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Jeff Siegel: Del Mar Picks & Analysis | Saturday, August 21

by Jeff Siegel

August 21, 2021

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.

The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.

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-
Use: 3-Mirasol; 5-Infinite Empire; 6-Benedict Canyon

Forecast: The Saturday opener looks like a graded stakes race for juvenile fillies disguised as a maiden race. Six of the seven entrants are first-time starters with big time pedigrees and at least one fast work on their resume and the one that already has raced – the B. Baffert-trained Mirasol – displayed plenty of ability in her debut last month. From what we’ve seen on video, Benedict Canyon may have the most natural early speed in the field, and with a steady, healthy work tab that dates back until at least mid-May she should be more than fit for a top effort first time out. She worked in company with Mirasol seven days ago and there was little between them, so they’re hard to separate. Mirasol gets off the rail and should be fitter and tighter with that effort behind her. She could wind up being Arrogate’s first winner, which would be nice for those selling yearlings by the former Horse of the Year at Keeneland next month. Infinite Empire is a stone runner as well, though she strikes us as a filly that might be better served with distance. Based on how she’s been training, the daughter of Empire Maker likely will settle early and then blast home, and if she gets up, great, if not, she can stretch out next time.

RACE 2: Post: 2:30 PT Grade: B-
Use: 3-Speed Pass; 4-P R Radio Star; 7-Major Cabbie

Forecast: This is one of the tougher $25,000 claiming sprints you’ll see on this circuit, with a number of ex-classers dropping down trying to a steal a purse. Major Cabbie may be rounding back to form after finishing a willing runner-up in a slightly stronger mid-grade claiming sprint last month, and with F. Prat riding him back and with an extra half-furlong to work with the once-promising 5-year-oild appears well-spotted to regain his best form. A prior winner over the Del Mar main track, the son of Into Mischief should draft into a good second flight position outside and then have every chance from the quarter pole home. Speed Pass shows up a seller for the first time after continuing to burn money while being protected in allowance races. He’s failed to deliver the goods the last four times he’s gone favored so the connections clearly are ready to cull him from the stable and move on to something fresher. On pure numbers the B. Baffert-trained gelding is a solid fit at this level and should find himself on or near the lead; however, he’s never been one to trust. Freshened since mid-June and with a sharp gate work of 59 4/5 nine days ago, he’s certainly capable of winning if he feels like it. P R Radio Star returns from the Midwest seeking his first win of the year while dropping to his claim level for the first time since being haltered a year ago June. A two-time winner over the Del Mar main track, the P. D’Amato-trained gelding likes to settle early and then produce a late run, so this extended sprint trip should be a perfect complement to his style. “Win rider” J. J. Hernandez returns, and the local works for his first start in two months should have fit ready for a major effort.,

RACE 3: Post: 3:00 PT Grade: B
Use: 1-Ottawa Fire; 2-One Fast Bro; 4-Memo Daddy; 5-Constitutionalaffair

Forecast: Here’s a contention-filled middle distance turf event for first-level allowance older horses that could be won by any one of four or more depending which horse gets the best trip. In a similar event last month, Memo Daddy ran into severe traffic trouble on the turn, then tried to rally inside when clear in the final furlong but ran into a roadblock, was shut off, and lost all chance. With the switch to top grass rider U. Rispoli, the Chilean-bred horse can beat this field with a forwardly placed journey and clear sailing through the lane and is worth a gamble at the price. One Fast Bro left his previous form behind with a visually pleasing win at this level vs. state-bred foes last month while earning a career-top number that makes him tough right back vs. open company. Both of his career wins have been accomplished over the Del Mar turf course, so he’s right where he wants to be. Constitutionalaffair is the likely pace setter in a pace less race and he’s more than good enough to take advantage of that type of trip if not pressured early. Freshened since mid-June but showing a strong, healthy series of recent workouts to have him plenty fit, the M. Glatt-trained gelding has finished first or second in six of eight starts while earning speed figures that fit very well at this level. Ottawa Fire, a closing sixth (beaten three lengths) without mishap in the same race Memo Daddy exits, will appreciate today’s extra half-furlong in his second start since being imported from Ireland and seems quite likely to improve from his good rail post, with the addition of blinkers, and with F. Prat staying aboard. The four-year-old gelding was a beaten choice in that race; he should be a more attractive gamble today.

RACE 4: Post: 3:30 PT Grade: B-
Use: 1-Rhetoric; 2-Forbidden Kingdom; 4-Kamui; 6-Portsmouth

Forecast: Three of the seven entrants in this maiden sprint for juveniles come from the B. Baffert barn, and all three appear to have plenty of potential. From what we can decipher on video, Kamui has a ton of early zip and is the one to beat. A $400,000 Keeneland weanling purchase, the son of Quality Road has the quick-action of an early winner and should appreciate this abbreviated five and one-half furlong trip. With J. Rosario taking the mount, he’s certain to attract plenty of play. Rhetoric has done some excellent work in the a.m. as well and draws F. Prat. He’ll need to come out running from the rail. Portsmouth may be the least preferred of the Baffert trio but even he can run enough to warrant some consideration. As for the others, the R. Mandella-trained Forbidden Kingdom exudes talent in the a. m. and if he breaks with his company the son of American Pharoah should have a big say in the matter.

Race 5: Post: 4:00 PT Grade: B-
Use: 6-Prince Abama; 9-Subconscious; 12-Barbwire

Forecast: Prince Abama finished fourth of 19 in is only start in Ireland in May and makes his U.S. debut as a first-time gelding for a barn that excels with these European imports. He’s worked well locally on dirt and should go even better on the lawn, so in a wide open two-turn maiden race for older horses let’s try the fresh face. Subconscious, second in a similar affair last month, also shows the first-time gelding angle and has a right to improve, though in each of his last two races the son of Tapit has gotten clear early as the controlling speed but simply hasn’t been able to hang on. He’s been freshened since mid-June and is working quite well for R. Mandella, so a forward move is probable. Barbwire likely will settle into a stalking potion and have dead aim and every chance when the pressure is turned on. F. Prat stays aboard for R. Baltas, and with two noteworthy workouts at San Luis Rey Downs since raced the son of Uncle Mo is yet another that should have plenty of improvement in him.

RACE 6: Post: 4:30 PT Grade: B
Use: 4-Forest Caraway; 7-Private Mission

Forecast: Private Mission picked up where she left off after returning from a seven month layoff to win a fast first-level allowance sprint at Santa Anita with a strong, career-top speed figure. She tackles tougher today in the Torrey Pines S.-G3 for 3-year-old fillies while stretching out for the first time, but the daughter of Into Mischief has the pedigree to stay a mile and the versatility to stalk and pounce if the race flow dictates. She’s drawn comfortably outside so F. Prat can pick his spot and play it by ear. Forest Caraway is less certain than our top pick to stretch out successfully but she’s plenty fast and most likely will employ gate-to-wire tactics. If the daughter of Bodemeister is ever going to win going long, it's most likely to be in her first try, and if she’s not pressured early the P. Miller-trained filly could take the field a long way. Her sprint numbers aren’t as fast as Private Mission’s, but they’re close. We’ll use both in rolling exotic play and then press with extra tickets keying Private Mission on top.

RACE 7: Post: 5:00 PT Grade: B
Use: 3-Smooth Like Strait; 6-Mo Forza

Forecast: The defending Del Mar Mile-G2 winner Mo Forza has been away since October of last year but he won this same race last year off an extended layoff, so we know he can fire a huge shot fresh. We’re going to handicap under the assumption that the P. Miller-trained horse is fit and ready following a series of strong workouts at San Luis Rey Downs. A winner of six of 12 career starts including the Hollywood Derby-G1 over the local lawn two years ago, the high-class miler retains F. Prat, who knows him well and rides him back. For protection, we’ll also include Smooth Like Strait, a prototype turf miler who’ll likely settle into a stalking position just off Neptune’s Storm. He’ll have every chance to put that one way when ready but then will have to deal with the late blast from Mo Forza.

RACE 8: Post: 5:30 PT Grade: B
Use: 2-Dream Shake; 6-Scary Fast Smile; 7-Positivity

Forecast: Scary Fast Smile flunked his route test so he’s back sprinting where he belongs and with a repeat of his highly-rated sprint win two races back the M. Glatt-trained gelding can get back on track. At this extended sprint distance he should inherit the role as the controlling speed and given that trip he may never look back. Positivity blitzed a $50,000 claiming field over this track and distance last month and today goes first off the claim for D. O’Neill. A winner of two races from three starts over the Del Mar main track, the son of Paynter projects to enjoy an ideal pace-stalking trip outside and therefore should be quite dangerous despite the class hike. Dream Shake removes blinkers for the first time after a pair of disappointing efforts, albeit against tougher company. At this level, the P. Eurton-trained colt should fit very nicely; we just have to wonder if he’s quite the same colt as he was during the spring.

RACE 9: Post: 6:00 PT Grade: B+
Use: 1-Closing Remarks; 3-Going Global; 7-Fluiffy Socks

Forecast: Going Global was locked and loaded entering the far turn but had no place to until straightening for home and by that time she had been robbed of her momentum and, in our opinion, lost her best chance. Others may disagree. We know she can handle today’s nine furlong distance, so with clear sailing and room to rally when the time is right the P. D’Amato-trained filly should be capable of making amends for her defeat in the San Clemente S.-G2 at 40 cents on the dollar. Closing Remarks displayed excellent form when competing with (but not defeating) Going Global in two prior outings but the daughter of Vronsky continues to impress in the morning and should snap back to top form with the return to turf after failing to show her best when third in a state-bred dirt sprint last time out. From the rail, she should be forwardly placed while saving ground and remain a strong threat every step of the way. Fluffy Socks, a stakes winner last year over this course, returns for C. Brown after finishing a willing runner-up in the Lake George S.-G3 at Saratoga last month. Under J. Rosario, she’ll be rolling late.

RACE 10: Post: 6:30 PT Grade: B+
Use: 2-Tizamagician; 4-Royal Ship; 5-Express Train

Forecast: Royal Ship may have been victimized when attempting to rally inside along the deeper lanes and appeared to lose his punch in the closing stages when third in the San Diego H.-G2 in an important prep for this race last month. He should be forwardly placed throughout over a track that has been biased free of late, and after missing by a head in the Hollywood Gold Cup-G1 two runs back the R. Mandella-trained gelding appears ready to regain his winning form in this year’s renewal of the Pacific Classic.-G1. Tizamagician may in inherit the role as the controlling speed from his inside draw and if not respected could take this field a very long way. The son of Tiznow continues to improve with maturity and with another forward move has a legitimate chance at the big prize. Express Train is a Del Mar specialist and has never been sharper. A versatile type that can win pressing the pace or as a deep closer, the son of Union Rags looks ready for a major effort and on pure form deserves to be favored.

RACE 11: Post: 7:00 PT Grade: B+
Use: 4-United: 8-Arklow

Forecast: Arklow appeared to be making a winning move midway on the far turn of the United Nations S.-G1 at Monmouth Park but clipped heels, stumbled badly, and lost all chance. It was remarkable that he finished as close as he did (sixth, beaten less than six lengths). Winner of the Hollywood Turf Cup-G1 in his only prior race over the Del Mar turf course last November, the veteran gelding arrives in peak form at age seven and with good racing luck appears capable of producing a winning late bid. United returned to winning form in the Eddie Read S.-G2 here last month after a hugely disappointing run (last of four) in the Charles Whittingham S.-G2 at Santa Anita. If he brings his “A” game today, the veteran high class Giant’s Causeway gelding will be hard to beat. We’re expecting the winner will be one of these two, so we’ll go two-deep in our rolling exotics with preference on top to Arklow.