Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 7-Shemakescents (Race #2)
Race #1: Lone Star shipper 7-Horn of Plenty has won 3 of his last 4 for trainer Rachael Keithan and is a perfect 3 for 3 at this trip. The gelding appears well-spotted here and arrives to Southern California in top form. 2-Established returns to Del Mar where he’s had good prior success; comes off a solid win at Churchill; and makes the all-important 3rd start off the layoff this afternoon. He co-tops the field’s best last out Beyer (79) for his new conditioner. Today’s likely pacesetter 6-Luck’s Royal Flush goes 2nd off the claim for Miyadi but might be pushing his limitations stretching out to 6 ½ furlongs.
Race #2: Beaten favorite 7-Shemakescents is on the improve and takes a significant class plunge from $50k to $20k Maiden Claimers today for D’Amato. She makes the all-important 3rd start off the layoff today; has good positional speed; and has an encouraging 5-furlong work since last start. Today’s Best Bet. 1-Big Jolt showed good speed before tiring to finish second in most recent start at Plainfield where this filly earned a respectable (59) Beyer. She drops back down to Maiden Claimers today and trainer Andy Mathis is 7 for 23 (30%) the past 2 years with MDSW to MDCLM droppers. 6-Warren’s Show Bizz has hit the board in 4 consecutive starts and has an excellent chance of doing so again this afternoon. This filly is now 0 for 7, however, and running out of excuses.
Race #3: 2-Karakatsie returns west and was hardly disgraced when finishing 4th in the Grade 2 San Clemente last summer behind Grade 1 winner Going Global. The 4-year-old filly draws well; makes her 3rd start off the bench; and adds Lasix today on the class drop. 5-Fearless Girl has been very competitive at this level in the past and comes off the mini-freshening for jockey/trainer combo that have had good success (12 for 34-35%/$3.20 ROI) over this turf course. 12-Kittyhawk Lass has a tough post assignment but has run well off similar layoffs in the past and is a multiple winner over the track and distance for trainer Ron Ellis. Today’s expected lively pace should help her chances.
Race #4: Gulfstream shipper 3-Otter Pop holds valuable racing experience edge over the rest of this field with runner-up finish over the South Florida synthetic track May 26. The 2-year-old filly is by multiple Grade 1 dirt winning sprinter Lord Nelson and Hess is a strong 4 for 12 (33%) with a robust $6 ROI with second time starters. 11-Halosnheaven is a daughter of champion multiple Grade 1 winner Curlin and hails from the Baffert barn off typical snappy a.m. drills. She attracts Santa Anita’s leading rider for debut. 1-Right Reasons is by prolific sire Into Mischief and has trained well for Del Mar unveiling. This jockey/trainer combo scored with firster Empire Girl here last fall.
Race #5: 3-Handy Dandy is extremely consistent and returns off the mini-freshening for Miller off a steady and encouraging worktab. This 3-year-old gelding broke his Maiden over this turf course at 25/1 last November and is since gone on to be multiple stakes-placed on grass. 7-Unconquerable Keen (Ire) is unproven going this far but adds Lasix for his U.S unveiling and the D’Amato barn typically does extremely well with these grass imports. First time gelding 11-Durante is drawn outside but has enough gate speed to get adequate position early on moving back to the turf for trainer Doug O’Neill. She broke her Maiden here over the main track last November.
Race #6: Back-to-back runner up finishes makes 6-Tom Bombadil the one to beat in here as he returns to level of claim from two-back for trainer Ron Ellis on the cutback. This barn is a strong 6 for 16 (38%) with a $5.46 ROI with 2nd off the claim runners. 1-Superman Shaq goes first off the claim for trainer George Papaprodromou who is 3 for 9 (33%) at Del Mar with new acquisitions. He drops from $25k to $16k (which would normally be a concern), but this is Del Mar after all so the class plunge is more forgiving at this pristine meet. He’s run par for this class level on multiple occasions. Class dropping 9-Warrens Candy Man has never been offered this cheaply and goes turf to dirt on the cutback today for conditioner Craig Lewis. This 4-year-old gelding will be a big price and should get a lively race flow to close into. 8-Sumo will attract plenty of tote support and unlike our top choice is taking an unprecedented class plummet from $50k to bottom-level $16 claimers for Team Baffert. This colt could certainly crush these at low odds but he’s the type of runner that’s always a play against in our book.
Race #7: 7-Fun Money lost all chance after stumbling badly at the start losing her rider June 4 but flashed decent speed in Kentucky slop debut where she finished an encouraging 3rd back in May. Hernandez seems fit to try her again for Team O’Neill and her racing experience should serve her well in this spot. 8-Yvonne’s Miss was a good second at Golden Gate over a next-out winner in debut and looms a strong chance in here moving to the main track for trainer Jonathan Wong. This filly is by multiple Grade 2 winner Bucchero who is off to fast start with his prodigy (8-2-4-1). 3-Cholly has been training very well for unveiling for trainer Ryan Hanson who has had some recent success with his debut runners. Her “best of 69” 4-furlong gate drill in :47.1 especially catches the eye.
Race #8: 6-The Big Wam is the obvious chalk in here holding the experience edge over several runners and coming off back-to-back runner-up finishes in Kentucky including a 2nd in the $200k Kentucky Juvenile Stakes at Churchill. This barn has done well here and reaches out to top jockey Juan Hernandez for this. 8-Reign of Speed had a sharp debut flashing speed before tiring to 3rd and is likely to move forward in career start number two. Trainer Ryan Hanson is 3 for 12 (25%) the past 2 years with 2nd time starters at Del Mar. 9-Charbonneau adds blinkers for career start number three and is on the improve.
Race #9: The graded stakes placed 4-Avenue de France prefers distances longer than 1 mile but could catch a lively flow to run into if Flier happens to run off here through some taxing fractions. The 6-year-old mare is 6 for 19 lifetime and comes off a career best Beyer (88). This lucrative jockey/trainer combo are 13 for 44 (30%) with $2.85 ROI the past 2 years. Trainer Phil D’Amato has a trio of runners represented in here. 2-Hamwood Flier flashed good early zip in impressive looking victory in lone U.S. start and now moves up top face stakes-caliber foes in the $100k Osunitas. The speedy sort has drilled sharply in the a.m. since then and looks like a strong threat right back. The D’Amato mare 6-Carpe Vinum is also coming off a career best Beyer sharing top honors with our top choice and has the field’s best late kick TimeformUS pace figure (106). She’s a multiple winner at the mile trip.
Race #10: The veteran 8-year-old gelding 2-CZ Rocket adds blinkers off the 7-month freshening for trainer Peter Miller and is the class of this field. He’s run well off the layoff in the past and is 3 for 3 at 6 ½ furlongs. 4-I Got No Munny is also returning off an extended layoff for trainer Mark Glatt but has trained well for return and fired off some strong efforts here last summer including back-to-back (91) Beyers. 8-Arkaan moves back to a sprint for shrewd barn and could land a share of this at a juicy price.
Race #11: The blockbuster Saturday card concludes with the robust competitive Grade 2 San Clemente Stakes. There’s a full field of thirteen 3-year-old fillies in this scrambler of a nightcap. 1-Lady T is unproven on grass but has speed and the rail and comes off a good second in the Grade 2 Summertime Oaks at Santa Anita. She’s bred to handle the surface change and has been 1st or 2nd in 6 of 7 career starts. Of the four Phil D’Amato trained fillies in here 8-Island of Love (Ire) holds the recency edge and comes off back-to-back solid tries. Her escalating Beyer speed figures indicate today could be her career best effort. 2-Countess Rosina (Ire) has done nothing wrong since arriving from Newmarket winning two of three for trainer Jeff Mullins and appears ready to tackle graded-stake types. She gets a cozy post in here.