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Jeff Siegel: Del Mar Picks & Analysis | Saturday, September 4

by Jeff Siegel

September 4, 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: 1:30 PT Grade: B
Use: 3-Vetoed; 6-Encroachment; 9-Sumo

Forecast: Sumo and Vetoed, a pair of well-regarded older maidens, should get the bulk of the play in this six-furlong sprint and both have a right to run extremely well. Vetoed has the benefit of a prior run, a third-place finish as the odds-on favorite at Los Alamitos in June but seems certain to come on from that outing for a barn that hits at a terrific 28% with second time starters. In defeat, the 4-year-old gelding by Bayern earned a strong speed figure, so with a forward move today he’ll certainly be in the picture. Sumo brought $700,000 at the OBS March sale last year but has had his issues and finally makes it to the post in the late summer of his 3-year-old season. The tall, scopey son of Not This Time sports a series of fast team works that strongly indicate he has the raw talent to beat a field of this quality; the main concern is how quick he’ll be leaving the gate. Encroachment has been burning up the track leading to his long-awaited debut for R. Hanson and is a “must use” on your ticket. Late to the party at age four but training like a gelding who can win right now, the son of Uncle Mo blew out in 46 flat from the gate last week to appear spot on for a major effort. All three should be included in rolling exotic play; the best price on the morning line at 6-1 is Encroachment, so let’s give him the edge on top.

RACE 2: Post: 2:00 PT Grade: B
Use: 3-Barristan The Bold; 6-Fly to Mars; 8-Irish Heatwave

Forecast: Barristan the Bold was victimized by one of the worst trips of the season when finishing third, beaten less than a length, in a five-furlong grass dash for this $32,000 tag last month. Claimed by R. Hanson and wheeled back at the same level but this time over a distance of ground, the English-bred gelding retains J. Hernandez, who will hopefully find clear sailing this time when launching his best bid at the head of the lane. Though we suspect this gelding might prefer one turn, he’s in sharp enough form to win over a distance of ground with good racing luck. Fly to Mars, a voided claim for $20,000 in late May, returns on the raise for P. Miller while retaining F. Prat, so we’ll assume he’s sound and healthy and ready to resume his highly-productive racing career. A two-time winner over the Del Mar turf course, the 7-year-old gelding should draft into a comfortable pace-stalking position and then have every chance from the quarter pole home. Irish Heatwave moves up a notch in his first start off a claim by M. Maker. A good runner-up vs. $25,000 foes over the local lawn last time out despite getting rank and pulling hard early, the former stakes winner switches to U. Rispoli and will be especially dangerous if he’s able to secure his favorite roll as the controlling speed. These are the three we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with Barristan The Bold, listed at 4-1 on the morning line, the top selection.

RACE 3: Post: 2:30 PT Grade: B+
Use: 3-Took Charge; 4-Augusta Melody

Forecast: Took Charge returned off a 12-week vacation in his first outing since being claimed by R. Baltas and earned a career top speed figure when an excellent runner-up while nearly seven lengths clear of the rest in a similar starter allowance sprint here last month. Switching to F. Prat, the son of Take Charge Indy projects as the controlling speed in this six and one-half furlong dash, and with two easy workouts since raced he appears set to verify his 8/5 morning line favorite’s role. For protection, you may want to include the Eastern invader Augusta Melody on a backup ticket. The Speightstown gelding has numbers that fit, shows a bullet half mile workout (4f, :47.1h, fastest of 35) last week for new trainer T. Yakteen and certainly will be well-meant seeking his share of the lucrative ship-and-win bonus money.

RACE 4: Post: 3:00 PT Grade: C+
Use: 5-K P Silver Bullet; 8-Cant Stop This Man; 10-Harbor Sky

Forecast: Here’s a messy affair for bottom-rung maiden $20,000 older horses. We’ll try to get by using just three, but if you feel the need to spread deeper, go for it. Cant Stop This Man returns to his claim level and returns to the main track, so the P. D’Amato-trained gelding could improve a bunch in what will be just his fourth career starts. He’s flashed enough speed sprinting to expect he’ll be prominent throughout at this one-mile trip, and with a steady series of three workouts since raced the son of Can The Man looks healthy and fit. The switch to hot riding A. Cedillo is another plus. Harbor Sky has the always important class drop from straight maiden to maiden claiming and therefore can be expected to improve considerably against this softer company. The extreme outside draw does him no favors. but the S. McCarthy-trained gelding should be a late threat in his first try on dirt (bred for it) and is another with a nice recent series of workouts to have him ready for a forward move. K P Silver Bullet, a voided claim last month, drops in class, switches to the barn’s “go to” rider T. Pereira, and could be dangerous from off the pace in his first try around two turns. He’s 6-1 on the morning line and could go a bit higher, so toss him in somewhere.

RACE 5: Post: 3:30 PT Grade: B
Use: 5-Queen Goddess; 6-Fi Fi Pharoah; 8-Moraz

Forecast: Queen Goddess finished a willing runner-up in her debut in mid-July and then, as expected, produced a forward move to graduate in her next start over this course and distance in clever fashion, stalking slow fractions before kicking clear when ready like a filly who can win again. “Again” is this first-level allowance affair for 3-year-old fillies, and with J. Hernandez riding her back and at 7/2 on the morning line the daughter of Empire Maker should draft into an easy pace-prompting position and then kick home when given her cue. She’s clearly the top pick but there are others in the field that are worth using in rolling exotic play, at least as savers. Fi Fi Pharoah is a daughter of American Pharoah trying grass for the first time, and if she improves on the sod as many of the sire’s offspring do, she could step forward in a big way. Also worth using is Moraz, away since April but exiting a series of graded stakes races and also switching to turf for the first time. She’s a major player based on speed figures and if she’s allowed an easy trip on the front end the M. McCarthy-trained filly may prove hard to catch.

RACE 6: Post: 4:00 PT Grade: X
Use: 1-Zuboshi; 5-Rock N Rye

Forecast: Rock N Rye has won his last two with complete authority and looks for the hat trick today in another sprint stakes restricted to California-bred juveniles. The son of Stay Thirsty has a good stalking style that should have him in the right spot heading for home, and with his ability to produce a second move the W. Solis-trained colt will be difficult to contain close home. Zuboshi was impressive breaking her maiden on turf; today she tackles the boys, switches to dirt and draws the rail. She's a quality filly and is worth using on your ticket but this certainly is a tough task.

RACE 7: Post: 4:30 PT Grade: B-
Use: 2-La Gioiosa; 8-Sommer Daisy; 9-Floral Essence

Forecast: We liked Queen Goddess to win on the raise in today’s fifth race; now let’s consider three fillies who just chased her home in this maiden turf miler for older fillies and mares. Floral Essence, in the frame in all four of her career starts and runner-up to ‘Goddess in that common race Aug 7, probably can’t beat a real good filly but it takes one to beat her. The daughter of Candy Ride has good tactical speed in a race that projects to be slowly run early, so she be in the right spot and have every chance when the pressure is turned on at the head of the lane. Sommer Daisy, a promising third in that same in her U.S. debut and her first start in nine months, has every right to step forward with U. Rispoli riding her back for P. Gallagher. She’s listed at 6-1 on the morning line and could easily be better than that. Gallagher’s other starter in race, the French-bred La Gioiosa, was group-stakes placed overseas last year but really hasn’t approached that form in three outings since arriving in California. She was sixth in that race behind Queen Goddess but beaten less than four lengths. If she would ever learn to switch off early, relax, and then produce one run she might be more competitive. So far, she simply wants to pull early and get rank during the early stages and those antics have been costing her.

RACE 8: Post: 5:00 PT Grade: B-
Use: 4-Gator Shining; 7-Diva’s Finale

Forecast: Diva’s Finale looked good beating $16,000 claiming foes over a mile last month and today moves up a level while shortening to six furlongs. This may be a case of there being no other suitable race restricted to 3-year-olds in the condition book, and with this son of Munnings having winning form over the Del Mar main track trainer D. O’Neill understandably wants to give this colt another local race before the meeting concludes on Labor Day. A. Cedillo stays aboard and should have him settled into a second flight, stalking position. Gator Shining drops drastically in class, adds blinkers, and tries the main track for the first time in his ninth career start. The R. Baltas-trained gelding should be running on late. We’ll prefer Diva’s Finale on top but include both in our rolling exotics.

RACE 9: Post: 5:30 PT Grade: B
Use: 1-Maxim Rate; 3-Dogtag; 8-Going to Vegas

Forecast: A strong group of fillies and mares who know each other pretty well meet again this year’s renewal of the John C. Mabee S.-G2 over nine furlongs on grass. Any one of three could win without being a surprise. Dogtag, third in all three of her 2021 outings, earned a career top speed figure when chasing home Princess Grace in the Yellow Ribbon H.-G2 last month and won’t need much more than that effort to break through with an overdue victory. She has good tactical speed, always tries hard through the lane, and should have dead aim and every chance under regular pilot U. Rispoli. Going to Vegas returned to the allowance ranks and outclasses her foes in an easy and impressive recent win over this course and distance in mid-July. She’s run well at this level in the past, switches to F. Prat, and should settle in a good stalking position outside, and proved difficult to contain if she brings her best stuff. Maxim Rate, a willing third in the Yellow Ribbon H. in her first outing since May, will be dangerous with a repeat of her sharp victory in the Gamely S.-G1 at Santa Anita in her previous start. A two-time winner over the Del Mar turf course, she’s guaranteed a ground-saving trip from her good rail post position and is a “must use” in rolling exotic play.

RACE 10: Post: 6:30 PT Grade: B+
Single: 10-Corniche

Forecast: Corniche has done everything in the morning like an outstanding 2-year-old prospect, and that’s good news for the connections who gave $1.5 million for the son of Quality Road from multiple graded stakes winner Wasted Tears at the OBS April Sale, where he previewed in :10 flat and looked terrific doing it. Drawn comfortably outside, the B. Baffert-trained colt shows a series of fast local drills that should have him cranked to the gills. He’s plenty quick but not speed crazy, so M. Smith can pop and go or stalk and pounce depending how well the colt leaves the gate. At 9/5 on the morning line and likely to go lower, he’s a win play and rolling exotic single.

RACE 11: Post: 7:00 PT Grade: B-
Use: 1-Hudson Ridge; 9-Zoffarelli; 13-Sword Zorro

Forecast: The 14-runner Del Mar Derby-G2 completes the program and it’s a grass grab bag in which racing luck may determine who among the half-dozen or so legitimate contenders take home the winner’s prize. Sword Zorro was disqualified in the La Jolla H. here last month when drifting out late but certainly ran a winning race and should enjoy today’s nine-furlong trip. He’s a stone closer and surely will need luck in navigating a clear trip but can win with clear sailing from the top of the lane to the wire. Zoffarelli was nosed out in the La Jolla but had his number put him in an impressive U.S. debut for J. Mullins. This nine-furlong distance shouldn’t bother him in the least, but he, too, will need some luck when launching his bid from off the pace. Hudson Ridge draws the golden rail and projects to enjoy an ideal ground-saving, second flight journey. He was the third head on the wire in the La Jolla and earlier this year won the Cinema S. at this mile and one-eighth distance at Santa Anita when edging Sword Zorro. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics and hope at least one of them had clear sailing and is able to reproduce their best form.