Del Mar (Saturday-8/19/23) By Dean Keppler


Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner

BEST BET: 5-Anisette (GB) (Race 8)

Race #1: 6-Dawn At Last battled gamely on the lead before surrendering late at Pleasanton against better July 1 and now drops back in for a tag for a new barn. Two-back, this filly was a runaway maiden winner at Golden Gate over the synthetic, and she appears well-placed for her first start over the track. Florida invader 2-Dove in Charge slices her claiming tag in half and has worked extremely well over the local footing for her first Southern California start, which includes a sub: 47 gate drill Aug. 12. The last subpar effort by 1-Bella Baby is a toss after a troubled trip where she was wrapped up and walked off the course. The 3-year-old filly has worked three times since that effort and can bounce back here on the significant class drop.

Selections: 6-2-1

Race #2: 4-Seal Team (GB) returns off a nine-month layoff for hall of famer Richard Mandella after an encouraging runner-up finish last fall sprinting over this turf course. The 3-year-old colt by War Front adds Lasix today and has trained well for today’s return try. 6-Smooth Salute came up only a half-length short in his most recent effort July 29, earning the field’s best last-out grass Beyer. 3-Hula Candy shook free too late when stuck behind traffic during the stretch drive exiting the same race as Smooth Salute. He comes in here with an improving Beyer pattern for trainer John Sheriffs and should handle the additional eighth of a mile.

Selections: 4-6-3

Race #3: First off the claim 3-Smuggler’s Run wasn’t far behind repeat winner Sawasdee July 9 when finishing third and now adds blinkers for the first start for new connections. This jockey-trainer combo is 4 for 12 (33%) with a $2.53 ROI for the past 3 years with new barn acquisitions. 6-Established is a multiple winner over the track and distance and earned a field’s best last-out (87) Beyer with runner-up finish July 30 when flashing good early zip. The 6-year-old gelding would be a handful if able to run back to that number this afternoon. 1-Fratelli goes turf to dirt for trainer Ron Ellis and makes his second start off the long layoff. Improvement is likely.

Selections: 3-6-1

Race #4: 1-Mocha Grande didn’t show much on her July 22 debut but adds blinkers and switches to turf for her second career start today for trainer John Sadler who has some solid stats with this maneuver. Her sire Uncle Mo gets a respectable 15% with his turf route runners and this filly can improve substantially breaking from the rail with excellent turf rider. 5Ennereilly (Ire) makes her first stateside start for D’Amato off an encouraging second-place finish June 14 in a bulky field that’s already produced multiple next-out winners. This barn excels with these import types, and the addition of Umberto Rispoli in the saddle adds to the appeal. 2-Beads heads east for top turf conditioner Graham Motion and makes the all-important third career start for her Southern California unveiling. The filly stretches out and moves back to the turf.

Selections: 1-5-2

Race #5: The lightly raced 6-Mango Moon flashed good speed through some snappy fractions before tiring late June 25 and now drops into a softer spot for trainer Dean Pederson where she is a serious gate-to-wire threat. 3-Sugar Sugar is only 1 for 19 but makes the first start off the claim for trainer Sergio Morfin who has had an excellent meet thus far from limited starters. 2-R Girl’s Werth It returns off a nine-month hiatus but has trained very well in her a.m. drills, gets in light, and moves back to the main track.

Selections: 6-3-2

Race #6: 1-Hit the Road is winless since March 2021 but drops into a much softer spot this afternoon for trainer Dan Blacker coming off a solid turf Beyer (93) for this level from an impossible post. The 6-year-old moves all the way inside this afternoon and is 6 for 13 going this mile trip. This looks like a good spot to turn things around. 5-Evening Sun (GB) never got on track from far back after returning from an extended layoff for trainer Jeff Mullins July 23 but is eligible to move forward this afternoon making his second start off the bench. 11-Sarwar (Fr) is drawn outside but steps up off sharp score July 22 and continues to improve since arriving stateside for conditioner Leonard Powell.

Selections: 1-5-11

Race #7: 3-Hope Road finished in a dead heat for second in her lone start July 22, earning a solid debut Beyer figure. This daughter of Quality Road holds valuable racing experience over several of these and should appreciate stretching out to six-and-a-half furlongs. 5-Timely Arrival doesn’t come in off a flashy work tab but is by Violence, who gets a strong 20% with his juvenile debuting prodigy, and this lucrative jockey-trainer combo is 4 for 11 (36%) with a $5.18 ROI the past 5 years with first-time starters. 7-Flynn’s Chance is a $650K Keeneland purchase by Medaglia d’Oro, who gets 12% with his 2-year-old debuting prodigy. This Spendthrift farm filly looked sharp in morning drills. 1-Tamara must negotiate the rail draw but hails from Hall of Fame connections, and her sire Bolt d’Oro gets 18% with his debuting 2-year-old runners. Smith is 3 for 15 (20%) with a $4/03 ROI for the past 5 years with this barn’s first-time starters.

Selections: 3-5-7

Race #8: 5-Anisette (GB) was visually impressive drawing away from the grade 2 San Clemente field July 22 and a repeat looks well within reach for Rispoli and Powell. This lightly raced 3-year-old import sports the field’s best last-out grass Beyer (87). The undefeated 7-Big Pond stretches out for his first grass attempt and could find himself bounding away on an uncontested lead. 6-Impact Warrior (Ire) rallied for second in a short field for D’Amato in first stateside start earning a competitive Beyer for this group.

Selections: 5-7-6

Race #9: 3-Man On the Moon steps up off sharp win in first start back in Southern California since 2021 and now makes his initial start for a barn that clicks over 30% with new acquisitions. 5-Tone Feelin flashed speed and tired through some challenging fractions July 21 and can rebound here with a better trip. 7-Universal Payday makes first start off the Papaprodromou claim off a fast-closing second exiting the same race as Tone Feelin. A logical threat right back off that encouraging effort.

Selections: 3-5-7

Race #10: 6-El Potente has won three straight for trainer Dan Blacker and has trained extremely well since last April score. A logical threat for a fourth consecutive win. 4-Tio Magic makes the second start off the six-month freshening coming off a strong third-place closing effort July 22 and career-best Beyer. A forward move would make him tough once again in this spot for top turf barn. 5-Baj projects to be forwardly placed here and makes his third start off the bench today for trainer John Sadler. This gelding’s Beyers are on an upward swing.  

Selections: 6-4-5

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