Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 2-American Refugee (Race 2)
Race #1: 2-Sareeha (Ire) makes first start in southern California for trainer Graham Motion sporting the field’s best last-out turf Beyer (76) which she earned back in New York September 18. This filly has 4 consecutive runner-up finishes (two in the U.S.) and looks primed for top effort today with Prat along for the return ride. 7-Ruthless But Kind makes the all-important 3rd career start while coming off an improved troubled trip second going a mile. She returned with a sharp 5-furlong drill November 3. 1-Leisurewear (Ire) has speed and the rail but is 0 for 12 with eight 2nd and 3rd place finishes for D’Amato. The 4-year-old filly gets her 7th different jockey since arriving stateside and is destined to finally break through the Maiden ranks sooner or later. Whether that day is this afternoon remains to be seen.
Race #2: 2-American Refugee has shown little in both local starts here at DMR for Baffert but drops in for a tag this afternoon and this barn has a high win percentage with MDSW to MDCLM dropdowns. This lucrative jockey/trainer combo are 13 for 26 (50%) overall with a $2.63 ROI at Del Mar the past 2 years. 6-Apfel makes second start off the layoff; drops in class and is wheeled back off only 6 days rest for trainer Peter Miller. The 3-year-old gelding gets a huge jockey upgrade to Hernandez this afternoon. 4-Magnificent drops another notch; makes 3rd start off the layoff and has run par or better on multiple occasions.
Race #3: The speed of the speed in this turf sprint appears to be 3-Helladic. The 2-year-old gelding makes his second start off the bench and comes off a good second and best last-out grass Beyer (77) in the Speakeasy Stakes at Santa Anita October 2 where he finished in front of a pair of the same runners lined up here. 2-Ah Jeez drops out of the G3 Zuma Beach and cuts back to 5 furlongs which was his Maiden breaking distance 4-back over this turf course. Velasquez climbs aboard. 1-Mas Rapido (GB) finished behind top choice in last but improved substantially when cutting back to a sprint and looms a big chance in here with further improvement and an alert break.
Race #4: 1-Multi Platinum moves back to dirt where he was a sharp second with a (79) Beyer two-back and is reunited with winning rider. 4-Baladi drops in for a tag and has run par or better in two most recent DMR starts this summer. 6-Moraweth is still looking for first victory stateside but is another going turf to dirt on the class drop with competitive main track figures for this class level.
Race #5: 1-Encode has speed and the rail making first grass start on the stretch-out for trainer Tim Yakteen. This conditioner doesn’t have great 1st turf or dirt to turf stats, but this colt has some grass pedigree on the dam side and Hernandez sticks for his second start against winners. A potential wire-to-wire threat today. Recent Maiden winner 4-Kazuhiko (Aus) finally put it all together in start number 12 with fast closing score at this mile trip. There are some reservations, however, as to whether he’ll get a similar set-up this afternoon. 8-Percolate (Ire) is another who broke his maiden in recent start with career best effort and looms a threat with a repeat try that’s of similar caliber. 7-Flint Stroll a beaten favorite in last for D’Amato but is a logical fit off prior turf tries.
Race #6: In a race that’s projected to be run swiftly early on things could potentially fall into place for 9-Big Talker who makes second dirt start coming off a good second; has a strong TimeformUs late pace figure; and co-tops the field’s best last out Beyer (79). A beaten favorite in last 8-Leyas Candy makes first start around two turns for trainer Mark Glatt coming off a pair of sharp tries at 5 ½ and 6 furlongs. 5-Atomic Drop had no real legitimate excuse when tiring to 3rd as heavy chalk October 16 when attempting this mile trip but figures to be forwardly placed and can land a piece once again.
Race #7: 2-Handy Dandy drops out of the G2 Twilight Derby and is reunited with winning pilot from two-back. This 3-year-old gelding is a multiple winner over the track and distance. 5-Script has won without Lasix and comes off a sharp win at Keeneland against allowance 1x types when coming off a 9-month layoff for trainer Graham Motion. A pair of runners from that October 12 event have come back to run well (2nd and 3rd respectively). 6-St Anthony adds blinkers and returns to southern California off sixth place finish in a Grade 2 at Belmont at the Big A. The gelding fits well here and the addition of Prat in the saddle adds to the appeal.
Race #8: 9-Supercents hasn’t shown much in two starts but is back sprinting on dirt; drops in class again; and this barn had good success here at Del Mar this past summer. The filly gets in light again; is by multiple Grade 1 winner Goldencents and is worth a flier in the weak nightcap making the always important 3rd career start. 1-Worthiness has been hampered by outside draws in recent starts but moves to the rail today and comes off a decent runner-up try at this same $20k level. She figures to be able to save some ground today and work out a decent trip. 2-Sugar Sugar is a beaten favorite in last pair but returns to 5 ½ furlongs this afternoon which resulted in a top try two-back at Los Al with a competitive (56) Beyer figure. This barn is, however, only 1 for 24 at DMR with 2nd off the claim runners.
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