Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 8-Righteously (Race #8)
Race #1: 2-Loyal to a Fault has a pair of much-improved efforts since switching to the turf and projects to be forwardly placed today with inside draw. She might be able to turn the tables on Grazed My Heart if able to shake loose in the early stages. 5-Grazed My Heart just missed finishing in front of a pair of the same runners she faces today on August 28 when moved up off the Mullins claim on the surface change and stretch-out. This filly owns the field’s best last out grass Beyer (59). Beaten favorite 6-Smooth as Silk moves back to the grass after trying the Tapeta at Golden Gate. Her turf try two-back puts her in the hunt.
Race #2: 7-Big Gun makes the all-important 3rd career start today and was third behind a pair of next-out winners in most recent effort August 27. The 3-year-old colt figures to move forward making 2nd start off the 7-month freshening. 4-Wedonahavagoodtime exits the same race as Big Gun when a wide fifth in debut and this jockey/trainer combo are 2 for 2 with a $5 ROI with 2nd time starters. 5-Bag’s Gold goes turf to dirt and drops back down in for a tag making his 2nd start off a layoff. This gelding was a strong runner-up going a mile running close to par two-back over this strip.
Race #3: 1-Moody Jim (Ire) lost all chance when stumbling out of the gate in off the turf September 9 try and was eventually eased and walked off the track. The good news is the 6-year-old gelding has come back to work 3 times since that misstep for new barn. Trainer Mike Puype is a strong 4 for 11 (36%) with a $3.96 ROI with first off the claim runners on grass at SA. 6-First Premio has run back-to-back (89) Beyer figures which tops this field and makes 3rd start off the extended layoff. The obvious one to beat off those numbers alone. 4-Mecklenburg (Ire) has speed and comes in fresh for trainer Jeff Mullins. The gelding has some snappy morning drills. 2-Overdue is another gelding who wanted no part of the main track in washed off event but returns to his preferred surface today for Rispoli and D’Amato.
Race #4: 4-Awesome Taylor will likely be the better price of the pair of Peter Miller trained fillies lined up in here. This gal returns to Southern California off Maiden breaking score at Oaklawn back in January and makes first start for new barn that usually does well with their returnees. 5-Fried Asparagus closed with a flourish from far back to take debut try September 5 despite slow start and was snagged for $50k by trainer Steve Knapp. This jockey/trainer combo are 3 for 7 (45%) with a $9.94 ROI with first off the claim runners at Santa Anita. 3-American Lilly was an impressive 6/1 Maiden winner at Los Al earning a strong (84) Beyer in debut try. It’s hard to gauge whether she improves or takes a step backwards switching to Santa Anita for her second start.
Race #5: 2-Dash Away was an impressive runner-up in debut grass try earning a (70) par Beyer for Miller. Any normal second-out improvement will make this filly tough to overhaul. 1-Shirley’s Bane attracted decent tote support on September 9 unveiling and was caught 3 or 4-wide for most of that debuting journey. The juvenile filly by Triple Crown winner Justify switches to turf this afternoon; draws the rail and figures to trip out nicely with Smith back aboard. 7-Sunset Glory (Ire) makes second career start and first stateside for trainer Michael McCarthy coming off an even 4th place finish. This filly is by Cotai Glory (Ire) (who was a multiple G3 winner overseas) and who has gotten some solid numbers thus far with his turf route prodigy (7-3-0-0).
Race #6: Trainer Bob Baffert looks to have another strong hand in this Maiden Special Weight 7-furlong event for 3-year-old’s and up. 6-Hopkins was the beaten heavy favorite when returning off an 8-month freshening after earning an eye-catching (104) Beyer in December 2021 runner-up effort. The 4-year-old colt by Quality Road figures to move forward off his return try and perhaps start paying dividends on his 900K Keeneland 2019 purchase price. He has 5 solid drills since that last effort. 2-Piroli has settled for second in 3 of his 6 starts but makes 2nd start off the bench today off latest runner-up effort when finishing ahead of Encode who came back to break Maiden on September 22 with a (84) Beyer. Hopkins stablemate 1-Purified moves back up to face straight Maiden Special Weight types after decent debut runner-up finish and strong (81) Beyer.
Race #7: 7-Classical Cat goes dirt to turf for D’Amato after being overmatched in the G1 Runhappy Del Mar Futurity. This 2-year-old colt is by G1 winner Mendelssohn who gets 15% with his turf route prodigy. 6-Castleknock was a surprise 2nd at 44/1 in the G3 Zuma Beach for trainer Peter Miller and appears the one to beat based on his (77) turf Beyer. Miller’s other juvenile is recent Maiden winner 3-Kid Azteca who has improving Beyer figures on the stretch back out.
Race #8: 8-Righteously cuts back to 6 furlongs and makes 2nd start off the Mullins claim. This conditioner is 6 for 17 (35%) the past 3 years with this claiming maneuver and this 4-year-old filly shows a brisk “best of 30”4-furlong drill in :46.1 on October 15 in preparation for this. 11-Blame It On Rose comes off a good runner-up try at Los Al where she earned the field’s best last out main track Beyer (69) behind next-out winning filly Baby Kristen (87 Beyer). 2-Talkative Gal drops to a career low claiming level and has had some success at SA.
Race #9: A handful of MDSW runners dropping in for a tag in the Sunday nightcap make it a bit of a scramble. 1-Carrizo Springs adds blinkers for second start while dropping in for a tag for McCarthy. The sample is small, but this jockey/trainer combo are 2 for 3 including a runner-up finish with Maiden Claiming turf runners. The speedy 5-Zookeeper returns as a first-time gelding on the class drop and stretches back out to a mile as the likely frontrunner in today’s finale. First time gelding 6-Kolomio adds blinkers coming off a decent 3rd when making his turf debut and is also dropping in for a tag for trainer Vladimir Cerin.