Del Mar (Friday-8/25/23) By Dean Keppler


Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner

BEST BET: 3-Sushi Sticks (Race 3)

Race #1: 2-House of Magic has never tried grass but comes off back-to-back sharp main track tries that have resulted in a win and runner-up placement with top Beyer figures. She has speed and inside draw but the caveat is his sire Good Magic is only 1 for 26 with turf sprint starters. 5-Aventapp has not been worse than 4th in the last 12 straight starts and projects to fall into a favorable stalking trip behind the frontrunners. The other Glatt-trained mare 6-Katerini owns the field’s best last-out turf Beyer (78) and cuts back to a sprint this afternoon. She’s likely to be making up ground late.

Selections: 2-5-6

Race #2: 6-Too Much Info drops a notch and goes second off the claim for trainer Gary Stute who is 5 for 18 (28%) with a $4.03 ROI the past 5 years with this angle. 4-Manitrosa makes second start off the bench after flashing brief speed and tiring off a long layoff. Improvement is likely this afternoon. 2-Thirsty was a sharp maiden winner when last seen seven months ago for Miller but now returns for a $16,000 claiming tag. Mixed feelings despite favorable a.m. drills at San Luis Rey.

Selections: 6-4-2

Race #3: 3-Sushi Sticks is by multiple grade 1 winner Karakonite (Jpn) who gets a strong 18% with his juvenile debuting prodigy. This filly arrives on the scene with an encouraging work tab and attracts Hernandez for today’s unveiling. 1-Harney Lane is nicely drawn for today’s grass route debut off encouraging a.m. drills and his sire Sir Prancealot (Ire) is a sharp 4 for 19 (21%) with his debuting 2-year-old offspring. 2-Kitzkaty goes dirt to turf and adds blinkers for career start number two for Team O’Neill off a better-than-looks sixth place finish on July 22 debut.

Selections: 3-1-2

Race #4: Trainer Bob Baffert is loaded again in this juvenile MDSW dirt sprint sending out a pair of well-bred promising runners. 3-Wynstock is a $700K OBS April purchase by grade 1 winner Solomini who has trained steadily all summer long and attracts Hernandez for today’s unveiling. His stablemate 6-Ultra Power is a Curlin colt who debuts off snappy a.m. drills and has worked in tandem with top-choice trading blows with that colt. 4-El Magnifico was no match for Baffert’s runaway winner Muth June 18 but fought gamely for the place spot and holds the experience edge over several of these juvenile colts. The Street Sense ridgling is nicely drawn outside for Team Desormeaux.

Selections: 3-6-4

Race #5: 4-Queenzy has not been out in nine months for trainer Peter Miller but is proven over this turf course, adds Lasix today, and has trained exceptionally well for this afternoon’s return try. Class dropping 6-Alvina (Fr) goes route to sprint for D’Amato making her third stateside start. This 3-year-old filly was a multiple turf sprint winner overseas. 5-Rufa Red Knot is pure speed coming out of Los Al 1,000-yard sprints and has won four of her last 5 starts for trainer Keith Craigmyle. She backed up in her lone turf sprint try back at GP in 2022 but could shake loose here at a price.

Selections: 4-6-5

Race #6: 4-Havoc drops in for a tag in his second career start after a wide debut effort July 29 and can improve immensely with a cleaner break. This barn has solid stats with MDSW to Maiden Claiming dropdowns. 6-Halo Uncle goes turf to dirt and makes the all-important third career start for trainer Jeff Bonde who has had a solid meet thus far, including a pair of winners two Fridays ago. 3-Handsome Harry drops in for a first-time tag for a new barn and has had eight weeks to get acquainted with his new connections. A sub :47 4-furlong drill Aug. 12 catches the eye.

Selections: 4-6-3

Race #7: 8-Rose Maddox gets some class relief moving back to the turf and dropping out of the grade 2 Great Lady. The 4-year-old filly finished a good second behind Eddie’s New Dream two-back, earning a solid (86) Beyer. The ultra-consistent hard-trying after-mentioned mare 3-Eddie’s New Dream finished second in this race last year and came up a nose short in the most recent try July 23. A logical win threat again after posting three consecutive turf Beyers in the mid-80s. 4Ultimate Hy has finished second in three of her last four starts and comes off a career-best Beyer with her recent win July 29 over a bulky field.

Selections: 8-3-4

Race #8: 2-Panda Peak attracted solid tote support on May 25 debut at Gulfstream when flashing speed and tiring and now drops in for a tag for career start number two. This filly’s local drills have been sharp since arriving in Southern California. 5-Big Rainbow drops in for a first-time tag and should improve substantially in this softer spot with a 7 lb. apprentice hopping aboard. Beaten favorite 1-Brookys Gal makes a second start at this $50k claiming tag level after a hard-trying third-place finish Aug. 4.  

Selections: 2-5-1

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  • Always enjoy reading up on your picks and insight. You seem to really do much better then most on why you select horses. Pulling for Big Rainbow in 8th, own a piece of her.

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