Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 6-Lansdowne (Race #5)
Race #1: 2-Ready Jet Go moves back to grass where she’s had some success and barn is 5 for 16 (31%) with 2nd off the claim runners the past 3 years. Upset chance with speed on the inside. 4-La V has been freshened for sharp barn off snappy worktab. 10-St Helena goes first off the claim today and removes the blinkers. This filly has competitive grass numbers for this level but is 1 for 13 and no slam dunk in the opener.
Race #2: 4-Lookin At Sweetie finished under the wire first January 21 but was later Dq’d on a medication violation. The 4-year-old filly now starts for new barn this afternoon. The stretch-out to a mile and brief freshening makes her a BIG threat again this afternoon. 6-So Softly sped away from similar Maiden Claiming field while opening long lead before tiring and settling for second. The other Baltas filly 5-Lovely Lola drops in class; stretches out and makes the all-important 3rd career start.
Race #3: 2-Cotopaxi seeks 4th straight win this afternoon for O’Neil moving up to face stakes-caliber competition. This colt should be on the lead once again and is serious threat to notch fifth straight despite stern class test. 4-Bran should sit a perfect trip behind top choice and shows a nice a.m. drill in preparation for this. 5-Indian Peak back-to-back runner-up efforts with sharp Beyers make this gelding a logical fit again.
Race #4: 3-Unwritten Code moves back to main track after grass debacle but wire-to-wire Maiden win with (71) Beyer two-back makes her a BIG threat in here on the front end with the class drop. 1-Head Start has speed; is drawn inside and makes 3rd start off the bench for Baltas off beaten favorite runner-up finish. Logical fit. 4-Empire Pass returns to Southern California off two decent tries up North and switches to hot rider this afternoon making 3rd start off the layoff.
Race #5: 6-Lansdowne has been on the sidelines since 2nd place finish last June when making U.S. unveiling. The 4-year-old gelding has worked well for return, however, and this lucrative jockey/trainer combo are 5 for 10 (50%) with $3.52 ROI with horses returning off >180 Days at Santa Anita. Beaten favorite 4-Trainer Please has been knocking on the door at this level and back-to-back (78) turf Beyers make him the main threat this afternoon. 7-Magic Man looks primed for top effort making 3rd start off the bench for Mandella.
Race #6: 7-Ganadora is a talented former Baffert-trained runner making first start in the McCarthy barn and will be tough to overhaul making first start against winners off (88) debut Beyer speed figure. She’s by multiple G1 winner Quality Road and cost $1 million at KEE September sale. Needless to say expectations are high. 3-Musica broke Maiden in last in sold time and appears to be main threat to top pick if she fails to repeat her solid debut romp. 4-Del Mar Drama has been ultra-competitive at this class level and finished behind stakes-winning filly Sharpova in most recent effort. This 5-year-old mare has experience edge.
Race #7: 9-Lunatic just came up a neck short in good effort when switched back to turf goes 2nd off the claim today. This filly should trip out nicely with outside draw. The stakes-winning filly 6-Miss Louna adds Lasix and makes U.S. unveiling for trainer Leonard Powell. She’s worked well but hasn’t been out since October. 1-Savvy Girl has back-to-back sharp wins since Mullins claim and improving Beyer turf figures.
Race #8: Beaten favorite 2-Triple Tap adds blinkers for new barn and makes 2nd start off the layoff. The lightly raced 4-year-old has trained sharply since last disappointing outing and could rebound in a BIG way this afternoon. Graded stakes winner 4-Royal Ship returns off a 7 month plus layoff for trainer Richard Mandella. Today’s mile trip is probably a bit shorter than he prefers but it’s a good steppingstone to bigger and better things later in the season. 7-Lambeau moves back to his preferred surface and should move forward off that last effort.
Race #9: 8-Warren’s Show Biz is improving and cuts back to sprint this afternoon after a series of route tries and finished behind next-out winner Mo Connelly in last. Another chance at this reduced level.6-Boisterously Irish was well bet in debut and finished a good 2nd in March 20 unveiling falling just a point short of Beyer par for this level. Several of those same fillies return today but any normal second-out improvement makes her the one to beat this afternoon. 7-Machtenhaironfire holds racing experience edge and is improving.
Race #10: 6-Avery Blue is worth a flier in Sunday’s MDSW turf route finale. The 4-year-old filly is by multiple G1 winner Air Force Blue who broke his Maiden in debut. This jockey/trainer combo scored with longshot FTS Tofino Bay at 35/1 on grass February 26. 1-Barrister’s Ride this filly is on the improve and makes the all-important 3rd career start for trainer Carla Gaines. 2-Elegance Code comes off a troubled trip in debut and that February 19th race has produced a pair of next-out winners. She stretches out today and improvement is likely.