Del Mar (Saturday-8/26/23) By Dean Keppler

Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner

BEST BET: 7-Principe Carlo (Race 8)

Race #1: 3-Fordy G should sit a perfect stalking trip behind likely frontrunner Brazen Bull. The gelding drops from $50,000 to $20k claiming tag and switches to Maldonado. A beaten favorite in his last start 7-Brazen Bull drops in for a career-low claiming tag for new conditioner Librado Barocio. The gelding has flashed speed in all three career starts and has run some of the better speed figures from this group of 3-year-olds. The cutback to 5 ½ furlongs should help. 1-Cupid’s Crusader hasn’t shown much thus far but moves back to the main track on the class drop and can improve in this softer spot.

Selections: 3-7-1

Race #2: 5-Castleknock comes off a career-best grass Beyer off a better-than-looks third place finish Aug. 10 and is reunited with winning rider. 3-Rolling On co-tops the field’s best last-out grass Beyer with Castleknock. A quick turnaround is likely a positive sign. A beaten favorite in last 8-Devil Moon has six runner-up finishes from 14 starts and comes off a good second at this level July 27.

Selections: 5-3-8

Race #3: 2-Slam Diego was a sharp winner going 7 furlongs July 30 and now goes first off the claim for conditioner Dean Pederson. This filly earned above par for this class level in the last win and looks primed to take two straight for the new barn. 8-Pequena Tormenta drops her claiming tag in half for Mullins after a subpar performance July 28 but has worked extremely well since that last effort, including back-to-back 4-furlong bullet drills. 3-Everlys Girl goes first off the claim for Mulhall off a third place finish Aug. 10 over next-out winner Fried Asparagus. This barn is, however, 0 for 14 with new acquisitions at DMR.

Selections: 2-8-3

Race #4: Baffert’s million-dollar colt 5-Mirahmadi was a beaten favorite in the first two starts and now stretches out for today’s third career try. The Into Mischief colt continues to fire bullets in his a.m. drills. His stablemate 3-Point Dume stretches out in start number two off a non-threatening fourth-place finish Aug. 12. This colt’s sire Into Mischief gets a strong 19% with his dirt route runners, and barn has strong overall numbers with their second-time starters. 7-Sense is by multiple grade 1 winner Street Sense debuting for Hall of Fame connections. This lucrative jockey-trainer combo is 4 for 16 (25%) with a $4.29 ROI for the past 5 years with first-time starters. This colt has a pair of 6-furlong stamina drills that catch the eye.

Selections: 5-3-7

Race #5: East Coast invader 4-Arina (Ger) flashed speed and tired over the yielding footing July 4 at Belmont but can rebound here in first Southern California start for conditioner Leonard Powell. The grade 3 winner overseas cuts back to her preferred mile trip and her efforts two and three-back fit well against this group. 6-Freedom Lass makes third start of the form cycle with an improving Byer pattern for trainer Phil D’Amato. Her stablemate 1-Kitty Katana (GB) was a beaten favorite in the last three starts but returns to the DMR grass, where she’s had good success, and this filly is likely to work out a more favorable journey from the rail.

Selections: 4-6-1

Race #6: 4-Paco’s Pico has not been out since April but has trained extremely well locally since arriving from South Florida and is 6 for 7 ITM going six furlongs. The 4-year-old gelding should sit a favorable stalking trip directly behind the frontrunners and poses a solid chance to break through here for the mild upset. 5-My Man Bags returns to the main track after a subpar performance sprinting on grass Aug. 5. The gelding was a winner of three of four races prior to that last effort earning par or better for this class level. 1-Houndstooth has not been out in 10 months for trainer Steve Miyadi, but this barn has strong numbers with these long layoff types, and the recent “best of 94” 5-furlong drill Aug. 13 indicates this 6-year-old gelding is ready to roll off the bench.

Selections: 4-5-1

Race #7: Dirt to turf 1-Uncle Reg is unproven on grass but comes off a pair of sharp main track efforts with an improving Beyer pattern and has speed from the rail. The 3-year-old colt has enough turf pedigree to make the transition successfully and switches to leading rider Juan Hernandez. 5-Quintecents has been off for roughly nine months but has hit the board in four of five grass starts running par for this class level. The gelding has trained well for the new barn and has already proven he can run well fresh. 8-Collect Dis Money ships west for new conditioner Doug O’Neill off two in-the-money finishes on events that were washed off the grass.

Selections: 1-5-8

Race #8: 7-Principe Carlo is a three-time winner over this course and ran extremely well off the 11-month freshening to finish a tiring sixth July 22 after dueling gamely on the front end. He followed up that sharp effort with a “best of 187” 4-furlong drill in :46.4 Aug. 19. 4-Arham makes the third start off the extended layoff for trainer Vladimir Cerin and is 1 for 1 over this racetrack. 1Desmond Doss drops in class and is reunited with winning rider. The veteran 7-year-old should appreciate the return to 6 furlongs.

Selections: 7-4-1

Race #9: The projected pace setter 1-Speed Lane moves all the way inside this afternoon and should be able to establish a comfortable lead on the front end. The 5-year-old mare is 1 for 19 but might be tough to reel in late if allowed to settle at a reasonable tempo. 3-Musical Rhapsody (Ire) was a troubled trip beaten favorite July 27 in her first stateside start for D’Amato and can improve with a cleaner journey. The 4-year-old filly was a three-time winner overseas. Her stablemate 9-Lakota Spirit is drawn outside and makes first start for D’Amato after being transferred over from the Chad Brown barn. She showed some decent ability out east and lures Hernandez for first start in Southern California.

Selections: 1-3-9

Race #10: The multiple graded stakes winner 6-Brickyard Ride shortens up to 7 furlongs (a distance he’s handled successfully in the past) and is reunited with Hernandez, who’s been aboard for six of his 13 career wins. The lightly raced 7-Spirit of Makena lost all chance in the grade 1 Bing Crosby when checked out of the race on the turn. He can rebound today with a cleaner trip and returns to a distance where he’s 2 for 2. 9-Anarchist came up just a neck short in the Bing Crosby and will try to negotiate an additional furlong this afternoon for Team O’Neill. The 4-year-old colt began his career 0 for 3 over the tricky 7-furlong distance.

Selections: 6-7-9

Race #11: 8-Russells Hustle is 0 for 12 but has run races faster enough to beat this suspect group and has had a handful of troubled trips on the resume. The 3-year-old gelding might finally be able to put it all together this afternoon and run these down late. 9-Crpto Man improved his speed figures by nearly 20 points when returning off a layoff and dropped in for a tag. The gelding must negotiate an outside draw but owns the field’s best last-out grass Beyer. 7-Gaelic Nation (Ire) comes off an 8-month freshening with the addition of Lasix after showing little in both U.S. starts. The colt drops in for a first-time

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