Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Friday, August 24, 2018
There’s twilight racing at Del Mar today. They’ve got an 8-race card tonight, with the first race of the penultimate Friday card of the year kicking off at 3:30 PM PDT.
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!
Meet Stats: 10 wins from 40 starts (25% winners); $80 wagered, $67.80 returned.
Today’s feature at Del Mar is the Tranquility Lake Stakes, which features the G1 winner Vale Dori as she attempts to recapture some of her past success; Mended, who is multiple graded stakes placed but winless on the year; and Way To Versailles, who comes in from Canada off a sharp G2 winning score at a sprint distance. It seems like every week, the overnight stakes on Fridays at Del Mar show up as strong (or stronger) than some listed stakes at other known tracks! Best of luck in your wagers!
Best Bet: Mended (Race 7)
Longshot Play: Incensed (Race 5)
Race 1 – 6 ½ furlongs, dirt. 3y/o+up, f+m. Mdn Clm $40k.
- London Hotel (Talamo) – drops in class, shortens up and tries dirt today after routing on the turf in her debut; she did no running that day, but Talamo jumps aboard for his father in law, which is usually a good sign of confidence; she’ll need to break much better than she did in her last; contender.
- One Upper (Elliott) – showed a much better ability to last in her most recent effort, where she pressed the pace and held second easily; should have an easy path to the rail here with her inside rival being a slow breaker; strong contender today.
- Take Charge Gal (Van Dyke) – makes her return today after being away from the races for 10 months; non-threatening fourth in her last versus a cheaper and uninspiring field; connections are hot, and that’s what you’ll be hoping for if you back her.
- Solarium (Gonzalez) – first time starter has some breeding to her, and she cost $70k two years ago; drills are very slow however; will take a complete reversal of habits to get her there.
- DD’s Lute (Payeras) – the stretchout and history of failing is a concern; on the other hand, she’s never missed a check and she’s dropping in class while getting a weight break; her last start was concerning, but this group is much softer than any she’s encountered yet; a threat.
- Don’teatmycookies (Arias) – acquitted herself nicely in her debut; she was obviously beaten a long way, but she got valuable experience from it; she shortens up today, drops in class and retains the same pilot; the pick in a soft field.
- What’s Bruin (Espinoza) – regressed badly in her last two efforts; she’s taken money in those starts so that’s cause for hope, and this is the second start off a mini-layoff; but she’ll have to prove a lot more today.
- Waze Ready (Quinonez) – first time starter who cost $75k last year; another one with some breeding behind her, but slower drills; Powell has had a solid meet with a limited amount of charges, and this miss could hit the board if things fall right.
Race 2 – 5 furlongs, turf. 3y/o+up, f+m. Alw Opt Clm $62.5k.
- Snow Cloud (Desormeaux) – hasn’t fared too well lately up north, and she wasn’t running especially well on the SoCal circuit prior to that; she’ll have to break much better today or risk being shut off entirely; pass.
- Swirling (Roman) – showed some promise last year before being put on the shelf, including a sharp score at this distance and course; she should be ready to go, but not that she’s not getting the weight break she was with Roman previously and she’s never been seen as a fast gate horse; contender.
- Okinawa (Van Dyke) – disappointed in her last as the favorite in a stakes race here, but she carries great form into this race; she looks ripe to move forward off of that first effort in two months; the pick.
- Spin Me A Kiss (Maldonado) – shortens up to a sprint off of that mile effort last time; some of the mares in that spot were pretty salty, but this will be a totally different affair; another one who’ll need to show some early foot.
- Kentan Road (Espinoza) – the tote board fell over when this mare won in her last, hitting at 74-1; she’s got good early speed, which others don’t here; she might be a little light on form, but the pace scenario could favor her chances today.
- Time For Ebby (Pereira) – fared poorly over her last few months, she’s been empty in the lane when it counted; hard to endorse today.
- Painting Corners (Prat) – finished slightly more than a half length behind Go On Mary, whom Okinawa also trailed by the same margin; she’s got more early pace presence today than some others and should be forwardly placed; major threat.
- Shanghai Tariff (Franco) – did nothing in her first start on the west coast; she moves to the turf now, where shes had one start and hasn’t hit the board; potential at a price if she moves up in that second western start.
Race 3 – 6 ½ furlongs, dirt. 3y/o+up. St Alw $50k.
- Blame Joe (Elliott) – much improved in his starts in 2018; in his last effort, he was at this same level and outdistanced a next out winner by almost six lengths; big threat today.
- Saratoga Morning (Desormeaux) – the bloom has come off after that maiden score five back; he just hasn’t been able to seal the deal and finds a salty bunch again today; pass.
- Lucky Romano (Espinoza) – was well supported in his return to the races but got distanced that day also; if you’re backing him, you’re hoping that his last effort was merely just a tightener to prepare him for better things; leaning elsewhere.
- Pocket Personality (Fuentes) – makes his return after seven months away; finished a good third in his last start, which was at this same condition and level; he’s shown that he can fire fresh and should have some pace to close into if he’s good enough.
- Captivate (Van Dyke) – beat Kershaw two back in a strong race, but he did have the advantage of recent racing over that rival; had a wide trip late to finish second in his last start at this level and looks to be another strong rival in this spot.
- Caray (Pereira) – he always seems to get a piece, however, the pieces he’s getting are much smaller than some of the others that he encounters today; definitely an exotics contender but he will need to pick it up for a win today.
- Kershaw (Baze) – visually impressive in his last when he looked superb; third start off his layoff, so he should be fit and even though he was claimed last out, he lands in a strong barn now; jock upgrade also helps; the pick.
- Goodwillambassador (Franco) – another one who should have some late foot to rally into a presumed hot pace; the shortening up of distance may be an issue, but he draws well and should have every opportunity to fire a big effort today.
Race 4 – 6 furlongs, dirt. 3y/o+up. Mdn Clm $20k.
- Luker (Elliott) – comes south after flopping in straight maidens at Golden Gate; first start off the layoff, and he’s been prepping over the track; could get a piece depending on his fitness and development level.
- Gotnoquit (Roman) – takes the big drop to the bottom today; he’s flopped in his last three starts and you have to wonder if he’s still got it in him; willing to make him beat me today.
- Turnaround (Garcia) – another one making the big drop in class; he also shortens up and goes back to dirt; his debut looks huge against these, but that was his only decent race in his career; he’s got ability but it doesn’t look likely for him to show it.
- June Sixth (Pereira) – he hasn’t done much in his career either, and unlike the others, he’s not taking a big drop in class; pass.
- Awesome E K (Pena) – middling efforts in his career, got tired last time out after dueling for the lead; a likely pace factor but little else.
- Buck Duane (Gonzalez) – responded quite well to the permanent equipment change in his last effort; now he comes back with a big drop to the bottom, which is concerning after almost winning at a much higher level; I have reservations, but he’s the pick.
- Duke Of Fallbrook (Gutierrez) – solid late run in his last start, he was my longshot pick of the day and he made a nice move to get into the exacta; he’ll have to prove he can put two in a row together, which he hasn’t proved yet at this point in his career.
- Kopitar (Espinoza) – two seconds since moving to the bottom level, he looks to fire a big shot every time and retains the apprentice allowance; the main threat.
- Poise To Strike (Quinonez) – hasn’t shown much in those efforts this year, but he takes the big drop down; he should have the ability to follow his inside rival around the track and if he’s good enough, track him down; potential.
Race 5 – 5 furlongs, turf. 3y/o+up. Clm $40k.
- Incensed (Figueroa) – smoked a similar field two back down the hill at Santa Anita; flopped in a class test last out, but he returns to a reasonable spot and gets the weight break; he’s shown speed and has a capable trainer; live at a price.
- Forest Chatter (Espinoza) – good effort in his last start, just finishing outside the trifecta but close to the winners; stays at the same level and should again have a fast pace to move into; incumbent upon him to show two good efforts in a row.
- Salient (Franco) – gutsy effort to hang on in his first effort off the layoff; should break well and get to the rail in this spot, so he’ll have the pace his own way up front; tested for class a bit here but he’s shown up well in similar spots in the past.
- Puriano (Gonzalez) – another one who’s been improving over his last few starts; his debut SoCal effort was sparkling and definitely puts him in the mix here; he’s another one who figures but will have to ensure a good trip for the win end; contender.
- Castle (Van Dyke) – has done nothing in his last two starts since trying tougher competition, but he gets a good jock switch, shortens up in distance and drops in class; lots of changing variables here but if he can find his prior form, he would be a tough customer here also.
- My Man Chuckles (Prat) – gets rejoined with Prat, whom has two wins and a second in their last three starts together; big time class relief for him today and a big improvement should be seen; the pick.
- Hitters Park (Elliott) – first off the claim for Carava; he’s fared well against similar groups in the past but is another one that will likely either need to work out a trip or give up significant ground going wide the entire trip; contender.
- Our Independence (Desormeaux) – rough stretch run in his west coast debut, although he may have been tiring at that point anyhow; he’s shown himself to be a tough customer out east, and has the right to improve, but two poor finishes in a row don’t lend themselves to much confidence.
- What’sontheagenda-AE (Roman) – gets some class relief here if he’s able to get in, his race at Keeneland three back towers over this field and he could be significantly stronger than most of these; huge threat.
- Buckys Pick-AE (Espinoza) – hasn’t fared well in all recent starts; he’s tried the class drop and so far it hasn’t worked; draws a tough post if he gets in; pass.
Race 6 – 6 furlongs, dirt. 3y/o+up, f+m. Alw Opt Clm $40k.
- Late N’ Left (Maldonado) – back to dirt this time after a failed turf experiment; she’s thrown some decent races in the past against solid competition, but her recent form leaves a lot to be desired; looking elsewhere.
- Vallestina (Prat) – lightly raced mare makes her second start of the comeback; winner of that last start stays on turf and runs earlier today in an allowance race; perhaps dirt is her favored surface, and she gets it again today; connections are strong and she looks to be ready; the pick.
- Jest A Princess (Van Dyke) – flopped as the favorite in her last effort routing; she turns back in distance to a sprint, where she may be better suited anyhow; she certainly has the talent to compete but will have to prove it against a tougher field.
- Love A Honeybadger (Pereira) – backed up as the favorite in a similar spot last time; makes her second start for Miller and gets the jockey back who scored three races in a row with her; hard to ignore her chances today.
- Danuska’s My Girl (Espinoza) – all out to hold on to break her maiden in start eight; finds a much saltier bunch today and will need a better effort than any she’s shown thus far; pass.
- Tyfosha (Gutierrez) – was well regarded when they took her to Arkansas earlier this year and for the most part, it wasn’t a successful journey; faded badly after a gate incident in her first effort off the break; another one who will have to prove today that she’s as good as she was thought to be.
- Spiced Perfection (Talamo) – faced a very impressive winner in her last effort, and the effort was flattered when One Fast Broad came back to win also; she’s always given her best effort and is very versatile; good spot to try open company.
- Family Girl (Figueroa) – good effort in a first level allowance race in her last start, but that field was very soft, especially compared to the mares she sees today; she’ll need a big upgrade today.
- Smiling Tigress (Baze) – regressed significantly after two sharp efforts to start her career; hard to envision a turnaround against this field; pass.
Race 7 – 1 mile, dirt. 3y/o+up, f+m. Tranquility Lake Stakes.
- Mended (Gonzalez) – she’s winless in 2018, but look at the mares she’s been battling; this should be a much better spot for her, especially with the slight cutback in distance; you’ll have to catch her to win, and I doubt they will; the pick.
- Tizway That Way (Quinonez) – put two wins together here in California after spending most of her career in the Midwest; the mares she faces today far exceed anything she’s seen before; pass.
- Turkish Tabby (Gutierrez) – another one who hasn’t shown the best results against competition like this; hard to see a reversion of form; pass.
- Way To Versailles (Prat) – arrives from Canada where she just put back a couple of highly regarded mares in that last start; she stretches out to a mile, and it is yet to be seen as to whether she fares best at that; connections are rock solid so you have to expect her best today.
- Munny Spunt (Roman) – she’s faced solid competition and fared better than some in here, but still not threatening the upper echelon; she’s graded stakes placed at a mile over this oval, so that’s a positive; she’ll need another step up though.
- Shenandoah Queen (Baze) – her one big effort this year was when she fended off Mended; but she’s been very uninspiring in the other five starts; I’m willing to try and make her beat me in this spot today.
- Vale Dori (Van Dyke) – simply put, she’s not the same mare she was last year; she was flattered a bit by Yuvetsi coming back recently to knock back Skye Diamonds and Anonymity, but she’s disappointed all year long and you have to hope there’s one more effort left if you’re backing her.
Race 8 – 1 mile, turf. 3y/o+up, f+m. Mdn Clm $50k.
- Turing Machine (Prat) – gets the best turf jockey going right now, but her turf efforts haven’t been so stellar; stays at a similar level and doesn’t look to have any major flaws, but at the same time, no major plusses either.
- Sudden Light (Desormeaux) – takes a drop back to the more reasonably class level; she’s ran modestly into paces that aren’t overly exhausting; perhaps the time away has allowed her to mature, and in a group like this, that’s often a good angle to take; contender.
- Temple Princess (Delgadillo) – rough outing in her last; she returns at a similar class level where she’s competed very strongly in the past; I’m expecting her to show speed and be forwardly placed; major threat.
- Roses And Candy (Elliott) – not sure what went wrong in that last effort, but if you’re willing to excuse a poor effort, she fits very nicely here; she’ll be up front and winging it, and she acquitted herself nicely against stronger foes; a threat at a price.
- Into Glamour (Figueroa) – faced a pretty solid winner two back and was another one who exited the common race with a lot of questions in her last; gets a weight break and could definitely rebound considering the solid training connections.
- Himmah (Pereira) – good effort in her last, saving all the ground and making a solid late rally; seems to be some pace in this race, which puts her closing kick in prime territory; the pick.
- Trophy Bridle (Van Dyke) – done little in her efforts thus far, but carries strong connections; will need a significant upgrade to get there.
- Victoria’sprospect (Espinoza) – stretches out after two sprints and tries the turf today; she was beaten pretty badly in her last effort but perhaps that could be excused as that was a dirt sprint; worth a look at a big price.
- My Midnight Affair (Franco) – done no running in all three starts and now tries the turf in a last chance effort of finding something to click; she also stretches out and tries the turf, but will need to step it up again significantly.
- Venue (Talamo) – runs for a tag for the first time, and she hasn’t been getting beaten too badly in her starts either; she exits a strong race with a repeat winner and the time in that effort was solid as well; big shot today.
- Chalky-AE (Gonzalez) – made a sharp improvement in her last, while setting slow fractions up front; if she gets in, she may be a pace factor but she will have to be used hard right away for positioning from a wide post.
- Heaven Escape-AE (Blanc) – tough trip in her last race, finishing two lengths behind Chalky; it was her first trip for a tag, and if she gets in, she should at least be able to steer clear of traffic by being wide; contender.
- Grecian Fort-AE (Vergara, Jr.) – she hasn’t hit the board in her career and if she gets in, she’ll be very wide; cant endorse.
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