Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 1-Missed the Cut (Race 6)
Race #1: A tricky MDSW turf route for 3-year-olds and up begins the Sunday card with several different directions one can go. 2-Dark Marcus makes career start number 15 today for trainer Peter Miller but has managed to hit the board in five of his last six efforts and just missed two-back going this mile trip. One last chance in a suspect group. 11-Black as My Heart must negotiate the outside draw but goes two sprints to a route for Sadler and the solid tote support he attracted Aug. 11 perhaps indicates the colt has more to offer. 4-Silent Heat has had his fair share of troubled trips recently and perhaps the blinker removal and today’s rider switch can propel this colt into the winner’s circle.
Race #2: The highly touted 6-Elegant flashed speed and tired as the beaten even-money favorite for Baffert Aug. 13 but is eligible to move forward and bounce back in her second career start. The daughter of multiple grade one winner Omaha Beach has trained well since her debut try and this jockey-trainer combo is 5 for 11 (45%) with a $2.44 ROI with second-time starters at Santa Anita. 2-Where’s My Ring exits the same race as the top choice and is a logical contender right back off sharp runner-up try earning a (71) Beyer at 35-1. Baffert’s other filly 7-Nothing Like You comes off a troubled trip eighth in most recent try Sept. 10 but was a good second in debut and can bounce back this afternoon making the all-important third career start.
Race #3: 9-Dr. Soulfire just missed on the Tapeta course at Golden Gate when adding Lasix Aug. 28 and should be much tighter this afternoon making his second start off the long layoff. 5-Bad Uncle Barry finished fourth under the wire in debut but was placed third via DQ. The son of Good Magic moves further inside for today’s second start and is eligible to move forward for conditioner Mark Glatt with a cleaner trip. Rispoli takes over the riding assignment. 1-Sea of Cortez (Ire) makes the first start stateside for D’Amato off an extended layoff but missed by only a neck in his lone try at Dundalk last November. This barn excels with these imports and the gelding adds blinkers and Lasix this afternoon for the initial U.S. start.
Race #4: The super-talented daughter of Uncle Mo 1–Adare Manor has won four straight for Baffert including the recent grade 1 Clement Hirsch Aug. 5. She has speed from the rail and has never been worse than first or second at SA going 5-3-0 from eight starts. The logical selection at short odds but hard to pick against. 3-Desert Dawn has finished behind the top choice in the last pair but does come off a career-best Beyer (92). 2-Micro Share gets stiff class test having rattled off three consecutive victories for her Hall of Fame connections.
Race #5: 1-Justique has never tried grass but shortens up off a pair of mile trips and gets some class relief this afternoon for trainer John Shirreffs. His sire Justify is a strong 6 for 26 (23%) with his grass sprint prodigy. 6-Ruby Nell has run back-to-back strong (83) Beyers around two turns and now cuts back to 6 ½ furlongs over the downhill course. The 3-year-old filly’s versatile running style makes her a big threat again this afternoon for a hot Maldonado/Mandella jockey-trainer combo. 3-Free and Humble drops out of grade 2 John Mabee where overmatched but fits well here on the turnback.
Race #6: A multiple stakes winner overseas 1-Missed the Cut goes turf to dirt this afternoon for trainer John Sadler and drops out of back-to-back grade 2 efforts. The Quality Road colt is projected to be forwardly placed from the rail and is a gate-to-wire threat. 5-Azul Coast is back running on the main track (his preferred surface) where he was a sharp second two and three-back for Team Baffert. The 6-year-old makes his third start of the form cycle this afternoon. 2-Kiss Today Goodbye had a disastrous journey as the tepid 2-1 favorite in the grade 3 Cougar II when repeatedly bumped, rank, and eventually walked off the course. This hard-hitting 6-year-old has raced in a dozen straight graded-stake affairs and is eligible to bounce back here while back active on the work tab.
Race #7: Trainer Phil D’Amato has three runners represented in this year’s edition of the grade 2 John Henry Turf Championship. A winner of this event last year 1-Masteroffoxhounds moves inside for D’Amato off the mini-freshening and projects to sit a favorable pocket trip behind likely front-runner Balladeer. The 6-year-old has done most of his best running over the SA grass course going 2-3-3 from 10 starts. 7–Gold Phoenix won back-to-back grade 2’s (Beyered a pair of 97’s) and came up just a neck short of the top choice in last year’s edition. A deserving morning line favorite. The after-mentioned 4-Balladeer comes off a career-best gate-to-wire performance earning a (95) Beyer in a recent optional N2X score Sept. 9 at Kentucky Downs. The 4-year-old colt is unproven against graded-stake types, however.
Race #8: The lightly raced 2–Will Be moves up protected for the D’Amato barn after sizzling gate-to-wire maiden victory Aug. 17 when defeating next-out winner Arrowthegreat. This talented 3-year-old gelding by Will Take Charge owns the field’s best last-out main track Beyer. The graded stakes placed 10-Positivity steps up off a sharp sprint win at DMR and the Kristen Mulhall claim. This barn is 4 for 18 (22%) with new acquisitions running at SA. 3-Father Delay is light on speed figures but inhaled foes Sept. 9 for an eye-catching allowance score in his first Southern California start and projects to get another live race flow to close into this afternoon.
Race #9: 1-Eastern Ocean has won two of his last three turf mile starts for trainer Mark Glatt from outside posts and now draws the advantageous rail. The 6-year-old gelding steps up in class but is likely to work out a favorable ground-saving journey. 4-Win the Day was stopped with traffic problems on multiple occasions in the grade 2 Del Mar Handicap Sept. 2 and can bounce back in this softer spot for Team O’Neill. The gelding has run well over this SA grass course. 5–Sarwar (Fr) has been freshened since sharp allowance optional claiming turf win at DMR July 22—a race that’s produced three next-out winners. The 4-year-old gelding’s Beyers have increased with each subsequent start since arriving in the U.S.