trained well for return but could be somewhat vulnerable making 2022 campaign in bulky field. The other G1 winner 11-Mucho Unusual will need to work out a trip with today’s outside draw but has enough tactical foot to get good position early. This 6-year-old mare is 6-time victor over this local course.

Selections: 1-10-11

Race #6: The Into Mischief colt 5-Doppelganger is bred to handle a route of ground and looks to reverse January 29 finish when a tiring 4th to Forbidden Kingdom as the beaten favorite. Baffert and Prat click close to 50% with stretch-out runners in graded stake events. 6-Forbidden Kingdom is the likely speed once again as he looks to carry his early zip around two turns. The 3-year-old colt by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah owns the field’s best last-out Beyer (96). The other Baffert colt 3-Armagnac defeated next-out winner South Street in January 21 Maiden victory and improved immensely going two turns. He should continue to improve while making his stakes debut.

Selections: 5-6-3

Race #7: 6-Win the Day makes the all-important 3rd career start today for trainer Doug O’Neil and switches to hot apprentice Herrera who scored for this barn last week aboard Cotopaxi on the grass. 5-War At Sea was a beaten favorite in last but goes 2nd time Lasix today and shares the field’s best last-out turf Beyer (68) along with Tuskegee Cat. 1-Got Thunder has disappointed as the chalk in 3 consecutive starts to begin career (and although related to some solid turf runners) is still somewhat questionable with the surface switch. Having said that, the 3-year-old gelding draws well; goes 2nd time Lasix and projects to be close if not on the lead in this spot. Selections: 6-5-1

Race #8: Recent Maiden winner 3-Mendham Mill switches to new barn off that victory and projects to be on or close to lead today while facing winners for the first time. Improving lightly raced 4-year-old filly could potentially string back-to-back wins together in tough heat. 2-Another Eddie has run well fresh and likes this turf course. 5-Ultimate Hy is back sprinting off troubled trip line.

Selections: 3-2-5

Race #9: 3-As Time Goes By working swiftly off the mini-freshening for trainer Bob Baffert and seeks third straight win albeit first G1 score. This 5-year-old mare loves this turf course and appears long gone in this spot. 6-Envoutante shortens up to a mile this afternoon and this daughter of Uncle Mo has three triple digit Beyers on her successful resume. Logical main threat to top pick makes Southern California debut. 5-Miss Bigly is 5 for 8 at today’s mile trip and multiple graded stakes placed.

Selections: 3-6-5

Race #10: If the expected fast pace materializes 4-Count Again could notch first G1 score for trainer Phil D’Amato. The veteran 7-year-old gelding is 3 for 5 at today’ s mile trip; makes 2nd start off the bench today and shows two solid drills since last sharp win.  8-Space Traveller makes the all-important 3rd start off the bench and should get the pace he needs to capitalize on that BIG late run. The 6-year-old has not been seen in these parts since disappointing 2019 Breeders’ Cup effort. Beaten favorite 2-Subconscious has good tactical early foot; draws well and comes off a troubled trip behind our top pick. This jockey/trainer combo have excellent numbers with 2nd off the bench runners.

Selections: 4-8-2

Race #11: 6-Express Train seeks 3rd straight score and has worked strongly since G2 San Pasqual win. 2-Why Why Paul Why east coast invader draws inside with good gate speed and could get brave on lead if left alone. 8-Stilleto Boy holds the field’s best last-out Beyer (104) and has been battling strong foes on both coasts. However, the 4-year-old’s grinding running style is a concern.

Selections: 6-2-8

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