Santa Anita (Saturday-3/18/23) By Dean Keppler

Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner

BEST BET: 7-Topolina (Race #9)

Race #1: 6-Not Now ran on for 3rd despite some traffic issues in first start on January 22 and that race has turned out to be a “key” race producing 4 next-out winners. She earned a strong (70) Beyer for that performance and this gal should be a handful with any normal  second-out improvement. 4-Jennifer’s d’ Light is one of two Michael McCarthy-trained fillies in here. She adds Lasix and cuts back to sprinting today after a series of mile tries where she ran well enough at this level. An encouraging sub :48 4-furlong drill on March 3. 1-Lulu Lemon Drop is by G1 turf sprint winner Long On Value who debuts with Lasix for trainer Peter Miller. She has the rail and aggressive gate rider, but barn is only 1 for 27 with first time starters on grass at Santa Anita.

Selections: 6-4-1

Race #2: 2-Warrens Candy Man makes the all-important 3rd start off the bench today with an improving Beyer pattern while coming off a decent 4th where he pressed the pace 3-wide before tiring late. 5-Setticento has good positional speed from the outside and has been somewhat competitive at this N3 level. This gelding shows a “best of 53”4-furlong bullet drill in :46.4 on March 12 in preparation for this engagement this afternoon. The hot riding Tiago Pereira climbs aboard. 4-Papale is another who has good gate zip in this short field which should make for an interesting rider’s race. This gelding makes first start off the claim for Kristen Mulhall who is 3 for 11 (27%) with dirt route acquisitions.

Selections: 2-5-4


Race #3: 9-Boss Sully was a bit rank and green in February 11 debut when finishing 4th and is likely to improve substantially in second career start for Koriner who has solid stats with second time starters. This 3-year-old colt by multiple G1 winner Street Boss switches to jockey Hector Berrios who was aboard barn’s recent winner Crowning Gold last Saturday. 5-Stan From Malibu was a non-threatening 6th on February 18 debut but adds blinkers for second career start and barn has solid numbers with second time starters. 4-Both At Fault is slowly on the improve and switches to hot rider for Reddam Racing and trainer Ed Freeman.

Selections: 9-5-4

Race #4: 3-Mongolian Panther did not fare well in lone route dirt try but lands in a pace-less affair today while returning to the main track and could get loose here this afternoon making 2nd start off the bench on the stretch-out. This hot barn won 3 races last Sunday including Angelcents ($6); Sunrise Journey ($13.20) and Barristan The Bold ($33). 4-Youteyourhonor goes two sprints to a route with an improving Beyer pattern for trainer Vladimir Cerin and should be ready for best effort today making her third start of the form cycle. 1-Smoothlikebuttah is a check cashing machine hitting the board in last 14 straight but as his 2 for 37 record which clearly indicates he rarely finds the winner’s circle.

Selections: 3-4-1

Race #5: 2-Lady Jae gets some class relief today stretching back out to a mile for hot barn and is reunited with winning rider. 6-Harper’s Gallop was a sharp wire-to-wire winner in last earning the field’s best last-out grass Beyer (77) and just missed two-back going this mile trip. 4-Feathers (Ire) has been freshened off the Mullins claim and has trained well for her return try. Hernandez has been aboard for last 2 wins.

Selections: 2-6-4

Race #6: 2-Dillinger returns off nearly an 8-month layoff for Baffert and was a solid 3rd in July DMR debut behind barn stablemate multiple stakes winner Havnameltdown. The Into Mischief colt has trained sharply for his return. His stablemate is first time starter 4-Tahoe Sunrise (By American Pharoah) who has a series of snappy a.m. drills and attracts Velasquez who clicks close to 60% with this lucrative barn’s debut runners. 3-Mystification is a $250K purchase by multiple G1 winner Good Magic who debuts for Team O’Neill off some solid a.m. works including a strong 5-furlong gate drill on March 10. This sire is a strong 4 for 11 (36%) with his 3-year-old & up debuting prodigy.

Selections: 2-4-3

Race #7: 3-The Wild Grazer was a neck short of winning three straight for Mullins since arriving stateside last November with most recent runner-up effort in the Lady of Shamrock Stakes. The 3-year-old filly adds blinkers today; makes 2nd start around two turns and has improved Beyer-wise with each subsequent start. 7-Comanche Country (Ire) has been freshened since 7th place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Keeneland in November and prior to that start won 3 consecutive races including the G3 Surfer Girl over this turf course. She’s the class of this field for D’Amato and this looks like a good spot to launch her 2023 campaign. 6-Princess Betina comes off a career best Beyer (80) when 3rd behind The Wild Grazer in the Lady Shamrock when encountering some traffic issues.

Selections: 3-7-6

Race #8: 1-Trusty Rusty is one of two Team O’Neill 3-year-old runner represented in here. He owns the field’s best last out main track figure; goes two sprints to a route, and switches to Hernandez. Rusty’s stablemate 5-Chicknfingerfriday goes turf to dirt; stretches back out and drops down into a career low $30k claiming tag. His main track route try two-back earned a competitive figure for this weak and suspect group. 2-Extra Innings showed speed and tired in first route try but his Beyers are heading in the right direction.

Selections: 1-5-2

Race #9: 7-Topolina is super quick out of the gate and adds blinkers today for trainer Doug O’Neill off the mini-freshening. She’ll be tough to reel in here with an alert break. 2-She’s Got a Way was a beaten favorite second in last and now shortens up to 5 ½ furlongs this afternoon. A logical fit back at the same level with Hernandez. 6-Big Beauty steps up off the claim in sharp form for McCarthy and shows an eye-catching bullet “best of 70” 4-furlong drill in :46.2 on March 3.

Selections: 7-2-6

Race #10: Trainer Bob Baffert has a pair of debuting fillies in here for Juddmonte Farm. 1-Enclosure is by multiple G1 winner Arrogate who gets 8% with his 3-year-old and up debuting prodigy. She has the rail; a solid worktab; and attracts Hernandez for unveiling. Her stablemate 5-Pleasant is by Munnings who gets 15% with his debut runners and this lucrative jockey/trainer combo are 11 for 19 (58%) with a $2.79 ROI with first time starters. She also has sharp a.m. drills. 7-Ruby Nell (By Bolt d’Oro) cost $1.2 million and goes turf to dirt in second career start off a sharp second in key race on January 22. The Mandela barn is 3 for 10 (30%) with 2nd time starters making this surface switch.

Selections: 1-5-7

Race #11: A tricky 1x allowance sprint for 4-year-olds and up over the downhill course closes out the 11-race Saturday card. The late closing 8-Mamba Cool cuts back to a sprint today and makes 2nd start off the bench for D’Amato. He earned a strong (82) Beyer in last runner-up finish on February 10 and has worked well since that effort. 10-Who’s Candy through in a clunker in most recent start on February 17 when off a tad slow and now makes 2nd start off the Steve Knapp claim. The 4-year-old gelding has good speed; is drawn outside and is reunited with Gonzalez who was aboard for three 2nd place finishes. 3-Leyas Candy has been ultra-sharp over the main track including a recent 2nd in the Tiznow Stakes for trainer Mark Glatt but is unproven on grass. His sire Danzig Candy is only 2 for 43 with turf sprint runners, however, so there’s some good reason for hesitation.

Selections: 8-10-3

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