Del Mar (Saturday-8/12/23) By Dean Keppler

Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner

BEST BET: 5-Carmen Miranda (Race 7)

Race #1: The Saturday opener doesn’t appear (at least on paper) to have much early speed and that could help the chances of 1-Free and Humble who adds blinkers, moves inside and cuts back to a mile. This filly was third against similar in her last effort July 22 and owns the field’s best last-out turf Beyer. 3-Havana Angel (Ire) drops a notch, makes second start off the mini-freshening, and stretches back out this afternoon for trainer Leonard Powell. Florida invader 4-Sherlyn Go Go makes first start for the Mullins barn and the second turf attempt. She appears appropriately placed for her first Southern California start.

Selections: 1-3-4

Race #2: 1-Direct Line returns off an 8-month layoff but is a multiple winner over the track and distance and has proven he can fire fresh for trainer Peter Eurton. The gelding is reunited with winning rider and worked well for today’s return try. 7-Mastering was a beaten odds-on favorite in the last start at Los Al July 9 but drops back down for a tag today and should be tough to beat at this reduced level. 8-Cyberviking goes first off the claim for the Papaprodromou barn off a good closing effort when just missing the place spot. This barn is 3 for 11 (27%) in the past 5 years with new acquisitions at DMR.

Selections: 1-7-8

Race #3: 2-Den of Iniquity (GB) has shown ability in Ireland with 3 ITM finishes and appears well-meant today for her first stateside start for trainer Michael McCarthy. The filly adds Lasix, is by multiple grade 1 winner Roaring Lion, and lures Hernandez for her first U.S. start. Another import is 3-Night Blue for the D’Amato barn. This filly appears to be on the improve for her first start on American soil and comes in with an encouraging work tab. 1-Irish Rose showed improved speed on the stretch-out in last and moves to the rail today for Drysdale off an improving Beyer pattern. She’s likely to work out a favorable trip from here.

Selections: 2-3-1

Race #4: 2-Ever a Rebel was crushed in the Oceanside, finishing 13th and last, but now moves back to the main track into this softer spot and should rebound for D’Amato. The 3-year-old colt shows a nice 4-furlong bullet work for this July 31. 8-Sir London has been plagued by layoff lines but makes the second start off the bench today off a solid runner-up finish July 3 and stretches back out to a mile. 4-Oviatt Class is not the colt he once was in 2021, but he makes the third start of the form cycle this afternoon and has had decent success over this racetrack.  

Selections: 2-8-4

Race #5: 3-Hayley Amber finished a decent third on July 8 debut at Los Al, earning the field’s best main track Beyer and this barn has strong numbers with their second-time starters. 4-Smile Baby Smile exits the same race as the top choice when finishing a clear second while defeating a handful of these same fillies. She now makes the all-important 3rd career start for conditioner Andy Mathis and is the one to beat. 5-Hot Danzing is by Danzing Candy, who gets 16% with his 2-year-old debuting prodigy, and this jockey/trainer combo has had good success.

Selections: 3-4-5

Race #6: 3-Dua was a game debut winner July 22 and Hernandez sticks here after riding both this filly and Benedetta to maiden victories at first asking. Trainer Bob Baffert has won the grade 3 Sorrento seven times and this daughter of Arrogate should only improve as the distances increase. 8-Bendetta was a sharp gate-to-wire winner July 8 over next-out winner Tambo and has trained smartly since that debut win for Simon Callaghan. She gets a cozy outside draw. 7-Ur in Trouble finished a strong closing second while dead heating when finishing behind Dua and would be the beneficiary of a contested early pace for Team O’Neill.

Selections: 3-8-7

Race #7: 5Carmen Miranda comes off a career-best grass Beyer and projects to sit a favorable stalking trip just off the frontrunners. She shows a sharp 4-furlong turf drill on July 30 in preparation for this. 4-Stressed showed speed and faded in Lone Star stake back on June 24 and now drops back down into an allowance where he won back-to-back tries at Santa Anita over the spring. 8-Runninwiththeboyz goes route to sprint for Mullins and should be motoring home late on the cutback.

Selections: 5-4-8

Race #8: 8-Pastor T (By Into Mischief) debuts for Baffert off a stylish work tab and lures Hernandez for today’s unveiling. The colt has speed, is nicely drawn outside, and could be long gone here with an alert break. His stablemate 6-Point Dume is also by Into Mischief and shows the barn’s typical speedy drills for today’s first seaside start. This jockey/trainer combo is 5 for 10 (50%) with a $3.06 ROI with first-time starters the past 2 years and scored with Curlin firster Mission Beach August 5. If the Baffert pair don’t fire 1-Sir Maximus is a legitimate alternative. The colt has worked well for hot barn and his sire Maximus Mischief is an impressive 9 for 32 (28%) with his juvenile debuting prodigy.

Selections: 8-6-1

Race #9: 5-Lucky Girl (Ire) ran exceptionally well when returning off a 9-month layoff on July 22 for D’Amato while breaking from the far outside. The filly settled nicely at the rear of the pack (next to last) chasing a fast pace and unleashed a strong rally behind a wall of horses at the top of the stretch. She checked badly when cut off late and then re-rallied to closes stoutly finishing ahead of the race winner on the gallop-out. Her stablemate 4-School Dance drops out of the grade 1 Gamely when tiring on the front end but will likely revert to stalking tactics this afternoon on the slight cutback in distance. 1-Closing Remarks has been freshened for this and is proven over this DMR turf course. The 5-year-old mare draws the rail and should work out a favorable trip with Rispoli.

Selections: 5-4-1

Race #10: 12-James Gang has speed, is drawn outside and this barn clicks over 40% with runners starting in claiming races < $40k. It took Florida invader 2-Kislovodsk 12 starts to break through the maiden ranks, but the colt looks appropriately placed for the first start against winners and is worth a try in a competitive nightcap. 7-Missed Call adds blinkers off the Kristen Mulhall claim off an even fourth-place finish July 22. This barn traditionally has solid numbers with new acquisitions, but is 0 for 12 at Del Mar, however.

Selections: 12-2-7

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