Del Mar (Saturday-9/9/23) By Dean Keppler

Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner

BEST BET: 9-Tamara (Race 10)

Race #1: 9-Asian Matriarch lost all chance Aug. 19 when stumbling badly at the start, but the filly is eligible to bounce back today making the all-important third career start, adding blinkers, and dropping back in for a tag. Her debut effort was solid when finishing third, and she returned to fire a nice 5-furlong bullet drill Aug. 30. 6-Beau Soleil steps up off the Jorge Periban claim after flashing good speed and finishing second in both career efforts—one locally and the other at Gulfstream. 1-Dreaming of Hope debuts for Sadler and Hernandez off some encouraging a.m. drills but her grade 1-winning sire Mastery is only 5 for 120 (4%) with his 2-year-old debuting prodigy.

Selections: 9-6-1

Race #2: The Diodoro barn hasn’t had the claiming success they’ve had at other venues going only 2 for 21 (10%) the past two years at Del Mar, but 8-Tenacious Lady drops from $25k to $16,000 today coming off a career-best Beyer (61) after just missing the place spot July 30. 2-Mango Moon has run well in all three career starts and now goes first off the claim for trainer Bob Hess after just missing by a nose Aug. 19 when finishing in front of a pair of the same runners she faces this afternoon. 1-Blackened makes the third start of the form cycle of an improving Beyer pattern.

Selections: 8-2-1

Race #3: This looks like an extremely wide-open MDSW for juvenile fillies going 5 ½ furlongs over the main track. Perhaps the early wagering will give us an indication of which gal has some ability. 4-Envisioned is by Standford who gets a solid 16% with his 2-year-old debuting offspring and the Peter Eurton barn has sent out several live runners the entire meet. Maldonado (an aggressive gate pilot) adds to the appeal. 5-Madison Rae is by grade winner Pavel debuting off some solid drills for Miller and Hernandez. This jockey-trainer combo is only 1 for 19 with debut runners, however, but they do have 11 ITM finishes. 3-Naida is by He Be Fire N Ice (who is 0 for 20 with his juvenile debuting prodigy), but this filly has trained with a purpose in her a.m. morning drills.

Selections: 4-5-3

Race #4: 5-Slider owns the experience edge over several of these colts off an encouraging runner-up finish to a Baffert buzzsaw named Heartland who fired a (90) Beyer on July 29 debut. This colt by Jimmy Creed earned a (85) Beyer speed figure for his unveiling and has returned to fire a “best of 69” 5-furlong gate drill in :59.2 Sept. 3. Team Baffert sends out 3-Divino and 7-Utopia. The former is a $400k purchase by Good Magic, and the latter is a $350K acquisition by Curlin. Both colts arrive on the scene with the barn’s typical snappy a.m. drills.

Selections: 5-3-7

Race #5: 6-Angiolleta (Ire) was visually impressive rallying from off the pace for the win July 29 in her first start in the United States. This filly has come back to work four times since that encouraging stateside unveiling for Team O’Neill. The runner-up in that same event was 9Loterie (Ire) who was also making her first stateside start for D’Amato when finishing second despite heavy traffic troubles. She had a decent run when finally shaking free and is by overseas multiple grade 1 winner Ten Sovereigns (Ire). 1-Flattery flew home from far back to take Maiden win for trainer Peter Eurton and jockey Juan Hernandez. This filly’s Beyer came up a tad light, however.

Selections: 6-9-1

Race #6: 5-Colt Fiction may have bounced in his most recent start Aug. 26 after firing back-to-back (90) Beyer figures and now drops in class off that last subpar performance. This 5-time winner at Del Mar can beat these if able to rebound and return to one of his prior efforts from two and three-back. Florida invader 2-Paco’s Pico slashes his claiming tag in half and should improve having had a race over the track. The gelding has run par or better for this class level in multiple starts at Gulfstream. 4-Jalen Journey takes a sizable class hike off a sharp win against lesser Aug. 6—a race that’s since produced three next-out winners.

Selections: 5-2-4

Race #7: The Yellow Ribbon winner 4-Closing Remarks notched her second grade 2 grass win for conditioner Carla Gaines with that last victory when expertly handled by jockey Umberto Rispoli. This gal has returned with two sharp turf drills since that victory and a repeat is well within reach. She loves this turf course. 6-Turnerloose wanted no part of being wrangled in and rated in the YR when making the first start off an extended layoff and is likely to employ different tactics this afternoon racing on or close to the lead. D’Amato’s other filly 3-Oakhurst defeated multiple stakes winner Eddie’s New Dream when returning off a 5 ½-month layoff and has trained steadily the last several weeks for today’s move back up into graded stakes competition.

Selections: 4-6-3

Race #8: 10-The Bullion Bomber (Ire) comes off four consecutive runner-up finishes for hot barn, and perhaps he can sit a favorable stalking trip and pounce in a field that appears (at least on paper) to be top-heavy with need-the-lead-types. 11-Worth Looking goes first off the claim for low-profile connections but appears to be on the improve, is lightly raced, and might be able to sit back and make a strong late bid into a fast pace. 1-Storm the Night co-tops the field’s best last-out main track Beyer with sharp looking $50K Maiden Claiming score Aug. 17. The gelding moves all the way to the rail with good gate speed and projects to work out another decent trip. 13-Houndstooth draws into the race making his second start off the bench after finishing a decent third off a 10-month freshening. He’s another who figures to be helped by a swift early race flow.

Selections: 10-11-1

Race #9: 2-Seal Time (GB) steps up off sharp-looking Maiden victory Aug. 19 and projects to get another favorable closing trip with a fair amount of speed signed on this afternoon.  The hard-knocking colt 3-Seven Wonders cuts back to a mile off three decent ITM finishes facing similar. A beaten favorite in three of his last four starts 7-Aligato has trained well for his first start in six months for Glatt and Hernandez.

Selections: 2-3-7

Race #10: 9-Tamara overcame a bad debut start from the rail to win going away for Hall of Fame connections and should appreciate moving outside this afternoon for her second career start. The Bolt d’Oro filly came back to drill 3 furlongs in :34.4 Sept. 4. The Gun Runner filly 6-Chatalas looked good running down runner-up in Maiden score July 30, and 7 furlongs looks well within her reach. It’s difficult to knock undefeated 7-Dreamfyre who has a pair of solid wins including her last in the grade 3 Sorrento. There’s no reason to believe she can’t carry that speed an additional furlong.

Selections: 9-6-7

Race #11: D’Amato import 1-Sea of Cortez (Ire) has not been out since an encouraging runner-up finish at Dundalk in November 2022 but draws well for his first stateside start with Lasix off an inspiring work tab. This gelding’s sire Caravaggio was a multiple group 1 winner overseas. 8-Chay’s Tornado comes off a good runner-up finish for Baffert after stretching out in start number two and appears primed for top effort making the all-important third career start. Likely heavy favorite 6-Spycatcher drops back down into the Maiden ranks off two runner-up placements against graded stakes competition in 2022 but hasn’t been out in 9 months for conditioner Mark Glatt.

Selections: 1-8-6

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