Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 2-Dr. Schivel (Race 6)
The new $1 Pick 6 begins in race five. Santa Anita has returned to a traditional Pick Six payoff structure (70% of net pool to perfect tickets or carryover; 30% to consolations). There are No more single-ticket pick-six jackpots. In addition, a new daily $3 all-turf Pick 3 will be available on the last three turf races each afternoon. The Saturday all-turf $3 Pick 3 sequence begins on race seven.
Race #1: 2-Double Jab comes off a sharp maiden win when switched to grass in his most recent effort Aug. 11 and should have little difficulty stretching out an additional furlong. 1-Tapatio Leo has little turf pedigree but comes off a smashing main track score Sept. 10 against similar and that race has since produced a pair of next-out winners. The 3-year-old gelding has speed from the rail. 4-Uncle John shortens back up to a sprint for trainer Peter Eurton and this gelding broke his maiden over this turf course in second career start. He switches to top turf pilot this afternoon.
Race #2: The 1 for 26 4-Sippin N Kissin is a weary top selection but owns the field’s best last-out dirt Beyer figure and makes his second start off the Cerin claim this afternoon. This barn is a strong 6 for 23 (26%) with this claiming angle. 2-Carpe Bellum has speed, moves inside, and comes off a career-best main track Beyer (74). 1-Park City parlayed the class drop into maiden claimers into a decent victory Sept. 1 and seems appropriately placed for his second crack against winners.
Race #3: 7-Spain Moonlight flashed speed and tired in her first U.S. start nearly six months ago as the beaten favorite without much of an excuse but has steadily worked her way back to the entries box for D’Amato. The filly removes the blinkers today, retains Hernandez, and did show some ability in her first two starts overseas. Her stablemate 4-North East Star (Ire) was a beaten favorite in back-to-back tries but turns back to a sprint this afternoon and makes the third start of the form cycle. Improvement likely. 1-Thirty Carats cuts back to a sprint and makes third start of the form cycle for trainer David Hofmans.
Race #4: 2-Wynstock was a beaten favorite fourth in debut but is eligible to bounce back and improve in his second career start for Baffert. The $700K Keeneland purchase by grade 1 winner Solomini has trained well since that subpar effort. 6-Tejon Pass (by Justify) ran on well considering the tough trip after breaking slowly and wide on Sept. 9 debut finishing a solid fourth and is eligible to improve immensely in today’s second career start. Trainer Peter Miller is 8 for 27 (30%) with a $2.44 ROI with second-time starters sprinting on dirt at Santa Anita the past 5 years. 3-Maximum Capacity was hardly disgraced in fourth place finish on Sept. 2 debut try and can improve for trainer Michael McCarthy. This jockey-trainer combo has a pair of winners with second-time starters and is 6 for 10 ITM on those specified runners. A sharp sub :47 4-furlong work since that debut effort catches the eye.
Race #5: 2-Impact Warrior (Ire) moves inside and has run above par for this class level in both stateside starts thus far for D’Amato. The 3-year-old filly should be set for her best effort to date this afternoon with Lasix back on. Her stablemate 3–Lakota Spirit was a strong runner-up Aug. 26 at Del Mar when finishing in front of several of these same fillies and mares. A big threat to the top choice with any normal second-off-the-bench improvement while making her second start in Southern California. 6-Yerwanthere (Ire) broke a step slow and was rank in her first U.S. start but was only beaten less than three lengths. A solid performance. This 4-year-old filly shortens up to a mile and is eligible to improve.
Race #6: The multiple grade 1 winner 2-Dr. Schivel came up a neck shy in G1 Bing Crosby when last seen back on July 29 but has trained superbly (best of 64- 5F in :58.3 on 9/23) since that sharp try and is back at Santa Anita where he’s 3-0-1 from 5 career starts. The hard-hitting 5-year-old has never been off the board going 6 furlongs (8-5-1-2) and figures to have a strong pace to close into. The 3-year-old 3-Arabian Lion comes off a wide third-place finish in the grade 1 Allen Jerkens at Saratoga and is eligible to bounce back here in Southern California cutting back to 6 panels. The colt’s triple-digit Beyers of 190 & 103 earned two and three back make him a solid contender in this salty field despite facing older. 1-American Theorem has lost four straight but hasn’t had the smoothest of journeys. The 6-year-old gray figures to get a favorable pace set-up today with tons of speed signed on.
Race #7: 2-Lady Lithsome was a tough trip eighth on Sept. 8 debut and is eligible to move forward off that effort stretching out from 5 to 6 ½ furlongs. This filly’s sire Sir Prancealot (Ire) has solid early success with his prodigy. 4-Asada Fries moves back to turf making the all-important third career start for conditioner Craig Lewis. Trainer Phil D’Amato is a very mediocre 2 for 27 (7%) the past 3 years with turf debut runners at SA but 9-Sassy Prancelot deserves a look at first asking in suspect field. The filly attracts Hernandez off an encouraging work tab.
Race #8: In search of his first grade one 3-Slow Down Andy enters the Awesome Again in razor-sharp form with Beyers that have improved with each subsequent start since beginning his 2023 campaign. The 4-year-old Nyquist colt is projected to be on or close to the lead this afternoon for Team O’Neill and should appreciate getting back to the 1 1/8-mile trip. 9-Stilleto Boy trained well up to the Pacific Classic but failed to show any enthusiasm after a gate mishap. That last try is a toss making this 5-year-old a threat returning to his preferred surface. He’s banked $1.8 million in career earnings which is tops in this field. 2-Defunded has been a disappointment in both starts this year but returns to Santa Anita where he’s 5-2-1 from 9 starts and is eligible to get back on track making the third start off the bench for Baffert.
Race #9: 5-Noble Reflection returns to Southern California off a troubled trip start Sept. 9 at Kentucky Downs in the grade 2 Turf Sprint when taking up sharply at the break. The 4 for 13 5-year-old gelding broke the course record over the downhill course back in April and appears to be the speed of the speed this afternoon. This looks like a good spot for him to notch his first graded stakes win. 2-Bran (Fr) is eligible to improve making his second start off the extended layoff and stretching back out to his preferred 6 ½-furlong trip. The multiple graded stakes winner is the class of this field. 6-Lane Way is another making his second start off the bench and returning to the downhill course where he’s had good success. The gelding shows two sharp a.m. drills since his fifth-place finish in the grade 3 Green Flash at DMR.
Race #10: 7-Twist (Fr) had all kinds of problems in a troubled trip grade 2 Del Mar Mile Sept. 2 when encountering traffic issues and was forced to check. His first two starts stateside were excellent, however, and he’s likely to bounce back in a big way this afternoon for trainer John Sadler. The battle-tested 8-Cathkin Peak (Ire) returns to the Santa Anita turf course where he’s 2-3-0 from 5 starts while making the third start of the form cycle for D’Amato. The gelding has been a consistent performer at this level. 4-Hong Kong Harry is winless since last November but gets some class relief today dropping out of three consecutive grade 1 tries.