Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 3-Thorne House (Race 4)
Race #1: The ultra-consistent 2-Big City Lights has never been worse than second in 5 career starts for trainer Richard Mandella and makes 2nd start off the layoff this afternoon. The speedy 4-year-old colt might have a slight advantage turning back to 6 furlongs today over main rival 4-The Chosen Vron who has won 3 straight finishing ahead of the top pick twice. Vron posted a career best (102) Beyer in most recent score in the Cary Grant Stakes and is an impressive 8 for 12 lifetime. The obvious one to overhaul again at short odds. 5-Tigre Di Slugo runs well fresh and has trained smartly for Mike Puype.
Race #2: First-time gelding 6-Regulation Dazed adds blinkers and Lasix today returning to grass for Team O’Neill. He’s by Square Eddie who gets a solid 16% with his turf sprint runners and his grass effort two-back resulted in a 3rd place finish in short field. 8-Moon Ice showed speed and faded in last grass start 8 weeks ago and has trained steadily since then. He gets Prat back on and Lasix today for the all-important 3rd career start. 11-Chrome to Riches is by multiple G1 winner California Chrome debuting for trainer Carla Gaines off a decent worktab. This barn is only 1 for 36 (3%) with first time starter turf runners at SA, but leading rider J. J. Hernandez sees fit to ride today thus meriting a closer look in here.
Race #3: Trainer Vladimir Cerin is only 2 for 29 (7%) the past 5 years with first time starters but debuting 3-year-old filly 2-Danehill Song has trained like a good thing and attracts Hernandez for unveiling. 5-Bajan Bashert switches to trainer Mark Glatt in start number two and is the one to beat off solid runner-up debut effort and (66) Beyer speed figure. 6-Sassy Nature attracted solid tote support on December 2 unveiling showing good speed through some taxing fractions before tiring to finish a well-beaten sixth. The blinkers come off with the addition of Lasix today.
Race #4: 3-Thorne House has two wins and two seconds in 4 starts for trainer Dean Pederson and showed he’s just as effective on grass with runner-up finish in 1x allowance try back in October. This barn has won with last 3 starters returning off 61-180 day’s rest. It took 5-Fore Flag 13 starts to break Maiden but this 4-year-old gelding cuts back to a sprint today and should get a live race flow to close into. 8-Joe Don Looney returns to turf off sharp main track win at Los Al for hot barn.
Race #5: This is the first leg of the 20-cent mandatory Jackpot Pick Six with a $275K carryover and it begins with a challenging $50k Maiden Claiming dirt sprint. 6-King Zong has caught himself a case of “seconditis” with 4 runner-up finishes from 6 career starts for trainer Steve Miyadi. A beaten favorite on four occasions as well the gelding adds Lasix today and has speed. He gets one more try with Desormeaux retaining the mount. 5-Uncle Walt debuts off a modest worktab for McCarthy but is by sire Texas Ryano who is a strong 3 for 14 (21%) with debuting prodigy. A small sample but as good a chance as any of these in suspect field. 4-Stay in the Game makes career start number 10 but owns the field’s best last out Beyer (55) and adds Lasix.
20 Cent Pick Six: 1,4,5,6 with 2,3 with 1,2,4 with 1,7,8 with 1,3,7,8 with 8 = $57.60
Race #6: 2-La Deuxieme Etoile moves up off sharp mild upset win 12 days ago and lands in what appears (at least on paper) to be a paceless affair. Her last effort was visually impressive, and this filly could potentially string back-to-back wins together. Beaten favorite 3-Alice Marble makes second start off the bench for D’Amato and returns to the downhill course where she’s had good prior success. 6-Taming the Tigress was a sharp winner two-back against cheaper on the lawn and comes off a decent main track runner-up finish behind G1 LaBrea Stakes winning filly Fun to Dream.
Race #7: 1-Thirsty John has been freshened for new barn since MDSW May debut win and has trained well for first stakes attempt and route try. The aggressive placement is a vote of confidence by trainer Peter Miller. Hernandez sticks. 2-Passarando is a multiple stakes winner on synthetic and won here locally three-back in the Golden State Juvenile Stakes. The gelding is arguably the most accomplished runner in this field for GG staple Steve Specht. John’s stablemate 4-Giver Not a Taker is 3 for 5 thus far and comes off a stakes win in the King Glorious at Los Al over almost a handful of the same runners. A strong one-two punch for top barn.
Race #8: 7-Quickly Park It should have every chance to rebound after subpar effort in the G3 Jimmy Durante at DMR. This filly was a strong 12/1 upset winner two-back at Golden Gate and makes 3rd start off the form cycle today for trainer Sean McCarthy. This jockey/trainer combo have had great success. 8-Sell the Dream has yet to run poorly in all 6 career starts owning the field’s best last out grass Beyer while finishing in front of our top pick in most recent effort. 1-Carole Lombard steps up off sharp looking turf Maiden score for D’Amato.
Race #9: 7-Holiday Arousal stretches out to his preferred distance today making 2nd start off the Bob Hess claim and third start off the bench. 1-I Know Cash Flow is unproven going long but has speed and the rail for Prat and Miller. The 4-year-old gelding is by G1 winner Dixie Chatter who gets a strong 22% with his dirt route prodigy. His breeding suggests he can go this far. 8-Leyas Candy was a beaten favorite in last pair for trainer Mark Glatt but certainly fits again on raw numbers at this level.
Race #10: 8-Carmelita’s Man has won 3 of his last 4; runs well fresh for good layoff barn and is reunited with winning pilot. A beaten favorite in last 1-Alifato makes 3rd start off the form cycle and won this event last year. He figures to trip out nicely from the rail. 4-Coalinga Road goes dirt to turf on the stretch-out and has trained well coming into this for Carla Gaines. The 6-year-old gelding fits snuggly at this longer distance and should be running on late with Velasquez aboard.