Del Mar (Sunday-9/10/23) By Dean Keppler


Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner

BEST BET: 7-Boltage (Race 7)

Today is closing day for what’s been another marvelous 2023 Del Mar meet! A special thanks to those who followed along and supported the section and the site itself throughout the summer. The six-day Los Alamitos Thoroughbred season will begin Friday, Sept. 15, and continue through Sunday, Sept. 24. Racing will be conducted Friday-Sunday (Sept. 15-17 and Sept. 22-24) both weeks. The post time will be 1 p.m. PT.

Race #1: Dirt to turf class-dropping 9-Calabrian Queen has enough main track breeding to suggest she can successfully make the surface switch and she’s nicely drawn outside with good positional speed for Team O’Neill. This filly makes the third start of the form cycle. 7-Yolo Calls showed improved early zip when switched to the main track and dropped in for a first-time tag Aug. 18. The 4-year-old filly by Exaggerator plunges to the bottom $20k Maiden Claiming level this afternoon while making her second start off the bench. 2-Dorine’s Wild Cat slices her claiming tag in half and shows a sharp 3-furlong bullet drill since her last start Sept. 7.

Selections: 9-7-2

Race #2: 3-Mirinda is by multiple grade 1 winner Mitole who debuts for trainer Gary Mandella and jockey Mike Smith off some snappy a.m. drills. 4-Only One America attracted solid tote support on July 29 debut try while encountering some trouble along the way. The juvenile filly has worked four times since that effort and is eligible to improve in this spot. 1-Ebok’s Dream Girl must negotiate the rail draw again this afternoon but ran on well to finish third (beaten only a length) in promising debut July 22. Rispoli and Sadler have solid stats overall with second-time starters.

Selections: 3-4-1

Race #3: Recent Maiden winner 3-Mega Moon comes off a career-best turf Beyer and appears appropriately placed for his first crack against winners for trainer Peter Miller.  2-Greenbow is a habitual slow starter for Mandella but makes the second start off the bench today and has two recent bullet drills Sept. 1 and 7 that catch the eye. 7-Battle Call steps up off a solid, bang-up runner-up finish Aug. 3 and gets a fairly significant jockey upgrade to Hector Berrios.

Selections: 3-2-7

Race #4: 1-Nothing Like You removes the blinkers today off a solid debut try Aug. 6. This lucrative jockey/trainer combo clicks close to 50% with their second-time starters at Del Mar. 3Sandy Bottom is by multiple grade 1 winner Omaha Beach who is a strong 6 for 29 (20%) with his 2-year-old debuting prodigy. This filly arrives on the scene with a strong work tab including a “best of 92” 4-furlong drill Sept. 3. 4-Ur in Trouble was overmatched in the grade 3 Sorrento in the most recent effort Aug. 12 when a well-beaten fifth– but can rebound in this softer spot for Team O’Neill. The filly finished in a dead heat for second in her July 22 debut posting a (72) main track Beyer.

Selections: 1-3-4

Race #5: The expectations are high for Baffert firster 5-Lake Superior (By Quality Road) who cost slightly over $1 million at the Keeneland September sale. This 2-year-old colt has worked exceptionally well in his morning drills and attracts Hernandez for today’s closing-day unveiling. 2-Sharpazano returns as a gelding after flashing solid speed on Aug. 3 debut before tiring to finish fourth and now stretches out to two turns in second career start for trainer Mark Glatt. 7-Ngannou is by grade 1 winner Mendelssohn who gets an average 12% with his juvenile debuting prodigy. This colt has shown some ability during morning works for conditioner Michael McCarthy.

Selections: 5-2-7

Race #6: The lightly raced 4-Super Chief has run three solid outings for trainer Librado Barocio. The 5-year-old adds blinkers today after coming up just a nose short against similar Aug. 11. 7-Windribbon was third behind the top choice in last, and both tries over the DMR main track have been solid. Turf to dirt 2-Let’s Acclimate adds blinkers today after flashing speed and tiring returning off an 11-month hiatus for trainer Phil D’Amato. His main track-winning Beyer of (80) back in September 2022 certainly matches up well here if he can somehow regain that old form back on the dirt.

Selections: 4-7-2

Race #7: 3-Boltage dismantled his competition in start number two drawing off to nearly a six-length score when stretched out and moved to turf. The Bolt d’Oro colt followed up that win with a sharp 3-furlong drill Sept. 4. His good positional speed makes him a solid repeat threat. 8-Endlessly is one of three Michael McCarthy-trained 2-year-old colts lined up here for the grade 3 Del Mar Juvenile Turf. This son of multiple grade 1 winner Oscar Performance powered away late when shaking free in his July 30 debut. His stablemate 5Sea Singer (Ire) arrives stateside off a game, nose victory at Leopardstown and appears to have some ability. He picks up hot rider.

Selections: 3-8-5

Race #8: 3-Two Rivers Over moves back to the main track for Team O’Neil and this 3-year-old gelding powered away to an impressive allowance score two-back with a (85) Beyer. He figures to get another live race flow to close into and should offer some value in this very contentious N1X optional $40k claimer. 2-Devil Be Me successfully stretched out to win his third straight for D’Amato Aug. 13 and projects to be on or close to the lead again this afternoon looking for win number four since returning off a long layoff. 5-Mastering was a solid winner at this trip facing similar Aug. 12 and now goes first off the claim for trainer Steve Knapp who has above average numbers with new barn purchases.

Selections: 3-2-5

Race #9: The undefeated 6-Bolden hasn’t been seen since posting an impressive (103) turf Beyer when victorious last June when moved to grass. The D’Amato 5-year-old has trained well for today’s return try and attracts Pratt to handle the riding services. This lucrative jockey/trainer combo is 5 for 9 (56%) with a $3.09 ROI with turf horses returning off >180 days at Del Mar. 7-Mister Iceman came up just a neck short in a sharp effort Aug. 17 when making his grass debut finishing in front of a pair of the same runners he faces again this afternoon. Hernandez takes over Maldonado 1-Sawsadee has good speed and the rail coming off an impressive 5-furlong turf romp against cheaper Aug. 5.

Selections: 6-7-1

Race #10: 1-Prince of Monaco improved substantially in start number two to remain undefeated for Baffert increasing his Beyer figure 22 points while making his first start over the seaside Del Mar strip. The juvenile colt by Speightstown stretches out to 7 furlongs this afternoon off that impressive grade 3 Best Pal win which he followed up with a snappy 5-furlong drill Sept. 3. The obvious knock is the short price. 4-Raging Torrent was no match for the top choice in the Best Pal but makes career start number three this afternoon and there’s still room for plenty of improvement. The $1 million-dollar Keeneland purchase and still a Maiden 3-Mirahmadi has been a disappointment thus far for Team Baffert having lost the first three starts as the public’s betting choice.

Selections: 1-4-3

Race #11: 6-Quintecents makes a second start off the bench and stretches back out to his preferred two-turn trip where he posted an 81 & 83 turf Beyer last fall. The 4-year-old gelding gets the call in a wide-open closing day nightcap. 3-Petcoff didn’t break alertly in a troubled third-place finish Aug. 26 and now stretches out to a mile for trainer Tim Yakteen. The 3-year-old Munnings colt comes in here with an improving Beyer pattern, gets in light again, and appears to be the one to beat with clear sailing. 8-Uncle Oscar is double entered Saturday (9/9), but if the colt runs here, he is a strong threat switching to Hall of Famer Mike Smith coming off a wide closing second Aug. 19.

Selections: 6-3-8

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