NOTE: $405K Pick 6 Carryover / Mandatory Payout Begins in Race 6.
Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s Daily Del Mar Handicapping Analysis, Wagering Strategies, and Workout Commentary identify those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.
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Grade A=Highest degree of confidence
Grade B=Solid Play.
Grade C=Least preferred or pass
Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play
RACE 1: Post: 1:30 PT Grade: B-
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 5-North East Star; 4-Night Blue; 9-Star of the Night
Backups/Savers/Underneath: 8-Lunar Impact; 3-Thiorty Carats; 6-Irish Rose
Forecast: The Saturday opener is a messy turf miler for older maiden fillies and mares. Nothing would surprise, so trips (and good racing luck) probably will decide the outcome. North East Star had a rough go of it in her U.S. debut when winding up fifth (beaten four lengths) after losing all of her momentum at the furlong pole when encountering severe traffic trouble. She’s actually had difficulties in both of her U.S. outings since being imported from Ireland, so maybe she’s simply a trouble-prone type. However, with good racing luck, she should have sufficient talent to graduate against this group. Her Phil D’Amato-trained stable mate Night Blue finished fourth of 20 in her swan song in Ireland (her fourth career start) before being sent to the States in May. Her local work tab doesn’t excite, but she’s probably a need-the-grass filly and may not show her best stuff unless performing on the lawn. The same can be said for the debuting Sea the Stars filly Star of the Night, from the Mark Glatt barn. Her dirt drills are fair at best but based on pedigree the Irish-bred filly should be tons better on grass and will have a chance to prove it today.
RACE 2: Post: 2:00 PT Grade: B
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 10-Clooney; 6-Frost Alert
Backups/Savers/Underneath: Carpe Bellum.
Forecast: This restricted (nw-2) $16,000 claimer is populated mostly by runners who just don’t want to win. Clooney may be one of them but he has been facing infinitely tougher competition of late and has earned speed figures that are more than good enough to win at this level. The outside draw is no bargain, but the John Sadler-trained gelding is relatively unexposed (just seven starts) and should find this modest group well within his capabilities. Frost Alert finished a close fourth in a restricted $32,000 grass miler in mid-June and makes his first start since for a barn that usually is fairly aggressive at the entry box. Therefore, the layoff is a concern, not to mention the class drop, but on his best day the son of Frosted is a strong fit in this league and should be included on your ticket.
RACE 3: Post: 2:30 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 6-D’ Oro Dash; 4-Wine Me Up
Backups/savers/Underneath: 8-Beneficial; 9-Stay Hot.
Forecast: Maiden juveniles sprint six furlongs in a race that on paper looks stronger than par. We’ll try to get by using just two on our main ticket. D’ Oro Dash has breezed like a very fast colt for trainer Mark Glatt and appears blessed with real speed and talent. A $275,000 Saratoga yearling purchase, the son of Bolt d’Oro has been trained to win right now, and if performs up to expectations he may be hard to outrun at 5-1 on the morning line. Wine Me Up brought $300,000 at the OBS June sale after breezing a quarter mile in a sizzling :20 4/5 without really being asked for his best. He’s bred to run long on both sides of his pedigree but clearly has excellent speed, and the local work tab indicates that the Bob Baffert-trained colt is fit and ready for a major effort first crack out of the box.
RACE 4: Post: 3:00 PT Grade: C+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 7-Takes Three; 6-Mischiefs Causeway; 8-Petesoldfashioned.
Forecast: Takes Three, a California-bred son of Nyquist, brought $400,000 at the OBS April sale after impressing with a :10 flat breeze during the preview session. He’s also looked decent in recent drills leading up to his first outing in this state bred juvenile maiden sprint and we’d have to think that he is better than his morning line of 12-1. However, the Mike Puype barn has been cold all year and rarely wins with a first time starter, so expectations are low. Meanwhile, trainer Carla Gaines is working on a zero-for-31 streak according to DRF stats with first time starters so it’s tough to be confident about the debuting Mischiefs Causeway. Yet, the son of Curlin to Mischief has done some nice work in the morning while preparing for his debut and if runs to his local breezes he’ll have a reasonable chance to graduate at first asking. Petesoldfashioned is one of two in the field that has a prior outing and is the likely choice and one to beat. Second in his debut with an okay number, the son of Smiling Tiger should be on or near the lead throughout.
RACE 5: Post: 3:34 PT Grade: C+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 11-Talklessworkmore; 5-Worse Read Sanchez; 3-Donner Lake
Backups/Savers/Underneath: 4-Boss Sully; 9-Developing the Way.
Forecast: Talklessworkmore must leave from the far outside post in this middle distance turf affair for first level allowance older horses, and if can’t find a way to get over and secure a decent early position before the field hits the first time he could be in trouble. Otherwise, the son of Summer Front should be able to handle this assignment. Beaten in a pair of photo’s while running winning races in his last pair, the Mick Ruis-trained gelding is overdue to graduate and should do so if things break his way. Worse Read Sanchez is just 1-for-19 and hardly one to trust, but he’s solid on numbers and has enough tactical speed to secure a good second flight, talking trip. Donner Lake, freshened since January, returns with a healthy series of workouts that should have him fit and ready for Michael McCarthy. He’s a tad light on numbers but lands Flavian Prat and could be a bit better type this time around.
RACE 6: Post: 4:05 PT Grade: A-
Main ticket (in order of preference): 7-Dr. Venkman
Forecast: Dr. Venkman was highly impressive winning his debut here on opening weekend, overcoming a slow start to rally quickly and pulverize his outclassed opposition by more than five lengths with a powerful speed figure, one that is more than good enough to beat this first level allowance field. The Mark Glatt-trained son of Ghostzapper blew out in :47 flat last week, the fastest of 126 for the distance, to indicate even better is yet to come. At 5/2 on the morning line and certain to go lower, he’s a win play and rolling exotic single.
RACE 7: Post: 4:37 PT Grade: A-
Main ticket (in order of preference): 4-Exaulted
Backups/Savers/Underneath: 3-Count Again; 1-Du Jour.
Forecast: Exaulted was no more than a nice horse on dirt in his first 11 career outings but now he has become one of the best grass performers in North America since being transferred to sod in his last four starts. Unbeaten on turf and extremely fast on speed figures, the son of Twirling Candy won the Shoemaker Mile-G1 in his most recent appearance at Santa Anita in May, was given a nice vacation, and today returns in the Del Mar Mile-G2 for red hot trainer Peter Eurton. The recent works indicate he’s on top of his game, so let’s gamble that he’s going to pick up where he left off at 3-1 on the morning line with a strong win play and key in the various rolling exotics.
RACE 8: Post: 5:07 PT Grade: B
Main ticket (in order of preference): 4-Coffee in Bed; 9-Faiza; 10-Ceiling Crusher
Forecast: Let’s go for a price in this year’s renewal of the Torrey Pines S.-G3 for sophomore fillies. In a race loaded with speed, the projected race flow could really compliment the late-running style of the lightly raced Coffee in Bed. This will be her first try around two turns, and as a daughter of Curlin she should absolutely love the trip. The Richard Mandella-trained filly switches to leading pilot Juan Hernandez and is certain to receive the patient ride she needs. Look for her be rolling from the quarter pole home and at 12-1 on the morning line she has a legitimate chance to light up the tote. Obviously, the 8/5 morning line favorite Faiza will be tough. The once beaten daughter of Girvin was upset in the Black Eyed Susan Stakes at odds-on but has been freshened since mid-May and returns with a work tab that should have her fit and ready. Ceiling Crusher had her perfect streak snapped when third at 30 cents on the dollar in the Fleet Treat Stakes, but had a poor trip over the deepest part of the track and never could extract herself. Her only previous two-turn outing resulted in a 17 length score against state-bred foes, so you know she can handle the distance, though the extreme outside post position does her no favors.
RACE 9: Post: 5:39 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 6-Lane Way
Backups/Savers/Underneath: Motorious; 10 Bran.
Forecast: Lane Way has been away since January but when last seen the Richard Mandella-trained gelding was arguably the best turf sprinter in the West. His win the Clocker’s Corner Stakes at Santa Anita down the Hillside Course produced a career top, triple digit Beyer speed figure and his recent workouts on the comeback trail have been spectacular. He’s run dynamite in the past off layoffs and looks to do the same in this year’s edition of the Green Flash Handicap-G3 over five furlongs on grass. With regular rider Mike Smith aboard and at 5-1 on the morning line, he’s a win play and rolling exotic main punch.
RACE 10: Post: 6:13 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 11-Skinner; 1-Geaux Rocket Ride
Backups/savers: 7-Slow Down Andy.
Forecast: The three year old entrants have an excellent opportunity to rise up in this year’s renewal of the Pacific Classic and based on the projected race flow – the early fractions should be hot and contested – the late running Skinner may be presented with a golden opportunity to pull off an upset at 10-1 on the morning line. Sparingly raced due to physical issues this year but never sharper than he’s appeared in recent workouts over the Del Mar main track, the son of Curlin should settle far off the pace, commence his rally wide on the far turn, and then have his chance to wear down the leaders close home over a racetrack that promotes his rally-wide style. Geaux Rocket Ride, winner of the Haskell Stakes-G1 in his most recent appearance, is listed as the 5/2 morning line favorite but had the misfortune of the drawing the rail post position, not really where you want to be over this track and this distance. Maybe he’s good enough anyway, but the task is tall.
RACE 11: Post: 6:45 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 10-Gold Phoenix
Backups/savers: 9-Planetario; 6-Offlee Naughty.
Forecast: Gold Phoenix won the Del Mar Handicap last year and appears to be just as good now as he was then. Successful in the Eddie Read S.-G2 over the local lawn earlier this meeting, the Irish-bred gelding proved last year he could handle this mini-marathon trip and a recent bullet workout around dogs on grass tells us the Phil D’Amato-trained import is spot on for another huge performance. There are others in the field that warrant a look, but we’ll go with ‘Phoenix in the win pool and as the main key in the various rolling exotics.