Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 1-Tecumseh Caroline (Race #4)
Race #1: 1-Bolt’s Broad was a beaten favorite in last and disqualified three-back from 1st over the main track for a whip infraction. This filly returns to the Maiden Special Weight ranks today after back-to-back stake attempts. If she can run back to her turf Beyer figure (70) from two-back in the G3 Surfer Girl Stakes, she’ll be a big stretch threat this afternoon. 4-Candy Carmel has run par or better for this class level on multiple occasions for trainer Peter Miller and picks up excellent turf pilot Florent Geroux who makes his Del Mar fall closing week meet debut. 12-Ancient Peace is a juvenile filly by War Front who ships in from the Motion barn and attracts Hernandez for unveiling. Her works have been solid.
Race #2: 2-Batukhan (Ire) goes turf to dirt; drops in class; and makes 3rd start off the mini-freshening today for trainer Leonard Powell. The gelding shows a nice 4-furlong work November 28 in preparation for today’s effort. 3-Pittsburgh was an improved runner-up when dropped to this $20k Maiden Claiming level while moving to the main track in last and makes second start off the layoff. 6-Big Brother removes the blinkers today and returns to dirt where he finished a good second behind a next-out winner 3-back at Los Al.
Race #3: 1-Thrump’s Dream (Ire) returns off a 6-month freshening and was a non-threatening sixth and last when overmatched in the G1 Gamely when last seen back in May. The 4-year-old filly has worked well for her return and returns to a level she’s had good success at. 2-Buzz of New York (Ire) is one of two D’Amato-trained fillies entered here and this gal comes off a sharp score in last over next out winner Gillian Elizabeth. She moves up in class in good form and likes this turf course. Her stablemate 7-Macadamia (Brz) has been freshened for this while still looking for her first stateside victory. She was a multiple stakes winner in Brazil and her three southern California grass tries have been solid including running par for this class level in last. 5-Ever Smart is logical threat off strong closing second place finish in last despite a challenging trip at this level. The 5-year-old mare switches to Prat.
Race #4: 1-Tecumseh Caroline looks primed to break through the Maiden ranks in career start number five today for the D’Amato barn coming off a strong second place finish behind repeat winner Doris Mae. The filly owns the field’s best last out main track Beyer (71) which is above par for this class level. 5-Whimsical Heir is by multiple G1 winner Orb who gets 12% with his 3-year-old debuting offspring. This filly debuts for trainer Mark Glatt who is 2 for 25 (8%) with debut runners on DMR dirt. This gal has trained well for her unveiling and attracts Hernandez. 3-A Little Bit Crazy has run several competitive races on both dirt and grass at this level for conditioner Jonathan Wong and exits the same race as top choice.
Race #5: 6-Whatmakessammyrun comes off a career best Beyer (97) in 18/1 upset win in the G2 Eddie D on October 1 on the downhill course. He returned with a sharp :34.2 bullet drill November 26 indicating he remains razor sharp for trainer Mark Glatt. Leading trainer Phil D’Amato has a trio of runners in here. 9-Coulthard (Ire) also exits the Eddie D where he didn’t have the smoothest of trips and has had good prior success over this grass course. His stablemate 7-Turn On The Jets (Ire) moves up to face stakes-caliber foes today but is in in good form and was a winner three-back going 5 furlongs over this strip. Multiple graded stakes placed 2-Lane Way is ultra-consistent for hall of fame connections and should be motoring home late cutting back from 6 1/2 to 5 furlongs.
Race #6: 1-Flame Rider has speed and the rail while finishing second to next-out repeat runaway winner Geezer in last. He’ll be aggressively sent today looking for a wire-to-wire theft. Recent Maiden winner 3-Crowning Gold shows two nice a.m. drills since November 5 score and looks well-positioned for his first start against winners. 5-Mister Beams makes first main track start for Team O’Neill off two encouraging efforts on turf and synthetic.
Race #7: In a race with rapidly developing lightly raced juvenile fillies it seems like an optimum spot to try a price play in the Grade 3 Jimmy Durante Stakes. 2-Quickly Park It comes off a good looking 6-length romp at Golden Gate in the Pike Place Dancer Stakes October 29 and was an upset 32/1 maiden winner over this turf course two-back. She moves inside today; should be able to save a ton of ground and come running late. Most importantly the price will be right. 9-Thebestisyettobe (Ire) goes 2nd time blinkers today off a much-improved 2nd place finish in last. She loses top rider today but gets ample replacement in Umberto Rispoli. She’ll be motoring home late for D’Amato. The daughter of War Front 11-Liguria ships west off Maiden scoring win in New York for trainer Chad Brown and Prat sticks here. She must negotiate the outside draw but appears to have a ton of talent and should get a favorable pace set-up.
Race #8: The lightly raced 4-Spirit of Makena is a 4-year-old son of Ghostzapper who makes only his 3rd career start today for trainer George Papaprodromou. He comes off a field’s best (94) Beyer and is working very well for his return try off a 10-week freshening. 1-Mastering didn’t show much when weakening to fifth in return try October 8 but drops in class today and is reunited with winning rider for Baffert. Improvement likely. 2-Street Ruckus is consistent as they come and just missed by a neck in most recent effort earning a solid (89) Beyer going this mile trip.
Race #9: 9-Wit ships west for Pletcher off a strong runner-up finish at Keeneland in the G3 Bryan Station Stakes where he earned the field’s best last out turf Beyer (91). He’s unproven going this far but every indication thus far is that the additional real estate should be a non-factor. The Practical Joke colt has 8 ITM finishes from 9 career starts. Trainer Graham Motion has three 3-year-olds entered in this edition of the G1 Hollywood Derby. 6-Evan Harlan is the least accomplished of the trio coming off just a recent Maiden score in New York. That was a much-improved effort with the addition of blinkers, and he’s expected to take these as far as he can on the front end. A tough assignment but not impossible. 3-Celestial City ships west off back-to-back wins for McGaughey including a recent sharp win in the G2 Hill Prince earning an impressive (104) TimeformUS late pace figure.