Del Mar (Thursday-8/3/23) By Dean Keppler


Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner

BEST BET: 6-Sanger (Race 2)

Race #1: 2-Dark Vintage (Ire) flashed good speed and tired to finish 3rd in Belmont debut last month and shows two local drills over the main track since heading west. Ward clicks around 60% in the past three meets with his first-start runners at the meet. The colt holds the experience edge over most of his rivals. 4-Rastaman Vibe is by grade 1 winner More Than Ready and arrives on the scene with back-to-back bullet drills for conditioner Ryan Hanson. He gets an aggressive gate rider for today’s unveiling.  5-Eisenhower (By War Front) debuts for Hall of Famer Richard Mandella off some inspiring-looking morning drills.

Selections: 2-4-5

Race #2: 6-Sanger can improve off 4th place finish July 1 debut try at Los Al, a race that’s produced a pair of next-out winners. He shows two sharp 4-furlong drills over the track on July 21 and 28. First-time gelding 5-Austonian goes route to sprint on the class drop for trainer Brian Koriner. His debut try three-back was especially strong, resulting in a 2nd place effort and (73) Beyer. 1-Winning Idea may not have been facing much in Sunland debut back in March, but the gelding flashed good early zip that afternoon before tiring to finish 2nd. Trainer Todd Fincher clicks around 30% with his MDSW to Maiden Claiming droppers, and the 4-year-old shortens up for this.

Selections: 6-5-1

Race #3: 2-Cali Bay (Ire) goes two sprints to a route for D’Amato on the class drop, and his sire New Bay (GB) was a group 1 winner overseas, going around two turns. Florida invader 6-Stormy Victory was a re-claim two-back for his current connections and lures Hernandez for the first southern California start. 5-Battle Call rallied strongly to finish third when facing winners for the first time on June 3 and now makes his first start around two turns on grass. This lucrative jockey/trainer combo of Ellingwood and Sadler is 12 for 31 (39%).

Selections: 2-6-5

Race #4: The multiple stakes placed 3-Big Novel stretches out today, making the second start off the bench for Sadler and is the class of this field. He rallied for 2nd in a small field at Los Al on June 23 off a 5-month layoff. Turf to dirt 6-Elethera exits a key race on May 29 that’s produced three next-out winners, and his main track effort three-back was decent when falling three-quarters of a length short. 1-Tizzy Twister didn’t pick up his feet after being bumped at the gate in Los Al start July 1 but put in three strong tries at Santa Anita before that effort going this mile trip running close to par for this class level.

Selections: 3-6-1

Race #5: The speedy 8-Itzel is nicely drawn outside for Hernandez and Miller and comes off back-to-back runner-up tries going 6 furlongs. She should be tough to reel in cutting back to five. 4-Lindas Gift makes the first start in a new barn off an 11-month layoff for trainer Richard Mandella who is 3 for 8 (38%) with a $2.43 ROI with new acquisitions off >180 days’ rest. This filly has never attempted a sprint but showed hints of ability with several sharp turf tries in Florida and New York last year. She’s trained well locally. Class-dropping 2-Hayley Levade has run some solid turf sprint tries at SA going 6 furlongs that match up well here.

Selections: 8-4-2

Race #6: 1-Charlotte Harbor was trounced at Los Al against better July 2 but now goes second off the claim for conditioner Bob Hess who is 3 for 13 (23%) the past 5 years with go-to pilot Desormeaux with this angle. She was a winner two-back going this 6 1/2-furlong trip. 3-Sheza Girly Girl rallied for 3rd July 8 against similar and now returns to Del Mar where she’s 3 for 5 lifetime. The 6-year-old mare makes the second start off the claim today and owns the field’s best last-out main track Beyer (77). 5-Hennys Crazy Train was runner-up in a 4-horse field in her last start at Los Al July 2 and now stretches back out to her preferred 6 ½-furlong trip. She projects to get a good stalking trip.

Selections: 1-3-5

Race #7: 5-Tiz Plus removes the blinkers today on the class drop for trainer Mike Puype and makes his second start off the bench. He finished an even fourth June 10 in comeback effort, which set him up well for today’s stretch-out to a mile. The gelding’s versatile running style should serve him well in this spot. Blinkers off 3-Burnin Turf has speed and stretches back out to a mile this afternoon, where he’s a multiple winner. The 7-year-old gelding drops in class today and Blacker and Bravo click close to 30% with turf starters. 9-Eastern Ocean has been plagued by layoff lines throughout his career but drops in class today while making his second start off the bench and lures Hernandez.

Selections: 5-3-9

Race #8: The Thursday nightcap and final leg of the late pick 5 is a mad scramble and a definite spread leg. 4-Lt’s Choice goes turf to dirt for Cerin on the class drop while making her third start of the form cycle. Multiple grade 1 winner Uncle Mo is 20% with his main track dirt runners, so perhaps this is the optimum spot. Florida shipper 8-Princess Tenko drops in for a career-low claiming tag and has run Beyer numbers that fit well against this suspect group of 3-year-old fillies. Beaten favorite 1-Electric Glide was a wide sixth July 2 return effort when dropping in for a tag off a 9-month layoff.  She drops another notch this afternoon and was well-beaten 3rd here in debut last summer.

Selections: 4-8-1

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