Del Mar (Thursday-8/24/23) By Dean Keppler

Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner

BEST BET: 4-Plesant (Race 7)

Race #1: 1-Don’t Fight the Fed crossed the finish line first July 23 but was Dq’d to second for drifting and interfering with eventual winner Cowboy Mike (who finished second but was declared the race winner). The Nyquist colt makes the all-important 3rd career start this afternoon for trainer Antonio Garcia and should be tough to beat with a similar effort. 3-Chippewa Bud goes turf to dirt in start number two after breaking slowly in his debut try July 28. He’s eligible to improve with a move to the main track and a better break. 4-Ship and Scam is 0 for 12 but has run close to par or better for this class level in the last two starts for Team O’Neill.

Selections: 1-3-4

Race #2: 1-Class Clown is by multiple grade 1 winner Practical Joke, who gets a strong 17% with his first-time starter offspring. This filly sports three bullet works on her resume. This jockey-trainer combo scored with 4-1 turf debut winner Impeachalot Aug. 10. Trainer Andy Mathis is 0 for 10 with his synthetic to turf second-time starters, but 7-Perkinks had an encouraging debut June 4 at Golden Gate when flashing good speed before tiring late while attracting solid tote support. 3-Take Caramie debuts for a sire that’s only 2 for 49 (4%) with his debuting prodigy, but this jockey-trainer combo has had modest success with first-time starters on turf, and this filly has trained very well for today’s unveiling.

Selections: 1-7-3

Race #3: 3-Thirty Four Coupe co-tops the field’s best last-out main track Beyer (81) off a career-best speed figure when switched to dirt. This 4-year-old gelding projects to be forwardly placed again this afternoon for Hernandez and D’Amato and has worked three times since that last sharp effort. 2-Big Hat Willie arrives with an improving Beyer pattern off a wide trip fifth July 21. The 1 for 15 1-Cardiff Crack usually prefers to settle for the underneath exotics and was third two-back in his lone main track try. A threat again for a slice of this.

Selections: 3-2-1

Race #4: 6-Stick Shift is by grade 1 winner Mendelssohn who gets 13% with his debuting prodigy. The colt comes in with a flashy work tab for trainer Doug O’Neill and looks well-meant at first asking. 7Andreadytorumble is by multiple grade 1 winner Street Boss who averages 15% with his debuting offspring. This juvenile colt attracts leading rider Juan Hernandez for today’s unveiling and sports some snappy a.m. drills, including a sub:47 gate drill Aug. 10. 9-Uncharteed is by Bernardini and is likely to prefer more ground. However, the colt is nicely drawn outside with an aggressive gate rider and will likely come out firing.

Selections: 6-7-9

Race #5: 5-Wishtheyallcouldbe was claimed for $20k on July 28 and now drops in for a $8,000 tag three weeks later. Ordinarily, this would be considered a negative sign, but this is Del Mar, where ownership and connections like to find themselves situated in the winner’s circle. The 5-year-old mare has had two sharp drills since the claim. 4-Shout It Out has won two of the three last starts and drops a notch this afternoon while making a second start over the DMR main track. A heated early pace enhances this mare’s chances. 1-Wrong Turn Cupid has speed from the rail and was a good second at this same level two-back at Los Al. This barn has been heating up as of late.

Selections: 5-4-1

Race #6: 3-Beef Winslow adds blinkers today off a seven-month freshening for Hernandez and Miller and figures to be forwardly placed on today’s class drop. 4-Derecho Dandy came up just a neck short against similar company Aug. 10 while earning the field’s best last-out grass Beyer. If this gelding can replicate that figure, he’ll be tough to overhaul in this spot. 5-Lansdowne (GB) goes two sprints to a route for D’Amato and drops back down into the $32,000 claiming tag level, where he finished second two and three back. Both turf Beyers were on par or better for this class level.

Selections: 3-4-5

Race #7: 4-Pleasant followed up her strong March Maiden win with an even stronger second-place finish back on June 16 when coming up just a neck short after battling gamely on the front end through taxing fractions. She’s had plenty of time to recover from that effort for Team Baffert. 5-Indy’s Star comes off three consecutive runner-up finishes for trainer Leonard Powell and fits well again against this group and level. 1-Jensco was a sharp Maiden winner in start number two when moved to the main track. The lightly raced filly has room for further improvement and might be set for a career-best try in start number three.

Selections: 4-5-1

Race #8: 4-Head Lad sheds the blinkers and moves to the turf in start number two for Baffert and Hernandez. The juvenile colt is eligible to improve immensely in this spot.  3-Invincible stretches out for his first grass attempt, and this colt by Uncle Mo should handle the surface switch and the additional real estate. 2-Glandford (GB) steps up in class off a second-place finish at Yarmouth, draws well, and likely fits well against this group for the first stateside start.

Selections: 4-3-2

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