Santa Anita (Sunday-1/1/23) By Dean Keppler

Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner

BEST BET: 5-Wudi (Race 3)

Race #1: Happy New Year!! Trainer Steve Knapp has a pair of geldings entered in this Sunday $32K claiming sprint opener. 2-Self Taught will likely offer the better value of the pair. He comes off a troubled trip 5th at Los Al against better and makes 2nd start off the claim. This jockey/trainer combo are 3 for 8 (38%) with a lofty $5.68 ROI with this claiming angle at SA. His stablemate 3-As Amatter of Fact makes second start off the bench and claim coming off a solid runner-up finish at DMR where he earned the field’s best last-out Beyer (84). 1-Santos to Wilson has speed and the rail and drops in class this afternoon moving back to the main track where he pulled off a 24/1 upset two-back.

Selections: 2-3-1

Race #2: 5-Mentirosa adds Lasix and returns to the track where he’s had good success. The 3-year-old gelding has run some of the fastest Beyers in this weak field. 2-Midnight Lightning is the speed of this short field and makes 2nd start at this reduced claiming level. He shows a snappy “best of 50” :47 flat 4-furlong work December 23. 3-Humblebumblefumble showed some improvement in most recent start; adds Lasix today and makes 3rd start off the form cycle for trainer Steve Knapp..

Selections: 5-2-3


Race #3: The daughter of Uncle Mo 5-Wudi ran a bang-up 2nd in debut for Baffert posting the field’s best last out Beyer (73) and is the obvious one to beat in her second career start. This lucrative jockey/trainer combo are 5 for 7 (71%) with a $3.83 ROI with 2nd time starters at SA. 1-Teena Ella showed speed and faded in encouraging debut run for trainer Richard Mandella on November 12 finishing behind a pair of next-out winners including G1 Starlet victor Faiza. This barn has solid numbers with 2nd time starters. Baffert’s other filly 6-Doinitthehardway goes two routes to a sprint and also drops out of the G1 Starlet making her 3rd start off the layoff.

Selections: 5-1-6

Race #4: 2-Bali Dancer goes two sprints to a route and appears to be (at least on paper) the controlling speed in this N2L claiming route. A repeat of the Maiden breaking (65) Beyer from two-back would likely be more than fast enough to handle this group.  3-Awesome Pamela comes in with an improving Beyer pattern and has run well at this venue. The lightly raced 4-Alphie’s Angel drops back down to a more realistic spot and should handle the stretch-out.

Selections: 2-3-4

Race #5: 8-Kiss My Kat has not been seen since October 2021 debut when flashing good early zip and fading to third. The 4-year-old filly adds Lasix today and has trained well for her long-awaited return. An encouraging sign that she returns at the same level and is not offered for sale. 6-Whimsical Heir is by multiple G1 winner Orb and comes off a decent debut run December 3 when racing wide and finishing 3rd. Improvement is likely for a barn that has solid numbers with their 2nd time starters. 1-A Little Bit Crazy has hit the board in 5 of 7 career starts and owns the field’s best last out Beyer (68).

Selections: 8-6-1

Race #6: 2-Hennys Crazy Train makes 2nd start off the extended layoff coming off a wide closing 5th and has since returned to drill a sharp 5 furlongs in sub :59 Christmas Eve Day. This gritty mare is 4 for 9 lifetime and drops in class today for Team O’Neill. 4-Little Rachael is reunited with winning rider off the Librado Barocio claim who is a solid 5 for 14 (36%) with a $3.37 ROI with new barn purchases. The 6-year-old mare loves this strip. 7-La V. has been plagued by layoff lines but has speed from the outside and comes off a decent runner-up finish back in October where he earned the field’s best last-out Beyer. 1-Bowl of Cherries moves up off the win and claim at Los Al and is wheeled back off short rest.

Selections: 2-4-7

Race #7: 7-Ice Dancing dropped back down for the sharp Maiden victory in last and wasn’t far behind likely chalk Justique two-back in the G2 Chandelier. This 3-year-old filly by Frosted projects to sit a favorable stalking trip from her outside post and get first run on her main rival. 2-Justique (By Justify) is the one to beat off eye-catching romps from off the pace in both sprint tries and owns the field’s best last out Beyer (81). It’s never wise to dismiss trainer Bob Baffert who has three fillies represented here. 6-Parody showed speed and faded in second career start when finishing behind Justique and is projected to be on the front end again this afternoon. It would come as no surprise to see this filly take these a lot further today.

Selections: 7-2-6

Race #8: 7-Yo Time attracted solid tote support in debut when finishing a disappointing 5th. He adds Lasix today and is likely to improve this afternoon for D’Amato. 5-Rhythm On Stage improved dramatically with move to dirt in last with sharp runner-up finish at 22/1. The 3-year-old has been gelded since and switches to Hernandez. Multiple G1 winner Stay Thirsty is only 9% with his 3-year-old & up first-time starters but 6-Thirsty has trained well for his unveiling for Peter Miller and looks live at first asking.

Selections: 7-5-6

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    • Hey Jim,
      Only if nobody correctly picks (6) winners. If nobody selects all 6, then everyone with 5 of 6 splits the pool.

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