Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 1-Time To Party (Race 7)
Race #1: 3-Shocking Grey stretches out in start number three after two sharp runner-up closing finishes to start her career. This filly is bred to handle a route of ground and has run par or better in both SA outings. She’ll be tough to beat in Sunday’s opener at short odds. 7-Candy On Top makes start number 9 today but stretches back out to a mile today which has produced some of her better efforts with Hernandez aboard. 6-Oat Milk Latte goes dirt to turf; adds blinkers and stretches out for second career start after a non-threatening 3rd in debut. This barn’s stock often improves with a race under their belt.
Race #2: 4-Geezer has won two straight including an impressive looking 8-length romp with top Beyer (76) when facing winners for the first time on October 30. The lone concern is he finished 5th over this track in her debut three-back. 2-Mystic Flyer has improved Beyer-wise with each subsequent start and cuts back to Maiden winning 6-furlong distance this afternoon. 5-Fun Money has been ultra-consistent with a win and 4 runner-up finishes in last 5 starts. She faces males this afternoon.
Race #3: A very challenging optional $40K claiming 1X sprinting on turf for colts and geldings is a mad scramble. 1-Give Me the Lute showed brief speed and collapsed in last when claimed by Peter Miller but could rebound here starting for a career low claiming tag and returning to a venue he’s had past success at. 6-Mesut makes 2nd start off the layoff today and cuts his claiming tag in half. The veteran 8-year-old gelding rarely wins, however, and usually settles for underneath placements. 11-Motorious (GB) is drawn way outside and has been sidelined 7 months for D’Amato. Despite those obstacles he’s a multiple stakes winner in England and this jockey/trainer combo are 3 for 6 (50%) with horses returning off >180 days on grass at DMR. 4-Lovesick Blues earned a career best (92) turf Beyer when going this trip over this oval back in August.
Race #4: 7-Belly Up attracted a ton of wagering support when coming up completely empty in Gulfstream synthetic debut back in September and now makes first start for new conditioner Michael McCarthy. He’s trained well since arriving in southern California and we’re banking that this Into Mischief colt has some ability. 6-Hondo Crouch was snagged for $50k in August debut by trainer Mark Glatt and returns protected nearly 3 months later. This barn is a strong 11 for 35 (31%) with a $2.68 ROI with new acquisitions at Del Mar. 2-Yo Time debuts for D’Amato and Prat and is by multiple G1 winner Smiling Tiger. This barn is, however, only 2 for 29 (7%) with first time starters on dirt at DMR.
Race #5: This optional $40k claiming 1x turf route appears to run through one of the Papaprodromou trained fillies. 6-Lady Clementine is wheeled back on 8 days rest off a troubled trip 3rd and makes third start off the mini-freshening today. 9-Karakatsie drops out of the G2 Goldikova where she finished 3rd to G1 winner Going Global. She’s posted back-to-back solid turf Beyers. 5-Issa Court is lightly raced and has shown the ability to sit and pounce for trainer Dan Blacker. This 4-year-old filly makes only her second start since January and projects to get a favorable stalking journey this afternoon. 1-Annaghlasa (Ire) is one of two Phil D’Amato-trained fillies going to post in here. This gal has speed and the rail and makes 2nd start off the bench today. She’s reunited with winning rider but has yet to prove she can go this far.
Race #6: Graded stakes placed 3-Lady T has been sidelined 3 months for good layoff barn and should return running. She’s posted some of the fastest main track Beyers in the field. Oaklawn shipper 9-Peace Peddler has good speed and aggressive gate rider for new conditioner. She’ll likely take them as far as she can on the front end and her a.m. drills at San Luis Rey have been strong. 10-American Lily is a perfect 2 for 2 for trainer Peter Miller but faces stiffest challenge thus far this afternoon. 1-Del Mar Drama has been freshened and has run equally well on dirt and grass for trainer Eric Kruljac. This 5-year-old mare has worked extremely well for her return.
Race #7: 1-Time to Party moves all the way inside; drops out of the Let It Ride stakes where he dead heated for 5th and makes 2nd start off the claim this afternoon. The 3-year-old gelding owns the field’s best last out grass Beyer (83) and projects to sit a great trip from the rail. 2-Brit’s Wit is likely to improve on the stretch-out this afternoon making his second start off the bench today. 3-Spirit Maker cuts back to winning distance and has been competitive at this level.
Race #8: 1-Azul Coast won this race last year from off the pace for Baffert and makes 3rd start off the bench this afternoon. The 5-year-old likes this racetrack and looms a potential repeater for the mild upset. His stablemate 5-Defunded was a strong 5/1 wire-to-wire winner in the G2 Awesome Again going this 1 1/8-mile trip and is likely to attempt similar tactics this afternoon. 6-Parnelli should get a swift race flow to close into and potentially fill out the underneath exotics.
Race #9: 8-Arrest is the horse to beat in the finale coming off a career best 2nd place finish at this level in last when returning to grass for new barn. Puype is 4 for 13 (31%) with a $2.89 ROI with 2nd off the claim runners on turf so further improvement is well within reach. The gelding projects to get another favorable stalking trip. If you’re willing to forgive his one poor turf start recent Maiden winner 3-Chris Fix has the right running style and grass pedigree to compete here. 4-Hoodlum is a habitual slow starter but hasn’t exactly had the right pace set-ups to flatter his late kick in recent starts. If the projected quick pace comes to fruition in the nightcap, he could potentially fill out the trifecta or superfecta at long odds.