Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 2-Eastern Ocean (Race 3)
Race #1: 6-Tigerhon (Fr) has been plagued by layoff lines but comes off a decent third place finish at this level and should move forward today making second start off the bench for trainer Mark Glatt. The 5-year-old gelding has returned with two sharp a.m. drills since that last effort. 4-Greenbow unleashed a furious late rally to grab the place spot when making his first start against winners on April 29 and his Beyers continue to improve with each subsequent start since January. 1-El Oro (Fr) was able to break through the Maiden ranks with his initial grass try since heading west to Southern California and that race has since produced a pair of next-out winners.
Race #2: 3-Tenth Street Don finally broke his Maiden in career start number 12 in a runaway 14-length romp earning the field’s best last out main track Beyer (69). The gelding looks appropriately placed for his first crack at winners. 4-Goldenspa made up good ground to grab the show spot when dropped to this level in last and switches to Pereira who has done well riding for these connections. Class dropping 5-Spiritist makes third start of the form cycle and can improve in this softer spot.
Race #3: 2-Eastern Ocean returns as a first time gelding off an extended layoff and has proven he can fire fresh. An encouraging spirited much-improved 5-furlong gate drill in :59.2 on May 20 indicates he’s been sharpened for today’s return try. 3-Mucho Del Oro drops in class and makes 2nd start off the layoff for trainer Vladimir Cerin. This gelding co-tops the field’s best last out grass Beyer (84) and is a 4-time winner over this turf course. 4-Jetovator defeated similar in most recent start and projects to get another forwardly placed trip again this afternoon for the red-hot Peter Eurton barn.
Race #4: 2-Nang Singha returns from a year layoff and plummets to the bottom Maiden $20k claiming level. This jockey/trainer combo have done well with these long layoff types winning with Gritty Girl ($13.80) off 336 day’s rest and Pequena Tormenta ($5.80) off 308 days. 4-Pretty Rena drops again after failing to hold the lead in last two sprint turf efforts or Sadler and now makes her second start off the long layoff this afternoon. She switches to the main track and picks up 7 lb. apprentice which can only help. She could be long gone if she handles the dirt. 5-Miss Joannie removes the blinkers and moves back to the main track on the class drop.
Race #5: 5-Reckless Spirit co-tops the field’s best last out grass Beyer; makes second start off the bench and the assumption is this 6-year-old gelding will handle the extra 1/8th of a mile. The early pace should be adequate to set up his closing kick and Hernandez stays aboard. 3-Balladeer comes off a career best Beyer (88) when finishing in front of Reckless Spirit on May 7 and makes the all-important 3rd start off the bench this afternoon. 2-Sarwar (Fr) didn’t get the greatest of starts in first stateside effort back in February and has trained steadily since then for Leonard Powell. There are some concerns, however, as to whether this gelding wants to go this far.
Race #6: 1-Corn Pop ships in from Turf Paradise in sharp form and his recent Beyer figs match up well with this group. There’s a good chance he’ll be aggressively sent from the rail with Maldonado. 3-Giant’s Brite Eye finished 3rd at 69/1 in lone SA start back in March and projects to be on or close to the lead in here exiting 1,000-yard races at Los Al. This gelding might just forget to come back to these if left alone. 2-Suzie Qzz Brother comes in off strong off the pace score on May 13 and a similar try would make him tough right back for conditioner Mark Glatt.
Race #7: 2-Watsonville is eligible to move forward in career start number two off an Ok 4th in debut on May 13. This colt is by Grade 1 turf winner Jack Milton and barn has strong second time starter stats. The leading rider Juan Hernandez takes over. 5-Neon Lights (Ire) exits the same race as top choice when finishing a close 2nd despite being impeded late and now makes his 3rd start of the form cycle today for conditioner Steve Knapp. The lightly raced gelding projects to be forwardly placed here. 7-Pure Fire adds Lasix while making initial turf start for Sadler off a long layoff but did show some ability as a 2-year-old.
Race #8: The undefeated 7–Anywho makes her two-turn debut this afternoon for Sadler owning the field’s best last out main track Beyer. Her recent works, breeding and running style all indicate she should more than handle the additional distance. This talented filly appears to be the one to fear making her first stakes start. Multiple graded stakes winner 3-And Tell Me Nolies had zero chance when wiped out in the KY Oaks and now returns to her Southern California home base for trainer Peter Miller. A much-improved effort is likely forthcoming. 1-The Alys Look makes first start for new barn off encouraging 3rd place finish in the G1 KY Oaks on May 5. She comes in with an improving Beyer pattern and makes 3rd start off the bench.
Race #9: 5–Growth Engine looms an upset chance in the Saturday nightcap for trainer John Sadler. He was a troubled trip 4th off an 11-month layoff in most recent start and can improve here with a better break. The 7-year-old gelding could potentially sit an ideal trip behind likely pacesetter Rip City and get first run on the deep closers. 3-Moody Jim (Ire) steps up off sharp score and field’s best last out grass Beyer (92). An obvious threat right back if he can replicate that top performance. 2-Rijeka (Ire) has a history of improving 2nd start off the bench for D’Amato and drops in class today coming off an even 5th place finish.