Del Mar (Friday-11/18/22) By Dean Keppler

Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner

BEST BET: 3-Playlist (Race 5)

Race #1: 3-Please Focus improved substantially with the switch to turf and stretch-out in most recent October 22 effort when flashing good speed on the lead and tiring to finish second. Team O’Neill is off to a fast start and had 4 wins opening weekend. Beaten favorite 4-Luke Grazie adds blinkers today after back-to-back 3rd place grass finishes against similar. The gelding finished behind top choice in last. New York invader 7-Montepulciano makes first start in southern California for new conditioner Richard Mandella while coming off a career best 4th place finish sprinting.

Selections: 3-4-7

Race #2: Off the Bob Baffert-trained 3-year-olds 4-Bletchley Park gets top billing. This colt returns off a 7-month freshening with a series of sharp a.m. drills and this jockey/trainer combo are 3 for 8 (38%) with a $4.28 ROI with horses returning off >180 days plus. This $2.6 million son of Nyquist is projected to be on or close to the lead this afternoon. His stablemate 2-Purified comes off back-to-back (81) Beyers with a second and third place finish at Los Al and Santa Anita. An obvious threat to take it all off those two top figures. 3-Krahenbuhl finished ahead of Purified in last start at 18/1 and now makes the all-important 3rd career start for trainer Luis Mendez. 5-Thales has been absent for over a year and returns as a first-time gelding with the addition of blinkers. The lone 4-year-old in the field finished a well-beaten 3rd in debut and cost a pricey $1.25 million so there have been some issues.

Selections: 4-2-3

Race #3: 7-Queen Molotov could fall into a nice stalking trip today from just off the pace making her second start off the mini-freshening. A repeat of that try from two-back where she earned a (78) Beyer over this turf course would likely be enough. Velasquez gets the call and has made the most of his west coast mounts thus far. 2-Va Va Voom is only 1 for 21 but when last seen at this level over this track three-back she came up only a head short with a competitive figure. 1-Doris Mae returned off an extended layoff to score her Maiden victory in strong wire-to-wire fashion for trainer Carla Gaines. She’s unproven on grass but has the rail with speed and plenty of room for further improvement being that she’s lightly raced with only two career starts.

Selections: 7-2-1

Race #4: 3-Big Shamrock goes turf to dirt on the class drop for trainer Dan Blacker and makes the all-important 3rd start off the layoff today. 5-Charlotte Harbor broke through in start number nine with her Maiden victory and career best (74) Beyer going one mile at SA. That sharp figure is above par for this class level making this filly a threat right back facing winners today. Prat takes over for Hernandez. 2-Spanish Channel is a 0 for 42 Maiden but has a combined 14 second and third place finishes. The 6-year-old mare has speed and inside draw. Another opportunity for a runner-up finish but obviously impossible to endorse for win honors.

Selections: 3-5-2

Race #5: 3-Playlist is trained by Wesley Ward who makes a rare Maiden southern California start. The $400k Keenland purchase by Uncle Mo was a beaten favorite in her Saratoga debut when surrendering the lead from her outside draw and tiring to finish 6th. Velasquez retains the mount now on opposite coasts. 1-Rylan Jayne makes first start for the Peter Miller barn after a beaten favorite 3rd place August debut effort in short field at Belterra when previously trained (ironically) by Wesley Ward. The 2-year-old filly by G1 winner More Than Ready flashed brief speed before tiring but likely has more ability than she revealed in her unveiling. 7-Seek the Truth is a firster by Violence who gets 14% with his turf sprint prodigy and the Wong barn has above average numbers with grass debut runners. 5-Pleasant Wave had an encouraging turf debut try followed up with 5 decent drills since that October 1 unveiling. This barn is, however, 0 for 29 with 2nd time starters on the grass.

Selections: 3-1-7

Race #6: 3-Oil Can Knight makes second start off the extended layoff and claim today for trainer Mark Glatt. This barn is a strong 4 for 13 (31%) with a $4.35 ROI in dirt sprints at DMR with this claiming angle. The 6-year-old gelding is a multiple winner over this track and distance and has never been offered this cheaply. 7-Love My Jimmy has speed and has won 2 of his last 4 starts with Maldonado aboard. The extra ½ a furlong should not be an issue. 5-My Man Bags has been freshened off September 18 win at Los Al and has trained steadily for today’s return effort.

Selections: 3-7-5

Race #7: This is a very competitive turf allowance route for fillies and mares with several different directions one can go. 2-One Silk Stocking earned a solid (82) turf Beyer and runner-up placement in her first grass sprint start October 15 for Team O’Neill. We’re not entirely convinced, however, that she’ll be able to repeat that figure stretching out to a mile, but barn has favorable numbers going sprint to route. Tepid vote. 3-Myfavoritedaughter moves up off the claim and win for trainer Vladimir Cerin. The 3-year-old filly comes in with an improving Beyer pattern and has already proven she can handle the distance with sharp closing rail finish at this trip in last. 4-Flame McGoon goes two sprints to a route today winning 2 of her last 3 for trainer Mark Glatt. This filly closed for the win in last but should find herself on or close to the lead today on the stretch-out. 8-Dolly May (Ire) exits a key race on October 15 that’s produced 3 next-out winners and is eligible to improve making second start off the mini-freshening.

Selections: 2-3-4

Race #8: Trainer John Sheriff’s has a pair of 3-year-old Maiden colts in the Friday nightcap. 7-Palagio has been freshened off 5th place finish on September 2. That race has produced a pair of next-out winners and this colt has posted 3 consecutive solid figs that are simply better than most of the numbers produced thus far in this field. 9-Migration goes first off the claim for trainer Bill Spawr and makes first start over the main track. The gelding adds Lasix today off the freshening and is bred to handle dirt. His turf tries have been competitive with 3 ITM finishes from 5 career starts. Palagio’s stablemate 1-Courtside is eligible to move forward in second career start on the stretch-out after breaking a step slow in debut. This barn has above average numbers with their 2nd time starters and this colt is by multiple G1 winner Gormley who gets 20% with his dirt route runners.

Selections: 7-9-1

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