Santa Anita (Saturday-10/7/23) By Dean Keppler


Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner

BEST BET: 9-Stay On the Fence (Race 5)

Race #1: 4-Miss Monarch Bay ran on late to finish third in her first start in 10 months for trainer Michael McCarthy and now makes the all-important third career start. The well-bred filly is eligible to move forward. 8-Riley G has been absent since her well-beaten fourth-place finish at 4-5 in her debut in October of last year. The 3-year-old filly by Flatter adds Lasix today, has trained well for her return, and lures leading rider Juan Hernandez for Team Baffert. 1-Report (by multiple grade 1 winner Empire Maker) must negotiate the rail draw but has trained well for trainer Richard Mandella and the barn is a solid 5 for 22 (23%) the past 5 years with SA sprint dirt starters.

Selections: 4-8-1

Race #2: The 1 for 16 1-Devil Moon prefers to finish underneath as evidenced by his overall race record 1-6-2, but he draws the rail with speed, moves back to turf, and figures to work out a good trip with Bravo retaining the mount. 2-Sanger was a 11-1 upset maiden winner Aug. 27 which has turned into a “key” race. This 4-year-old gelding is bred to handle turf.  4-Castleknock has been winless since July 2022, but has run back-to-back (79) turf Beyers off consecutive third-place finishes and fits well against this suspect group.

Selections: 1-2-4

Race #3: The $400k Fasig-Tipton July purchase by Arrogate 7-Dua goes two sprints to a route for Baffert off an even third-place finish in the grade 3 Sorrento Aug. 12. The juvenile filly is bred for two turns, has trained well since that last start, and retains Hernandez in the saddle. 8-Laurent adds blinkers off a sharp runner-up finish in the grade 1 Del Mar Debutante when finishing in front of several of the same fillies she faces this afternoon. The improving daughter of Practical Joke looks primed to handle two turns. The Repole Stable and trainer Todd Pletcher ship 2-Scalable across the country off a wide fifth-place finish Sept. 3 in Saratoga debut. The son of Speightstown picks up Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith and likely has more ability than she showed in her initial NY outing.

Selections: 7-8-2

Race #4: The stakes-winning 9-Lord Prancealot has shown sharp early zip in all three career starts– with a pair of wins on the resume– and now switches to grass for conditioner Jeff Bonde. This juvenile colt is by Sir Prancealot (Ire) who is a strong 15 for 56 (26%) with his turf sprint offspring. The colt has trained lights-out since his last start and should relish the surface switch. 2-Slider is unproven on turf but comes off two sharp main-track tries including a maiden win in his last effort Sept. 9 where he earned a (86) Beyer. The colt’s sire Jimmy Creed gets an average 11% with his sprint turf prodigy, but this colt has already shown he has a ton of natural ability. He’s a logical threat if he takes to grass for trainer John Sadler. 6-Mysticism ran to his betting support on Aug. 4 with a solid gate-to-wire score for Mandella and has worked four times since that encouraging effort.

Selections: 9-2-6

Race #5: 9-Stay On the Fence came up just a neck short in solid effort Sept. 4. He makes the all-important third start today with an improving Beyer pattern. The 2-year-old colt is nicely drawn outside and projects to sit a favorable stalking journey with jockey Mario Guiterrez back aboard. 6-Red On Sunday finished a closing second in an encouraging Sept. 2 debut. The son of Smiling Tiger hauls from the Peter Miller barn that’s a strong 10 for 29 (34%) with a $2.91 ROI with second time starts sprinting on dirt at Santa Anita the past 5 years.  A runner-up finish in July debut and recent third-place effort Sept. 2 behind Red On Sunday makes 3-Petesoldfashioned a logical fit today making his third career start this afternoon for trainer Ryan Hanson.

Selections: 9-6-3

Race #6: 8-Lord Bullington rallied for second in the grade 3 Del Mar Juvenile in most recent start and first turf attempt Sept. 10 and was second to grade 1 winner Prince of Monaco in July debut at Los Al. 9-Sand Bagger (by multiple grade 1 winner Omaha Beach) debuts for Hall of Fame connections off an encouraging work tab. This jockey-trainer combo is 2 for 5 (40%) (4 for 5 ITM) with a $3.92 ROI with turf debut runners. 12-Coach Prime is a $1.7 million September Keeneland purchase by multiple grade 1 winner Quality Road who debuts for Team Baffert off a string of snappy a.m. main track drills. This barn isn’t known for its turf debut runners, but this sire gets approximately 13% with overall turf route prodigy, and connections have improved substantially in the past couple of years with their grass starters.

Selections: 8-9-12

Race #7: This N3L $20k claiming dirt sprint looks extremely wide open and a definite spread race for those participating in multi-race exotics. 1-Chicknfingerfriday was trounced in the last turf attempt but moves back to dirt, shortens up in distance, and makes the second start off the claim today for trainer Bill McLean. This barn is 8 for 30 (27%) with a $3.49 ROI for the past 4 years with this claiming angle and this 3-year-old colt likes the SA strip. 6Book Smart was a sharp N2L $32k claiming winner Aug. 4 at Del Mar where he earned a (75) Beyer which is on par for this class level. 7-Elevado steps up off career-best main track 10-1 upset win Sept. 3 and is eligible to move forward off that effort making second start off the bench.

Selections: 1-6-7

Race #8: 2Anisette (GB) is 3 for 3 since arriving in the U.S. for trainer Leonard Powell including back-to-back graded stake wins which include the grade 1 Del Mar Oaks and grade 2 San Clemente. The stretch-out to 1 ¼ miles should be a non-issue for this super-talented filly who faces older this afternoon. 6-Didia (Arg) makes her Southern California debut having won 4 of her last 5 U.S. starts, is proven at the distance, and has more tactical early foot than her main rivals in this spot. 4-Closing Remarks comes off back-to-back grade 2 wins down at Del Mar this summer and is a three-time winner over this turf course. Hernandez takes over for Rispoli who opts to stick with top choice Anisette.

Selections: 2-6-4

Race #9: The $2 million dollar purchase 2-Muth has run two sharp efforts for Baffert with both Beyers in the 9o’s including a runaway Maiden romp June 18 followed up by a runner-up finish in the grade 3 Best Pal. The juvenile colt by Good Magic goes two sprints to a route this afternoon and is bred to handle two turns. The obvious knock is the short price. 3-Next Level has improved Beyers with each subsequent start and comes off a decent third in the grade 1 Del Mar Futurity Sept. 10. This juvenile colt by freshman sire Vino Rosso is also bred to stretch out for Team Desormeaux. Muth’s stablemate 4Wine Me Up comes off an impressive gate-to-wire maiden win Sept. 2 and like the top two choices is bred to route.

Selections: 2-3-4

Race #10: Class dropping 8-Secrets Told figures to sit an ideal stalking trip this afternoon for trainer John Sadler and makes the all-important third start of the form cycle. The 5-year-old mare is 2-2-0 at six furlongs. 4-Kissed by Fire was an impressive wire-to-wire maiden winner Aug. 17 with a field’s best (85) Beyer and looks to negotiate another furlong while making her first start against winners. 3Teen Drama makes her first start for the D’Amato barn off the claim coming off a close-up fourth-place finish Sept. 3. This conditioner is 3 for 12 (25%) with a $2.28 ROI with new acquisitions in the past 4 years.

Selections: 8-4-3

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