Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 2-California Street (Race #8)
Race #1: 1-Cotopaxi has speed and the rail and is in super form right now seeking 3rd straight win for Herrera and O’Neil. 6-Motorious this import is a stakes winner by multiple G1 winner Muhaarar and barn usually does well with these foreign shippers. Adds Lasix and excellent turf rider. 3-Guildsman offered very little in west coast unveiling but takes a significant class plunge today from graded-stakes competition into a $50k claimer and makes 2nd start off the layoff. The 5-year-old gelding ran some competitive turf sprint numbers in New York.
Race #2: 1-High Connection debuts for team Baffert off snappy worktab and is by G1 winner Connect. This lucrative jockey/trainer combo are 6 for 9 (67%) with first time starters at Santa Anita the past 2 years. 2-Pioneering Papa was a well beaten 3rd at 30/1 in March 5 unveiling behind Baffert runaway winner Taiba but earned the field’s best (83) Beyer figure in doing so. 5-Devil Moon attracted decent tote support in turf debut when encountering some trouble and should improve with switch to main track and racing experience.
Race #3: 6-Smilin Evie goes dirt to turf today for trainer Richard Baltas after a pair of solid efforts over the main track to start career. This 3-year-old filly is by Tom’s Tribute who was a G1 winner at a mile on grass. 1-Youteyourhonor has been ultra-consistent with last lone turf try being the only race she failed to hit the board. She stretches out today in 2nd grass attempt and should trip out nicely with hot rider. 5-Emerald Lake is reunited with winning rider and is proven at today’s distance.
Race #4: 5-Stir the Pot has yet been able to string two wins together but has good speed; shortens up a ½ furlong and defeated two next-out winners in recent February 18 N2L victory. The ultra-consistent 4-Coalinga Road runs well fresh and comes in with several solid a.m. drills for trainer Carla Gaines. The lightly raced 6-Area Code will need to step it up as far as Beyer numbers go to compete here but is wheeled back off two weeks rest and this jockey/trainer combo have been tearing it up as of late.
Race #5: 1-Touchdown Brown has only one prior turf start but takes a significant class drop today; makes 3rd start off the bench and should be able to work out a very favorable journey with rail draw based on expected rapid race flow. 4-If Id Told You improving Beyers and versatile running style makes this gelding a BIG threat in here. 3-Worse Read Sanchez was overmatched in last but drops in class today and is back on preferred surface for Reddam Racing and trainer Doug O’Neil.
Race #6: Beaten favorite 6-Wall Street Trader goes 1st off the claim for Hernandez and Sadler and appears to fit well at this $40k level making 2nd start on the main track. One of the hottest jockey/trainer combos on the grounds right now. 8-Grandcourse Guy has speed, already run par for this level but has three runner-up finishes from 6 starts. Logical threat once again but a weary choice if taking too short of odds. First time gelding 1-Dance Company goes turf to dirt on the slight class drop and should improve this afternoon.
Race #7: 4-Closing Remarks drops out of the G2 Buena Vista; loves this turf course and should get a lively pace to close into this afternoon. 5-Key Flower steps up in class off win but is proven at this distance and should be running on late. Beaten favorite 8-Going To Vegas is the lone Grade 1 winner on turf; stretches out to her preferred distance this afternoon and has a versatile running style that should come in handy today. The one to beat if she proves to be as good as she was last year.
Race #8: 2-California Street is one of two Tim Yakteen runners both coming off the claim. This veteran 8-year-old gelding is 3 for 5 at 7 furlongs and has a strong closing kick in what’s projected to be a hotly contested early pace. Today’s Best Bet. 9-I’m Corfu is unproven at 7 furlongs but comes off a good 2nd place effort against Fenestra who is riding a three-win streak today. This gelding makes first start for trainer Doug O’Neil who has good success with new acquisitions. 7-Foreman showed little in turf try when making west coast unveiling but could improve today switching to main track off mini-freshening. The gelding has prior success at Tampa going 7 panels. Trainer David Hofmans has positive numbers with this surface change and horses returning off of 61 to 180 days rest.
Race #9: 3-Fluent returned off the mini-freshening with a strong Maiden turf score over next-out winner Glenall who returned with a (76) Beyer. Any improvement off that sharp try makes her a serious threat for repeat facing winners for the first time. 9-Delmona was a sharp second in U.S. unveiling for trainer Jeff Mullins despite slow beginning. Obvious threat making 2nd start in the states. Recent Maiden winner 2-Hail Columbia has little turf pedigree but has speed and the inside.