Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 6-Daniel’s Magic (Race 7)
Race #1: 4-Tiergarten was a beaten favorite in last pair but just missed in most recent try at this level. On November 25 she broke alertly; was abruptly maneuvered to the inside on the first turn, and then made a strong 3 to 4 wide rally late to reach the top before getting nipped at the wire. 3-Classy was unsuccessful when asked to face winners in last but drops back down to a softer spot this afternoon where she was a decent third two-back. 1-Vulin moves all the way inside today making second start off the layoff and was beaten less than 2 lengths in same race as top choice.
Race #2: 4-Hennys Crazy Train attracted a good amount of tote support in most recent try but came up empty in the stretch drive. It was a disappointing performance. Today, she drops to career low claiming level and adds blinkers while making 3rd start off the extended layoff. Another chance for redemption. 6-Saturday Heist has speed from the outside and has been freshened since sharp evening win at Los Al on November 19. This 5-year-old mare is a multiple winner over the track and distance and has trained extremely well since that last victory. 1-Little Rachel was a beaten favorite closing 3rd in last against better and now drops making second start off the claim. She likes this track and projects to sit a favorable ground-saving journey from the rail.
Race #3: The three runners exiting the November 26 5-furlong grass sprint at Del Mar look to be the main players in here. 7-Chaos Theory was a sharp game winner at this level in last earning a field’s best (90) last out Beyer grass speed figure. A similar performance by this veteran 8-year-old gelding will make him tough to beat in here at likely short odds. His stablemate 2-Fully Loaded exits the same race as top choice and should be much tighter making second start on the west coast off 7-month freshening for trainer Mike Puype. The speedy 6-Maven finished a bang-up second when run down by Chaos Theory and will likely be winging it again on the front end.
Race #4: 2-Cat Bandit ran an ok 4th in December 18 debut try at Los Al and can improve this afternoon for trainer Steve Miyadi. This conditioner is a decent 8 for 36 (22%) with a $2.32 ROI with second time starters sprinting on dirt at SA. 6-A Little Bit Crazy is the one to beat after several close finishes against better but trainer Jonathan Wong is 0 for 5 with MDSW to MDCLM dropdowns at Santa Anita. This filly makes her 9th career start today and might be a tad vulnerable at short price. 5-Kiss My Kat has not been seen since encouraging 3rd place debut finish back in October 2021 against straight Maiden Special Weight types and now shows up for a tag off the extended layoff. A strong worktab but mixed feelings.
Race #5: 2-Overdue just got up to snag last win on the class drop for D’Amato defeating a pair of next-out winners. The veteran 8-year-old gelding has been just as effective going today’s 1-mile trip. 1-Southern King has speed and the rail looking for repeat win at this level. The 7-year-old gelding has been absent 3 months, however. 5-Big Buzz adds blinkers; goes first off the claim and goes dirt to turf for his new connections. The sample is small, but Saldana is 2 for 8 (25%) with a $3.65 ROI with d to t surface switch recent acquisitions.
Race #6: 5-Yellow Brick (By Quality Road) should move forward in start number two for Mandella stretching out today off even 3rd place finish where he raced somewhat greenly and erratically in stretch drive. The lucrative jockey/trainer combo are 5 for 10 (50%) with a $2.68 ROI with second time starters the past 3 years. 2-Harlocap by Triple Crown winner Justify makes the all-important 3rd career start for Baffert off improving Beyer pattern and much improved effort on the stretch-out. His stablemate 6-Texthelegend is another Justify colt also making start number three going two sprints to a route. Hernandez takes over and improvement is likely. The expected better price of the pair.
Race #7: 6-Daniel’s Magic returns to sprinting on grass (which is his preferred trip) and has been extremely consistent at this level. The 5-year-old is reunited with winning pilot this afternoon. 3-Conch Daddy moves up seeking third straight score coming off a career best wire-to-wire turf win with field’s best (85) turf Beyer. 7-Savile Row has little turf pedigree but goes route to sprint for trainer Tim Yakteen and attracts Prat. His last main track debacle at Los Al is a toss where he broke a step slow was very wide throughout and came to a crawl at the wire.
Race #8: 8-Youteyourhonor has been freshened since last win at DMR and has trained very well the last two months for today’s comeback effort. The 4-year-old filly projects to get a favorable stalking trip with outside draw. 7-American Lily showed speed and faded in initial grass try December 30 but returns to the main track this afternoon for Miller where she’s nearly 3 for 3. The one to beat if she can avoid a potential pace duel with inside speed. Cerin’s other filly is the lightly raced 3-Princess Adaleigh who has been freshened for solid layoff barn and was a strong gate-to-wire Maiden winner at GG when last seen back in November.
Race #9: The highly regarded 5-Ruby Nell is a $1.2 million Fasig-Tipton purchase by Bolt d’Oro debuting with Lasix for trainer Richard Mandella. This barn is 7 for 34 (21%) with a $2.70 ROI with first time starters sprinting on turf and this filly has solid a.m. drills for today’s unveiling. Hernandez up. 11-Playlist a beaten favorite in both career starts for trainer Wesley Ward this daughter of Uncle Mo adds Lasix this afternoon off the mini-freshening and figures to be forwardly placed with outside draw and natural speed. She’s trained well locally. 9-Mount Nary (Ire) adds Lasix making third stateside start off an improving Beyer pattern. This filly should appreciate the cut back to 6 ½ furlongs.