Santa Anita (Saturday-5/13/23) By Dean Keppler


Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner

BEST BET: 1-Book Smart (Race 6)

Race #1: 6-See Through It has run back-to-back bang-up races at this level as the beaten favorite and should appreciate getting back to 6 furlongs this afternoon. The 6-year-old gelding owns the field’s best last out grass Beyer (87). 2-Fly the Sky has not been out in 6 months but removes the blinkers today; has trained well for his return effort and gets Hernandez back to ride off the layoff. 5-Natural Power closed well for the 3rd spot behind top choice in most recent start April 9 and last pair of main track works have been especially sharp. Desormeaux replaces Hernandez and has a high win percentage when starting for this barn.

Selections: 6-2-5

Race #2: 4-Piroli has won three straight for trainer Michael McCarthy and exits a career best Beyer back on March 17. The gelding shows a sharp 5-furlong drill on May 6 and is reunited with Hernandez. 3-It’s My House steps up off sharp gate-to-wire score going this mile trip where he earned the field’s best main track Beyer (92). 1-Arham returned from an extended layoff to finish 3rd at Turf Paradise and is now back at Santa Anita where he’s shown prior success.

Selections: 4-3-1


Race #3: 1-Franklin One Star is winless on turf but looks primed for a winning effort this afternoon for Team O’Neil coming off a troubled trip 4th after stumbling at the break and encountering traffic issues. The gelding comes in with an improving Beyer pattern and solid a.m. drill on May 7. 3-Beaudacious has been competitive at this level in the last two efforts and switches to hot turf pilot this afternoon. 6-New York Dreams (GB) turns back to a sprint making second start at this reduced level and is reunited with winning rider. The gelding can improve in this spot.

Selections: 1-3-6

Race #4: 1-California Bling goes turf to dirt on the class drop and is bred to successfully handle the main track. A beaten favorite in last pair 2-Tennessee Moon drops in class today; has good gate speed and is a logical wire-to-wire threat at likely short odds again. 4-Sugar Sugar makes career start number 16 this afternoon but has slugged up to fill out the vertical exotics on nine occasions and is a threat to do so again against this suspect group.

Selections: 1-2-4

Race #5: There are six debut runners lined up here but none of their corresponding trainers have had much success with first time starters. 5-Giovinazzo has improved immensely since switching to grass for trainer Doug O’Neil and makes his third start off the bench today off a career best turf Beyer (79). 8-Neon Lights (Ire) is sure to improve making his second stateside start today and third career try overall for conditioner Steve Knapp. The gelding’s encouraging a.m. works hints at more ability than he showed in most recent effort on April 22. 6-Yogi Boy had a world of trouble when returning off an extended layoff back in the end of March when stumbling and encountering traffic problems. He gets a key rider change to Smith this afternoon. Of the new shooters 9-Act Three has shown some early zip in recent drills and is by multiple Grade 1 winner Kitten’s Joy who gets an average 13% with his 3-year-old and up debut starters. The colt debuts with Lasix and Hoffmans and Hernandez have had prior success.

Selections: 5-8-6

Race #6: 1-Book Smart has good gate speed and the rail draw while returning to the main track today for trainer Mark Glatt. The gelding was a sharp 2nd three-back against better on dirt where he earned a field’s best (84) Beyer and barn has strong numbers with the surface change. 4-Goldenspa drops in class today and could fall into a favorable stalking trip behind the speed. 6-Midnight Lightning showed little in most recent effort on April 22 but that was on grass. He switches back to the main track today for Knapp where he flashed speed and finished second two-back.

Selections: 1-4-6

Race #7: 1-Devil Among Us didn’t show much in grass debut try back in November but is likely to show more today returning to turf for D’Amato off the mini-freshening and three solid efforts over the main track.  The colt has good positional speed from the rail with Hernandez. 6-Irish Royalty ships in from Golden Gate in top form having won two straight over the synthetic footing and his top sire Grazen gets 16% with turf sprinters. A strong barn elsewhere but 0 for 16 with their Santa Anita starters is somewhat of a concern, however. 9-Barely Functional steps up off sharp Maiden grass sprint win and fits well here despite the class hike.

Selections: 1-6-9

Race #8: This allowance main track sprint only attracted 5 runners but it’s certainly not short on quality. 1-Dr. Schivel makes first start since returning from the UAE after finishing 3rd in the Grade 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen and this 5-year-old has proven he fires fresh. He has good positional speed and rail. The veteran 9-year-old gelding 4-C Z Rocket is 12 for 37 lifetime and closes in on $2 million in career earnings. He exits the same race as top choice and is also strong off the bench. His stablemate 2-None Above the Law hasn’t started in nearly 6 months but is a grade 2 winner for trainer Peter Miller and merits some consideration if the top pair misfire.

Selections: 1-4-2

Race #9: 3-Dicey Mo Chara (GB) didn’t have the smoothest of trips in the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile at Golden Gate in most recent start but is back on the SA turf course where he’s a multiple winner and stretches back out to a more desirable distance this afternoon with Hernandez back in the saddle. The gelding was second in this race last year and has a good chance to turn the tables on 4-Offlee Naughty who has won two straight for trainer Michael McCarthy including the Grade 2 Charlie Whittingham on April 8. He shook free late and exploded for the easy score. 2-Planetario (Brz) hasn’t been out since June of last year but was a grade 1 winner over in Brazil and the Mandella barn is firing on all cylinders thus far this meet.

Selections: 3-4-2

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