Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Thursday, November 23, 2017
Thursday’s the first day of a big Thanksgiving weekend at Del Mar. They’ve got eight races on this program, headlined by a 14-horse field in the Red Carpet Stakes. The first race on the card will go off at 11:00 AM PST.
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. Be sure to give Ken a follow on twitter.
Good luck to everyone playing along!
Best Bet: Quick Finish (4), Race 4
Longshot Play: Night Bloom (4), Race 8
Race 1 – 1 3/8 mi turf (rail at 6 ft). Opt Claim $40k. 3yo+up F/M.
- Scandal (Smith) – This constant money burner against maidens now tries winners at a distance that she has never attempted; we’ve likely seen her best and that wasn’t good enough three separate times against Causeforcommotion; preferring others.
- You’re A Goat (Prat) – Solid turf connections with Blacker and Prat; only missed at stakes level at this distance by less than four lengths on this course two back; the rail at 6 ft definitely helps her closing kick by opening up the course; the pick.
- November Tale (Van Dyke) – Plodding type now is second start off a two month freshening, closed mildly into a speed favoring course last time against a similar level of runners, continues stretching out in distance; she rates as a contender.
- Shazara (Baze) – One win in 17 starts; repeatedly finds a way to get a midpack finish but nothing more; bottom end of the exotics appears to be her main hope.
- Antonina (Blanc) – G1 placed in South America, but threw an absolute dud in her first start stateside; admittedly, that was her first race in well over a year, so she had an excuse; I want to see one from her first before playing her.
- Bombilate (Stevens) – Well-bred mare has riding royalty on her back and a hot trainer in her corner; appears to be a solid pace factor on the stretchout; the main question is whether she has enough left in the stretch to hold off the myriad of closers; a threat.
- Wishful Winking (Conner) – Hasn’t lifted her feet until last out, when she faced much softer at a shorter distance; no Prat and a tougher field; no thanks.
- Hacktivism (Gonzalez) – Finished three lengths behind Bombilate in her last; her Beyers aren’t too far out of contention with most of these; however, a negative jock and post switch from last out; not out of the realm of possibility.
- Causeforcommotion (Roman) – Improving sort graduated last out; she’s another who will have her second start off a two month freshening; keeps the best apprentice in the country on her back (and a significant weight break over this longer distance); could be a big player if she can negotiate a trip.
Race 2 – 6 ½ furlongs dirt. Maiden Claiming $50/$40k. 2yo fillies.
- Pure Sugar (Elliott) – Shown little speed in the morning; buried on the rail; nothing to suggest that she’d be competitive against others with experience; pass.
- Line Drive (Prat) – Stretched out an extra 1/8 mile last start and got buried even further; she drops in for a tag for the first time well below what she brought at auction earlier this year; seems as a minor award contender.
- Condi (Espinoza) – Exits by far the strongest company of anyone in this field, including being well supported in her last vs. the second place finisher in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies; she also drops in for a tag well below what she went for last year; the pick.
- My Rose of Savanna (Frey) – Gets Lasix, a solid trainer, and a top NorCal jock for her debut; her drills seem respectable for this level; however, Baltas has Bejarano on another in this race; a contender.
- Krissys Manicure (Bejarano) – Well supported in all three starts, but takes yet another step down in class; this might be her level, but she will likely offer no value; I’ll take a stand against her.
- Silversonic (Roman) – Mediocre drills but solid connections; she gets a weight break and Lasix for the debut; not without a chance.
- Sauce On Side (Desormeaux) – She showed a new dimension last out closing into straight maidens, albeit at a longer distance; she draws well and with a cutback in distance, she appears to be the main threat.
Race 3 – 1 mile turf (rail at 6 feet). Opt Claim $62.5k. 3yo+up.
- Holiday Stone (Prat) – Blinkers off today; if you’re willing to excuse the last, he fits very well in this slot; held on for a minor award in a $250k stake at KD two back; I’m bullish.
- Caribou Club (Van Dyke) – Finished close behind Master Merion and only three behind G2-placed Bowies Hero; Drayden and the move west seem to have agreed with him, a definite contender.
- Feldini (Baze) – He’s been away for over a year and his trainer hasn’t won in 13 starts with a runner off a 180+ day layoff; classy enough for sure, but I will wait a race before playing him.
- Kencumin (Bejarano) – Fires every time; he outnodded a horse in his last who won on the Breeders Cup undercard; main concern is that he’s faced two other rivals in this race already and hasn’t found a way to beat them yet.
- Troublewithatee (Desormeaux) – The switch to grass has made a world of difference for him; likely just outclassed last time; he should have a good trip in this comparatively smaller field for him; another big player.
- Gio’s Calling (Talamo) – Doesn’t exactly find an easy spot for his West Coast debut today; been finishing midpack with no real turn of foot; I’ll pass today.
- Twentytwentyvision (Roman) – Has disappointed pretty heavily in 2017, takes the shades back off after that failed experiment last time; he gets class relief today, but I look elsewhere.
- A Red Tie Day (Nakatani) – The venture north didn’t produce any success, but he returned south to make some noise; one of two here who are in for a tag; faced yet again with another tough post; will lean against.
Race 4 – 6 furlongs dirt. Maiden Claiming $50k. 3yo+up.
- Insubordination (Baze) – The move off grass resulted in another middling finish, albeit chasing :44 flat at the half; a contender.
- Black Storm (Pereira) – Not a lot to recommend from this homebred firster; drills are so-so; pass.
- Thankful Every Day (Roman) – Blinkers on today and finds a much softer field than his debut last year; trainer has been on fire at this meet; but I’m concerned about his fitness after the lengthy layoff and minimal morning efforts.
- Quick Finish (Van Dyke) – I love the first-time-gelding angle, especially in a race devoid of any proven talent; took a lot of money vs. straight maidens then flopped; look for a big rebound today.
- Scientifically (Martinez) – Another homebred firster; connections don’t bring any sizzle, pass.
- Catfish Hunter (Arroyo, Jr) – They’ve tried him short, long, turf and dirt and still can’t seem to find his level; returns to a similar race level as in his debut, seems like a minor placing contestant again.
- Sea’s Journey (Elliott) – Chased a classy one in his debut, then stretched out and faded in his second start; the only cause for concern is the 9 months away, however, that could have been good for his development; contender.
- Dream On Brother (Puglisi) – Drawn outside again; was nowhere to be found in his debut, but picked up a bullet in the 11/19 move, not impossible.
Race 5 – 1 mile dirt. Maiden Special Weight. 2yo.
- Majestic Eagle (Roman) – Comatose on the board in his debut; gets Lasix and a weight break today; drills seem intent on adding more speed and he’ll need to show it.
- End Of Spirits (Pedroza) – Took money and flattened a bit late in his debut; seems to really have responded in the AM since that debut; a contender.
- Longden (Bejarano) – Hall of Fame owner and trainer combo; Baffert generally doesn’t debut his firsters at a mile, but this one did; comes right back with sharp AM drills since the debut; another potential threat.
- Shivermetimbers (Smith) – When Mike Smith and Hollendorfer combine, you have to pay attention; two thirds to start his career, but he’s been chasing some good talent; seems like another here with a solid foundation and chance to fire.
- Danny O (Van Dyke) – Tries dirt after a flop on grass in his debut, blazed a half in the AM immediately following that debut dud, faces a really salty crew today; watch and see for next time?
- Peace (Prat) – Chased an eventual Baffert stakes-placed horse home in his debut; with so much speed in this race, he seems eligible to take another step forward here; freshened a bit since his last; the pick.
- Orbit Rain (Blanc) – Did little in his debut, hard to see him moving forward enough to warrant any action here.
- He’s Stylish (Baze) – Chased a stone cold monster in his debut, set hot fractions and predictably tired late; should be ready to fire today, a big threat.
- Point Guard (Nakatani) – Two equipment changes today, one of them permanent; drew a tough post and will need to negotiate a trip; looking elsewhere.
Race 6 – 1 3/8 miles turf. Red Carpet Handicap (G3). 3yo+up F/M.
- Laseen (Pereira) – Made a nice rally during the Breeders Cup undercard race against a top notch winner; running style fits but may be a bit cheap here.
- Dynamic Mizzes K (Stevens) – Her only win was in a NW1X, she does have very strong connections; but I’m looking elsewhere.
- Evo Campo (Bejarano) – Proven at a marathon distance; second off a summertime vacation; Paddy Gallagher knows what he’s doing on the lawn here; the pick.
- Victress (Elliott) – Her only foray to SoCal from her British Columbia base did not go well at all, and that was in a much softer spot than here, pass.
- La Menta Gris (Desormeaux) – Well-traveled, stakes-placed miss is rarely too far away; however, her only victory against winners was in a race where they were walking on the front end; can’t see it today.
- Kiss Me Now (Blanc) – Blinkers off today; twice a G1 winner in South America, but last time I looked at a map, Del Mar was in the Northern Hemisphere, pass.
- Responsibleforlove (Talamo) – Has showed a new dimension in closing over the last few starts; her G1 finish last time wasn’t as strong as it looked on paper as place horse came back to flop on BC day; versatile sort should be well placed.
- Do The Dance (Baze) – Hasn’t gotten her picture taken in over a year; hasn’t made much of a dent against cheaper, pass.
- Galileo’s Song (Smith) – Chad Brown isn’t flying cross country just for frequent flyer miles; she’s experienced going long and gets a top jock as well; hard to knock her as she shows up every single time.
- Earring (Van Dyke) – Drayden comes back for another trip on her; she seems to like her races spread apart and this five week break between starts represents one of her quickest returns since coming stateside; I’ll take a stand against.
- Birdie Gold (Gutierrez) – Faced the best in the world in her first North American start, and she’s getting class relief today; the problem is, we don’t know how much class relief she’s actually going to need; no thanks.
- Domestic Vintage (Frey) – Her only two wins were at a mile, this is a significantly longer stretch out; was all out to beat NW1X, no thanks.
- How Unusual (Nakatani) – Another one who stretches out off of cheaper races; she always gives an honest effort, but like many in here, I don’t know how much there is to give against this talented group.
- Lottie (Prat) – Multiple graded stakes placed mare ships west for Motion; when last seen out here, she was beating MSW, but she’s obviously taken a big step forward in the last six months; main issue here is the post, but if there’s someone who can guide her along, it’s definitely Flavien.
Race 7 – 6 furlongs dirt. Starter Opt Claim $50k. 2yo.
- Psycho Dar (Roman) – Blinkers on today; his speed figures have taken a regression with each start, however, he returns to sprinting today; will need to take a step forward to compete.
- Not Yet (Talamo) – Made a huge late run first out off the claim, then ships south to test him for class, BC folks didn’t respect him in his last and he made them pay; I’ll have to see one first.
- Neighborhood Bully (Van Dyke) – He’s beaten two of today’s entrants and was a bit compromised in a speed favoring track last time; he figures to be rolling late in the lane.
- Midnight Run (Desormeaux) – Steps up in price after graduating last time which is always a good sign, but more improvement seems to be needed to compete with this group.
- Royal Trump (Maldonado) – Trending the right way; Cerin seems to have figured out how to get this guy to perform at his best; another step forward could bring him to the photographer.
- Bob’s All In (Frey) – Only showed up once, got handled by most of these last time out and got sent to the sidelines for awhile; I’ll need to see one first.
- Treasure Hunter (Pereira) – Another one stepping up off a maiden win; his first three starts were dreadful, however; I’ll lean elsewhere.
- Royal Bar (Baze) – First off the claim for Sadler; cleared and held for the maiden score last time; Tyler should have some options with him about how to attack; not inconceivable.
- Warrior’s Lullaby (Pedroza) – Just beat Neighborhood Bully by open lengths in last, however, on a speed favoring track; Ruis has this guy really improving; solid contender.
Race 8 – 1 mile turf (rail at 6 feet). Maiden Special Weight. 3yo+up F/M.
- Golden Kitten (Blanc) – Not a terrible debut despite starting extremely wide; a couple of bullets since the debut seem to indicate that maybe she’s ready to move forward; a contender in a wide open finale.
- Queen Of Troy (Van Dyke) – She cost six figures at auction as a yearling, and hasn’t really showed much thus far; she gets off the rail, albeit minimally; but her connections appear to be the main positives.
- Chalky (Nakatani) – Failed in three tries across the pond to break her maiden, however, all of those starts she represented herself well; she’s a tough read, but another one with connections to like.
- Night Bloom (Roman) – Gained some valuable experience in that debut; prominent early until being bothered and wrapped up on; went right back into the immediate worktab; well-bred sort could be primed for a big improvement.
- Prieta (Prat) – Improved somewhat since switching to the grass; the stretchout could help, but she will need to make another significant move forward to be a factor.
- Halo Ahead (Bejarano) – Failed as the favorite in four of the last five starts; she’s an honest sort but I feel like the price will be too low to take a chance on a horse who has disappointed so many times already.
- Red Shelby (Desormeaux) – Blinkers off today; she didn’t lift her feet last out when returning to the races after being vanned off in a prior start; another one where connections seem to be the strongest characteristic worth considering.
- Delectable (Pereira) – Blinkers off today, which may give her a little bit of ability to rate her speed further; she’s one of the only older fillies in here; she’s not without a shot to hit the board.
- Achira (Stevens) – She worked very quickly before the debut, and made a nice late rally to grab a slice; however, she hasn’t worked as quick since that race; she’s the pick, but a vulnerable one.
- Deccan Queen (Elliott) – Lasix for the debut, her last work four days ago looked just like a maintenance jog; Gaines hits at 14% first on the turf; worthy of a look in the paddock.
- Blossom Trail Miss (Talamo) – Like Achira, worked very quickly before her return to action and then has done little more than jog since then; Drysdale has been doing this for a long time, however; a contender.
- Lori’s Attitude (Baze) – The only true speed in this race; its always a bit disconcerting to see a horse continually getting caught, but she should have the opportunity to catch her breath and rate for as long as she can go; you’ll have to catch her to win.
- Lovely Raquel (Maldonado) – AE – Mid-pack plodder finds a wide-open spot if she can get in; that last drill three days ago shows she may be sharpening, assuming it didn’t take too much out of her.
- Morning Dance (Gonzalez) – AE – An awful post if she’s to get in, but she has definitely been rapidly improving for D’Amato; her pilot obviously knows her and her speed figures are very solid; the one to beat if she draws in.
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