Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 2-Brazen Bull (Race 5)
Pimlico Race #13: The Grade 1 Preakness Stakes (Post time 7:01 EST)
The Derby winner 3-Mage looks too tough to try and upset in the second leg of this year’s Triple Crown. The son of Good Magic rallied strongly from far back to an impressive win in Louisville stamping his runner-up finish in the Florida Derby as a legitimate performance. His career best 105 Beyer at Churchill is the only triple digit figure in this field–and despite the colt’s habitual slow starts from the gate– he simply looks too strong for this suspect group. (3-7-1-5)
Race #1: 3-Recalcitrant adds blinkers today after an encouraging debut try on April 29 where she flashed good early speed before tiring late to finish second. This lucrative jockey/trainer combo is 6 for 23 (26%) with dirt sprint second time starters at Santa Anita. 5-Borntostaythirsty is eligible to move forward in second start today after a sluggish beginning before finishing up to finish an even third in short field. 1-Pushiness (By Kantharos) comes in with an encouraging worktab for trainer Michael McCarthy and attracts Hernandez for today’s unveiling. Her sire gets an average 14% with juvenile debuting prodigy.
Race #2: 1-Paleo’s Princess drops to an easier spot this afternoon and has run par or better for this class level in all three efforts in 2023. This filly moves to the rail today and projects to work out a favorable ground-saving trip. A beaten favorite in last 3-Katerini was caught in tight quarters while boxed in from the three-eighths to the five-sixteenths pole when dropped down to this level and now adds blinkers today for trainer Mark Glatt who is having a stellar meet. 7-Inner Beauty (Ire) has been plagued by layoff lines but ran a good second off the extended break for Mullins earning the field’s best last out grass Beyer (73) while finishing ahead of Katerini. The 5-year-old mare is a threat if she can build off that return performance.
Race #3: 5-Conquest Celsius attracted strong tote support on April 29 unveiling but lost all realistic chance after a bad stumble out of the gate. This filly has returned to work well since that try and is likely to rebound substantially in career start number two for a barn that has solid second time starter stats. 3-High Flying Gracie is by multiple Grade 1 winner Stay Thirsty and has trained well for conditioner Steve Knapp. This jockey/trainer combo teamed up to score with firster Going Mobile back on April 30. 1-Flamina holds the experience edge over most of these after flashing some early zip in same April 29 race Conquest Celsius exits, and these lucrative connections scored with second time starter Signora Minister ($21.20) last Friday afternoon.
Race #4: 2-Angel Nadeshiko is back on grass and takes a sizable class drop today for trainer Paddy Gallagher exiting the Grade 2 Santa Monica back in February. Her grass efforts have been solid enough and she projects to be on the lead in this spot. She’s reunited with top turf pilot Rispoli and could be tough to reel in late. 4-Symphony Perfect (Ire) can move forward making only her third stateside start today for trainer Michael McCarthy after a wide trip on April 22. This filly’s Beyer numbers are moving in the right direction and Hernandez is back for another try. 1-Aloha Kitten ships back in from Golden Gate and has run well over this grass course including back-to-back runner-up finishes three and four-back. This 6-year-old mare is a 4-time winner going this mile trip and projects to work out a favorable journey with the rail draw.
Race #5: 2-Brazen Bull showed solid early zip on April 23 at this same level before surrendering late to tire and finish an ok fourth. It was a decent try and the combination of Miller and Vasquez are a strong 6 for 12 (50%) with a $4.98 ROI when teamed up on barn’s second time starters. This 3-year-old gelding by Munnings should be tough to run down this afternoon despite stretching out an additional half furlong. The lightly raced 6-Mor Tequila makes his all-important 3rd career start today for Baffert after finishing in front of Brazen Bull in last effort when returning from an 8-month layoff. The colt goes 2nd time Lasix today; has worked well since that return try and will be tough with a move forward. 5-Big Hat Willie is making career start number eight today for Miller but drops back down into the Maiden ranks after facing winners in last two starts while accumulating some of the best main track Beyers in the field.
Race #6: 9-Annie’s Joy stretches out in start number two today for Glatt after finishing a decent fourth in debut and in front of next-out winner Magic Light. This filly is by multiple Grade 1 winner Kitten’s Joy and projects to show more speed today. 1-Free and Humble rallied for third off the 7-month freshening and stretches back out today for trainer Peter Miller. The filly goes 2nd time Lasix today and Hernandez is back aboard. 3-Ruby Nell is a costly $1.2 million Bolt d’Oro filly who returns to grass today on the stretch-out for trainer Richard Mandella. Her lone turf debut back in January resulted in a solid second place effort in a ultra-key race that’s since produced six next-out winners.
Race #7: Beaten favorite in debut 4-Apple Warrior flashed good speed before dropping out of contention and finishing a disappointing last on April 22. The 3-year-old colt battled on the lead through a taxing first quarter and half mile. He drops in class today and the Sadler barn has solid stats with second time starters. 5-Tenth Street Don has had several chances and makes career start number 12 today. He’s run some competitive figures for this Maiden Claiming $20k level, however, and fits well here. 1-Twice Fooled ships in from Turf Paradise and goes turf to dirt on the turnback this afternoon for trainer Vann Belvoir. This gelding’s main track efforts and Beyers fit well with this weak group.
Race #8: 1-Honey Pants invades from the east coast exiting the Clement barn and is now under the care of new conditioner Phil D’Amato. She’s been sidelined nearly 6 months, but this 5-year-old mare has trained well locally and proven to fire fresh. 2-Canoodling is a multiple Grade 3 winner on grass and gets some serious class relief this afternoon for trainer Mike Puype. She’s unproven over the downhill course but has good positional speed and makes her third start off the bench today. 3-Freedom Flyer did little running on April 8 “off the turf” try but was a game winner of the Wishing Well two-back over this course and is reunited with winning rider Hernandez this afternoon.
Race #9: The 7-year-old gelding 6-Strike That has been plagued by layoff lines throughout his career but has done extremely well when he does make it to the racetrack (15-5-4-2) and now goes 2nd off the claim today. Frey is 2 for 2 with this claiming angle when riding for the Papaprodromou barn and his recent Beyer numbers fit extremely well against this group. 1-Who’s Candy is unproven on dirt but is bred to handle the main track and recent a.m. drills have been encouraging for trainer Steve Knapp. This gelding figures to have good speed from the rail and gets in light today. 2-Economical turns back to a sprint off the Doug O’Neill recent claim and returns off short rest after fading on the lead against similar.
Race #10: The allowance turf route in the Saturday nightcap is extremely competitive with several possible outcomes. First time gelding 2-Seven Charms returns off a 10-month hiatus but usually fires fresh off the bench for trainer Michael McCarthy. Today’s mile trip might be a tad too short for him, but he should be rallying strongly through the lane. The speedy 5-Durante has been sidelined since mid-December but has trained very well for his return try today and his mile efforts at Del Mar two and three-back at this level were solid. He’ll be tough if left alone on the front end. 8-Oncoming has two recent strong runner-up finishes at this level going today’s mile trip and is another who would benefit from a swift early pace. Rispoli climbs back aboard and does well when guiding this gelding.