Santa Anita (Sunday-3/5/23) By Dean Keppler

Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner

BEST BET: 4-Blursday (Race 4)

Race #1: 2-Buzz of New York (Ire) is Caption Obvious off four consecutive sharp performances including a pair of runner-up finishes at this N2X level. This mare holds a triple digit Beyer advantage over this field and figures to take the Sunday opener as the odds-on heavy betting choice. Recent Maiden winner 4-Denim in Gold removes the blinkers today on the stretch-out and is projected to be forwardly placed in what appears (at least on paper) to be a pace-less affair. 1-Warrens Candy Girl drops in class off a series of stake tries and fits on figures. However, she’s a stone closer in a race that’s not expected to be run rather quickly in the early stages.

Selections: 2-4-1

Race #2: 2-Montana holds the experience edge over most of these and last pair of main track Beyer numbers (61;63) are clearly superior to those that have run thus far. He finished 4th when last seen January 6 and that race has since produced 3 next-out winners. Pratt takes over the riding assignment and has had good success riding for the Hess barn. 3-Left Hand Man debuts for trainer Mark Glatt off a series of decent works and barn is a solid 6 for 18 (33%) with a $3.46 ROI with dirt first time starters at SA the past 3 years. His sire Cat Burglar is (10-0-3-0) with 3-year-old & up debuting prodigy. 7-Austonian is by multiple G1 winner by Smiling Tiger comes in with some snappy a.m. drills for trainer Brian Koriner. This barn is a solid 4 for 18 (22%) at SA with debut runners sprinting on dirt.

Selections: 2-3-7


Race #3: Grade 1 winner 2-And Tell Me Nollies has been freshened for trainer Peter Miller and returns with an encouraging worktab. The daughter of Arrogate won the G1 Del Mar Debutante and G2 Chandelier last fall and was 4th when last seen in the BC Juvenile Fillies. This gal is super talented and if she’s matured further the last few months, she could outrun these. The undefeated 6-Faiza is now 3 for 3 for team Baffert including a recent win in the G3 Las Virgenes Stakes and G1 Starlet two-back going this trip. 1-Pride of the Nile moves inside and has finished 2nd to top choice in last two efforts.

Selections: 2-6-1

Race #4: 4-Blursday goes turf to dirt; 2nd time blinkers; and drops from a MDSW to $20,000 tag today for conditioner Ryan Hanson. The 4-year-old filly flashed improved speed in that turf route January 13 and that race has since produced a pair of next-out winners. The improving 5-Moonlight in Heaven makes the all-important 3rd career start today for trainer Tim Yakteen and co-tops the field’s best last-out main track Beyer. 6-Worthiness is now 0 for 11 but finished ahead of Moonlight In Heaven in last start when going 2nd time blinkers. A stretch threat again in weak field.

Selections: 4-5-6

Race #5: The speedy 1-Brickyard Ride has been sidelined for 9 months but has run extremely well returning off similar layoffs in the past for trainer Craig Lewis and figures to utilize his early zip favorably today with the rail draw. The 6-year-old is a 12-time winner and has worked swiftly for today’s return to action. 4-Whatmakessammyrun was a bit overmatched in the G2 Joe Hernandez when last seen back in December but fits well with this field and is proven over the downhill course. He’s worked 4 times since that last try and figures to rebound today. 5-Motorious (GB) has won 2 of his last 3 starts for D’Amato including an eye-catching score over the downhill course two-back where he earned a (99) Beyer. A similar performance makes him a top contender and the one to fear rallying late.

Selections: 1-4-5

Race #6: Trainer Phil D’Amato has a pair of fillies in this Maiden optional claiming dirt sprint that merit consideration. The first one is second time starter 4-Cliquish (By Bernardini) who finished 4th in her debut last month and drops in class for career start number two. She posted a strong (76) Beyer for that performance and barn usually does well with second time starters. Her stablemate 6-In Color makes first start for her new connections after two subpar performances at Turfway and Churchill. She’s worked well locally for her southern California unveiling. 5-Con Seal and Kerry is another making her second career start off an even 5th place debut finish behind top pick. She has a decent 4-furlong drill since that race.

Selections: 4-6-5

Race #7: 3-Johannes was an impressive 9 length turf Maiden winner when last seen back in December and has trained well since that break-out performance. He looms an upset chance with a stalking trip behind what’s likely to be a fast early pace. The graded stakes placed 1-First Peace has been ultra-consistent as of late for trainer Mark Glatt and should trip out nicely cutting back to 6 ½ furlongs off recent longer trips. 6-Sharp Aza Tack returns off a 4-month freshening for Team O’Neill and is back in southern California after some good success sprinting on grass at Monmouth and Kentucky Downs back in the fall. Hernandez takes the call.

Selections: 3-1-6

Race #8: 4-Let’s Rejoyce has folded in last pair against better but gets a 7 lb. weight break this afternoon and figures to carry his speed a lot further today. 2-Octopus goes turf to dirt and drops to a career low claiming tag after rough trip 2 weeks ago. The gelding’s (77) Beyer two-back makes him a major player at this reduced level for Mullins. His stablemate 9-Italiano also plunges to a career low claiming tag off back-to-back 3rd place finishes against better.

Selections: 4-2-9

Race #9: 1-Doitforandrew (GB) adds blinkers off a solid 2nd at this level in most recent start February 5 when finishing in front of several of these same geldings. He moves inside to today and makes 3rd start off the bench. 5-Virat found himself a lot further back than he usually is in last start and stuck amongst heavy traffic. He didn’t show a potent punch when finally shaking free late but was wide and still grinding away at the leaders. A bounce back effort is likely with an alert break. 2-Forgiving Spirit moves up in class looking for his 3rd straight turf sprint score for Mullins.

Selections: 1-5-2

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  • Chasing dreams at 60 is like trying to find a promised land in a cloud, you wonder what this crazy life’s about, and into the abyss of the unknown, we travel, but are blessed more than we will ever know. Happy Sunday blessings to you, Deano. God bless.

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