Santa Anita (Sunday-3/19/23) By Dean Keppler

Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner

BEST BET: 5-Holiday Arousal (Race 10)

Race #1: 2-Petruchio came up only a length short as the beaten favorite in recent 5th place finish over similar despite traffic problems in deep stretch when looking for a seam to run through. The gelding makes his 2nd start off the mini-freshening today and has worked twice since that last effort. Second off the claim 5-Papa Tiger moves back to grass on the turnback and finished a good 3rd two-back in lone turf try. 7-Lansdowne (GB) makes first start in 10 months for D’Amato but hit the board in 4 consecutive turf sprints since arriving stateside before going on the bench. The 5-year-old gelding has trained well for today’s return try and attracts Hernandez.

Selections: 2-5-7

Race #2: 2-Shanghai Sunrise hasn’t shown much as of late but gets key class drop this afternoon for trainer Mike Puype and could bring spring back to life at today’s reduced level. 4-Big Bell is in great form and steps up in class off last win on short rest and barn is a strong 6 for 19 (32%) with a $3.33 ROI with horses returning off 1-7 day’s rest. 6-Double Fantasy was a sharp runner-up at this level when last seen 2 months ago and has proven he can fire fresh.

Selections: 2-4-6

 

Race #3: 3-The Chosen Vron moves back to the turf on the cutback which should be of little concern for this win machine gelding who brings a stellar 10 for 14 career record into today’s $100K Sensational Star Stakes. He’s won 5 straight and this gelding’s versatile running style allows him to adapt to any pace scenario. Another very short price is the obvious setback from a wagering standpoint. The speedy 5-Fast Buck returns off an 8-month freshening having won 3 of his last 4 turf sprints since taking a vacation. He’ll take these as far as he can on the engine with Maldonado. 4-Indian Peak is another who hasn’t been out in 8 months but has trained extremely well for Peter Miller and was 2nd in this event last year.

Selections: 3-5-4

Race #4: The blinkers are back on 3-Parco as she stretches back out this afternoon for the Papaprodromou barn. The filly’s Maiden breaking start going a mile three-back was a wire-to-wire score and similar tactics are likely today. The lightly raced 2-Moonlite in Heaven faces winners for the first time after recent Maiden win and has room to keep improving. 1-Busker Allie hasn’t shown much of late but drops in class this afternoon for D’Amato; gets in light; and most recent 5-furlong drill on March 13 was encouraging.

Selections: 3-2-1

Race #5: 1-Marks Hip steps up off recent Steve Knapp claim and switches back to turf where he’s 1 for 1. This barn has solid numbers with new acquisitions and this gelding has trained extremely well for his new connections. Hernandez climbs aboard and has strong numbers riding for this outfit. 4-Mas Rapido was a sharp 2nd at this level in most recent downhill turf try (co-toping the field’s best last out turf Beyer) and should be tough making second start off the bench today. 8-Valiancer steps up off sharp Maiden win for Mullins.

Selections: 1-4-8

Race #6: Baffert returnee 2-Armagnac is the class of this field and has trained very well for today’s comeback effort. He’s a multiple winner over this track and distance and should be tough to overhaul at likely short odds. 3-American Admiral makes 2nd start off the bench today and gets some class relief dropping out of the Grade 2 San Pasqual. His last two works have been very sharp for trainer Tim Yakteen. 1-Midnight Mammoth didn’t have the smoothest of trips in recent 4th place effort on March 3 when battling on the lead through some demanding fractions and now makes first start off the Dollase claim. He’ll be forwardly placed again with another rail draw.

Selections: 2-3-1

Race #7: 8-Tom and Jazzy has run well in both turf tries including a 3rd against this level on February 5 defeating a few of the same runners lined up again here. The 3-year-old gelding cuts back to a sprint today making first start for the D’Amato barn and should be motoring home late. The lightly raced 1-Upward Mobility steps up to face winners today off a sharp looking Maiden win on February 18. The blinkers come off today on the turnback for 2-Please Focus who was runner-up at this level when last seen February 5 earning the field’s best last out turf figure.

Selections: 8-1-2

Race #8: 4-Filthy Fast gets some class relief after showing some promise in first two starts and her try two-back was especially sharp when finishing 2nd behind a runaway winner earning a (62) Beyer. Her latest “best of 65” 4-furlong drill in sub :48 on March 4 indicates this may be her best effort forthcoming to date. 11-Sweet Hello a beaten favorite in last three starts drops from a $50k tag to $30,000 this afternoon while removing the blinkers. The filly has good positional speed to coincide with her outside draw but is hard to endorse at too short a price. 12-Lucky Vegas has improved with each subsequent start and makes the all-important 3rd start off the bench today.

Selections: 4-11-12

Race #9: 5-Stay in Line flashed good speed and finished 2nd in February 17 debut when dismissed at 20/1. She adds blinkers on the cutback this afternoon for winning connections. 4-General Welfare has just enough turf pedigree to suggest she’ll successfully take to today’s surface change after two solid tries over the main track. She makes 2nd start off the mini freshening for trainer Bob Hess. 8-Idessia goes dirt to turf in start number two for D’Amato and can move forward off that 5th place finish. Her sire Smiling Tiger gets 13% with his grass sprint runners and this barn typically does better with racing experience.

Selections: 5-4-8

Race #10: Hess and Desormeaux team up again with 5-Holiday Arousal who has been freshened since January. This 4-year-old gelding was a strong 2nd two-back at this level when last seen sprinting and is likely to get a favorable journey from off the pace. He’s a 3-time winner from 7 career starts. 3-My Man Bags pressed the pace to finish 3rd in similar race back in January and has trained well since that effort. The gelding gets in light again in what’s projected to be another forward trip. 2-Creative Peak returns off nearly a 3 month break for trainer Vladimir Cerin and goes dirt to turf on the class drop. This colt usually runs well off the bench.

Selections: 5-3-2

Race #11: 3-Barsabas flashed good speed through some snappy fractions while under pressure in most recent start back on January 21, and can move forward off that encouraging effort. Dettori is back aboard this gelding who has faced better stock back in 2022. 5-Flint Stroll steps up off game win and claim going this mile trip and this barn has strong numbers with new acquisitions. 8-Circleofchampions comes off a 3rd place effort on January 27 that’s produced a pair of next=out winners and lone win from 15 starts did come at this mile trip.

Selections: 3-5-8

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