Del Mar (Sunday-9/3/23) By Dean Keppler


Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner

BEST BET: 10-James Gang (Race 11)

Race #1: 2-Hondo Crouch finished a good second off the seven-month freshening earning the field’s best last-out main track Beyer. The 3-year-old gelding’s speed figures have improved with each subsequent start for trainer Mark Glatt, and he figures to be the one to beat with another forward move. The beaten favorite 3-California Tiger makes the second start off the bench today after fading to fifth against similar Aug. 6 and looms as the main danger if able to come back to effort from two-back at Santa Anita. 1-El Rey Dorado moves back to the main track and shortens up.

Selections: 2-3-1

Race #2: 2-Ruff Ride kicked clear late for an impressive-looking maiden win July 27, and that event has already produced a pair of next-out winners. This 3-year-old filly by Clubhouse Ride looks well-spotted for first crack against winners. 5-Dolly May (Ire) is 1 for 19 but came up just a neck short in the most recent try on Aug. 11 and now goes first off the claim for conditioner Vladimir Cerin. This barn is a solid 3 for 12 (25%) with a $2.27 ROI with new barn purchases on grass at DMR. 3-Tiegarten makes the second start off the bench and the second off the Steve Knapp claim. This mare has never gone this far but projects to be forwardly placed once again, and projects to work out a decent trip.

Selections: 2-5-3

Race #3: First-time gelding 5-Breakfast Ride makes his initial start for trainer Peter Miller off July 30 $80k claim. The 4-year-old is reunited with his winning rider this afternoon and was a game second in that last start when hounded through some snappy early fractions. 3-Affable comes off a troubled trip fifth place finish July 22 when forced to check multiple times and should be much tighter this afternoon making the second start off the 11-month layoff.  New York invader and stablemate 1-Celestial Moon adds blinkers for the first Southern California outing for the new barn and appears to match up well Beyer-wise with these colts and geldings.

Selections: 5-3-1

Race #4: 4-Gentle (GB) scampered away to a sharp-looking Maiden win in the first stateside start for the Papaprodromou barn. She figures to be a handful with any move forward off that encouraging try. She owns the field’s best last-out turf Beyer (86). The undefeated 3-Daddysruby seeks a fourth straight victory for trainer Peter Miller having won on three different surfaces. The 3-year-old filly by Frac Daddy comes off a career-best Beyer on turf. 5-Luminiferous adds blinkers today and switches to red-hot rider Fresu who won 10 races last week. This filly was an even third at this level in last.

Selections: 4-3-5

Race #5: 1-Hollywood Rumor was much-improved as far as Beyer numbers go coming off a 10-month freshening when finishing 3rd Aug. 13 with the addition of blinkers and Lasix. Another forward move makes this filly the one to beat in here. 5-Strange Addiction goes turf to dirt this afternoon and earned above par for this class-level two-back when sprinting over the main track at Santa Anita. The daughter of Good Magic drops in for a first-time tag this afternoon. 9-Just Is is slowly improving.

Selections: 1-5-9

Race #6: 7-Teen Drama was a sharp-looking winner of last at this $32,000 claiming level earning the field’s best last-out grass Beyer. This 4-year-old filly looks to string together back-to-back wins for the first time in her career. 8-Inner Beauty turns back to a sprint off a gate-to-wire score going one mile. 2-Kiss My Cat adds blinkers and moves back to grass where she finished 3rd in lone grass attempt three-back. This 4-year-old filly will likely take these as far as possible on the front end.

Selections: 7-8-2

Race #7: 1-Tahoe Sunrise goes two sprints to a route and owns the field’s best last-out main track Beyer (84) with a recent runner-up finish July 21. The colt is bred to like two-turns. 3Henry Q adds blinkers and drops out of four consecutive grade 3s into this softer spot this afternoon for Team O’Neill. The colt is eligible to get back on track here. The multiple stakes-placed 2-Clouseau makes a second start off the bench this afternoon and shows a sharp 5-furlong bullet drill since that last 3rd-place finish in the Real Good Deal Stakes.

Selections: 1-3-2

Race #8: 3-Don’t Ju Forget stretches back out off back-to-back runner-up finishes and makes 3rd start of the form cycle this afternoon. The 4-year-old filly projects to be on or close to the lead today. 6-Song of Fire has won two straight for Sadler blasting home strongly on both occasions. 5-Court Snort stretches back out and gets some class relief this afternoon. This filly should be making up good ground late.

Selections: 3-6-5

Race #9: 9-She is Romantic (a $550k OBS purchase by Blame) finished a decent 4th on Aug. 4 unveiling when attracting solid tote support and now switches to the main track for start number two. The Eurton barn has done exceptionally well all meet long and this filly is bred to handle the main track successfully. 5-Spice is by lucrative sire Into Mischief and debuts here for trainer Michael McCarthy off a solid well-spaced work tab. 2-Candy Aisle broke awkwardly in her debut try Aug. 6 and now sheds the blinkers for career start number two. This barn has solid numbers with their second-time starters, and this $250K Keeneland purchase by Gun Runner can improve in this spot.

Selections: 9-5-2

Race #10: The Oceanside winner 2-Conclude seeks third straight stakes win for trainer Phil D’Amato and projects to be on or close to the lead this afternoon making his second start off the layoff. He returned with four strong grass drills since that last solid victory. 3-Maltese Falcon (Ire) registered his first graded stakes score in the grade 3 La Jolla when making his initial start over this grass course. The lightly raced gelding has every right to keep improving for trainer Leonard Powell. A winner of three straight 5-Almendares (GB) was an impressive victor July 23 in the first stateside effort for D’Amato. This 3-year-old gelding looks primed to face off against graded stakes-caliber foes.

Selections: 2-3-5

Race #11: The Sunday nightcap is a challenging N2L $16k claimer sprinting over the main track for 3-year-olds and up. 10-James Gang goes first off the claim for trainer Doug O’Neill who has teamed up with jockey Antonio Fresu to win with the last two barn purchases—Straighten Up on 8/25 and Wishtheyallcouldbe on 8/24. 6-Big Hand was a wide fourth in the most recent start Aug. 11 and can move forward here this afternoon making his second start off the 9-month freshening. The gelding worked extremely well prior to that last comeback effort. 1-D Coldest did little running in the first Southern California start but slashes his claiming tag in half and can improve in this softer spot with a race over the track.

Selections: 10-6-1

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