Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 4-Master of Foxhounds (Race #3)
Race #1: 1-Quintcents has good tactical early zip; moves inside this afternoon; and has hit the board in 4 of 5 career starts for trainer Michael McCarthy. The gelding earned a solid figure (close to par) in recent runner-up turf route effort. 7-Chicago Soldier is eligible to move forward making second start stateside. 3-One More Bid goes turf to dirt on the stretch-out and lone grass try was a good second behind a next-out winner three back.
Race #2: 4-Annie Graham was a 9-length runaway winner in last DMR start and looms a likely repeater making first start off the Jeff Mullins claim. 5-Little Rachael is a multiple winner over the track and distance and drops back down to $20k claimed purchase level from two-back. 3-Bowl of Cherries goes second off the claim and switches back to dirt for Team O’Neill. This barn is 22 for 69 (32%) with 2nd off the claim runners at SA.
Race #3: Trainer Phil D’Amato has half the entries in the G3 John Henry Turf Championship. 4-Master of Foxhounds shortens up to a more suitable distance; has never been off the board on the SA turf course; and the 5-year-old projects to be on or close to the lead in this spot. 1-Gold Phoenix (Ire) owns the field’s best last out grass Beyer (98) and finished ahead of stablemate and our top choice in the G2 Del Mar Handicap victory September 3. However, this gelding may have too much ground to make up late if the pace turns out to be run at a modest clip. 2-Breakpoint (Chi) disappointed in last over the tricky Kentucky Downs course but was a G3 winner her two-back.
Race #4: 4-Fun to Dream has won 2 of 3 career starts for Baffert; removes the blinkers today and stretches out to two turns for the first time. This talented filly by multiple G1 winner Arrogate should relish the additional yardage and looks tough to deny at short odds. Recent Maiden winner 3-Angel Nadeshiko earned a solid Beyer number (81) in recent victory which is par for this advanced class level and fits well here making 1st start against winners. 2-Smoothlikebuttah is only 2 for 32 lifetime but has a total of 18 second and third place combined finishes. The 4-year-old filly can land a small share of this purse again.
Race #5: In a race that’s projected to favor frontrunners, it’s tough to look past the speedy 3-Beyong Brilliant who is a multiple graded stakes winner and projects to get a clear lead in here for trainer John Sheriffs. Of the pair of D’Amato geldings 1-Catkin Peak (Ire) looks best of the duo. The 4-year-old relishes this turf course; moves all the way inside today and shows a sharp 5-furlong main track drill in preparation for this on September 25. 2-Irideo (Arg) continues to improve and stepped up into graded stakes competition in most recent start and delivered with a strong runner-up effort in the G2 Del Mar Mile earning the field’s best last out grass Beyer (98).
Race #6: Beaten favorite 6-Kid Corleone makes first stake start after fading in most recent effort when bouncing a tad off smashing 7/1 return try at the beginning of the Del Mar meet. The 3-year-old colt by Shackleford must avoid a duel with Forbidden Kingdom here but appears to have a bright future ahead of him. Multiple graded stakes winner 2-Forbidden Kingdom has been freshened after being forced to exit the Triple Crown bid when battling physical setbacks. He returns sprinting for excellent layoff barn. Hernandez sticks here. The veteran 8-year-old gelding 1-C Z Rocket is a 12-time winner and won this event back in 2020 for trainer Peter Miller. He’s trained well since breaking a tad slow and inward from the rail in disappointing effort in the G2 Pat O’Brien and is certainly capable of a rebound effort this afternoon.
Race #7: 4-Gregorian Chant has trained extremely well for return for D’Amato including back-to-back bullet drills and has good success over this course. Chant’s stablemate 5-Coulthard (Ire) comes in with an improving Beyer pattern and should be motoring home late. 1-Lane Way was a sharp runner-up in last and should appreciate the stretch-out to 6 ½ furlongs this afternoon after finishing ahead of several of the same foes he meets again today. He draws the rail, however, which can be a tricky post on the downhill course.
Race #8: 2-Royal Ship (Brz) was trounced in the G1 TVG Pacific Classic beaten nearly 30 lengths but, in his defense, so was the rest of the field chasing Flightline’s breathtaking performance. The 6-year-old gelding returns to his preferred surface (SA/4-2-1-1); owns the field’s best late TimeformUS pace figure; and projects to get a favorable tracking trip on the cut back in distance. A “best of 56” local 5-furlong drill in :58.1 adds to the appeal. 4-Country Grammar makes 3rd start since G1 Dubai World Cup victory at Meydan and finished second best to the previously mentioned blockbuster Flightline runaway score. This multiple G1 winner loves this 1 1/8-mile trip. 7-Express Train had a stellar winter and early spring here at SA and should bounce back nicely making 2nd start off the layoff. The 7-time winner owns the field’s best Beyer (106) and has a versatile running style.
Race #9: 5-Connie Swingle is 2 for 2 over the downhill course and 8 for 8 ITM for trainer Phil D’Amato. The stakes-winning filly looks primed for another top performance and is hard to look past. 2-Delmona (Ire) returns from the east coast where she picked up checks at both Monmouth and Saratoga in minor stakes. The filly has done well here and is reunited with winning grass rider Umberto Rispoli. The lightly raced 10-Briefcase Girl shortens up in distance and was a strong Maiden winner two-back for trainer Carla Gaines.
Race #10: 4-Broadway Girls goes dirt to turf in second start for Team O’Neill. The filly broke a step slow; settled in the back half of the field and made a decent belated run to grab the 4th spot. She’s by G1 winner Army Mule who has done well with his grass sprint prodigy (10-2-2-1). An upset chance in wide open field. 2-Mi Mimita improved substantially when switched to turf in start number two while pressing the pace and coming up a head short. The juvenile filly now makes first start for trainer Jonathan Wong. 9-Candy Carmel is the most experienced filly in the field and gets some class relief on the cutback dropping back down to face Maiden Special Weight types.