12/01/2015 9:23AM

Matt Bernier's Los Alamitos analysis for Thursday, Dec. 3


Race 1

AWESOME OCEAN has shown legitimate early foot against much tougher and today drops to the maiden $20K level. If he can’t get it done today with this kind of class relief, it’s hard to imagine he’ll ever get it done. Look for Maldonado to send hard from the gate in an attempt to wire this field. TRUE DEJA VU gets the complete makeover in his third lifetime start – the blinkers come back off and this will be his first start as a gelding. He’ll need to be considerably better than he was in his most recent effort if he’s to be competitive. For what it’s worth, Martin Jones is 0 for 14 in maiden-claiming sprints over the past two years at Los Alamitos, according to DRF Formulator. S M ROYAL IMAGE has run the three best races of his brief career over the Los Al strip. He may not be good enough to win today, but he should appreciate running over his favorite surface.

Race 2

HERUNBRIDLEDPOWER doesn’t need to be much of anything to score at first asking for a barn that’s had success with first-time starters in the past. This Kafwain filly has pedigree on her side – her older sister Singing Kitty was 2 for 5 as a 2-year-old and has proven herself to be a quality runner, albeit mainly on grass. The outside post for her debut effort only helps her cause. PATIENCE LADY took serious money while debuting against tougher at Del Mar a few weeks back, and while she faded badly after showing mild interest, there is a case to be made for her moving forward today. The addition of blinkers can help her in a big way, and the significant class relief could prove vital. Expect better in career start No. 2. NAUGHTY HAUGHTY was poor in her debut at Del Mar on Nov. 13, and she’ll need to produce a much better effort if she’s to graduate in her second lifetime start. The runner-up that day returned to graduate next out with a 51 Beyer Speed Figure, but let’s call it for what it is – that filly was in a different area code than Naughty Haughty was that day.

Race 3

In a race where there isn’t much form on the track to handicap from, you generally want to look toward trainer stats and pedigree information. When there is very little from a pedigree standpoint, the trainer statistics become that much more important. However, sometimes it can be as straightforward as asking oneself a rather simple question: Can any of these horses run faster in a race than this horse has been working in the morning? GOLDRUSHCAT goes out for a capable trainer in Mark Glatt when it comes to first-time starters in maiden-claiming events, and it could be argued that her five most recent workouts are faster than any of these other fillies are capable of producing on the racetrack. WILANNAMOON has a bit of pedigree (relatively speaking), as her older sister Lemondropspritzer went 8 for 27 lifetime in dirt sprints. REINAHERMOSA hasn’t been much on the racetrack in her six race career, but it’s worth acknowledging that her two best races have both come here at Los Alamitos.

Race 4

FANCY SHOES ran into a couple of runners in sharp form in his latest effort at Santa Anita on Oct. 22 in Ike Walker and Perfect Set. Ike Walker returned to win on closing weekend at Del Mar with an 88 Beyer Speed Figure, so it’s clear he’s exiting a solid race. His effort here on Sept. 25 was easily the best of his career, and certain horses have been known to move up in a major way over the Los Alamitos strip. Look for him to be forwardly placed throughout and make his presence felt down the lane. PREACHER ROE tried the turf a week ago at Golden Gate in what could be viewed as nothing more than a prep for a return to this track. He’s 2 for 3 lifetime at Los Al, and he’s another who should be forwardly placed. The outside post allows Pedroza to place this son of Dixie Chatter where he chooses, and he figures to be around as the field turns for home. WINGS OF MOJAVE’s most recent effort looks dreadful on paper, but he made an impressive middle move during the running of that event, only to understandably tire late. His race here at Los Al on Sept. 13 makes him competitive, but it appears he’ll need to improve from a speed-figure standpoint in order to prevail.

Race 5

NOT NOW CAROLYN was bet like a good thing in her debut at Del Mar on Nov. 15 only to disappoint her backers, but there are still some encouraging things about this daughter of Tapit going forward. Although her dam, Maryfield, hasn’t been a very good broodmare to date, she herself was a Grade 1 sprinter on dirt as well as the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (non-graded at the time) champion. Guillot’s numbers with juveniles are far from spectacular, but the recent bullet workout suggests she’s feeling good and on her toes. She raced widest while in midpack in her debut, and that sort of trip rarely worked at Del Mar during the Bing Crosby meet. A better effort should be expected today. GHOSTLY was a $300,000 purchase back in March, and she’s been working in a snappy fashion in the mornings. Baffert obviously knows how to get them cranked and ready to go at first asking, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see this one fire a good shot in her debut. UNBRIDLED SUMMER has yet to run a truly poor race in her four-race career, but she also has developed a penchant for finding at least one better. She drifted about down the lane in her most recent and she’ll need to be more professional today if she’s to graduate.

Race 6

CHEROKEE DYNASTY hasn’t been seen since his debut at Santa Anita on June 13, and that effort was actually better than it may appear. After being pinballed at the start, this son of Ministers Wild Cat was sent along to stalk the pace between runners. While he proceeded to retreat down the lane, he did some decent things in his first start – but the horses he ran against are the most encouraging part of the debut effort. The winner that day, Ralis, eventually won the Grade 1 Hopeful at Saratoga, and the runner-up, Hot Ore, became a stakes-placed runner on turf. Cherokee Dynasty gets major class relief today and picks up Santiago Gonzalez. Expect a solid effort. REMEMBER CLEMENT got acquainted with Los Alamitos on Sept. 24 and today he’ll drop from the maiden special level to maiden claiming. The class relief should help, but he’ll need a considerably better effort to win. LUCKY SNOW has taken money in each of his two lifetime starts, and he hasn’t had the opportunity to actually show what he’s capable of. After falling in his debut, Lucky Snow returned at Del Mar on Oct. 30, only to be pinched badly at the start and trail throughout. With some luck, maybe we’ll see what he actually can do.

Race 7

FINEST CITY looked like a stakes-caliber filly defeating a decent group at Del Mar on Oct. 31, and she must be respected here. The runner-up that day returned to win next out with an 83 Beyer Speed Figure, so her effort that day has already been flattered. She has wonderful tactical speed, so the early foot signed on that’s drawn to her outside shouldn’t present an issue. If she prevails today and does so impressively, a start in the Grade 1 La Brea wouldn’t seem out of the question at the end of the month. ACHEIVER’S LEGACY is graded stakes placed going long on dirt, but the ample speed signed on here should set things up for her late. UNFORGETTABLE U makes her second start off the layoff for Richard Baltas, and she’s proven over this Los Alamitos surface. She’s likely the controlling speed in this spot, and she’ll give backers a thrill as the field turns for home.

Race 8

SOUL CRUSHER won here at Los Al on July 11 and should get a beautiful setup from a pace standpoint. Look for Gutierrez to have this one sitting a few lengths off the pacesetters and begin to make his move as the field turns for home. JOHNNY REB has been razor sharp recently, and a third consecutive victory is far from a reach. The only concern with this one has to be the other early speed signed on – should he get hooked early, he could come up wanting down the lane. MR. ITKINS doesn’t like to win very often, but a repeat of his most recent effort at Santa Anita on Oct. 22 likely gets the job done today. The 74 Beyer Speed Figure he earned last out is the highest last-out Beyer in the field.