ANAL­Y­SIS

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - Santa Anita -

BEST BET: RACE 3, EAR­RING

FIRST RACE

Front-run­ner TO THE BAR and late-run­ner DUKES UP are the prin­ci­pals in this $16k claim­ing route, non-win­ners of three life­time. The edge goes to the front-run­ner. The hand­ful of dirt miles this meet have mostly been won from a for­ward po­si­tion (three gate-to-wire, one presser, one closer). TO THE BAR has been fac­ing tougher, drops to the low­est level of his ca­reer, and if able to avoid a duel with the stretch-out sprinter to his out­side, he can win with an up-front trip. If the pace gets hot, DUKES UP could be along in time. Both starts this sum­mer at Del Mar were com­mend­able (win, run­ner-up); he won on the Santa Anita dirt last sum­mer. Seems like a two-horse race, al­though SINDYS LUCK has an up­set chance stretch­ing back out and re­turn­ing to the level at which he was claimed two starts back. He can stay two turns. RIM DITCH is the afore­men­tioned sprinter that could make it dif­fi­cult for the top choice.

SEC­OND RACE

Af­ter two de­cent sprints, EXUBERANCE is ready to stretch out and win. The 2yo maiden filly fin­ished a bet­ter-than-looked third in her de­but, fol­lowed by an event­ful trip next out fin­ish­ing third in a re­stricted stakes. She was in tight quar­ters com­ing off the turn, al­tered course in mid­stretch to get off the rail, and was in heavy traf­fic again in deep stretch. De­spite all that, she missed by only a length. With a pair of sprints un­der her belt, she should be set for her best around two turns. OUR SLICK CHICK split the field in a highly rated sprint two months ago at Del Mar. The win­ner Moon­shine Me­mories won two Grade 1’s since. ‘CHICK is bred to run long, she ap­pears to have trained well for her re­turn, and her pedi­gree is fine for two turns. SHEZASPANISHDANCER fin­ished a re­spectable fifth in her de­but, a race from which the sec­on­dand third-place fin­ish­ers re­turned to win. DR. ANN fin­ished in front of OUR SLICK CHICK when third in her only start.

THIRD RACE

East Coast ship­per EAR­RING faced bet­ter than she meets in this Cal­i­for­nia N2X turf route. She was Group 2-placed in Europe prior to her East Coast cam­paign; her only off-the-board fin­ishes were in graded stakes. The Saratoga race she ex­its (third place) had a good field. The win­ner was a stakes win­ner in France; the run­ner-up re­turned to fin­ish sec­ond by a nose. EAR­RING makes her Cal­i­for­nia de­but for trainer Tom Proc­tor, whose East Coast ship­pers are 4-for-11 since the start of Del Mar. All sys­tems go, first in two months. COR­DIAL­ITY wired N1X ri­vals at Del Mar, and could find her­self loose on the lead in this nine­fur­long race. She is vastly im­proved this sea­son (two wins and a sec­ond), and will take these as far as she can. The turf course played fair to all run­ning styles the first two weeks of the meet. LASEEN was briefly blocked into the lane, then fin­ished will­ingly last out in a sim­i­lar N2X at Del Mar. Her three starts at this level pro­duced three in-the-money fin­ishes. SPACE CADET might be ranked too low by this hand­i­cap­per. She could get a cozy trip po­si­tioned sec­ond be­hind the speed.

FOURTH RACE

STYLITUDE and SAUCE ON SIDE fin­ished twothree in a maiden spe­cial-weight route for 2yo fil­lies at De Mar; they are the log­i­cal one-two pref­er­ences drop­ping to maiden-50 in this Santa Anita route. STYLITUDE has more tac­ti­cal speed than her main ri­val; for­wardly placed run­ners have held the edge this meet (small sam­ple). SAUCE ON SIDE is the best closer, with two routes un­der her belt at Del Mar. The past five months, trainer Peter Miller and ap­pren­tice Evin Ro­man have won at a 28-per­cent clip (19-for-67). UN­CHANGED drops from the stakes that race-2 se­lec­tion Exuberance ex­its. First

time in for a tag, first time around two turns, UN­CHANGED is likely to move for­ward against this eas­ier cast.

FIFTH RACE

Down­hill spe­cial­ist LIT­TLE BIT LOVELY re­turns from a brief fresh­en­ing. She has won 3 of 8 on the hill, with one sec­ond and one third. She has a for­wardly placed run­ning style and gets a five­pound weight break (ap­pren­tice Ro­man). She looks like the speed of the field and can be gone. PLEAS­ANT AS PIE also re­turns from a short fresh­en­ing, with a his­tory of fir­ing first start back. She won her de­but; she won on this course in June re­turn­ing from an ex­tended break. Proven on the hill, re­al­is­ti­cally placed at the $40k claim­ing level, she is the best late threat. GIFT OF A STAR moves up in class and re­turns to turf fol­low­ing two solid ef­forts on dirt in sum­mer/fall at Del Mar and Los Alami­tos. Trainer Jack Car­ava has been on a roll the past year, his slow start this meet is only a mi­nor hic­cup. Car­ava won with 5 of his last 15 down­hill starters. WEDDING BLUSH fin­ished sec­ond on this course in May, at a slightly higher level. Her most re­cent start was a run­ner-up fin­ish go­ing five fur­longs at Del Mar.

SIXTH RACE

MISS RICOCHET ran a win­ning race in her come­back at Del Mar, run­ner-up press­ing a strong pace while mak­ing her first start in eight months. Blink­ers on sec­ond start back, drawn out­side her pace ri­vals, log­i­cal choice to win with a press­ing trip. KENTAN ROAD flashed speed and tired in her de­but on turf. It was a use­ful de­but prep for the sur­faceswitch filly that will keep the top choice hon­est on the front end. First-time starter DURANGA ar­rives from Golden Gate, where she has been train­ing ex­clu­sively on syn­thetic. In­ter­est­ing move to bring her south and de­but on dirt. Slow works dif­fi­cult to gauge, but win­ning con­nec­tions man­date re­spect. LOVELY LINDA adds more speed, while STAR­LET STORM is el­i­gi­ble to im­prove sec­ond start back.

SEV­ENTH RACE

DESERT GEN­ERAL ran too good to lose last out, run­ner-up in a sim­i­lar starter al­lowance at Del Mar. Af­ter break­ing from post 9 of 9, he was caught six-wide into the first turn, du­eled three-wide the rest of the way, shook away from his pace ri­vals, but got col­lared late by Dukes Up, a con­tender in race 1. It was a su­per ef­fort by DESERT GEN­ERAL, who does not re­quire the front end for his best ef­fort. The ver­sa­tile geld­ing can set the pace or rally from off. Likely win­ner if he re­peats his most re­cent ef­fort. SE­CRET TOUCH fin­ished a halflength be­hind Dukes Up in Au­gust, then sat out the Sept. 3 race the top choice ex­its. Fresh, proven over the Santa Anita main, log­i­cal con­tender. KONA DREAMS is a come­backer un­proven on dirt. But his turf form is solid, his press­ing style is the type that nor­mally is ef­fec­tive on dirt. This is just his sec­ond try on the main track. Up­set can­di­date. TRAPALANDA stretches out for the first time. The lightly raced geld­ing lost his chance last time when he broke slowly from an inside post in a sprint. An­other up­set can­di­date.

EIGHTH RACE

The 5yo maiden MILHAUD ran well both starts on the hill in spring, he drops for the first time to maiden-50, and is sim­ply the fastest in the field. Al­though he is an older maiden with six starts, this would prob­a­bly be the first time he will be fa­vored. AWE­SOME HEIGHTS drops to the maiden-claim­ing ranks for the first time. He has been back­ing up in routes; that pat­tern some­times leads to im­proved ef­forts turn­ing back in dis­tance. BELOVED HOL­I­DAY drops in class, and switches to turf. MEM­BER STATE is a drop­per with some speed, while SALDAMENTE has faced good com­pany in most of his starts. He might be ranked too low by this hand­i­cap­per. The move to turf is a ques­tion, but he is fac­ing eas­ier ri­vals.

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