Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 8-Holden the Lute (Race #7)
Race #1: Today’s opening $25k claiming turf route is a bit of a head scratcher. 6-A Thousand Dreams has good tactical early foot to get a favorable position early on and appears to be slowly on the improve for Cerin who reaches out to Rispoli today. This pilot is 5 for 16 (31%) with $3.95 ROI the past 2 years riding on the grass for this top outfit. 7-Talkative Gal has never tried turf but has speed; drops in class and makes 2nd start off the layoff for trainer Doug O’Neill. 2-St Helena owns the field’s best last-out turf Beyer (69) with a runner-up finish May 15 but is 1 for 16 overall with last win coming December 2020.
Race #2: 4-Royal Halo showed good speed in May 14 debut effort battling gamely on the lead before surrendering it late to finish second. The 2-year-old colt defeated next-out winner Love U Mean It and should be a handful with any normal 2nd out improvement. 3-Agency has trained smartly in the a.m. for trainer Mark Glatt and is by multiple G1 winner Bolt d’Oro. This freshman sire is off to an excellent start with (8-3-2-2) record with his offspring. 6-Eagles Landing is another with valuable racing experience who broke slowly in debut and raced very wide thereafter before making a sustained run late to land the show spot. A better break could make him dangerous this afternoon.
Race #3: 3-Slam Dunk Sermon is a strong 5 for 8 at the distance and goes first off the claim for Knapp who has above average numbers with new acquisitions. The gelding was a sharp winner at this level two-back with an (82) Beyer. 4-Luck’s Royal Flush is a true 5 ½ furlong specialist as indicated by his record at the distance (9-5-3-0) and has excellent gate speed. If he’s not hooked early, he could be long gone returning to the main track. 1-Octopus cuts back to 5 ½ furlongs from 7 and makes 2nd start off the layoff and claim for trainer Peter Eurton. This 5-year-old gelding is a multiple winner over the track and distance and barn clicks close to 30% with 2nd off the claim runners.
Race #4: 5-Dominant Soul stretches out and move up in class; but was a strong winner as the odds-on choice in most recent effort and is projected to be the pacesetter once again today. The 5-year-old could get brave on the lead if allowed to settle into a nice rhythm. 4-Fly the Sky a sharp second in last and winner two-back at this class level makes this 5-year-old gelding the logical threat for trainer Steve Knapp. 3-Tartini is 0 f0r 6 at the distance but comes in off a win against softer and has some back figures that fit snuggly in here with these. A hot barn and rider add to his appeal.
Race #5: Likely heavy favorite 3-Valiancy appears to have this field of 3-year-old fillies at her mercy after earning a (93) Beyer with runner-up effort behind barn mate Midnight Memories who is now 2 for 2. She’s worked 4 times since that encouraging debut for trainer Sean McCarthy. 4-Kura debuts for Hall of fame connections and this filly is by multiple G1 winner First Samurai. She lures Smith and shows an interesting pattern of 6- and 7-furlong stamina drills. 6-Angel Nadeshiko has finished behind two runaway winners in last pair but loses Smith today and would have to improve dramatically figure-wise to compete with the top choice.
Race #6: 3-Whisper Not gets some serious class relief for Papaprodromou taking over for Baltas who is sidelined via an ongoing California board investigation. The 5-year-old makes his 2nd start off the layoff today dropping out of a string of G1 and G2 events into this much easier spot. He should be forwardly placed and work out a good trip with Bravo taking over. 2-Air Force Red was a strong wire-to-wire winner in last at 8/1 over a next-out victor Mubtadaa who came back to win with a (88) Beyer speed figure. 6-Red Flag had an excusable troubled trip 4th when making first start in 3 months for trainer John Sheriffs who traditionally posts solid numbers with his 2nd off the bench runners. A forward progression off that (86) Beyer makes him a contender today.
Race #7: 8-Holden the Lute was simply overmatched in the G2 Californian in most recent start April 30 but drops back down today to a more realistic level for trainer John Sadler. The 5-year-old gelding has trained right along for this, and barn is a strong 8 for 18 (44%) with $3.08 ROI the past 2 years with 2nd off the claim runners. A win at the distance adds to the appeal. 4-Ajaaweed heads west for his Southern California unveiling for new connections after a successful campaign out east. The multiple stakes-placed 5-year-old debuts for top barn who has good success with these layoff types. Game in victory recent Maiden winner 3-Troubadour fits well making first start against winners earning an (84) Beyer in last. The 4-year-old colt is lightly raced for Mandella and further improvement may be well within reach.
Race #8: In a race that’s expected to favor frontrunners 3-Baby Steps fits the bill as a potential wire-to-wire winning threat. The 3-year-old filly by G1 winner Jimmy Creed drops out of the G3 Senorita after battling on the lead and should find herself with an easier time upfront this afternoon. This jockey/trainer combo scored with turf filly Respectfully on May 14. 2-Gem Mine is on the improve; adds blinkers today and stretches back out to Maiden winning distance making her 3rd start off the layoff. Irish import 5-Sixteen Arches goes 2nd time Lasix and makes the all-important 3rd start off the layoff for D’Amato. This filly stretches back out today and comes off a wide troubled trip in that last effort.
Race #9: The class of the field is the improving 1-Desert Dawn who returns to her Southern California base after finishing 3rd in the G1 Kentucky Oaks for trainer Phil D’Amato. She earned a career best (90) Beyer with that effort and was a winner at his distance two-back. 6-Under the Stars is a G2 winner and picks up Hernandez who opts off Ganadora for this Pioneerof the Nile filly. She’s trained well for new connections and was a good 2nd at this trip two-back. Her last effort in the G2 Santa Anita Oaks was an excusable 4th place effort after stumbling badly at the start. The undefeated 2-Ganadora makes her first start around two turns today but is bred to handle a route of ground. She continues to work well in the a.m. for McCarthy who also has the aforementioned Under The Stars in today’s G2 Summertime Oaks. The 3-year-old filly by Quality Road loses Hernandez, however.
Race #10: 7-My Summer Dream cuts back to a sprint where he’s been most effective for Mullins and this gelding’s turf Beyers are simply much faster than these. He should be motoring home late on the class drop. 10-Like the Wind has speed; is nicely drawn outside and makes 2nd start off the layoff for trainer Brian Koriner. 4-Wedding Groom has only one prior start on grass but has been freshened for new barn that’s fantastic off these types of layoffs. The blinkers come off today which is another favorable angle for this winning barn.