Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Friday, August 17, 2018
There’s twilight racing at Del Mar today. They’ve got an 8-race card tonight, with the first race kicking off at 4:00 PM PDT. The feature race will be the Green Flash Handicap, for some of the west coast’s top turf sprinters.
We’re happy to have Ken Cupples (@KennyCupp) providing horse-by-horse analysis of all the action. Ken’s been a newspaper handicapper in the past, covering northern California racing. He’s been covering southern California on Danonymous for a while now. Be sure to give Ken a follow on twitter.
Good luck to everyone playing along!
Del Mar – August 17, 2018
Meet Stats: 9 wins from 32 starts (28% winners); $64 wagered, $62.20 returned.
Best Bet: Dearborn (Race 1)
Longshot Pick: Jet Set Ruler (Race 5)
The Green Flash Handicap is the featured race on Friday’s card at Del Mar, a 5 furlong sprint full of talent. Included in the race are Stormy Liberal, who finished second in the G1 Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai, multiple graded stakes placed Richards Boy, Tribalist – who won this event last year – and the ultra-speedy Pee Wee Reese. The card looks to offer a lot of depth and no true standouts to single. Good luck!
Race 1 – 1 mile, turf. 3y/o+up, f+m. Mdn Spc Wt.
- Ever So True (Maldonado) – makes her return to the races after seven months on the sidelines, her works seem to be solid and she’s competed well at this level in the past; this will be her first time facing older mares, however, and she’s drawn tough for a closing trip; contender.
- Sutro (Baze) – didn’t do much running in her effort five months ago; she stretches out to a route off of three poor sprinting efforts, but she does have routing in that bloodline; she’s fired two very sharp AM efforts in a row, and if she repeats that in the PM, she could have a big say.
- Resolu (Espinoza) – another one who enters off of doing very little previously; works are mediocre and she’s flopped routing already at this level; looking elsewhere.
- Tig Top (Bejarano) – makes her stateside debut and gets Lasix for the first time; she’s hit the board in five of seven British efforts, but those appear to be against relatively soft competition; lots of questions here that she’ll need to answer today.
- Rose Again (Figueroa) – makes her debut today; Curlin on the top side out of an El Prado mare, so it definitely seems like distance and surface should be OK; the 7/28 drill was big, and it looks like Baltas was putting maintenance work in after that; downside is that he’s having a subpar meet and is only 6% with his first time starters; mixed signals.
- Don’t Blame Judy (Talamo) – stretches out off of two sprints, fitness appears to have been maintained during the two month break between races; takes the shades off today and appears to be the one with the best recent form and the most right to improve; major threat.
- Dearborn (Van Dyke) – fired a nice effort in her west coast debut last time out; shortens up today, which should help her a bit; AM work has been fantastic since that last effort and she appears to be the only one with any true speed; the pick.
- Tequila Sunrise (Franco) – that last race was a real clunker, which begs the question about whether she actually wants to run on grass; she does have a second place finish over this course, but it will take a bigger effort to get her there today than she’s shown recently.
- She Fox (Stevens) – tries the grass for the first time after making some nice improvement in her most recent start; she faces some saltier competition in this spot and considering the questions about the surface change, it might be worth watching her today.
- Journal Entry (Elliott) – stretches out after two sprints; drills have been mediocre since that last effort; Gaines is 9% going sprint to route; looking elsewhere.
- Star Kissed (Sanchez) – had a rough trip in her routing debut last time in a race that was better than it appears on paper; she’ll be hung wide here unless she can make her way over, and it always seems like in races after trouble, riders always tend to like to stay wide and avoid the potential of trouble; exotics play if she can manage a trip.
Race 2 – 6 furlongs, dirt. 3y/o+up. Clm $25k.
- Dynamic Duo (Linares) – well beaten in all starts; he’s a maiden trying winners today; pass.
- Bear Down Cats (Stevens) – toss the last, as he ran against much better at a route; shortens back up to a sprint and takes a more reasonable shot against conditioned claimers; last drill was very sharp and he may be a factor with a pace to chase.
- Son Of War (Blanc) – comes back to try the dirt today; third start off of a three year layoff, so he should be rounding into form; takes a big step down in class today and if he’s got a good race in him to fire, this will be the spot to do it; the pick in a tough field.
- El Asesino (Garcia) – another one taking a step down in class; finished a non-threatening third in his last to a repeat winner; Ruis has been hot of late and this guy manages to get off the rail; another one with a chance if things break his way.
- Face Of Victory (Baze) – beaten pretty badly in his last against much tougher competition; his prior efforts compare very well here, although those were over a year old; if he’s tighter after that returning effort, he could factor prominently.
- Psychedelicat (Espinoza) – broke his maiden in start number 13, and returns today to face winners for the first time; he’ll find many different opponents taking big jumps down in class and it’ll be up to this guy to prove he’s good enough to compete here.
Race 3 – 1 mile, turf. 3y/o+up, f+m. Opt Clm $20k.
- Lemon Crush (Figueroa) – tried this group last time and got beaten pretty badly, she gets moved inside to the rail this time and doesn’t look like it’ll offer much more hope for an improvement.
- Music Babe (Pereira) – won two in a row out east and then finished an okay 4th against a first level allowance at Monmouth; east coast turf shippers have fared well so far here, and this miss looks like she’ll fare strongly against this group, despite her relatively lower speed figures.
- Forthenineteen (Pena) – been running against lower levels but she’s done quite well since being claimed from Elmer January; figures are good and she’ll need a slightly better effort, but she’s definitely capable.
- Moonshine Annie (Espinoza) – mediocre performances against similar, she retains the weight break today and her morning efforts have been OK; will take more improvement in her third start off the extended layoff.
- Ragazza Di Vola (Gonzalez) – OK effort in her SoCal debut in her last, however, she had a fast first quarter thrown out there and they slowed it down significantly – and she couldn’t close in enough; seems like another one who could be pace compromised if things don’t break her way.
- Rolling Shadow (Gutierrez) – had a really nice run at them in her first race back off the layoff; Drysdale is obviously a very accomplished trainer, especially on the grass, and she should be much tighter today; big threat today with her continued improvement.
- XS Gold (Desormeaux) – poor gate manners and start cost her every chance last time; she looks to be the only controlling speed here and she came back with a much more professional AM effort in her last; if she minds her manners, she could be gone and unable to be caught; the pick.
- Lacey’s Rainbow (Baze) – she’s a board-hitting machine, albeit against much weaker; got tightened up with that sprint last time but the mares she faces today at this distance are tougher than any she’s faced at a route thus far.
- A Walk In The Park (Franco) – lights out effort in her last against this same group; it was her first start against winners and she was game until the end; obviously it is on her to prove that she can repeat that performance but she certainly seems capable of it.
Race 4 – 6 ½ furlongs, dirt. 3y/o+up. Mdn Spc Wt.
- Getaloadofthis (Espinoza) – $90k auction purchase debuts for Hollendorfer, who appears to have been working horses a bit quicker in recent times; having said that, this guy appears to be on the slower side in the AM; watch this time for a better trip next time.
- Super Sol (Talamo) – big debut effort against a couple of pretty well regarded horses that beat him; they haven’t panned out like they were pointed towards, so maybe that takes the shine off this guy a bit, but the fact remains that his effort that day was pretty huge compared to those here.
- He’s Stylish (Baze) – nice return effort in his last, with a pretty strong speed figure as well; his morning efforts have been lights out since that return; the pick.
- Camby (Stevens) – his effort four back made it seem like bigger things were ahead for this guy, but he’s stalled out with his development since then; tried turf last time to no avail and he comes back to dirt; hard to see it.
- Montmartre (Van Dyke) – solid effort in his debut, pressing every step of the way; he makes his return after eight months away and will have to prove that he’s ready to go against this salty group; worthy of a look on the tote board.
- Fleetwood (Desormeaux) – he was pulled up in his two most recent starts, and while I know he’s been given plenty of time to recuperate, that should scare away most all of the action; he’ll have to prove it.
- Outlaw (Franco) – first time gelding; took tons of money in his debut and promptly set it on fire; he comes to dirt this time, so it’s definitely too early to give up on him, especially given that purchase price; worth a look on the tote board.
Race 5 – 1 mile, turf. 3y/o+up. Mdn Spc Wt.
- Nevermissesabeat (Talamo) – returns after seven months away; perhaps the time away has allowed him the opportunity to develop, although the rail post does him no favors considering his lack of speed; exotics play at a price.
- Achieved (Fuentes) – stretches out following a sprint effort where he did no running; tries turf for the first time, and his trainer is 0-for-6 with horses making a grass debut; pass.
- Californiaspecial (Ceballos) – done no running thus far; taken no money thus far; pass.
- Gold N Bold (Desormeaux) – he’s finished behind a runner who’s made a career of second place finishes; he’s been entered during this layoff, so it’s not like he’s been out of form; a slight step forward makes him a prime player here.
- Minister’s Glory (Bejarano) – he’s burned an awful lot of money in his eight starts; having said that, he’s definitely faced some strong horses for the level and acquitted himself nicely in those efforts; at some point, you have to wonder if he’ll ever break through.
- Captain Buzzkill (Espinoza) – he’s really regressed in his last three efforts; he’s had plenty of chances to break through and hasn’t found it; pass.
- Jet Set Ruler (Stevens) – lightly raced sort makes his third start today; finished behind Gold N Bold in his last but could continue his improvement; exotics contender.
- Reckless Gravity (Van Dyke) – speed figures are a notch below others in here; will need to pick it up considering the break he’s had; Gallagher isn’t known for firing off the bench; looking elsewhere.
- Ironic Ron (Russell) – Gallagher gives Russell a mount here, which is interesting considering the other options available; workouts aren’t anything special but he bears watching for the jock assignment alone.
- Push Through (Gutierrez) – big return in his last, coming from the clouds with a host of other closers; he hasn’t been seen on the worktab since, but you’d have to expect that the fitness remains; the pick despite the post.
- Cool Your Jets (Franco) – been finishing behind Minister’s Glory, and that one isn’t known for winning; he’ll be stretching out today but it’s hard to envision him winning here.
- Valiant (Baze) – took money in his debut, but faded pretty badly; now he stretches out and tries the grass; trainer has good stats with first time on grass and with a dirt to turf; potential at a price.
- The Hunted-AE (Gonzalez) – battled hard the whole way in his last, and ultimately just got tired in the lane; he repelled a few other closers though, so that effort was much better than it looked; a definite threat if he gets in.
- Machete-AE (Pereira) – his two best starts were against quarter horses, and now he tries the turf while routing? Pass.
Race 6 – 1 mile, dirt. 3y/o+up, f+m. Opt Clm $40k.
- Twirling Apples (Talamo) – made a very nice late run to hit the board in her last effort; she moves back to the dirt today and will have to show that her improved ability isn’t limited to the grass; playing against today.
- Chickatini (Roman) – wired a soft straight maiden field at Los Al; she finds a decent place to try the waters against winners in case she really has made that improvement; potential.
- Demigoddess (Payeras) – she makes her standard weekly start here, and it’s actually not a bad spot compared to some of the other ones she’s found; she’ll likely be huge odds again, but you know she’ll give a solid effort and can’t be ignored to hit the board.
- Copper Fever (Van Dyke) – flopped in her So Cal debut at this level, although it was on the turf; she’ll need to pick up the pace in this effort however, but she’s lightly raced and capable of an improved effort.
- Gone To Town (Baze) – another one taking off the turf to try the dirt after a good effort previously; she finished behind a few next out winners in her last and that competition level far exceeds what’s in here; her only dirt effort thus far was a mediocre third at Los Al; potential to fire off the bench.
- Rooms (Gutierrez) – she’s made a sharp improvement off the claim for Eurton and will get a test of class today; she finished a solid second at this level in her last effort and will be pressed to repeat that today; speed has been sharpened in the AM and despite her thirteen prior starts, it looks like she still has room to improve.
- Secret Spice (Espinoza) – she’s been fading in all of her starts, but take a look at the competition she’s been facing; there are some really sharp fillies in that group and none of that level find their way here today; she had a tightener in her return and looks strong to continue her progression; the pick.
Race 7 – 5 furlongs, turf. 3y/o+up. Green Flash Handicap
- Richard’s Boy (Gaffalione) – returns off the long layoff after having an unsuccessful journey to Dubai; he’s obviously a very classy individual, but he meets salty competition again here today and he has the negative of lack of recent racing; inclined to look elsewhere.
- Stormy Liberal (Van Dyke) – has had two stateside starts since his second in Dubai; his last effort was all out to get there against similar, but his first on the west coast in quite some time; look for continued improvement in the third start off the mini-layoff; the pick.
- Tribalist (Baze) – he can win from multiple different ways, including from far back last year in this very same race; he’s very lightly raced and 5f seems like his sweet spot; he’ll have to contend with a classy rival inside him, but he’s got a big shot today.
- Touching Rainbows (Stevens) – was being groomed as perhaps a new shooting dirt sprint star, until he found graded stakes company a little too tough for his liking; his efforts on the grass previously weren’t very good either; leaning towards others.
- Right Hand Man (Bejarano) – his return to the races in his last effort was pretty solid, all things considered; he should move forward off of that, but it remains to be seen whether he’ll be good enough with this level of competition; potential at a price.
- The Rule Of King’s (Pereira) – makes his return after a year away; he’s had a few gate drills to prepare for this one but it looks like the water may be too deep for him here; pass.
- Pee Wee Reese (Talamo) – routing off the layoff just didn’t really agree with him; now he shortens back up to a much more manageable spot and looks to be the clear pace of this race; they’ll have to catch him to win.
- Candy Crew (Franco) – first off the claim for Sherlock, who is 4% from that sample; he gets claimed off of a solid outfit, and they step him way up in class; seems like a tough chore for him today.
Race 8 – 1 mile, dirt. 3y/o+up. Mdn Clm $20k
- Vegas Itch (Gutierrez) – been favored in his last five starts, and he is still a maiden; he meets similar company as he always seems to, and he draws well for a speed trip; should be the favorite, but whether he runs to those odds is another story.
- Game Of Roans (Fuentes) – took a tour of the track in his first start; fired a bullet gate drill since that effort, so perhaps he’s come out a bit more professional; worth a look at a price.
- Acclimate (Pereira) – drops to the bottom and goes from turf to dirt; hard to envision how all those changes will work out today, but the class relief seems to always offer good potential results; consider.
- Unusual Champ (Ceballos) – hasn’t run a jump in all five starts; pass.
- Mago Blanco (Vergara, Jr.) – broke poorly in his debut and hasn’t had a gate drill since; the experience may help him, but I would have preferred that extra effort from the gate; pass.
- Jump The Tracks (Delgadillo) – drops in class and exits some solid efforts; his jockey always seems to get horses to run well despite longer odds; Mullins has had a fine meet so far and this guy looks live; the pick.
- Channel Crossing (Conner) – solid effort in his dirt routing debut last time; should fire another repeat of that effort and force all of the others to come catch him; major player.
- Thefourfortyfourth (Gonzalez) – faded badly late in his routing debut, and they try that distance once more; he is getting class relief today, so that’s a positive; however, there are others in this field doing the same thing while having competed better at those higher levels.
- Clem Dela Clem (Garcia) – comes off the turf today and makes the drop to the bottom as well; hasn’t done much running in any of those five starts; he draws poorly and you’re stuck hoping for the power of his connections.
- Desolation Sound (Figueroa) – hasn’t done much in all of his starts; combine with the poor post, it makes it hard to support this guy.
- Celturian-AE (Pedroza) – another going turf to dirt and dropping to the bottom; he’s fared at least marginally better than the others making the same move, but it will take another step up in his effort.
- California King-AE (Espinoza) – goes route to sprint today, but he’s done nothing in all fourt starts; pass.
- Odyssey Explorer-AE (Roman) – middling recent efforts despite being well supported; exotics contender if he manages to get in.
- Brag Dude-AE (Pena) – his best recent effort was the dirt route; he’ll need another step up to get there, however.
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