Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 6-Holden the Lute (Race #2)
Race #1: The Sunday closing day opener is wide open. 9-So Softly is 0 for 11 but goes first off the claim for barn that’s 4 for 9 this current meet. The 3-year-old filly adds blinkers and cuts back to a sprint. 6-I’m No Ballerina has shown little in both career starts but switches to dirt today and drops in for a tag for the first time for trainer Jonathan Wong. This conditioner is 3 for 8 (38%) with a $2.83 ROI with this class drop. This filly is by Gormley who was a multiple G1 winner on dirt. 7-Golden Halo comes off a runner-up finish at this level and makes 2nd start off the layoff.
Race #2: 6-Holden the Lute makes 1st start off the claim for trainer Mark Glatt off a pair of runner-up finishes in last two starts. This jockey/trainer combo are 2 for 2 at Del Mar with new barn purchases. 1-Street Ruckus makes 3rd start off the layoff and owns the field’s best last-out main track Beyer (92). 3-Star Alignment has been freshened for new barn off 16 length Horseshoe Indianapolis Maiden romp June 8. The 3-year-old colt has worked well locally and attracts Hernandez.
Race #3: The Baffert barn does not send out many first-time starters on turf, but his win percentage remains high when doing so at Del Mar (3 for 7/43%; $3.83 ROI). 9-Reincarnate is a $775k Keeneland purchase by multiple G1 winner Good Magic who has trained well for his unveiling and lures Velasquez who is a sharp 10 for 14 (71%) when aboard this barn’s debut runners. 4-Excess English showed little in debut after breaking awkwardly from outside post for D’Amato but attracted solid tote support that afternoon and could rebound nicely today. 3-Russells Hustle closed for 2nd at 24/1 in grass route debut. This 2-year-old colt holds an experience edge over several of these despite barn’s overall 1 for 28 record with 2nd time starters at Del Mar.
Race #4: 4-Smiling Thunder goes first off the claim for trainer Jonathan Wong who has well above average numbers with new acquisitions. This 3-year-old filly drilled a sharp 4 furlongs in :47.1 September 4 in preparation for this. 2-Midnight’s Girl takes a substantial class drop from $40k to $14,000 claimers for D’Amato making 3rd start off the layoff and should come to life at this reduced level. 11-So It Would Seem was overmatched in last but now drops way below claiming purchase price from two-back. Some mixed feelings as to whether this filly will show up this afternoon.
Race #5: 1-Game Time goes dirt to turf and stretches out in career start number two. This colt is by Not this Time who gets 17% with his turf route runners and he should show more positional speed for Sadler this afternoon. 7-Carrizo Springs was a non-threatening 7th in turf debut but could improve in start number two for trainer Michael McCarthy. The colt switches to Prat in this spot who is 5 for 5 ITM with a pair of victories with barn’s second time starters on grass. 2-Gas Me Up was an improved 2nd when switching to grass and now stretches out for career start number three. Jockey Mike Smith takes over.
Race #6: 3-Spicybug earned the field’s best last out dirt Beyer with 3rd place finish July 23 and should be tough in here with any normal second-out improvement. She finished in front of the filly And Tell Me Nollies who came back to win twice including yesterday’s G1 DMR Debutante. 8-Getthemoney flashed good speed dueling on the front end before tiring in well-bet debut. This juvenile filly by Midnight Lute should move forward off that effort for trainer Brian Koriner who is 6 for 18 (33%) with a $3.43 ROI with 2nd time starters sprinting on dirt at Del Mar. 1-Diamonds Danzing ships in from Turf Paradise for barn that’s run well here all meet and should be set for top try in career start number three.
Race #7: 1-Forgiving Spirit returns to his preferred surface for trainer Peter Miller and should work out a favorable trip from rail with Prat returning to ride. 11-In Vronsky Style switches to Hernandez and is likely to move forward making 2nd start off the extended layoff. 4-Brix cuts back to a sprint and should be running on late.
Race #8: Baffert has a pair of fillies coming off a freshening. 7-Censorship hasn’t been out since October 2021 when finishing a non-threatening 4th in the G2 Chandelier but returns with Lasix; drops back down to face straight MDSW types and has trained swiftly in the a.m. 6-Brocade has also trained well for return and this jockey/trainer combo are 4 for 10 (40%) with horses returning off of 61–180-day rest. 1-Angel Nadeshiko should appreciate moving back to dirt and cutting back in distance for trainer Paddy Gallagher.
Race #9: 8-Ti Sento (Ire) adds blinkers for first start stateside and has trained very well for lucrative jockey/trainer combo. The 2-year-old colt looks well-spotted for U.S. unveiling. 6-Dandy Man Shines is another colt making his first U.S start. He showed some decent late kick to finish 4th in a Grade 2 overseas and attracts top turf rider for Mullins. 13-Tahoma has shown ability in both starts over at Santa Anita and now stretches out moving to grass. The son of Justify could be a handful if he successfully handles the surface switch. Hernandez sticks.
Race #10: Trainer Bob Baffert has three juvenile colts entered in the last Grade 1 of the summer 2022 Del Mar meet. 7-Cave Rock is the logical choice off impressive wire-to-wire score August 13 where the son of Arrogate earned a (101) Beyer. He should have little trouble negotiating another half furlong. 8-Havnameltdown is 2 for 2 and the lone graded stakes winner in the field. He stretches out another furlong and figures to sit cozy behind stablemate. 3-Mixto showed good late interest to finish up well in debut 8 days ago. If TimeformUS pace projector proves accurate, the colt should have a lively flow to close into this afternoon. He would be the likely beneficiary of a complete pace meltdown at a big price.
Race #11: 4-Weegee was probably best when forced to stop and check late in deep stretch when searching for adequate running room along the inside in most recent start. The gelding galloped out past race winner and now goes first off the claim for trainer Jeff Mullins. Hernandez climbs aboard. 3-Flint Stroll was a winner at this trip two-back; switches to Prat and should be a major threat moving inside this afternoon. 9-Halfbarberbingie has not broken well in last 3 starts but should get ample pace to close into this afternoon and is a strong threat to fill out the vertical exotics while making 2nd start off the mini-freshening.