Santa Anita (Saturday-4/22/23) By Dean Keppler


Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner

BEST BET: 7-Exceed Speed Limit (Race 4)

Race #1: 1-Symphony Perfect (Ire) is likely to move forward in her second stateside start for trainer Michael McCarthy on the stretch-out. The 4-year-old filly comes off a fair sixth place effort back in February at this level and that event has since produced a pair of next-out winners. Her morning a.m. drills have improved, and Hernandez takes over. 5-Warrens Candy Girl was a sharp runner-up at this level in last and owns the field’s best last out grass Beyer. 4-Phenom loses Hernandez to top choice, but this filly has great speed and will take these as far as she can on the engine.

Selections: 1-5-4

Race #2: 2-Bonita Leona followed up her recent N3L game score on March 17 with a sharp 4-furlong drill indicating a repeat is well within reach. 1-A Broken Breeze returns to $10k claiming level where he was a winner two-back with a (67) Beyer (par for this class level). 5-Roman Empress is a multiple winner over the track and distance and should appreciate today’s reduced class level.

Selections: 2-1-5


Race #3: 3-Apple Warrior (By Danzig Candy) attracts Hernandez for unveiling off some solid drills. 1-San Jac debuts with Lasix off a modest worktab for trainer Tim Yakteen and lands in a weak field. 4-J D’s Rude Boy moves back to the main track on the turnback and makes first career start for a claiming tag.

Selections: 3-1-4

Race #4: If the TimeformUS projected pace scenario comes to fruition things should set-up quite nicely for 7-Exceed Speed Limit. The 5-year-old gelding has been freshened since February and owns the field’s best last out turf Beyer (85). The 5-time winner will be motoring home late. 2-In Vronsky Style returns off a two-month break with good positional speed and loves this grass course (6-1-4-1). 8-Midnight Lightning goes dirt to turf off sharp second place finish and is drawn outside with good stalking speed. The sire of this 3-year-old is Midnight Storm who was a Grade 1 winner on grass. He’s worked well and should take to the new footing.

Selections: 7-2-8

Race #5: 5-Positivity could sit an ideal trip behind the early pacesetters, and he’s proven he can fire fresh off the long layoff for Team O’Neill. He looms an U\upset chance if BR has lost a step. The multiple graded stakes winner 4-Brickyard Ride won this event last year when amidst a 4-race winning streak. He came up short on the downhill turf course in most recent effort in the G3 San Simeon when sizzling through snappy fractions off a long layoff. The 12-time winner should be much tighter today and will be tough to overhaul at short odds back on the main track. 2-Sunrise Journey is in super form right now having won two straight but could be tangled up in a brutal pace battle early on and gets a serious class test today.

Selections: 5-4-2

Race #6: The 4-year-old filly 5-Princess Adaleigh has won 2 of her last 3 for trainer Vladimir Cerin and makes her downhill turf debut this afternoon as the likely frontrunner. She’s by multiple G1 winner Goldencents who gets a solid 15% with his turf sprint runners. A serious wire-to-wire threat. 3-Kitty Kitana (GB) was pulled up after a taking a bad step in the G2 Buena Vista but is likely to rebound today while having shown an affinity for this tricky course. 7-Pammy’s Ready is likely to Improve making second start off the mini-freshening and should get a favorable stalking trip with Hernandez and her outside draw.

Selections: 5-3-7

Race #7: 3-Rufa Red Knot has good speed; adds blinkers today and could be long gone at this reduced level making second start off the bench. 6-Casia ships in from Turf Paradise for career start number two after getting away slowly in March 11 debut try. This filly grinded along to make up decent ground late to finish 5th and that race has since produced a pair of next-out winners. 2-Grey Magic has worked steadily since December 2022 for long-awaited debut try and this jockey/trainer combo has had good success with these Maiden Claiming first time starters. 1Sugar Sugar has had several chances (0 for 14) but has managed to hit the board in eight of those career starts at this bottom-level and cuts back to a sprint today. An obvious vertical exotics threat once again.

Selections: 3-6-2

Race #8: The lightly raced 9-Cornelia Fort was a beaten favorite in last and now makes 2nd start off the claim for trainer John Sadler. He switches to grass and is by Grazen who gets a strong 17% with his turf sprint prodigy. This lucrative jockey/trainer combo are 6 for 14 (43%) with a $7.11 ROI with this claiming angle. 6-Real Fire was a Maiden winner two-back while sprinting and should bounce back this afternoon. 3-Topolina has yet to stretch her early speed this far but must be respected as the likely pacesetter and having earned the field’s best last out grass Beyer (81).

Selections: 9-6-3

Race #9: The Grade 1 winning 1-Defunded holds a double Beyer advantage based on last two efforts and should be tough to beat with rail draw while making his third start off the bench. The gelding’s versatile running style gives Hernandez many tactical options and he’s trained well since the last beaten favorite 3rd place finish. 4-Midnight Mammoth gets a serious class test this afternoon but is in super sharp form right now for his new barn and would be a tremendous $50k claim if he could pull of this upset. 6-Royal Ship hasn’t parlayed his recent good a.m. works into top performances in the afternoon having been trounced by 50 plus lengths in the last 3 starts. Having said that… he’s more than capable of winning this if he can recapture his old form.

Selections: 1-4-6

Race #10: 6-Acquired Class ran very well off the 10-month freshening when finishing 4th on March 26 against similar after encountering some traffic issues when rallying along the inside. The 3-year-old gelding galloped out in front when finally finding his best stride late and adds blinkers this afternoon for trainer Peter Miller. 11-Single Track Mind (Ire) has had several close finishes sprinting on grass at this level with competitive Beyers close to par for this MDSW level. 2-O’Banion (Ire) makes his U.S. debut off a 10-month layoff for trainer Phil D’Amato after finishing 4th in lone start over in Ireland. This barn typically does extremely well with these imports and the recent “best of 33” 5-furlong drill on April 16 indicates there’s some ability.

Selections: 6-11-2

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