Santa Anita (Saturday-6/17/23) By Dean Keppler


Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner

BEST BET: 6-Cherubic Factor (Race 8)

Race #1: 7-Horace Man returns off a 7-month freshening for D’Amato while making his first try sprinting over the downhill. He adds Lasix today and was improving with each subsequent start before hitting the sidelines in November. 4-Irish Royalty rallied for the place spot off challenging trip against cheaper in initial grass try and now makes first start off the Mark Glatt claim. 6-Please Focus is unproven over the downhill course but has speed and draws inside coming off a game starter allowance win going 6 furlongs over the main turf strip. The gelding sports the best last out turf Beyer (80) for Team O’Neill.

Selections: 7-4-6

Race #2: 3-Run for My Honey is 1 for 18 with 8 second place finishes but comes off a sharp runner-up effort at this class level in most recent start and makes 3rd start off the form cycle today for barn that has a pair of winners from limited starts this current meet. 1-Lov U Mean It hasn’t shown much this year but cuts his claiming tag price in half and could wake up at this reduced level. 2-Ta Ta for Now drops in class making initial dirt try and does have some main track breeding on the dam side to suggest she’ll successfully handle the main track.

Selections: 3-1-2


Race #3: 3-Grand Slam Smile ships in from Golden Gate off impressive gate-to-wire debut score for conditioner Steve Specht. This daughter of Smiling Tiger has come back with three drills since then including a “best of 40” 5-furlongs in :59.2 on June 11. The second and third place finishers from that May 14 race have returned to win. 4-Crazy Hot (by multiple Grade 1 winner Goldencents) is a logical threat right back off runaway 10-length Maiden win.1-Becky’s Dream (Fr) ran to her backing in impressive debut win three weeks ago and came back with a strong 4-furlong drill on June 7. This filly could be tough right back with an alert break from the rail.

Selections: 3-4-1

Race #4: 3-Freedom Lass returns off a 6-month freshening for D’Amato off an encouraging worktab. This 6-year-old mare is a multiple winner over the track and distance and should handle this group if able to run back to her previous route Beyer turf numbers. 6-Crimson Rose has speed and outside draw and stretches back out to a mile where she was a game winner two-back. 4-Unfaithful Ways drops in class off back-to-back third place finishes and makes third start off the layoff today for Mullins.

Selections: 3-6-4

Race #5: 2-Devil Be Me was able to return off a lengthy layoff to register a sharp Maiden win on May 7 over a pair of next-out winners. This lightly raced 5-year-old gelding steps up to face winners today and should be a handful with a move forward. The expected race flow should flatter his running style. 5-Deservedly has a win and two second place finishes in last three efforts and should appreciate the turnback to 6 ½ furlongs this afternoon. This gelding owns the field’s best last out main track Beyer. 8-Quick Buck finished behind Deservedly in last but that was his first race back since September of last year and he’s come back with a “best of 82”4-furlong drill since that try.

Selections: 2-5-8

Race #6: 6-Lulu Lemon Drop drops back in for a tag today and projects to be on or close to the lead in this spot with Hernandez climbing back aboard. This filly sports the field’s best last out grass Beyer (64) for trainer Peter Miller. 5-Lt’s Choice makes second start off the long layoff after a decent 4th place finish in initial turf try. This filly gets in light today and can improve off that effort for top barn. The 0 for 13 2-Candy On Top has had several chances but makes first start for a tag today for trainer Carla Gaines and this filly does have a combined 7 second and third place finishes against MDSW caliber runners. This barn is, however, 0 for 31 with MDSW to MDCLM dropdowns the past 5 years.

Selections: 6-5-2

Race #7: 2-Refocus was a strong debut winner for Team O’Neill on May 21 over a next-out winner and has had two strong follow-up a.m. drills since that winning unveiling. The highly regarded 6-Mirahmadi cost $1.05 million at the Keeneland September sale for trainer Bob Baffert and has a series of snappy works for today’s anticipated initial start. He’s by top sire Into Mischief who gets 16% with his juvenile debut runners. 4-Going Mobile drew off for visually impressive Maiden debut win back on April 30 but the colt’s Beyer came back somewhat on the low side.

Selections: 2-6-4

Race #8: 6-Cherubic Factor has put together three strong allowance turf sprint tries so far this year for trainer Peter Eurton. The 5-year-old gelding had all kinds of trouble and traffic issues in his most recent effort on May 6 and projects to get enough pace to close into today stretching out an additional half a furlong. Hernandez takes over and clicks close to 50% with this barns overall grass sprint starters. 9-King Apollo is as consistent as they come for conditioner Kristen Mulhall and came up just a neck short against similar over the downhill course when initially looking home free late. He got nailed on the line, however, after rider put whip away in what amounted to overconfident handling in final yards. 1-Jack Sixpack has been freshened since being overmatched in the Sensational Star Stakes back in March when fractious pre-race at the gate and breaking a step slow. He returns to the main turf course today and won two straight prior to that last subpar effort.

Selections: 6-9-1

Race #9: 5-Andy Can U Hear Me ran exceptionally well in debut try after breaking a step slow and rallying strongly along the inside for the place spot. A pair of runners have since returned from that May 7 event to win. 10-Granny’s Ipa is by grade 1 turf winner Tom’s Tribute and shows up here with some promising looking a.m. drills for trainer Jim Cassidy who has had some decent success with debut runners guided by hall of fame pilot Mike Smith. 6-Cowboy Mike was a beaten favorite in first two starts for Baffert and now switches to grass for career start number three.

Selections: 5-10-6

Race #10: 5-Talklessworkmore has good natural speed and adds blinkers today off recent beaten favorite “off the turf” 3rd place main track finish at this level. This gelding has worked well since that effort and has a good chance to wire this field. 8-Irish Heatwave scored an 8/1 minor upset off the 9-month layoff and stretches back out to a mile today where he’s a 4-time winner for trainer Mike Puype. This veteran 7-year-old gelding owns the field’s best last out turf Beyer (85). 1-Oubabe moves back to grass after finishing second in same “off the turf” May 5 event top choice exits from. This 4-year-old colt is extremely consistent but usually settles for underneath placements as indicated by his career record (13-1-7-3).

Selections: 5-8-1

Race #11: 3-Cliquish was ambitiously placed and overmatched in the Grade 2 Santa Anita Oaks on April 8 but drops down to a more realistic level today for D’Amato and Hernandez lands here. This filly was a sharp runaway Maiden winner two-back. 2-Doris Mae was a beaten favorite in last turf try against better 1x allowance rivals but drops back down to a more suitable level this afternoon. Her 6-furlong main track win two-back was solid where she posted an (82) Beyer. Her speed and inside draw should have her involved early on. 7-Pequena Tormenta returned off a 10-month layoff to post an 11-length 7-furlong romp. This 5-year-old mare has had plenty of time to recover from that sharp try for Mullins and is an obvious threat here if she can avoid a regression.

Selections: 3-2-7

Race #12: 3-Runninwiththeboyz finished a good second in initial downhill turf try back in March finishing in front of next-out winner Carmen Miranda. Prior to that effort she won three straight on grass. This 4-year-old filly has trained extremely well since that effort. Her stablemate 5-Albayaader (Ire) is unproven over the downhill course but has won three of her last 4 turf tries and gives no indication as to why she wouldn’t fire again in this spot. 8-Over Attracted has a first and second place finish since returning off a 5-month freshening and is an obvious threat if she handles the tricky downhill surface.

Selections: 3-5-8

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