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): 1-Dreaming of Hope; 9-Asian Monarch
Backups/Savers/Underneath: 10-Little Lady Lou
Forecast: Maiden $50,000 claiming juvenile fillies compete in an abbreviated main track sprint in the Saturday opener, a challenging affair that contains nothing but lightly raced runners and first time starters. Dreaming of Hope, scratched out of a straight maiden turf sprint yesterday in lieu of this clearly easier spot, shows a healthy series of workouts for trainer John Sadler and lands top rider Juan Hernandez, so at 3-1 on the morning line she’s a logical contender. She’ll need to break well from the rail to have her best chance (full discloser; this handicapper is part owner of Dreaming of Hope). Asian Monarch has the benefit of two prior outings, her debut in a maiden $80,000 (a solid third place effort with a reasonable speed figure) before finishing far back in a hot, highly rated straight maiden affair in which she stumbled at the start, trailed early, and was always far back. A repeat of her first race makes her the most dangerous of the known element.
RACE 2: Post: 1:59 PT Grade: C
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 2-Mango Moon; 12-Barbera; 9-Queen P
Forecast: Here’s a messy affair for low level ($16,000) restricted (nw-2) $16,000 claiming fillies and mares that looks treacherous. Tread lightly or pass the race altogether. Mango Moon and Barbera finished a neck apart when second and third, respectively, in a similar affair last month and are the ones to beat if they can turn in two alike. ‘Moon removes blinkers (good handicapping angle) for the first time while switching to Edwin Maldonado, and with just three races on her resume she may have more room for improvement than Barbera, who’s had seven previous starts but has hit the board in all but one of those outings. They’re hard to separate but neither is a slam dunk, as both show speed figures that are considerably lower than par for the level. Stranger danger at 12-1 on the morning line is the recent Los Alamitos mixed breed maiden winner Queen P., who on paper could easily be the quickest in the field.
RACE 3: Post: 2:29 PT Grade: B
Main ticket (in order of preference): 3-Naida; 9-Tobacco Honey; 2-Stop Digging
Backups/Savers/Underneath: 5-Madison Rae.
Forecast: Naida has trained like a ready-to-win type, displaying decent gate speed in a pair of recent drills to indicate she is a cut above the norm in this maiden state-bred juvenile filly sprint. She gets in light, and in a race that is likely to have nine newcomers and just one prior starter the daughter of He Be Fire N Nice appears capable of winning at first asking. We have no video on Tobacco Honey and the barn rarely wins with newcomers, but the workout times look decent so maybe this daughter of Prospect Park can run a little. The same can be said for Stop Digging, who has been given a strong foundation to be fit and ready, at the very least. Toss her in.
RACE 4: Post: 2:59 PT Grade: A-
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 5-Slider
Forecast: Slider ran too good to lose in his debut and unless there is something in here as good as the colt who ran him down, Heartland (highly doubtful), the son of Jimmy Creed should earn his diploma in this abbreviated dash for juvenile colts. Based on the powerful speed figure that he earned, the John Sadler-trained colt should leave shorter than his 9/5 morning line while serving as a logical rolling exotic single.
RACE 5: Post: 3:29 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 9-Loterie; Angioletta; 1-Flattery.
Forecast: European imports Angioletta and Loterie finished one-two in a maiden race over this course and distance in late July and both displayed considerable promise in doing so. Though she finished behind her rival in that race, Loterie may have been a tad more impressive as she had to overcome a very slow start and traffic at the head of the lane to rally strongly while a bit green and altering her path in the upper lane. Both have every right to step forward considerably with that experience behind them. Then there’s Flattery, who produced an impressive turn of foot to graduate under these conditions in her debut last month despite being given what appeared to be far too much to do from the head of the lane to the wire. Hopefully, she’ll be closer to the pace today from her favorable inside. These are the three main players in this year’s edition of the Del Mar Juvenile Fillies Turf, and each should be included in rolling exotic play.
RACE 6: Post: 3:59 PT Grade: B-
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 5-Colt Fiction; 2-Paco’s Pico
Backups/savers: 8-Oil Can Knight; 10-Wyfire.
Forecast: Colt Fiction was overmatched when raised from $20,000 to $40,000 following a win and a claim but he’s back to reality today and can regain his winning form with a repeat of his race before last over this track and distance. The Simon Callaghan-trained gelding retains “win rider” Edwin Maldonado and should find himself in a pace forcing/pressing early position and then have his chance from there. Paco’s Pico was also well beaten in the same race ‘Fiction exits and he, too, should appreciate this much softer assignment. He had speed figures from Florida earlier this year that fit nicely at this level and always has been a genuine and consistent type (first or second in seven of 13 career starts) when properly spotted.
RACE 7: Post: 4:39 PT Grade: C+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 4-Closing Remarks; 5-Neige Blanche
Forecast: This bunch takes turns, so we’ll concede our confidence level is low in this year’s edition of the John C. Mabee Stakes-G2 over nine furlongs on grass. Closing Remarks won the Yellow Ribbons H.-G3 over a slightly shorter trip last month but this distance is well within her range, so if she can turn in two alike the California-bred daughter of Vronsky can score again. The thoroughly admirable Neige Blanche has captured 10 of 23 races during her career, including a pair over the Del Mar turf course, so while the French-bred mare was a beaten choice last time when a no-excuse third in a mini-marathon affair the Leonard Powell-trained import certainly is capable of bouncing back with a winning try today.
RACE 8: Post: 4:59 PT Grade: B-
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 13-Houndstooth; Mr. Disrespectful
Backups/savers: 8-Midnight Fury.
Forecast: Houndstooth exits a fast, highly rated $40,000 claiming affair in which he wound up a decent third and today shows up in a softer assignment in this starters allowance sprint for older horses. He’s comfortably drawn outside and likely will settle in the second flight and have dead aim from there. Mr. Disrespectful was visually impressive beating a state-bred maiden field in early August while earning a career top speed figure but was subsequently scratched out of a first level allowance sprint August 26 and then didn’t work for five days. In fact, he has recorded only that one drill (4f, :50h) at Los Alamitos in the 34 days since his win. We’re not sure what’s up, but the pattern isn’t a healthy one. Nonetheless, we’ll toss him in.
RACE 9: Post: 5:29 PT Grade: B
Main ticket (in order of preference): 2-Seal Team; 7-Aligato.
Backups/Savers/Underneath: 3-Seven Wonders; 13-Lure Him In
Forecast: Seal Team returned off a nine month layoff to record an authoritative nine furlong maiden win last month and did so like a colt with a future. The son of War Front capitalized on a good stalking trip before quickening when produced entering the lane, and the result was what trainer Richard Mandella was hoping for. With a forward move likely, this homebred sophomore ridgling can handle this raise in class. Aligato, freshened since the spring, returns with a healthy series of workouts at San Luis Rey Downs for trainer Mark Glatt (solid stats with layoff runners) and his numbers earlier this year make him the one to fear most. He is reunited with “win rider” Juan Capistrano and should draft into a second flight position and then have dead aim from the quarter pole home.
RACE 10: Post: 5:59 PT Grade: A-
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 9-Tamara
Backups/savers: 7-Dreamfyre; 13-Laurent.
Forecast: Tamara overcame a brutal trip in her debut to win like the future star she was bred to be. The daughter of Bolt d’Oro from the magnificent race mare Beholder stumbled at the start, raced in traffic while steadying repeatedly along the rail to the head of the lane, angled out for room and quickened smoothly to graduate going away with a strong speed figure but one that really doesn’t do her justice. In today’s Del Mar Debutante, the Richard Mandella-trained juvenile gets a much better draw and an extra half furlong to work with, so we’re expecting her to step forward big time and verify the highly favorable impression she made last month. At 7/2 on the morning line, she’s a win play and rolling exotic single.
RACE 11: Post: 6:29 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 8-Chay’s Tornado; 1-Sea of Cortez; 4-Autoline
Forecast: Chay’s Tornado ran very well in a similar two-turn grass event for older maidens last month when going down by just a half-length to Watsonville, who franked the form by winning right back on the raise. The Bob Baffert-trained son of Arrogate almost certainly will produce a forward move today at 4-1 on the morning line and offers good value in the various rolling exotics. Sea of Cortez ran a winning race in his debut when going down by neck in a 14-runner affair over the all-weather, left handed track at Dundalk in Ireland in his debut last November. He trained well last winter at Santa Anita before having to be stopped on and finally makes his U.S. debut for trainer Phil D’Amato in this one mile turf event for older maidens. At 5/2 on the morning line, he’s a logical contender. Another Europe import, the John Sadler-trained Autoline, is a good mover from Ireland with strong (for this level) Timeform Ratings and looks like a live item at 12-1 on the morning. He’s a first time Lasix user than almost certainly is better than his first two races (both fourth place finishes) give him credit for.