Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 6-Fun to Dream (Race #2)
Race #1: 6-Sunshine Babe returns off a 9-month layoff today on the class rise for a jockey/trainer combo that teamed up to win a Grade 2 event last month with the mare Blue Stripe. The 4-year-old may be ambitiously placed this afternoon off the freshening but should get a lively race flow to close into and will be a BIG price in Saturday’s opener. 7-Paleo’s Princess improved immensely in start number two with the switch to turf. 1-D’s Lovely Sophia has speed and the rail and makes the all-important 3rd start off the layoff.
Race #2: 6-Fun to Dream debuts with Lasix and is by multiple G1 winner Arrogate The 3-year-old filly comes in with a lively a.m. worktab for trainer Sean McCarthy and this jockey/trainer combo delivered a smashing debut win with the filly Midnight Memories April 30 with a (95) Beyer. 1-Shemakescents returns off the lengthy layoff for D’Amato after showing decent promise in both career starts. She adds Lasix today and the fact there’s no panicky class drop is a positive sign. 5-Lady Maryann holds the experience and recency edge with an even 5th place finish in debut. This barn is, however, 0 for 18 with 2nd time starters.
Race #3: 5-Carmelita’s Man gets a significant class test this afternoon but has the right running style for a race that’s projected to have a fast-opening quarter mile. The 5-year-old gelding is an extremely consistent hard trier and 3-time winner over this turf course. The field’s best last out grass Beyer (91) adds to the appeal. Beaten favorite 4-Irish Heatwave is another who should be a beneficiary of today’s projected hot pace and comes in off a pair of semi-troubled trip lines. 2-Jimmy Blue Jeans has good positional speed and inside draw returning from Golden Gate when overmatched in the G3 San Francisco Mile.
Race #4: 5-Good With People pulled up and walked off when last seen but has worked well for first start since that Del Mar debacle. This barn is a strong 3 for 8 (38%) with a $6.37 ROI the past year with these layoff types and this 4-year-old colt is today’s projected front runner. He’s 2 for 2 at 6 furlongs on the main track. 2-Desmond Doss has proven he can run well off an extended break as well and trainer Steve Miyadi is 13 for 37 (35%) with a $3.07 ROI with horses returning off >180 Days the past 2 years. Attracts meets leading rider. 4-Tigre Di Slugo ran a sharp race in the G3 Kona Gold off the year layoff earning a (94) Beyer speed figure and any improvement off that encouraging try makes this veteran gelding the one to beat in here.
Race #5: 4-Bally’s Charm was a sharp winner off the mini-freshening with an (80) turf Beyer and projects to sit a nice trip again on or close to the lead for Mullins. 5-Worse Read Sanchez a beaten favorite in last pair when not able to do any better than 3rd but is capable of an improved performance with a cleaner trip. And today’s price will be much more attractive. 1-Royal ’n Rando has proven to be just as effective on grass and comes off a decent win in the Silky Sullivan at Golden Gate. This will be his first start in Southern California, however, and trainer Steve Specht is 0 for 14 locally.
Race #6: 10-Disko Tribute goes turf to dirt and drops back in to face Maiden Claimers for trainer Dan Blacker making career start number three. An encouraging 4-furlong bullet drill May 22 indicates the main track should not be an issue for barn that places their horses in winning spots. Upset chance in wide open tricky Maiden Claiming event. 7-Buttonwood Tree debuts for Mullins with Lasix and is by G2 winner Stanford who gets a 23%-win clip with his first-time starters according to DRF Formulator. 3-Chipper is making career start number 11 this afternoon but goes turf to dirt and drops back down to face Maiden Claimers. The 5-year-old gelding missed by a neck when last trying this reduced level on turf.
Race #7: Recent Maiden winner 7-Forgiving Spirit has speed; is lightly raced; and makes 2nd start off the layoff. A slight move forward makes him a threat to repeat despite facing winners for the first time. 5-Caerulean has run three sharp efforts this year on grass and finished directly behind next-out winner Johnny Podres in most recent try April 30. 3-El Diablo Rojo is winless on turf (0 for 7) but makes 2nd start off the bench today and could land a share in this vulnerable field.
Race #8: 5-It’s Simple goes turf to dirt and stretches out off May 1st win for Reddam Racing and trainer Doug O’Neil. This 3-year-old filly is by multiple G1 winner Nyquist and should have little trouble stretching out over the main track. She appears to be the controlling speed. 1-Rose Maddox is an ultra-consistent filly that’s 3 for 8 lifetime and 7 for 8 ITM. She’s proven to be equally effective on dirt and turf and projects to sit a nice ground-saving journey this afternoon on the stretch-out. 2-Big Switch began her career 2 for 2 for trainer John Sadler but has faltered in last pair including turf try back in February. She’s been freshened for first attempt at a route and is bred to handle the additional distance.
Race #9: 5-Alice Marble is unproven going a mile but comes off three straight sharp turf tries sprinting clearly earning some of the fastest Beyer numbers in this field. She drops out of the G2 Monrovia where she finished 2nd in front of next-out winner Tobys Heart. A switch to Hernandez likely seals the deal for probable short-priced winner from the D’Amato barn. 3-Fi Fi Pharoah only has one other turf try way back in September of last year where she finished a non-threatening 6th. If she takes to the grass, she projects to sit a nice trip behind odds-on top pick Alice Marble and perhaps get first run if that mare happens to come back to the field. 7-Pulpit Rider is a classy mare that’s certainly capable of beating these on her best day. She’s winless since last August at Del Mar, however, where she’s had most of her prior success. At age 7 she might have lost a step.