by Johnny D
September 2, 2021
Fun in the Sun’s Final Table is Saturday and 30 players occupying 35 seats will compete for shares of a $22,255 pot. The winner will collect $12,240, with $5,563 to second, $2,225 to third and $1,112 to fourth and fifth each. Competition races include the last 5 at Saratoga and the first 5 at Del Mar—in other words, one late and one early Pick 5.
It’s the final weekend at both Saratoga and Del Mar and most horseplayers are sad to see them go. Summer racing at these venues is tremendous and visiting the facilities should be on every horseplayer’s bucket list.
Last week, in this space, yours truly excitedly previewed his annual Spa trip that also included plenty of racing, golf, friends, food, and drink. Once more, the Spa didn’t disappoint.
Saturday’s Travers card was a fabulous show with several torrid stretch battles between top class Thoroughbreds. Of course, the late-stretch savaging of Yaupon by Firenze Fire was as entertaining as it gets. Jackie’s Warrior’s rally to catch returning Life is Good set the stage for another brave performance from the outstanding Letruska. Gufo rallied to take the Sword Dancer and preceded another victorious effort by Essential Quality, a colt that reminds us of the late Al Davis’ mantra, “Just win, baby!”
To horseplayers, Saturday’s card was not the place to make a score. For example, the Spa late Pick 5 paid just $73.62. I know. I had it. ‘Nice hit!’ The overall show, however, was a glorious gift to fans of the sport.
Friday through Sunday’s eighth race, neither my pal Will nor I had had much mutuel pool success. Will had been a bit unlucky--nailed by a nose with a 7-1 shot and disqualified from victory in another race. Will made a nice hit in Sunday’s ninth race, the Better Talk Now Stakes, with Chad Brown-trained Sifting Sands at $18.80. We joked that it’s way better to hit a lick when almost out the door than when first arriving.
Before the afternoon and the weekend’s finale, we discussed the chances of the runners. We’ve done well over the years by combining wits and now our backs were against the wall of a wound-licking, five-hour drive home. Will decided on the Chulainn-Lord Flintshire exacta. I added Landbiscuit and went for the trifecta. We both hit! The Exacta returned $182 and the Tri came back $1,161.50 for a buck each. Will had the one-two combo more than once and made a nice score. I became whole for the trip. Whew!
That’s just one example of why playing the races is the best gambling game ever invented. You can be wrong for days, be right once and go from red to black. Try doing that while betting sports!
Below is an attempt to help players find that ‘right once’ play this weekend at Saratoga and Del Mar. Below is one man’s opinion in the last 5 at the Spa and the first 5 ‘Where the Turf Meets the Surf.’ Selections are made before scratches, changes and are for ‘Fast’ and ‘Firm’ surfaces only. Main Track Only runners not considered.
Great luck to the Final Table players and may the best horseplayer win!
SARATOGA // RACE 8 (4:27PM ET) // G3 SARANAC STAKES // 1 1/16 MILES (TURF)
#1 Public Sector (7/5) lived up to expectations when taking the Gr. 2 Hall of Fame last out at the Spa under Flavien Prat. Irad Ortiz now rides for trainer Chad Brown and he’s familiar with the colt who’s now 2 for 2 over Spa grass. Difficult to get around this consistent guy.
#2 Like the King (6/1) was second in the Kent last out at Delaware Park. Victory in the Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway led to a 12th in the Kentucky Derby. He seems a bit below this level but has early speed and John Velazquez to dole it out. He could hang around for exotics at a price.
#3 He’spuregold (15/1) is a New Jersey-bred who took seven starts to break maiden. When he did it was against fellow state-breds. He followed that up with a nice score in a state-bred stakes at Monmouth. He has a closing style and usually keeps coming. This is a big step up.
#4 Never Surprised (8/5) hasn’t been seen in the afternoon since January when second in the Gr. 3 Kitten’s Joy going a mile at Gulfstream. Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher excels with bringing talented runners back off layoffs and this one has worked ever 7 days for this. This son of Constitution won the first two starts of his career going six furlongs and one mile and one-sixteenth on turf at Aqueduct before the Kitten’s Joy. This one has to be respected with Luis Saez up and racing close to the early pace.
#5 Founder (4/1) hails from the Chad Brown outfit and that’s enough to pick up anyone’s head. He won a Monmouth stakes race last out, his first win since breaking maiden first out in Spa mud in August of ’20. While he’s in good form, he’d be a surprise in here based on his struggles at the allowance level.
#6 Mohs (12/1) ships in from Monmouth where he won his last two starts after finishing second by a nose in a Delaware Park maiden race. This is a substantial rise in class and he would be a big surprise.
#7 Risk Taking (8/5) is Entered for Main Track Only
BEST ON PAPER: #1
UPSET CHANCE: #4
SARATOGA // RACE 9 (5:01PM ET) // ALLOWANCE // 1 1/16 MILES (TURF)
#2 Electric Youth (5/1) has tried this level five times before without much success. To be fair, only two of those were long on turf. This 3-year-old filly would need to pop with a new best effort not seen in her previous 7 starts.
#3 Lookin to Fly (8/1) is fit, sharp and starts for trainer Joe Sharp, too. Top jock Luis Saez, who won on this 4-year-old filly at the state-bred maiden 40k level last out, stays aboard. These appear tougher but she is in form.
#4 Tax Me Naught (20/1) invades from Finger Lakes and makes just her second turf start at age 5. She would be a surprise but does add some speed to a fairly pace-less race.
#5 Golden Oldie (10/1) is fit and sharp off a wire-to-wire Monmouth win at the $30k beaten level. The 3-year-old filly meets fellow state-breds for the first time and makes her first start on the NYRA circuit. Interesting that jockey Joel Rosario takes call for a low-profile outfit.
#6 Just OK Is Not Ok (8/1) starts for the dangerous Todd Pletcher outfit and has Irad Ortiz up. That combination is a deadly 30% together. Forget the last race and you have a two-length state-bred maiden winner with just 4 starts. This one never has taken much money but did race first time out against open maiden foes at Gulfstream. Tricky call.
#1 Caramocha (3/1) is Entered for Main Track Only
#1A Cara’s Dreamer (3/1) is a 3-year-old filly with just 1 win in 14 starts. She comes out of a pair of races common to #7 Freedom Machine and got the better of that one in both races. She missed by a mere nose at this level one back and she comes from well off the pace so she needs some racing luck. Dylan Davis is back aboard for 0-10 Spa trainer Mitchel Friedman who has 2 seconds and 4 thirds this meeting. This one’s a clunk-up exotic type at the right price.
#7 Freedom Machine (8/1)has no speed and makes her third Spa start off third and seventh-place finishes. Before that she won a state-bred maiden $40k at Belmont. Her third placing came at nearly 50-1 and she has been in the money in one-half of her starts.
#8 Infringement (15/1) stretches out around two turns for the first time and makes just her second turf start. Could she wake up while trying new tricks for trainer Mark Hennig? She does have state-bred stakes experience and was a well-beaten third on Spa dirt in one of those outings.
#9 Beyond Brown (20/1) starts for 2 for 7 trainer Karl Broberg. This 4-year-old filly was claimed for $16k two back out of a ‘sloppy’ Aqueduct mile and then sprinted six furlongs at Belmont to no avail. She’s 0-for-5 on turf. She has shown speed in previous turf races and should be part of the early pace in here under Eric Cancel who is familiar with her. She’s a reach in here but at least there are some interesting angles going.
#10 English Breeze (5/2) is a 4-year-old filly who’s faced the stiffest competition of anyone in the field. She is stakes placed against open company at 2 and has been second at this level this year. She also has a turf win at the Spa and is 3 for 5 in the money at the distance on turf. She also faced state-bred allowance males two back and wasn’t disgraced. She’s the one to beat for trainer David Donk who’s had a frustrating meet with just 3 wins in 45 starts and 11 seconds.
ONE TO BEAT: #10
FUNKY THOUGHTS: #3, #5, #6, #9
SARATOGA // RACE 10 (5:37PM ET) // ALLOWANCE // 6 1/2 FURLONGS (DIRT)
#1 Tuggle (8/1) won maiden first out at 2 and then was pitched against stakes company, including a few long turf races. He’s been second in his last three starts, two at Oaklawn Park and one at Belmont at this level last out in June. A year transpired between his last and next-to-last race, so he might have needed that effort. He comes from just off the pace and Irad Ortiz rides for Jeremiah Englehart.
#2 Wow Brown (20/1) is a 5-year-old New York-bred with speed. He tried a state-bred stakes last out and has mostly plied his trade at Finger Lakes and against fellow state breds.
#3 Ducale (5/2) makes his second Saratoga start for 31% trainer Brad Cox. Jockey Manny Franco broke maiden with him last out, the 3-year-old colt’s second start. He’s a Juddmonte-bred who’s been favored in both starts and has to be respected in here.
#4 Marching (15/1) won convincingly at Ellis Park for trainer Shug McGaughy last out, the 3-year-old colt’s second start. The victory was a bit slow on the Beyer scale. That was in early July and he’s worked steadily since.
#5 Rejected Again (30/1) has won 2 of 4 at the Spa and 4 of 20 overall. He’s never been fast enough to win this and was claimed for $25k in his next to last race.
#6 Olympiad (8/1) has been away since Sept of last year when he romped in a maiden race. Trainer Bill Mott has worked him steadily every 7 or 8 days for this and a July 31, five-furlong 1:00 3/5 best of six drill is notable. The 3-year-old colt will race first time Lasix and must be respected.
#7 Hoopla (30/1) romped Aug. 20 at the Spa when dropped to $40k maiden by trainer Bill Mott. He was claimed by Bruce Brown and is fit and sharp for this step up the ladder. He could find the exotics at a price.
#8 Baby Yoda (6/1) is another Mott trainee in here and the 3-year-old gelding comes off a July 17 allowance win. That was his first start for Mott off two Pimlico races for Charlie Frock. The gelding has run fast enough to win this and is drawn outside with speed. He sports a bullet four-furlong, best of 153 drill for this. One of the ones.
#9 Crowded Trade (5/1) adds intrigue to the race from off the pace. Always highly regarded, this Chad Brown-trained 3-year-old colt broke maiden first out at even money at Aqueduct. He finished second in the Gr. 3 Gotham, third in the Gr. 2 Wood, and fifth in the Gr. 1 Preakness. Those are the most impressive races on the page. Brown returned this guy to the races in the Gr. Amsterdam August 1 and he understandably couldn’t keep up with winner Jackie’s Warrior. He did close some ground late. Now, the colt drops into a much more reasonable spot and he should be moving late.
#10 Hometown (4/1) also starts for leading trainer Chad Brown. This 4-year-old colt hasn’t been out since May, gets top jockey Luis Saez and has a steady work patter. It should be noted that jockey Irad Ortiz, who was second with this colt last out, moves to #1 Tuggle.
#11 Ampersand (50/1) was a well-beaten second last out and would need to run much faster to threaten in here.
#12 Stayin’ Out Late (12/1) has been away since second by a nose going two turns in an Oaklawn Park allowance race. This appears to be a prep race for 22% trainer Steve Asmussen and jockey Santana.
MANY WAYS TO GO: #1, #3, #6, #8, #9
SARATOGA // RACE 11 (6:11PM ET) // G1 FLOWER BOWL S. // 1 3/8 MILES (TURF)
#1 La Signare (5/1) is a consistent 6-year-old mare who hasn’t won since March going one mile at Gulfstream in the Sand Springs. She’s been knocking heads with mostly Grade 1 foes in her last 7 races and has managed to hit the board a few times. No real reason to expect more than that from her.
#2 American Bridge (12/1) arrives here off victory in a Gr. 3 stakes in Italy. Before that she raced in France and won 3 races out of 11 starts there. Owner Peter Brandt has won this race four times and also has #4 My Sister Nat in here. Irad Ortiz rides for trainer Jean-Claude Rouget. Euro invaders have done well this year in NYRA stakes but this one seems a bit overmatched.
#3 War Like Goddess (4/5) has won 5 of 6 races, her only loss coming at Gulfstream off a four-month layoff. Last out she dominated the Gr. 2 Glen Falls at Saratoga. She’s talented, sharp and 2 for 2 at the distance. Jockey Julien Leparoux rides for trainer Bill Mott and he seems to have ultimate confidence in this 4-year-old filly’s explosive late kick. She should be a handful in here.
#4 My Sister Nat (5/1) was second to #3 War Like Goddess last out and will need something drastic to happen to turn the tables on that one. This 6-year-old mare is trained by Chad Brown and he’s won this race 6 times. Jose Ortiz stays aboard this mare instead of with #5 Lovely Lucky, who he won on last out. My Sister has won just 3 of 18 with 7 seconds and 4 thirds, so she’s very much eligible to be part of the exotics.
#5 Lovely Lucky (20/1) comes off an allowance victory and has to improve quite a bit to have a say in this one. She may have a bit of a pace advantage in her corner and Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez in the saddle. He’s an expert at rating on the front end and that’s this mare’s best shot at upsetting the apple cart. She’s also been effective at Saratoga where she’s won 2 of 3 on the lawn and she handles the distance well. She may hang around on the front end long enough to nab an exotic spot at a price.
#6 Great Island (4/1) is Chad Brown’s other chance to win his seventh Flower Bowl. Jockey Joel Rosario climbed aboard this one for the first time and won with her in the Gr. 3 Matchmaker at Monmouth last out. The 5-year-old mare has made just 7 career starts with 4 wins, a second and two thirds. Obviously, she’s had issues, but she tries every time. This is her first Grade 1 try and a win would surprise but she’s got a chance to be in the exotics, especially for those connections.
#7 Coastana (15/1) has never taken a backward Beyer Speed Figure step for trainer Cherie Deveaux, whose had a strong meeting with 3 wins out of 9 starters. Leading rider Luis Saez has ridden this 4-year-old filly in each of 5 lifetime starts and they have 2 wins and 2 seconds in maiden and allowance company. This filly needs to take another forward step to run with these and that’s asking a lot, but she hasn’t hit her ceiling yet.
HER RACE TO LOSE: #3
SARATOGA // RACE 12 (6:46PM ET) // G1 JOCKEY CLUB GOLD CUP S. // 1 1/4 MILES (DIRT)
#1 Forza Di Oro (8/5) returned from an eight-month layoff last out to win a muddy mile and one-eighth allowance race. Before his vacation, he won a first level allowance race followed by the Grade 3 Discovery. That means he’s won three of his last four races and four of his last five. This is a certain step up in class, but the 4-year-old son of Speightstown is talented, sharp and fast enough to make some noise.
#2 Max Player (5/2) put it all together to win the Gr. 2 Suburban in the slop at Belmont in early July at nearly 12-1. Before that he hadn’t won a race since taking the Gr. 3 Withers in Feb of ’20. He was third in both the Belmont and Travers and fifth in both the Gr. 1 Kentucky Derby and Gr. 1 Preakness before a non-effort in the Gr. 1 Saudi Cup. Perhaps the ‘off’ track moved him up last out or maybe he’s improved with racing? Trainer and jockey have had strong Spa meetings and he’s got three bullets in his holster for this race.
#3 Chess Chief (15/1) won the Gr. 2 New Orleans Classic in March but hasn’t been close in four starts since. He would need to run the race of his 5-year-old life to upset this field. Top jock Luis Saez rides for longshot darling trainer Dallas Stewart.
#4 Happy Saver (9/5) has been away since the Gr. 2 Suburban when third to #2 Max Player. That’s this colt’s only loss and it came over a ‘sloppy’ track. He’s won 5 of 6 overall and has a win over the Spa surface at age 2. He also is the defending champ in this race, winning it in October of last year at Belmont. Irad Ortiz rides for trainer Todd Pletcher and will have this 4-year-old colt just off whatever early pace develops. He’s the one to beat.
#5 Night Ops (5/1) is in solid form, second last out in the restricted Alydar at the Spa. He’s been within two lengths of the winner in his last 5 races and has been in the money in 17 of 24 overall with 6 wins. His last victory came in July of ’20 in the Gr. 3 Cornhusker Handicap at Prairie Meadows. Trainer Brad Cox has had a powerful Spa season at 31% and has combined well with jockey Manny Franco, 25% together. Another in-the-money finish is most likely.
#6 Forewarned (50/1) seems overmatched in here based on a runner-up performance in an Ohio-bred stakes race at Thistledown. His last win came against fellow state breds in Oct. ’20.
STRICTLY ONE TO BEAT: #4
EXOTICS: #1, #5
DEL MAR // RACE 1 (4:30PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT)
#1 Koko’s Kandy (20/1) returns to the races after more than a year on the sidelines. He’s been gelded and the 4-year-old has worked well for his return to the races for trainer Karen Headley. Still, this is a difficult spot for a return and drawing the rail is no bargain. Weight is ‘off’ with apprentice Jess Pyfer who’s liable to let this on roll early.
#2 Cali Bay (10/1) makes his first dirt start for trainer Phil D’Amato and jockey Juan Hernandez (27% combo). This 3-year-old colt took decent money in two US starts sprinting on turf and that suggests there’s something good here somewhere. A bit interesting.
#3 Vetoed (5/2) makes a second start for trainer Bob Baffert with Flavien Prat in the saddle. That combo is 40% with 15 tries at the meet and 34% over 61 starts. Those are some strong stats. This colt was bet to below even money first time out at Los Alamitos when third in June. Baffert bats 21% with second out maidens. This is the one to beat.
#4 Dixie’s Two Stents (6/1) adds first time Lasix for his fifth career start. He finished second first time out at Del Mar last August and then faced two Gr. 1 fields in the Del Mar Futurity and Breeders’ Futurity. He returned to California to try maidens in November of last year going one mile on turf and didn’t fire. He has to be respected a bit for Doug O’Neill.
#5 Lord M (20/1) is a first-time starter for trainer Ron Moquett and he’ll need to have his running shoes on for this.
#6 Encroachment (6/1) has some fast works for trainer Ryan Hanson. This 4-year-old son of Uncle Mo has posted three bullet works: a :46 1/5 best of 28 gate move July 15; a :59 2/5 best of 22 and a :46 gate move that was best of 76. It appears this one can move a bit. Hanson is just 7% with first timers but he doesn’t usually get this kind of stock.
#7 Grandcourse Guy (12/1) was second best for a maiden $40k tag Aug. 1 going six and one-half furlongs. The cutback ought to help and he’s shown speed in both of his starts—one on turf and one on dirt. He’ll be challenged early in here, though.
#8 Solo Animo (10/1) has started three times but hasn’t been seen in the afternoon since July of last year. He closed well in two turf sprints to finish in the money. He also tried a dirt mile before going on the shelf. He has worked fairly well for his 4-year-old debut.
#9 Sumo (3/1) is a first-time starter from the Baffert stable that boasts some nice moves. He’s a 3-yearold colt by Not This Time that brought $700k as an Ocala 2-year-old. Abel Cedillo hits at 30% with Baffert. Can’t ignore.
#10 Star Sailor (6/1) adds blinkers for this his 8th career start. He would be a surprise under Joe Bravo for John Sadler.
ALL ABOUT BOB: #3, #9
OTHERS INTERESTING: #2, #6
DEL MAR // RACE 2 (4:59PM ET) // CLAIMING // 1 MILE (TURF)
#1 The Black Album (15/1) has been claimed in two of his last 3 races, most recently by Sergio Morfin for $25k two races back. He started once for his new trainer, set a slow pace in a $25k turf route and faded. He’s 1 for his last 11 and will be ridden by jockey Barnett who is 0-26 at the meet. Lots against him.
#2 Appreciated (15/1) was claimed for $20k last out by trainer Jeff Mullins out of a dirt optional claiming mile. This 5-year-old gelding has won 3 of 26 starts and is 1 for his last 16. He didn’t run poorly last out, but he’s difficult to back off that record.
#3 Barristan The Bold (4/1) had trouble in his last race at this level when sprinting at Del Mar. This will be his first turf route since his first two races in the US when facing much better. He was claimed out of his last by Ryan Hanson who is 17% first off the claim. He has appearances in the Gr. 3 San Simeon at 46-1 and the Gr. 2 Mother’s Ball Mile at 42-1 to support his cause. Juan Hernandez rides and he’s 28% overall in combo with Hansen. Interesting.
#4 Southern Horse (10/1) drops in for a tag for the first time after 4 US starts for trainer John Sadler. Jockey Abel Cedillo rides and he has yet to ride a winner for the barn. The 6-year-old horse will need to turn around a zero for his last 9 streak.
#5 Blameless (8/1) is another Sergio Morfin-trained runner in the race and he’s making his second start for the trainer since being claimed for $40k in his first local start since arriving from Gulfstream Park. This is the lowest claiming level for this 5-year-old gelding, always an interesting angle. His last win was at about this level at Gulfstream Park in January. Not totally helpless.
#6 Fly to Mars (5/2) is a 7-year-old gelding with 2 wins in 5 Del Mar turf starts, 4 wins in 11 tries on turf at the distance and 8 of 26 overall. He’s got enough speed to be in contention from the start and top jock Prat rides for Peter Miller. They’re a solid 29% together. A claim on this one for $20k was voided following his last race. That raises some doubt about his condition, but Prat returns in the saddle and this guy has plenty of other factors in his favor.
#7 Ian Glass (4/1) starts for 1 for 14 trainer Ron Ellis. The 5-year-old gelding was claimed last out for $32k when fifth in a turf sprint. He’s 3 for 7 at the mile turf distance, so that sprint could serve as a suitable prep race. He’s won 6 of 21 lifetime, so he’s far from a bum. Give him respect.
#8 Irish Heatwave (7/2) is a 5-year-old gelding out of the powerful Mike Maker stable. He was claimed for $25k last out when second going one mile and one-sixteenth at Del Mar. Trouble with this guy is that he’s 0-7 over the Del Mar turf course. His last win came at the $40k level when he went wire-to-wire going one mile and one-eighth. Turf specialist Umberto Rispoli rides and he’s 33% with 12 Maker starts.
#9 Feast (15/1) has speed and stretches out for just his second turf start. He was successful sprinting on dirt at Belmont in July before shipping west to trainer Doug O’Neill. He’ll support the early pace.
BEST ON PAPER: #6
OTHERS POSSIBLE: #3, #7
DEL MAR // RACE 3 (5:29PM ET) // STARTER ALLOWANCE // 6 1/2 URLONGS (DIRT)
#1 Ka’nah (2/1) dropped to a $25k non-winners of two last out and showed a spark of life. The first four starts of his career were good efforts but then he was gone for a year after that and didn’t do well in two recent starts until dropped in class last out.
#2 Hawk Hill (12/1) ran well to be second last out at the $16k non-winners of two level. These should present more pressure for the 4-year-old gelding. Former rider Pereira moves to #6 Holden the Lute and is replaced by Giovani Franco.
#3 Took Charge (8/5) has speed, gets top jock Prat for this and the rider and trainer Richard Baltas are 26% overall together. This 4-year-old gelding was second at this level about a month ago. He was favored in that race and will take money again. Catch him to win. He’s 5 for 8 in the money with 1 win.
#4 Augusta Melody (7/2) is a new face locally. Previous work was done at Churchill, Gulfstream and most recently Colonial. Trainer Tim Yakteen now calls the shots and he’s 0-12 with recent first-time acquisitions. Cedillo rides and he combines with the trainer at a 29% level based on 7 Del Mar mounts. The gelding shows a :47 1/5 bullet best of 35 for this.
#5 Sabuda (6/1) failed on turf at this level last out. His only win came on an ‘off’ track and he’s tried turf and dirt without much success. This will be his second start for trainer Doug O’Neill and he should show more speed in here.
#6 Holden the Lute (6/1) adds blinkers for trainer Steve Knapp. The 4-year-old gelding has worn them before and he has 4 seconds and 1 win in 13 starts on his resume. He was a close second at this level at Los Alamitos two races back. Note a few nice morning moves, including a best of 56 five-furlong gate drill in :59 August 27.
ONE OF TWO: #3, #6
DEL MAR // RACE 4 (6:02PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 1 MILE (DIRT)
#1 Roadside (6/1) takes another class drop to face maidens at the $20k level. He was a well-beaten second last out against $40k foes at Los Alamitos, so he should fit in here. Apprentice Jess Pyfer returns for trainer Pete Eurton. The rail should help this one save some ground.
#2 Abi Gezunt (8/1) finished 8 lengths behind #1 Roadside two races back. He’s been gelded since then and will have jockey Umberto Rispoli again in the saddle. This will be the gelding’s fourth lifetime start for trainer Eric Kruljac.
#3 Gone Rogue (10/1) dropped in for a tag last out at the $40k level and improved previous Beyer figs but was beaten more than 16 lengths. Another drop seems appropriate.
#4 Lucky Chance (20/1) was 10th first out sprinting at this level. He was 63-1.
#5 K P Silver Bullet (6/1) has had folks interested in claiming him from all 3 of his career starts. First out, he was taken for $30k, next out for $50k and, most recently, August 1 for $40k. That claim, however, was voided. Now the gelding drops to the $20k level for trainer Bill Spawr and will be ridden by jockey Pereira, a 29% winning combo. Any takers?
#6 Allaboutthemoney (7/2) makes his 8th career start and has only hit the board once when third by more than 8 lengths in his second outing. He’ll drop from $40 to $20 for trainer Vlad Cerin. This gelding took a bit of money when 4-1 last out in a field of 5. That was an improved effort, so this drop out to help even more.
#7 Primer Dimer (10/1) makes a first start for trainer Tom Bell, who’s 1 for 4 with recent debut runners. This is a weak field and an August 14 five furlong move in 1:00 3/5 is positive.
#8 Can’t Stop This Man (4/1) tried one mile on turf last out and pressed the early pace before fading against $40k runners. He was claimed three back for this price at Keeneland and he hasn’t done much running since at higher levels.
#9 Da Kine (5/1) has been on the shelf for a year, is newly gelded and will be ridden by 7-pound apprentice Espinoza for trainer Richard Baltas. He’s got the best collection of Beyer Figs in the race and if the 5-year-old can fire fresh off the layoff he’ll have a chance.
#10 Harbor Sky (10/1) tumbles from the Cal-bred maiden ranks into an open maiden claimer for trainer Sean McCarthy. This will be the gelding’s first dirt try after 3 turf races. He’s been more than 20-1 in those races and has had some trouble. The class drop should help, and he might appreciate a switch to a different surface.
#11 Mongol Altai
#12 Bold Voyager
#13 Tiz Vicious
A REAL SCRAMBLE: #1, #5, #9, #10
DEL MAR // RACE 5 (6:35PM ET) // OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 1 1/16 MILES (TURF)
#1 Magical Thought (30/1) was claimed by trainer Doug O’Neill three back, tried in a stakes sprint and an optional claimer at a lower level, both to no avail. This filly will stretch out around two turns in an attempt to get her back on track. Jess Pyfer’s apprentice allowance will come in handy but this filly needs a turnaround.
#2 For the Good Times (12/1) has just 3 starts and 1 win in slowly rated races. She needs to do better. Jockey Rispoli moves to #8 Moraz.
#3 Miss Bella Ciao (7/2) is legged up for this off a one mile and three-eighths turf try when third here in July. Top jock Prat rides for the second time in the filly’s 5-race career. Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale has had an unlucky meeting with 0 wins in 14 starts, 3 seconds and 4 thirds. She broke maiden at Golden Gate one back.
#4 Can’theIpfallin (12/1) goes second time in the US for trainer Peter Miller. The first start was is a toss as she dwelt. She was 22-1 that afternoon and adds blinkers for this.
#5 Queen Goddess (7/2) is one of two entered here for trainer Michael McCarthy. She’s been second and first in two maiden races and looked good scoring at even money under jockey JJ Hernandez. She’s fit and sharp.
#6 Fi Fi Pharoah (5/1) is a 3-year-old daughter of American Pharoah who’s faced Cal-bred stakes foes with some success. She won the Melair going this distance on Santa Anita’s main track. This is her first turf try for trainer Walther Solis. Jockey Rispoli abandons in favor of #8 Moraz and is replaced by hustling Joe Bravo. She’s got the paper on dirt. How will she handle turf?
#7 Sweet Pearl (10/1) adds blinkers and needs to improve on a 1 for 6 turf record.
#8 Moraz (5/2) makes her first start on turf for trainer Michael McCarthy. Rispoli stays here and that’s understandable as this filly has faced graded stakes competition on dirt in her last 4 races. She’s worked on turf a few times and she has shown speed on dirt, so she should be in the race from the the start. She’s worked every 7 days for this. It’s her race to lose.
#9 Basilia (6/1) was a close third in a $32k non-winners of 2 last out and loses Prat for this climb up the class ladder. Cedillo takes over aboard this filly for trainer Peter Miller and she would be a bit of a surprise in here.
ONE TO BEAT: #8
EXOTICS: #3, #4, #5