Santa Anita (Sunday-2/19/23) By Dean Keppler

Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner

BEST BET: 3-Procrastination (GB) (Race #8)

Race #1: 3-Johnny Paycheck adds blinkers and comes off the mini-freshening for trainer Phil D’Amato. The 4-year-old gelding has trained extremely well for today’s return effort and has had some excusable trips despite the layoff breaks in the running lines. 2-Billbernjoejohnnick was a much improved third behind a next-out winner in second career start when battling on the lead against a trio of today’s same runners and gets in light this afternoon. 7-Orth is 0 for 13 but has run some competitive figures sprinting on turf here.

Selections: 3-2-7

Race #2: 2-It’s My House goes turf to dirt off the claim and has trained well since recent acquisition. He’s reunited with Maldonado this afternoon and could be tough to reel in late. His stablemate 4-Holden the Lute has been ultra-consistent in recent starts at this level for trainer Mark Glatt and has a win and five seconds from last six starts. The gritty gelding should be a handful with today’s cutback in distance and Prat climbs back aboard. 5-Clem Labine rallied for the show spot at long odds in last try behind next-out graded stakes winner Hopkins.

Selections: 2-4-5


Race #3: 2-Thirty Four Coupe goes turf to dirt and drops back down into a claiming tag today after a decent 5th place effort considering it was the gelding’s first start in a year. He switches to Dettori and improvement is likely. 7-The Key Is Unity also switches back to the main track and removes the blinkers today for trainer Bill Spawr. He’s certainly improved since last trying dirt way back in November 2021. 5-Derby Prospect has not been seen since May 2021, but returns as a gelding today for a claiming tag. His recent a.m. drills have been steady and encouraging and gets a top pilot for today’s return to action.

Selections: 2-7-5

Race #4: 5-Taming the Tigress moves back to the main track where she’s run some sharp races including a good 2nd two-back behind Grade 1 winner Fun to Dream who has won 6 of 7 starts for trainer Bob Baffert. This mare figures to get a favorable stalking trip this afternoon. 1-Alice Marble moves back to the main track for D’Amato where she’s 2 for 2 at SA and comes off back-to-back beaten favorite thirds sprinting on turf. The lightly raced and speedy 2-Doris Mae finished a decent third in first stakes try in the Grade 3 Las Flores back in the end of December of last year. She’s trained extremely well for her return try but must avoid a potential pace tangle with Chancery Way who is drawn alongside her.

Selections: 5-1-2

Race #5: 1-Gypsy Lynn comes off a better than looks 4th place finish in most recent turf start when pressing the pace, and now makes 3rd start off the form cycle for trainer Ian Kruljac who is having an excellent meet. The filly switches to Desormeaux who has a win and 2nd place finish for this barn on grass. Upset chance. 2-She’s Got a Way is 1 for 15 but switches to Hernandez this afternoon off back-to-back 4th place finishes against better and drops in for a tag. Recent Maiden winner 10-Albyaader (Ire) is on the improve and could potentially get a live pace to close into. If she takes another move forward today, she could be dangerous despite making her first start against winners.

Selections: 1-2-10

Race #6: 6-Nolo Contesto goes first off the claim off sharp runaway win and owns the field’s best last out Beyer (83). A serious wire-to-wire threat right back for new barn. 1-Settecento makes 2nd start off the claim today and drops back down to $20k purchase price from two-back. The gelding switches to Vazquez this afternoon and this jockey/trainer combo have had good success when teamed up on recent barn purchases. 3-Papale is another gelding coming off a game win and claim from last start. This gelding is a multiple winner over the track and distance; makes third start off the form cycle with an improving Beyer pattern.

Selections: 6-1-3

Race #7: If a fast pace comes to fruition as projected things could set up nicely for 9-Redline who goes dirt to turf and drops in class for trainer John Sadler. The 4-year-old colt is 2 for 2 over the SA turf course and Hernandez climbs back aboard. 1-Hariboux (Ire) has not started since June 2020 and this past stakes winner returns for a $32K claiming tag. Having said that trainer Jeff Mullins is 5 for 20 (25%) with horses returning off >180 days in turf sprints and this gelding has trained well for his return. 4-Finally Here comes off a good second against slightly cheaper where he earned a field’s best last out (84) turf Beyer.

Selections: 9-1-4

Race #8: The lightly raced 3-Procrastination returns off a six month layoff for trainer Michael McCarthy having a win and second place finish on her short resume. This talented filly was second when last seen in the Grade 2 Sorrento at Del Mar back in August of last year and returns with some sharp a.m. drills. This barn is a strong 6 for 15 (40%) with a $3.21 ROI with dirt sprint runners returning off >180 day’s rest. 2-Blessed Touch returns off the mini-freshening and finished 5th in the Grade 1 Starlet at Los Al when last seen back in December. She was a blowout Maiden winner with a (90) Beyer over this track last fall. 5-Getthemoney is another adding Lasix off the freshening. This Midnight Lute filly has been sidelined since DMR Maiden victory but has also trained well for her return.

Selections: 3-2-5

Race #9: Top Golden Gate conditioner Ellen Jackson makes a rare southern California appearance sending out 3-Proof She Zips who just missed by a nose in most recent trip on the cutback after dueling on the lead and getting nipped the wire. It was an ultra-game performance. Her sire Idiot Proof gets a strong 21% with his turf sprint prodigy and she meets a suspect group in the nightcap. 1-Moorea Time adds Lasix off the three-month freshening and switches to Pratt. This filly has back-to-back 3rd place finishes at this level. 11-Isabel Ludlow is by Grazen and debuts with Lasix for trainer Steve Miyadi. An encouraging sign that Velasquez taking the call, but barn is 0 for 13 with turf first time starters. 9-Danehill Song was trounced in her January 7 debut but switches to grass today; adds blinkers and Lasix with Hernandez back aboard.

Selections: 3-1-11

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