Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Saturday, August 12, 2017
Ten races are on the Saturday schedule at Del Mar, with the headliner being the Best Pal Stakes, featuring the finest two-year-olds California has to offer.
To help you out with all the action, we’re happy to have Robert Criscola (@itsgood2beking) providing FREE picks & analysis of all the action! Be sure to check out Robert’s work—not only will he be handicapping Del Mar every Saturday, he’ll be providing his weekly trips column to the site every Tuesday!
Take it away, Robert!
Two-year-olds will be front-and-center this Saturday at Del Mar, as the Grade II Best Pal goes as Race 9 of 10. In fact, three of the races in the late Pick Four are restricted to freshmen. First post is 5 p.m. Eastern; let’s get to work.
Race 1: 2-1-7
#2 SPINYATTA tries a new low; she’s the one to beat on speed figures but is far from a lock. #1 PRETTY EXPENSIVE closed well to be second in her debut at Los Al but will have to improve a bit to beat the top choice. #7 CALIFORNIASUMMER stands to benefit cutting back to a sprint.
Race 2: 6-1-4-5
#6 NEXT SPEAKER gets a big trainer upgrade to Bonde shipping in from Pleasanton. He’s done well at Del Mar in the past (third vs. tougher last year) so don’t dismiss. #1 PEDRO CERRANO should move up second off the layoff for Miller. #4 FRAC CANDY and #5 AIRFOIL are logical underneath choices on speed figures.
Race 3: 5-1-4
#5 SWEET DRAGON FLY’s last on the downhill course can be dismissed. She’s kept good company this year, losing to a pair of next-out winners before dusting a field in April and checking in third in a stake at Golden Gate. SWEET DRAGON FLY is capable of taking these gate-to-wire. #1 NODIAC was flying late to get third against similar on opening day; she might just be better than these but taking 2-1 or less to find out is unappealing. #4 GIRL DOWNSTAIRS steps up in class once more but is not impossible under the right circumstances; best used underneath.
Race 4: 3-7-1
#3 RIZZI’S HONORS gets some needed class relief and returns to dirt, her preferred surface. She likely won’t run back to her 2016 form but either of her last two dirt tries might be good enough. #7 QUALITY KAY was beaten just a neck vs. similar at Los Al last time; should be involved late. #1 SWEETWATER GAL lures Roman off a solid maiden score that came off a long layoff.
Race 5: 4-8-6-7
#4 FOREST BLUE is often bet hard and will probably be favored again but has the speed figure edge over these. #8 ALLEY BOSS was unlucky to lose here on opening week after racing wide; he seems to like this course so he’s a must-use. #6 LOS BORRACHOS ships in from the east coast and takes a drastic drop in class despite holding his own of late; mixed signals. #7 WHERE Y’AT JOE JOE could be a factor with an ideal trip. He’s handled some of this race’s fringe players in his last two starts but has been no match for the top pick in the past.
Race 6: 10-4-1-2
#10 VERSANTE won at first asking at Los Al in a race that was fairly rated but now he switches to the turf, which his pedigree says he’ll relish; upset special. #4 JET SET MAN just missed winning in a similar spot last time out in his first start since February; eligible to improve. #1 CHIEF HOSA and #2 TOMASINO, who checked in just behind JET SET MAN in his latest outing, are logical underneath threats.
Race 7: 3-5-7
#3 BEYOND PLEASURE should come out running in her debut for Hess (20%); she’s by Overanalyze, a freshman sire that’s already produced multiple winners, and has Desormeaux in the irons. #5 SHE’S FUNNY is impeccably-bred (by Tapit out of MGSW Hystericalady) and lures Prat off a solid worktab for Mandella; consider. #7 PIEDI BIANCHI may have the leg-up having already run before; she was a respectable second on debut at Los Al last month from the tricky rail post.
Race 8: 3-8-10-6
#3 CARIBOU CLUB looks best dropping out of the Oceanside Stakes after running a solid third. #8 TAKI’S CHOICE closed into a pace that held together fairly well to break his maiden; threat at a price. #10 MASTER MERION showed hanging tendencies earlier in his career but steps up off a maiden win today. He’ll shed weight with Roman while shipping west for Ward. #6 RITZY A. P. moves up if there’s a scratch.
Race 9: 5-1-6
The Grade II Best Pal Stakes
#5 SERENGETI was given a small break by Baffert off a big maiden score two weeks after running a solid second on debut. He’s got a strong worktab over this course and looks primed to give his trainer a ninth career victory in this stake. #1 RUN AWAY already has a stakes victory (the Santa Anita Juvenile) to his credit; look for Prat to hustle him away from the gate and take it to the top pick early on. He’s a worthy adversary. #6 FLEETWOOD, a maiden, looks like a good alternative in the trifectas if you don’t put much stock in #7 ARAWAK’s victory in a four-horse field, which was followed by a total clunker at Royal Ascot.
Race 10: 8-7-5-2
#8 BIG BUZZ, a full brother to multiple stakes winner and fellow Yakteen trainee Big Score, is an enticing pedigree play in a finale lacking form; Bejarano rides. #7 ARCH ANTHEM lures Prat away from probable post-time favorite #5 KAZAN and has solid turf breeding for Mandella. KAZAN was third on debut with a wide trip; must-use with the experience edge. #2 DATA CENTRAL was just a length behind KAZAN in that July 1 heat; note the rider upgrade to Desormeaux.
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