Santa Anita (Thursday-3/9/23) By Dean Keppler

Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner

BEST BET: 7-American Cat (Race 4)

Race #1: 3-Seismic Spirit (Ire) ran a sharp 3rd when returning off a 4-month break at this level February 10 and figures to be much tighter for his second start off the bench since arriving in the Miller barn. Hernandez is back aboard the beaten favorite. 2-Lasmuigh (Ire) was a much-improved 2nd when dropped down to this level in most recent start for D’Amato earning a field’s best last out (66) Beyer. The 3-year-old gelding makes his 3rd start since arriving over from Ireland and is likely ready to fire his best shot. 5-Cryptoholic returns off a 7-month freshening with the addition of blinkers and Lasix. He was an even 6th against straight MDSW types when last seen back in August going longer but has worked very well for today’s return try making his first start for a tag.

Selections: 3-2-5

Race #2: 5-Storming Chrome goes turf to dirt; stretches out and drops from $50K to $20,000 tag today for trainer Neil Drysdale. He projects to be forwardly placed in here and gets in light. 6-Frost Alert flashed speed and tired when last seen going this mile trip at this level January 6 earning a respectable main track figure. 2-Batukhan (Ire) makes career start number 12 today but comes off consecutive runner-up finishes at this level and earned par (65) for this class group in same event as Frost Alert. The 5-year-old gelding is tough to endorse on the win end, however.

Selections: 5-6-2


Race #3: The speedy 4-Bali Dancer has faded in last 3 starts but is reunited with winning rider this afternoon and figures tough to reel in late if allowed to settle in the early stages of today’s mile trip. 6-Dolly May (Ire) is winless over the SA turf course and 0 for 9 going a mile but comes off a good runner-up try at this N2L level February 12 over several of these. The 4-year-old filly earned a field’s best last out (72) Beyer for that fast-closing 2nd. 3-Sweet Heidelberg moves back to turf going second off the claim for trainer Lorenzo Ruis who is a strong 26 for 64 (41%) with a $3.23 ROI with this angle. His grass try two-back was better than looks after he stumbled at the break from the rail, and he picks up top turf pilot Rispoli this afternoon.

Selections: 4-6-3

Race #4: A beaten favorite in last 7-American Cat plunges down in class this afternoon for Pederson and looks to be the speed of this field. This gelding should be very tough to catch at this reduced level. 5-Dutch Bus drops to a career low claiming tag today for trainer Brian Koriner who is 5 for 15 (33%) with a $2.27 ROI with 50% class droppers sprinting on dirt at SA. 8-Quick Intro also has good positional speed and comes off a decent 2nd at this same level on February 1o. He co-tops the field’s best last-out Beyer (74).

Selections: 7-5-8

Race #5: 2-Happy Gal has the ideal running style to take advantage of what’s projected to be a swift early pace in this optional $50,000 claiming grass sprint. The 3-year-old filly takes a substantial class plunge today for Team O’Neill and should motor them down late with Velasquez. 3-Spanning the Globe was overmatched in the Blue Norther Stakes when last seen back in December but adds Lasix today off the mini-freshening and has trained well for her return effort. She may appreciate the shortening up to 6 ½ furlongs after three longer trips to start her career. 5-Cornelia Fort was plucked for $50k off Maiden breaking score in second career start from Miyadi and now switches to grass for new connections while making her first start against winners. This filly shows up protected today for new barn and her sire Grazen gets a solid 17% with his grass sprint prodigy.

Selections: 2-3-5

Race #6: A runner-up in last pair 4-La Deuxieme Etoile finished second to the filly Unwritten Code (who has rattled off 5 straight wins) in most recent start February 10. She should sit a nice stalking trip behind likely pacesetters and pounce late. 2-Big Shamrock is the one to beat off sharp win at this level in most recent start when posting a field’s best last out (77) Beyer. There is, however, some skepticism as to whether she can repeat that type of effort for new barn off the claim that’s only 1 for 27 (4%) with new acquisitions. 6-Sheza Girly Girl makes first start for the Papaprodromou barn that’s 5 for 13 (38%) the past 3 years with recent dirt sprint claims at SA. They sent out 37/1 upset turf winner Noble Reflection last Sunday.

Selections: 4-2-6

Race #7: 7-Agatino (Ire) is still looking for his first stateside win for D’Amato and comes off a troubled trip 5th when last seen back in January. He broke well; settled in nicely along the rail for most of the journey but got jammed up behind horses in multiple spots during the stretch drive. He’s running out of excuses, but we’ll give him one more chance this afternoon. 6-Aligato co-tops the field’s best last out turf Beyer (88) and was a beaten favorite 3rd when dropped to this level February 11. Prat takes over for Hernandez who sticks with top choice. D’Amato’s other gelding 2-Midnight Jostar has been freshened and can handle this 1 ¼ mile trip. He’s reunited with winning rider Desormeaux who was aboard for his last victory back in November 2021.

Selections: 7-6-2

Race #8: The Thursday Maiden Claiming sprint nightcap looks like a good spot to try a new face and 6-Sheza Lucky Charm fits the bill. This daughter of G1 winner Eddington has some decent enough drills on the worktab and attracts Prat for today’s unveiling. This jockey/trainer combo have had good prior success. 4-Sweet Hello adds blinkers back on today and comes off three consecutive 2nd place finishes. Rispoli will be the 7th different jockey she’s had in 7 career starts. 9-Smokemonthecliff goes turf to dirt and drops in for a claiming tag in second career start after a troubled trip unveiling. This barn is winless at the meet, however, and 0 for 19 with MDSW to Maiden Claiming dropdowns. Mixed feelings. 7-Storm d’Oro flashed speed in January 28 debut when tiring to finish 3rd and can build upon that performance. A sharp sub :48 drill on March 4 adds to the appeal.

Selections: 6-4-9

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