Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 1-Catbernay (Race #2)
Race #1: 1-Tuskegee Cat has shown steady improvement on the Beyer scale the last several starts and moves inside today getting key rider switch to Hernandez. 4-Flintmore stretches out an additional 1/8th of a mile today and has two runner-up finishes that fit well here for D’Amato. The 3-year-old gelding finished ahead of many of the same rivals he faces today, and a strong 5-furlong bullet work in the interim indicates he remains fit. 2-Lone Scout has run par for this level on multiple occasions with strong turf finishes but has not been out in nearly 6 months. Some cause for concern is that this barn is a cold 1 for 23 with horses returning off >180 Days at Santa Anita.
Race #2: 1-Catbernay has speed; gets the rail draw and drops in class off the extended freshening for trainer Gary Stute. This jockey/trainer combo scored with the veteran mare Time For Ebby back in February off 287 days’ rest. 2-Rantanen drops in class off an encouraging runner-up wide effort off the extended layoff. This 4-year-old gelding has worked well since then and should move forward off that effort. 6-Big Scott Daddy is a new purchase for lucrative claiming outfit and brings along a strong bullet “best of 61” 4-furlong a.m. drill while adding blinkers.
Race #3: 1-Big Beauty makes first start for new barn off nearly a year layoff this afternoon and trainer John Sadler has had good success with these returnee types. This consistent lightly raced filly goes turf to dirt; has trained well for return and Hernandez scored with conditioner’s 5-year-old mare Marie back in February off similar layoff and surface change. 2-Everlys Girl drops in class; has good positional early zip; goes dirt to turf and has grass breeding to boast her chances of handling the surface change. 4-Vella returns to turf off the claim where she’s had prior success. Wong is 6 for 16 (38%) with dirt to turf first off the claim runners the past 5 years.
Race #4: 7-Mongolian Kingdom is 0 for 8 but should trip out nicely with projected stalking trip while appreciating today’s class relief. The class dropping 2-Settecento moves back to the main track for Sise and lays over this weak field on raw speed figures. The one chip in the armor, however, is that he hasn’t shown any solid positional speed and could be left with a lot to do late. 6-Erik the Viking has shown very little in two local career starts but stretches out today for Yakteen and could improve.
Race #5: 5-Ice Queen goes first off the claim for trainer Reed Saldana and adds blinkers for her Southern California unveiling. This filly has trained well for today’s effort and has had good prior turf success. Her versatile running style makes her an interesting alternative in this optional 50k claimer. 8-Beachgrass a troubled start in most recent try when hitting the gate is a toss out. Two-back this filly parlayed an off to pace romp at 18/1 at this trip against similar and she projects to get another decent set-up this afternoon. It took 14 career starts for the mare 10-Witch Moon to break through the Maiden ranks. Her first start against winners April 3 resulted in a decent 3rd place effort and she returns to the same level today likely facing a more favorable race flow.
Race #6: 2-Silken Prince has not been seen since July 2020 but makes first start today for red-hot trainer Leonard Powell. This conditioner clicks over 30% with these layoff types off the trainer change. The 6-year-old gelding projects to get a favorable race flow today enhancing his closing kick. 5-Manitowish earned the field’s best last-out dirt Beyer (82) with stalking trip score and looks ready to handle the slight class increase for trainer Doug O’Neil. Beaten favorite 3-Shady Empire returns to Santa Anita and stretches back out to 6 furlongs making 3rd start off the layoff. The 5-year-old gelding will take them as far as he can on the front end and has won at this trip before.
Race #7: 11-Split Then Double goes route to sprint and makes the all-important 3rd start off the layoff today for trainer John Sadler. This filly looks primed for winning effort with top grass rider signed on. 9-She’s Devoted is one of two Baltas-trained runners in here and holds top honors for earning the field’s best last-out Turf Beyer (79) with 4th place finish in the Irish O’Brien stakes. 2-Nu Pi Lambda should improve off troubled trip 5th (placed 4th via DQ) effort and frequently finishes underneath as evident by (19-1-6-4) career record.
Race #8: 10-Dick Best goes turf to dirt on the class plunge and debut try over the main track wasn’t awful finishing 3rd by nearly 6 lengths. This barn is a strong 7 for 20 (35%) with $3.03 ROI the past 5 years with MDSW to MDCLM dropdowns at Santa Anita with horses going turf to dirt. 11-Tribal Dancing has not been out in nearly 6 months but has good gate speed; adds Lasix today and drops back down to face claimers. 7-All Four Winds quickly drops in for a tag after breaking a step slow in debut. He rushed up 3-wide into contention shortly thereafter before drifting and tiring badly in the stretch drive. The gelding moves to the main track today and did have an encouraging work tab prior to unveiling.
Race #9: 9-Eddie’s New Dream projects to get a nice stalking trip behind the speed with outside draw coming off a game score March 19. She stretches back out today facing graded-stake types, but looks much-improved as a 4-year-old and perhaps up to today’s stiff class test. 5-Keyflower makes the all-important 3rd start off the layoff today for trainer Leonard Powell with improving Beyer numbers. The filly was a winner at this trip two-back. 2-Javanica is winless over this turf course but comes off a decent runner-up try in the G2 Royal Heroine behind 8-time winner Going Global and is eligible to move forward making 2nd start off the bench.