Jeff Siegel: What You Need to Know - Del Mar | Thursday, August 31, 2023

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 Descriptions:
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: 2:00 PT Grade: B-
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 8-Post Facto; 7-Upward Mobility; 5-Single Track Mind
Backups/Savers/Underneath: none.

Forecast: The Thursday opener is tough and challenging. Post Facto easily handled a $25,000 field that was restricted to 3-year-olds earlier this month and moves to the $40,000 level (also 3-year-olds only) for new trainer Leonard Powell.  The Mineshaft gelding has a prior win on grass so the surface switch shouldn’t be a problem, and in a race that projects to have quick early splits the three-time winner (from just nine career starts) appears well placed to improve his resume once again.  Upward Mobility shows up in a seller for the first time and the class drop is logical.  A clever winner two runs back sprinting on dirt at Los Alamitos, the Peter Miller-trained gelding is questionable around two turns, but he’s won twice on turf, so we know he’ll handle the lawn.  Single Track removes blinkers, stretches out again, and is reunited with “win rider” Umberto Rispoli.  He’s a fit on figures and should be competitive from off the pace.  


RACE 2: Post: 2:32 PT Grade: B-
Main ticket: (in order of preference):  2-Southern Slang
Backups/Savers/Underneath: none.

Forecast: Southern Slang displayed good early speed before gradually weakening to finish third in his debut at this level three weeks ago and returns in a soft spot for a barn that hits at 21% with the second time starter angle. He’s likely to be the controlling speed and with any type of forward move he should be able to outrun this group.  He’s listed at 5/2 on the morning line and we suspect he’ll go lower.


RACE 3: Post: 3:03 PT Grade: C+
Main ticket (in order of preference):  1-Dark Marcus; 2-Luka Grazie; 9-Silver N Black
Backups/savers/Underneath: none.  

Forecast: Dark Marcus is a 13-race maiden and not one to trust, but he lands the good rail in this modest maiden special weight turf miler for California-bred runners and has numbers that simply are better than these.  He’s 5/2 on the morning line and no bargain at that price but rates top billing by default.  Luka Grazie is about as one-paced as it gets but in a weak field he should be in the fray in the final furlong.  He’ll add blinkers today but it should be noted that he has worn them in the past without any apparent positive effect.  Silver N Black has hit the board in three of his last four starts but is sluggish on speed figures.  In a soft race, he’s probably worth including somewhere.  


RACE 4: Post: 3:34 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket (in order of preference):  5-Liberal Lady; 8-Trouville
Backups/Savers/Underneath: none.  

Forecast: Liberal Lady earned a career top speed figure when third over this track and distance at this level earlier this month and with another forward move today the daughter of Mor Spirit should be able to regain her winning form.  The projected soft pace scenario compliments her front running style, so there should be no excuses.  Trouville has won three races from 36 starts, with 21 seconds and thirds.  She’s likely to pick up another minor award at least, but her lack of winning punch makes her hard to embrace with confidence.  


RACE 5: Post: 4:05 PT Grade: B
Main ticket (in order of preference): 6-Unconquerable Keen; 1-Ambivalent
Backups/Savers/Underneath: 4-Standing O; 7-Zofarelli.

Forecast: Unconquerable Keen finished full of run but ran out of room when an excellent runner-up over this course and distance last month and not much more will be needed for this Irish-bred to regain his winning form in this competitive second level allowance turf dash.  The Phil D’Amato trained import can be tough on the front end but may be most effective when held up early and allowed to blast home.  Joe Bravo stays aboard and got good run out of him last time out.  Ambivalent has been sparingly raced in his career but there’s plenty of natural talent, as he displayed in his comeback win vs. softer over the local lawn earlier this meeting.  He should enjoy a stalking, ground-saving trip from the rail and will be a factor if he can raise his speed figure a few points.  


RACE 6: Post: 4:35 PT Grade: X
Main ticket (in order of preference): 1-Conquistar
Backups/Savers/Underneath: none.  

Forecast: Conquistar makes her first start since late April and has burned money as the favorite in all three of her previous starts, so she’s not one to trust, but against this modest band of maiden special weight fillies and mares the Bob Baffert-trained filly surely will be a short price again.  The daughter of Quality Road has the kind of tactical speed to place herself in the fray throughout, but her problem is that she hasn’t been able to punch it in under pressure.  Listed at 8/5 on the morning line and liable to go lower, she’s a complete standout on numbers but is highly unlikely to offer any real wagering value in a race that might be best left alone.  


RACE 7: Post: 5:05 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 4-Just Nails
Backups/Savers/Underneath: 8-Organic.

Forecast: Just Nails returned a winner following a 13 month layoff when breaking her maiden in extra game fashion over this course and distance on opening weekend.  She returns with sufficient rest in between races to expect a forward move, and if the Marty Jones-trained daughter of Twirling Candy steps forward as expected that she can score again in this first level allowance dash.  At 5/2 on the morning line, let’s make her a win play and main push in the various rolling exotics.  


RACE 8: Post: 5:35 PT Grade: C
Main ticket (in order of preference): 10-Vulin; 8-Mimsy
Backups/Savers/Underneath: 9-Princess Tenko; 3-Tapit Rocks; 5-Midnight Silence.

Forecast: The nightcap is a messy maiden claiming miler for bottom-rung fillies and mares.  Anything goes, so best advice is to spread as deep as your budget allows.  Vulin is drawn on the far outside but she just finished a decent second over this track and distance at this level earlier this month, so if she can turn in two alike and avoid a wide trip from the 10-hole the daughter of Kitten’s Joy may be able to finally graduate in career start number 10.  Mimsy stretches out after a modest fourth sprinting in her debut that earned a competitive speed figure with this group.  We’d prefer to see another sprint under her belt, but in a weak field she may improve enough to be a strong threat.  


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