Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 1-Mi Hermano Ramon (Race 3)
Race #1: 2-Albayaader (Ire) is super sharp right now for trainer Jeff Mullins having won 2 of his last 3 grass sprint starts including a second at this level on April 7. 3-Howaboutdemapples didn’t show much in off the turf route off an extended layoff but is back on grass today for D’Amato. This filly was a strong Maiden winner at Gulfstream going 7 furlongs two-back before heading west for her new connections. 5-She’s Got a Way has improved substantially the last couple months and comes off a career and field’s best turf Beyer (81) in most recent score despite a challenging trip for trainer Peter Eurton who has been red-hot thus far this meet.
Race #2: 1-Spoiled Rotten was outrun under the lights at Los Al in most recent start but now drops back to level of SA claim for trainer Lorenzo Ruiz who is a strong 26 for 67 (39%/$3.09 ROI) with 2nd off the claim runners. This filly has speed and the rail draw. Recent Maiden winner 2-Blursday seems reasonably placed, making her first start against winners, and returned to drill well on April 26. 5-Back On the Street is 1 for 19 and has lost sixteen straight but takes a sizable class drop today in weak field.
Race #3: 1-Mi Hermano Ramon ships back west after facing much stiffer competition in the Grade 3 Transylvania where he finished a decent 4th in a bulky field. 2-Game Time has never gone this far but has shown good tactical early zip in his last several starts and owns the field’s best last out grass Beyer (85) with recent runner-up finish in the small Pasadena Stakes field. 6-Eastbound is aggressively placed after the recent Maiden victory for conditioner John Shirreffs but has room for further improvement and projects to get another live race flow to close into.
Race #4: 3-Trojan Way has never sprinted before but makes 2nd start off the claim today for trainer Paul Aguirre who is a solid 5 for 22 (23%) with a $2.66 ROI with this maneuver. This filly may try changing tactics today and come from off the pace on the turnback. The lightly raced 1-Kiss My Kat has now won two straight and makes first start for new barn off the claim. This filly has speed from the rail and came back to drill another bullet work in sub :35 on May 1. However, it’s worth noting that trainer Gary Stute is 0 for 18 with new barn purchases in the past 5 years. 7-Big Bell certainly fits on raw numbers but is another making his first start for new barn that has had minimal success at Santa Anita (o for 21) with recent claims.
Race #5: Trainer Phil D’Amato holds a strong hand in this 1x allowance turf route sending out two live geldings. Of the pair we prefer 6-Reckless Spirit who co-tops the field’s best last out Beyer (88), switches to leading rider Juan Hernandez and is likely to get a strong pace to close into. His stablemate 1-Silver Surfer (GB) is back on his preferred surface today making the all-important 3rd start off an extended layoff. The gelding ran well at this level two-back and was stakes placed at Del Mar back in 2021. 4-Tropical Terror removes the blinkers today and has been freshened for good layoff barn. This gelding has the right running style for today’s projected race flow but usually settles for the underneath exotics (20-2-7-3).
Race #6: The beaten favorite Baffert gelding 4-Cowboy Mike makes career start number two today after just missing the place spot to rival returnee Carol’s Comic. This lucrative jockey/trainer combo is 7 for 17 (41%) with second time starters and this son of Smiling Tiger should move forward this afternoon. 9-Andy Can U Hear Me is by multiple Grade 1 winner The Factor who gets a mediocre 9% with debuting prodigy. This gelding has shown some solid early speed in his a.m. drills, however, and Berrios and Mullins have had great success when paired up together. 6-Baileys Budget attracted decent tote support in March 25 unveiling but broke slowly; quickly engaged to reach contention and then tired to finish fourth. A decent effort overall despite the troubled trip but barn is 0 for 23 with second time starters.
Race #7: 2-Harbored Memories adds blinkers today and has proven he can fire fresh for trainer Mike Puype. His recent a.m. drills have picked up momentum and he relishes this turf course. 5-Standing O holds the recency edge over the top choice for D’Amato coming off an okay third place finish against similar while returning off a 9-month layoff. He figures to be much tighter this afternoon and is reunited with the winning rider. First time gelding 4-Samburu (GB) ships east and makes first start for trainer Michael McCarthy who has had modest success with new acquisitions. This gelding has trained well locally and was a stakes winner overseas.
Race #8: 2-Murray looks to recapture some of his old Del Mar form returning off a 3-month freshening for Baffert. This son of Street Sense retains Hernandez for the ride and should fire off the break. 5-Disco Ball was a voided claim when last seen in August of last year but has trained well for today’s return effort and has good gate speed. 4-Lovesick Blues was a sharp winner when moved to the main track in most recent start earning the field’s best last our dirt figure going this 6 ½ furlong trip. If he runs two alike the gelding can repeat.
Race #9: 9-Numero Dix (GB) has a lot to overcome in the Sunday nightcap making his first start as a gelding since October 2021. Nonetheless, he adds blinkers today; has trained well for new barn and owns the field’s best late TimeformUS late pace figure (106) — in a race that’s projected to be run swiftly early on. 2-Tallis ships west after solid performance at Gulfstream over the synthetic back on March 9. This gelding broke his Maiden on turf at Belmont and this jockey/trainer combo has had a long history of positive success. 6-So I’m Told is super game firing in most starts and is back on grass this afternoon.