Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 4-She’s My Niece (Race 2)
Race #1: 6-Benedict Canyon moves up to the N2X condition level after an impressive grass debut off the long layoff for the D’Amato barn. This filly has worked 4 times since that winning effort and is eligible to be even better making 2nd start off the bench. Berrios sticks here. 4-Secrets Told returns to her Santa Anita base after a 3rd place finish up at Golden Gate in a small stake. She was a good 2nd at this level two-back and has good positional early zip. 3-Princess Adaleigh owns the field’s best last our turf Beyer (84) when coming up just a nose short at this level on April 22. A logical fit right back.
Race #2: 4-She’s My Niece holds a distinct advantage for Team O’Neill as the lone filly in this field with prior racing experience. She was hammered to even money in debut two weeks ago when breaking slowly; racing greenly and wide. She adds blinkers today for career start number two and she’ll likely show more gate speed with Maldonado climbing aboard. Her stablemate is5-They Are for Sale who is by Grade 1 winner Sharp Azteca. This filly has average works for her unveiling, but this jockey/trainer combo are a sharp 3 for 6 (50%/6 for 6 ITM) with first time starters the past 2 years. 6-Becky’s Dream (Fr) is by multiple Grade 1 winner City of Light and is nicely drawn outside for trainer Hector Palma. She’s shown good early zip in her a.m. drills.
Race #3: 1-Classymademoiselle has speed and the rail again and takes a sizable class plunge today for conditioner Jorge Periban. This filly was a beaten favorite in last when bobbling out of the gate before acquiring the early command from the inside and eventually settling for the runner-up spot in short field. This barn is a strong 8 for 27 (30%) with a $3.12 ROI with 50% claiming tag dropdowns. 5-Run for My Honey makes second start off the bench on the stretch-out and this filly’s best races have come at a mile– albeit mainly while running on synthetic and turf. 2-Parco will show more speed on the stretch-out.
Race #4: 1-Kanderel rallied strongly for 2nd despite a bad stumble at the break when last seen back in the end of March. The 6-year-old gelding is a multiple winner over the track and distance and looms a big threat with clean break from the rail. He co-tops the field’s best last out grass Beyer (78). 4-Hembree showed little in main track dirt return try but is back on his preferred surface today and takes a big class drop for Miller. 6-Chaos Theory returns to winning level from three and four-back where he produced back-to-back turf Beyers in the 90’s. The veteran 8-year-old gelding projects to get a favorable stalking trip with outside draw.
Race #5: 7-Lunatic returned off a 11-month layoff to score a game win at the N3L level going this 5 ½ furlong trip and is obvious choice right back for Hernandez and Miller. This mare shows a series of steady drills since that winning return effort. 8-Talkative Gal was an even 3rd in a four-horse field in most recent effort but now makes first start off the Knapp claim. This barn hovers around a solid 30% with dirt sprint new acquisitions. 4-Vegan returns to afternoon racing and was a decent 2nd at this level two-back.
Race #6: 2-Motown Music was a solid winner off the layoff against similar and co-tops the field for the highest last-out main track Beyer (86). The gelding projects to get another favorable stalking trip off what’s projected to be a swift early pace. 9-Divine Armor rallied for 2nd at 27/1 at this level off a 10-month layoff and could get a similar set-up this afternoon. The stretch-out back out to a mile helps. 5-Flying Drummer has been sidelined since December 2021 for Baffert but returns with Lasix and a flashy worktab. The expectations were high for this Gun Runner colt who cost $850k at the 2021 April Ocala Breeders’ Sales.
Race #7: 3-Fast Buck is winless (o for 2) over the downhill course and still looking for his first stakes win but is the clear frontrunner in today’s Grade 3 Daytona Stakes and will look to shake free early and keep motoring along in the stretch. Berrios climbs aboard and has done well for these connections. A multiple stakes and Grade 2 winner 5-Whatmakessammyrun is clearly the one to beat off recent downhill stakes win and (96) Beyer. He makes 3rd start off the bench today and could have another forward move left in the tank. 1-Indian Peak comes off back-to-back 3rd place stake finishes over the course but will need to work out a trip with today’s rail draw. Hernandez climbs back aboard and was along for this gelding’s last win way back in October 2021.
Race #8: The multiple Grade 2 winner and 2022 Kentucky Derby prospect 4-Forbidden Kingdom is the likely pacesetter in here and 7 furlongs seems to fit him well. The American Pharoah colt comes off the mini freshening today for Mandella and looks to turn the tables on main rival Spirit of Makena who got the best of him in the San Carlos. 6-Spirit of Makena sat a perfect trip behind top choice when they last locked horns back in March and cruised on by for the easy win. The lightly raced 5-year-old is 3 for 4 lifetime; is proven off the bench and has trained well for his first Grade 2 attempt. The classy 7–CZ Rocket had a prep for this in a 3-horse allowance event just two weeks ago, while going over the $2 million mark in earnings with his 2nd place finish. The veteran gelding is 12 for 38 lifetime and likes the 7-furlong trip.
Race #9: 3–Crescendo Molto showed little in grass sprint debut on April 21 but is likely to improve in second start and the stretch-out for trainer Dan Blacker. He’s by Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile turf winner Mendelssohn and switches to go-to pilot Maldonado. An upset chance in the nightcap. 1-Precocious Times draws the rail and has little early speed but comes off back-to-back turf Beyers that are tops in this field including a runner-up finish at this level when last seen back in March. This filly has a nice series of drills leading up to toady’s return try. Hernandez is back aboard, and this jockey/trainer combo are 7 for 20 (35%) with a $2.61 ROI with turf runners returning off 61-180 day’s rest. 2-Picture of a Lady returns off the long layoff and claim for conditioner Mark Glatt. The filly adds blinkers today; is bred to handle the stretch out to a mile and barn does well with these layoff types.
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