Santa Anita (Sunday-6/4/23) By Dean Keppler


Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner

BEST BET: 7-Ashley’s Sandcastle (Race 5)

Race #1: A beaten favorite in last pair 5-Landsdowne (GB) gets the call in the Sunday opener coming off a solid 2nd against similar on April 21. That race has since produced a pair of next-out winners and this gelding’s Beyer numbers are on the improve for D’Amato. 1-Anmer Hall cuts back to a sprint on the class drop for Miller after flashing speed and tiring going a mile. The gelding makes his 3rd start of the form cycle today and should improve again facing cheaper. 2-Franklin One Star finished 2nd as the beaten favorite at this level in last when jumping the dirt crossing and losing some momentum late.

Selections: 5-1-2

Race #2: 2-Mango Moon is by Straight Fire who gets a solid 19% with his debuting prodigy and this barn has had good success with filly first time starters. They’re 5 for 16 (31%) with a $3.29 ROI and this jockey/trainer combo scored with debuting winning filly Sharp Ride ($9.40) on May 26. 3-Twin Soul makes first start in Southern California for Hess after facing better MDSW types at Delta and Remington and now drops in for a first-time tag today. This filly has worked well enough locally and barn’s go-to veteran pilot Desormeaux gets the call. 7-Boginskaya showed little in turf route against better in last but now drops to the $20k bottom level and returns to the main track where he finished 2nd in debut against $50,000 claimers.

Selections: 2-3-7


Race #3: 3-Over Attracted has run back-to-back strong efforts at this level and trainer Cesar DeAlba is 3 for 3 this meet. 4-Too Much Heaven steps up off the claim having won two straight in gate-to-wire fashion and owns the field’s best last out grass Beyer (82). 5-Taming the Tigress was overmatched in last but drops in class today and cuts back to a sprint where she’s had prior success.

Selections: 3-4-5

Race #4: 6-Halosnheaven is one of two fillies from the Baffert barn entered here that have already shown ability thus far. This daughter of Curlin returns off a 10-month layoff and finished 2nd in both starts at Del Mar last summer. She adds Lasix and has trained extremely well for today’s return try. Her stablemate 7-Enclosure finished 3rd in her March 23 debut finishing directly in front of the next out winning filly Virasana who came back to score with an impressive (89) Beyer. She’s also worked well since that last start. Hernandez lands here. 2-Minedandrefined is wheeled back quickly off an even 4th in debut May 2, but barn has solid numbers with their second time starters.

Selections: 6-7-2

Race #5: 7-Ashley’s Sandcastle ran extremely well in her first turf start back in March and now switches to top turf pilot Rispoli for trainer Phil D’Amato. This filly was wrangled back to last soon after the start; and then launched an eye-catching outside sweep to engage the leaders as they entered the head of the stretch. She fought on gamely to safely hold the place spot earning the field’s best last out grass Beyer. 2-Warrior Lady was a much-improved 2nd in last start when stretching out to a mile for Eurton and now makes 3rd start off the extended layoff. 4-Cherry Chaos exits the same race as Warrior Lady when flashing good speed and tiring to 4th. An expected forward move in her second start off the bench makes her a contender with these.

Selections: 7-2-4

Race #6: The lightly raced 4-Tahoe Sunrise exits a 3rd place finish in the Laz Barrera Stakes on May 6 and gets Lasix back on returning to winning debut distance of 6 furlongs. He projects to be forwardly placed for Baffert. The multiple stakes winner 2-Giver Not a Taker returns off a near 5-month freshening for trainer Peter Miller and this gelding has had a stellar career thus far with three wins and two seconds from 6 starts. 5-Moose Mitchell was an impressive 9 length winner in last effort with an (88) Beyer when switched back to the main track. The gelding was a voided claim that afternoon but returns protected off a slow work tab. Mixed feelings.

Selections: 4-2-5

Race #7: 1-Cash Equity (Fr) stumbled badly out of the gate in the last start and was eventually pulled up and walked off the course in an excusable poor performance on April 8. This 5-year-old gelding was a sharp winner at this level two-back and has returned to work well since that last mishap. 4-Crosby Beach comes off a career best turf Beyer with recent 5th place effort and followed up that race with a “best of 60” 4-furlong bullet drill in :46.1. The gelding gets his ninth different rider in 11 career starts but appears ready to fire a top effort this afternoon. 5-Samburu (GB) is still looking for his first stateside win for trainer Michael McCarthy. He adds blinkers today on the stretch-out, and a much-improved performance is likely forthcoming with new equipment in place while making his second start off the bench.

Selections: 1-4-5

Race #8: 6-Geaux Rocket Ride finished in front of both Skinner and Mr. Fisk in the Grade 2 San Felipe while making only his second career start for trainer Richard Mandella. The son of Candy Ride returns today off the mini-freshening and has trained sharply in the a.m. 2-Skinner exits a career best Beyer (99) in 3rd place G1 Santa Anita Derby finish when defeating Preakness winner National Treasure and stakes winner One in Vermillion. This Curlin colt has been a habitual slow starter out of the gate but switches to Smith today and perhaps gets a better set-up with the new pilot. 5-Hard to Figure is exactly that for the Baffert barn. The colt puts blinkers back on today and has shown signs of true raw talent at times followed up by some subpar efforts. He stretches back out today and should be forwardly placed.

Selections: 6-2-5

Race #9: 4-Giovinazzo stretches out today for Team O’Neill and drops back in for a tag off three much-improved efforts since switching to turf. The colt projects to be forwardly placed once again today and returned to fire a bullet 4-furlongs on May 28. 7-Kawazaki (Ire) finished well for the place spot off a 8-month layoff against slightly cheaper and is a logical contender off that encouraging return try. 2-Rippin’ Ruis (Aus) raced wide and green in first stateside effort on May 12 and now drops in for a tag in second U.S. start this afternoon. The 4-year-old gelding goes 2nd time blinkers today and should move forward off that last effort against better.

Selections: 4-7-2

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