Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 6-Big Bet Jafinsafa (Race 3)
Race #1: 1-Kings River Knight came up just a nose short in gallant effort in the Sensational Star Stakes when beaten by superstar gelding The Chosen Vron who opts for race 9 (Thors Echo Stakes) instead of this spot. This 5-year-old moves back to the main turf course today and stretches back out a mile where he’s 2 for 2. 4-Indian Peak also stretches out to a mile and moves to the main course off back-to-back 3rd place finishes over the tricky downhill footing. He makes his third start of the form cycle today and is perhaps ready to fire a “peak” performance for Miller. 3-None Above the Law has been freshened for good layoff barn and has some solid back class as a previous grade 2 winner.
Race #2: 1-Grand Tiger goes turf to dirt in second career start this afternoon after flashing good speed in grass debut for trainer Brian Koriner. This 4-year-old gelding is bred to handle the main track and barn has solid numbers with second time starters. 6-California Tiger and 7-Tizz a Good Thing are also moving from the main track to grass for their second career efforts. Tiger adds blinkers for Mullins after breaking a step slowly and Tizz (by Vronsky) attracted solid debut tote support and settled for 3rd. They’re both eligible to improve and are hard to separate.
Race #3: 6-Big Bet Jafinsafa was much the best when rallying for 3rd on May 7 unveiling encountering all kinds of traffic issues and a tardy beginning. The 4-year-old colt by Mr. Big made an eye-catching move into contention from far back and was then forced to steady hard in the stretch when stalled behind a wall of horses. He galloped out full of run past the wire when finally shaking free too late. The Day’s Best Bet. 1-Austonian was scratched Friday for this spot and he’s one to fear for trainer Brian Koriner. He adds blinkers today off a troubled trip second start when crowded early and encountering traffic issues late. The colt’s debut try was a strong runner-up finish, where he earned the field’s best (73) Beyer. The stretch out to a mile should be a non-issue. 4-Carlos Comic makes career start number 14 today and has never been further than 6 ½ furlongs. Nonetheless, he’s run some competitive figures for this level and is by Gem Heist whose offspring have a solid dirt route record (11-3-4-1). Perhaps going two turns is what he’s wanted to do all along.
Race #4: 4-Closing Remarks is the class of this field exiting seven straight graded stake events. A multiple winner over the track and distance this mare should mow this group down late with clear sailing. 1-Eddie’s New Dream returns off the mini-freshening for trainer Ben Cecil who is 2 for 2 with turf runners this meet. This multiple stakes winning 5-year-old mare draws the rail with good positional speed and should work out a favorable journey. 5-Warren’s Candy Girl steps up off sharp N2X win going this mile trip with improving Beyer pattern and would be the most likely to benefit from a swift early pace with the field’s best TimeformUS 118 late pace figure.
Race #5: The undefeated (3 for 3) 5-Ceiling Crusher makes his two turn debut this afternoon for Team O’Neill off 15 length runaway score in the Evening Jewel on April 8. She’s bred to go long; is nicely drawn outside with good positional speed and her Beyers have improved with each subsequent start. The obvious knock is the short price. 1-Tom’s Regret moves to the main track on the stretch-out off a solid 2nd in the Grade 3 Senorita. This consistent filly has never been off the board in 6 career starts (6-2-3-1) but she’s by Tom’s Tribute who is 0 for 28 with dirt route offspring. 4-Chisoma makes second start off the bench today and moves back to the main track where she won 3 straight at Del Mar last summer to start her career.
Race #6: 4-Magic Game adds blinkers and moves back to turf where she has 4 runner-up finishes from 9 starts. This filly shows a much-improved bullet 5-furlong drill on May 19 presumably with new equipment in place. 6-Golden Microphone finished a decent 3rd in “off the turf” debut on May 5 and should relish the switch to grass. The 3-year-old filly is by Stanford who gets 19% with his grass sprint prodigy. 9-Ruff Ride showed very little in Maiden Claiming debut last August but confidently returns in a straight MDSW event with Lasix and attracts Hernandez for hot barn.
Race #7: The lightly raced 1-Bus Buzz has run well in all three career starts and comes off a good second in the Echo Eddie Stakes where he finished in front of two next-out winners. The gelding has speed and the rail and could be long gone here with aggressive gate pilot. 9-El Diablo Rojo returns to afternoon racing off sharp win at Los Al on April 16 over a next-out winner and finished 2nd here two-back with a strong (84) Beyer. 3-Rookie Mistake makes 3rd start off the bench today with improving Beyer pattern.
Race #8: 7-Hacking it Up is 2 for 2 on grass and returns to Santa Anita off Silky Sullivan stake win at Golden Gate when up in the final strides. He draws outside but that should be a non-issue for this closing style gelding who should relish the additional distance. 1-Old Pal makes his stakes debut having run well in all three career starts for trainer Mark Glatt and moves to the rail with Hernandez staying aboard. 3-Clouseau showed little in both turf starts to begin career but is bred to handle grass and has enough just enough speed to clear this group early on. He got away with some soft fractions in the last gate-to-wire main track win on May 5, but is eligible to move forward off that try making 3rd start of the form cycle.
Race #9: The multiple graded stakes winning 6-year-old 3-Brickyard Ride has had a sensational career for trainer Craig Lewis. He’s 13 for 25 and closing in on $1 million dollars in total earnings and returns to his 6 furlongs today where he’s 6 for 10. He makes the all-important 3rd start off the layoff and will take some catching this afternoon on the class drop. 5-The Chosen Vron scratched out of the Crystal Water in race 1 for this spot and will be a handful based on a pair of triple digit main track Beyers and current six consecutive win streak. The 5-year-old gelding is an imposing 11 for 15 lifetime but must keep the top choice within reasonable reach to have a realistic chance of running down late. 4-Positivity makes second start off the long layoff today and can move forward off his 3rd place finish in the Grade 3 Kona Gold.
Race #10: 6-Tropical Terror gets some class relief today for trainer James Cassidy dropping in for a $40k tag and last pair of turf Beyers (85,88) fit well with this group in the Sunday nightcap. He was returning off a 7-month freshening in most recent start when encountering some traffic issues late and can move forward today with clear sailing late. 1-Atomic Drop steps up in class off sharp wire-to-wire win on April 7 for D’Amato and the (82) Beyer earned that afternoon is close to par for this next class level. 3-Mobou is back on grass after two subpar main track efforts and should offer some decent value.