Santa Anita (Saturday-2/4/23) By Dean Keppler

Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner

BEST BET: 1-Arrowthegreat (Race #7)

Race #1: 8-Doc Adams was overmatched and wanted no part of grass in the Unusual Heat Turf Classic January 7 but won four straight prior to that subpar performance. The gelding returns to his preferred distance and surface. 4-Big Talker was a strong winner two-back going this mile trip at Los Al where he earned an above par figure for this class level. 3-Bang for Your Buck has never tried dirt in 20 career starts but takes a sizable class drop today and has enough main track breeding to suggest he can handle it. He should be forwardly placed.

Selections: 8-4-3

Race #2: The lightly raced 7-Weemissgrammy has shown ability since switching to turf and comes into today’s event off a solid worktab and 10-week freshening. 5-Carpe Fortuna has been plagued by layoff lines but usually fires fresh and has some of the better grass Beyers in this field. The 5-year-old mare has trained sharply for her return effort. 1-Slam Diego goes first off the claim for Mullins making her grass debut this afternoon. She has some turf breeding on the dam side.

Selections: 7-5-1


Race #3: One thing is for certain in this year’s edition of the Grade 3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes— Bob Baffert will be the winning trainer as he as all 4 entrants. 1-Arabian Lion was soundly defeated as odds-on choice in the Grade 2 Los Al Futurity but may have disliked the course while making first attempt around two turns. If that’s the case, the Justify colt could rebound in a big way this afternoon returning to Santa Anita where he was a sharp Maiden winner in October 2022 debut. A strong “best of 73” 5-furlong drill in :58.4 January 29 indicates he’s ready for a strong effort. 2-Newgate was a sharp second in the Grade 3 Sham behind upset 16/1 stablemate Reincarnate earning the field’s best last out Beyer (95). The Maiden 3-Worcester (by Empire Maker) improved dramatically in career start number two and is bred to handle today’s stretch-out.

Selections: 1-2-3

Race #4: Trainer Phil D’Amato has three gals entered here. Of the trio of runners, 6-School Dance gets top billing. The daughter of Animal Kingdom has won 3 of her last 4 and just missed in most recent try in the Grade 1 American Oaks. 1-Bay Storm has speed and the rail making his southern California debut this afternoon for trainer Jonathan Thomas who only has two previous other starts out here the past 5 years. The 5-year-old mare comes off back-to-back runner-up finishes in a pair of Grade 3 events at Gulfstream and Kentucky Downs and appears to fit well with is group based on recent grass Beyers. She’s been off the board only once in 11 career starts. The speedy 2-Hamwood Flier (Ire) can set things up nicely for her stablemate ensuring a solid pace to close into but is no pushover herself having won both turf tries at Santa Anta in strong wire-to-wire fashion. She’s dangerous if allowed to carve out modest fractions. 7-Quattroelle (Ire) is a multiple winner over the track and distance and should be motoring home late.

Selections: 6-1-2

Race #5: 6-Rhythem On Stage comes off back-to-back runner-up finishes and defeated a trio of the same runners in last January 6 event that’s now produced a pair of next-out winners. 7-Montana was not far behind top choice exiting the same last race and goes 2nd time Lasix this afternoon. 5-Seattle Surf flashed good speed in the after mentioned January 6 event before tiring late when dismissed at 25/1. A factor with any normal second-out improvement.

Selections: 6-7-5

Race #6: 10-Carmen Miranda moves back to turf after decisive main track score at Los Al on December 17 and has proved to be just as effective on grass for trainer Phil D’Amato. The filly draws outside with good tactical early foot. 8-Pearl Glory (Ire) has not been seen since troubled 7th place finish back in September when making first start in the U.S. This filly was multiple graded stakes placed overseas, however, and deserves another chance today for good layoff barn. 2-Tom’s Beauty has certainly not been disgraced in last 3 starts while facing winners and hasn’t had the best of trips for trainer Jeff Mullins.

Selections: 10-8-2

Race #7: 1-Arrowthegreat has been freshened since solid 2nd at 26/1 in debut over the summer for trainer Dan Blacker who scored with Maiden El Potente ($10.40) last Sunday. This son of multiple Grade 1 Arrogate removes the blinkers today and adds Lasix for start number two. 3-Big Hat Willie goes 2nd off the Miller claim after finishing second in most recent effort at this level against a few of these same rivals. The gelding should appreciate the stretch out to 7 furlongs. 8-Motorcade closed for 3rd after a slow beginning exiting same January 6 race as second choice. The Sadler barn has solid numbers with 2nd time starters and this colt is bred to perform better as the distances increase.

Selections: 1-3-8

Race #8: 1-San Anton (Ire) rallied for second in first stateside start December 30 and adds Lasix today for D’Amato who usually excels with these imports. The colt makes 2nd start off the mini-freshening today and owns the field’s best last out turf Beyer (73). 2-Escape Artist flashed good speed at 11/1 in late December debut before tiring to finish second beaten only a neck. It was a strong try at first asking and any normal second-out improvement makes him the one to beat today. He’s one of three Michael McCarthy-trained 3-year-olds lined up in here. Escape Artist’s stablemate 10-Genius Jimmy is on the improve coming off a career best 4th place effort and adds blinkers and Lasix this afternoon.

Selections: 1-2-10

Race #9: 2-Fun to Dream has won 3 straight for Baffert and is 5 for 6 lifetime. This talented daughter of Arrogate is proven at 7 furlongs and loves the SA strip. She continues to train sharply coming off a career best Beyer. The obvious knock is the short price. 5-Awake At Midnyte was runner-up to top choice in the G1 La Brea. I’m not convinced she can reverse that decision but could easily run 2nd again. 3-Samurai Charm was a beaten favorite disappointing 4th in the Grade 3 Las Flores but might be a better filly today if able to grab the lead in here for Prat. The 0 for 4 record at SA is not without concern, however.

Selections: 2-5-3

Race #10: 8-Air Force Red notched her 3rd straight win and first graded stakes victory on December 31 in the Joe Hernandez defeating next-out winner Lane Way. He stretches back out today to a mile this afternoon and looms a strong wire-to-wire threat again. 1-Earls Rock (Ire) moves inside and returns off the mini-freshening for D’Amato. This lightly raced 5-year-old gelding has trained well for his return effort and may be ready to notch first graded stakes win. 3-Anaconda returns to the west coast for trainer Joe Sharp and has had some success over this turf course early on in 2022. His last pair of (94) Beyers earned on the east coast fit well here.

Selections: 8-1-3

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