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Jeff Siegel: Del Mar Picks & Analysis | Friday, September 3

by Jeff Siegel

September 3, 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: 3:30 PT Grade: B-
Use: 5-French Getaway; 7-Sea of Liberty

Forecast: The Friday opener is a $32,000 middle distance turf claimer for older horses that have not won a race this year. French Getaway, now in the K. Mulhall barn following a $25,000 claim when facing open company last month, moves up a notch on the class ladder but because of the restrictions of this race may actually be facing a softer assignment. His last outing was better than the line will show, as he closed with purpose into the teeth of creepy-crawler fractions to be a willing third while earning a solid speed figure. Today’s early splits project to be quicker than par, so his chances to produce a winning late bid are pretty reasonable at 6-1 on the morning line. M. Smith knows him well and stays aboard. Sea of Liberty, dropping out of a starter’s $50,000 allowance affair and switching to F. Prat, lacks tactical speed and needs help up front to have his best chance, but today he could find a race flow that favors his style. There’s plenty to dislike on pure form – for example, he’s yet to hit the board in five previous tries over the Del Mar turf course – but this is the cheapest he’s ever run so he could improve considerably. We’ll try to get by using just these two in rolling exotic play but feel free to spread deeper if you find the need.

RACE 2: Post: 4:00 PT Grade: B
Use: 2-Half Past Twelve; 4-Artisan Dancer; 9-I’m a Giraffe

Forecast: I’m a Giraffe has the route-to-sprint angle we always like plus the return to the maiden claiming ranks and a comfortable outside draw. It’s encouraging that F. Prat stays aboard the daughter of Mucho Macho Man, who flashed good speed to the top of the lane vs. straight maidens before faltering. Against this group at this trip she should be on or near the lead throughout. Half Past Twelve displayed the kind of early speed in her two previous starts to make her dangerous at this level. She’s yet to break cleanly from the gate; with a good start today the daughter of Midnight Lute projects to be prominent at least during the early stages. Artisan Dancer has worked better than her raw times might lead you to believe and is the most dangerous of the newcomers. She’s shown some quickness from the gate for a clever trainer and gets in light, so at 6-1 on the morning she’s worth including on your ticket.

RACE 3: Post: 4:30 PT Grade: C+
Use: 3-After Midnight; 7-Lava Lane

Forecast: Four of the eight entrants in this five furlong turf dash for state-bred fillies and mares exit the same race Aug. 12. In that affair, After Midnight led until the last jump when she was nailed right on the money by Miss Carousel; she may be facing additional early heat today but with just four career starts she probably has more improvement in her that the others, so we’ll make her a solid contender. Lava Lane, the filly that finished fifth in that race, may be more enticing. The daughter of Unusual Heat was in heavy traffic and forced to steady on two occasion down the backstretch and on the turn, finally got clear entering the lane and finished with courage but without posing a threat while beating less than four lengths. With a better trip today, the P. D’Amato-trained filly will be a serious player. Both should be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll have a couple of extra tickets keying Lava Lane on top.

RACE 4: Post: 5:00 PT Grade: C+
Single: 5-Miracle of Hope

Forecast: Miracle of Hope plummets to the bottom and switches to dirt for the first time, so there are reasons to hope that the daughter of Nyquist has found her proper level. Those in the field that have been regularly competing for this maiden $20,000 tag are thoroughly unimpressive, so let’s take a stand with this lightly-raced sophomore filly. She shows a couple of easy breezes over the main track since returning from Golden Gate Fields, where she finished a not-terrible fourth in a maiden special weight grass event last month. At 4-1 on the morning line, we’ll make her a not-very-confident win play and rolling exotic single.

RACE 5: Post: 5:30 PT Grade: B-
Use: 4-Street Humor; 8-Fore Flag

Forecast: 4-Street Humor, a $90,000 purchase at the Santa Anita 2-year-old in training sale in June, has trained okay – not great, but okay – and seems as good as any in this below average maiden turf miler for juveniles. The son of Street Boss is a half-brother to the Bay Area grass stakes winner Visitant, and that may explain why his connections have chosen to debut him going long on the lawn. The M. Ortiz-trained colt has never worked on grass, so who really knows if he’ll like it, but since he’s listed at 12-1 on the morning line we’re willing to engage in a bit of gamble. Fore Flag didn’t show a whole lot when fifth, beaten almost 12 lengths, in an all-weather sprint in Chicago in his debut, but he’s bred for turf and distance, brought some money in the OBS March sale ($95,000), and lands F. Prat. Almost by default, he’s a contender.

RACE 6: Post: 6:00 PT Grade: B
Use: 5-Zuboshi; 7-Eleuthera; 9-Big Novel; 12-Connie Swingle

Forecast: A full field of California-bred juvenile fillies sprint six furlongs in a fairly contentious affair that requires a spread in rolling exotic play. A couple of these fillies have been entered back on Saturday in the I’m Smokin S. to face the boys in what might be perceived as a softer spot. Both have good chances here, so we’ll just have to wait and see what their connections do. Zuboshi, one of those entered back on Saturday, was quite impressive breaking her maiden in late July, winning by more than six lengths, a significant margin in a five furlong turf sprint. There’s no reason she shouldn’t be equally effective on dirt, so we like her here and hope that she stays in the field. Eleuthera was flat out given a race in her debut going long on the turf and did well to finish a distant second in a very promising performance. Today, the daughter of Square Eddie shortens to a sprint, switches to dirt, and moves into stakes company, none of which makes a whole lot of sense. She has plenty of talent, though, and at 15-1 on the morning line she offers a reasonable gamble, assuming she stays in the race, having also been entered back in the I’m Smokin. Connie Swingle enjoyed a perfect trip outside when graduating here last month and had the good fortune of landing a similar post today that should allow for the same type of pace-stalking trip that she utilized in her victory. The daughter of Grazen will be hard to beat if the two fillies listed above opt for tomorrow. Big Novel, runner-up to Connie Swingle in her debut, was pretty much wiped out at the start and did well to finish willingly through the lane, though she failed to change leads. With a better break today, the daughter of Mr. Big could make a serious run for it.

RACE 7: Post: 6:30 PT Grade: B+
Single: 5-England’s Rose

Forecast: England’s Rose is bred to excel in marathon races and finally gets her chance to show it in this first-level allowance event for fillies and mares over 11 furlongs on grass. The lightly-raced 5-year-old daughter of English Channel, a sharp runner-up to the talented imported filly Luck in a hot middle-distance event over the local lawn last month, always has shown a good turn of foot and her late kick should be extremely effective in long distance races such as this. V. Espinoza knows her well and should have the J. Shirreffs-trained mare along in time as a win play and rolling exotic single.

RACE 8: Post: 7:00 PT Grade: B+
Single: 4-Scabbard

Forecast: Scabbard looks fairly solid in the Friday nightcap, a seven furlong sprint for restricted (nw-3) $20,000 claimers. Popular of late at the claim box, the son of More Than Ready has switched barns in three of his last four outings and today makes his first appearance for the J. Wong barn (a remarkable 34% with this angle). In the frame in his last four starts, most recently as a strong second while more than three lengths clear of the rest under these conditions, he’ll benefit from today’s extra furlong and should find himself in a comfortable stalking position and then have his chance to seal the deal from the quarter pole home. His 2-for-17 lifetime record notwithstanding, he’s a win play and rolling exotic single at or near his morning line of 7/2.