by Johnny D
August 12, 2021
Donald Jaffe led all Fun in the Sun players last Saturday with $297 in earnings to collect $2,415 and a Final Table seat. It’s the second time Jaffe has earned a Final Table seat and he joins Steven Jones and Ellis Starr as multiple seat winners. Nicholas Nagy finished just $2 behind Jaffe in Week 4 and collects $1,006.25 plus a seat at the Final Table. Starr, winner of the first week’s competition, finished third at $276 in earnings. He bagged an additional $603.75 in prize money and his second Final Table seat. Starr now leads all competitors with $3,501.75 in seasonal prize earnings.
The Fun in the Sun Final Table pot is expected to peak at $20,000 for the main event. That total includes $10,000 in Xpressbet seed money. 55% of the pot will go to the winner (over $10k estimate), with 25% to second, 10% to third and 5% to fourth and fifth. At that level of play, you’ll want to be part of the action, especially since the field should include just 35 entries (barring ties for seats in the coming weeks).
Week 5 of Fun in the Sun competition is Saturday and includes the last 5 races at Saratoga and the first 5 at Del Mar. Fun in the Sun requires a $25 weekly registration and players are asked to make $10 Win wagers on one horse in each of 10 competition races. Below is one man’s handicapping analysis of those races with an eye toward pointing out an angle or two you may have missed. Handicapping is done for Fast and Firm surfaces and before scratches and changes and does not include analysis of ‘Also Eligible’ runners.
SARATOGA // RACE 7 (4:29PM ET) // CLAIMING // 1 MILE (TURF)
#1 Bricco broke his maiden going one mile on ‘good’ Aqueduct turf in April last out. The 4-year-old gelding has some good Saratoga runner-up races on his resume going one mile on turf at the state-bred maiden $40k level. He’s a bit slow Beyer-wise.
#2 Big Blue woke up to win three back at Gulfstream when dropped to the maiden $25k claiming level. Another good effort at Gulfstream when second in an optional $35k claimer/starter allowance race in April led to a poor effort in June at Churchill. Seems to be overmatched in here.
#3 Assiduously is taking a class drop in here for trainer Chad Brown and races for a tag for the first time. Class drops like this often are a concern but at Saratoga they’re almost a positive as owners fire best shots at winning. This 4-year-old gelding broke maiden at Tampa and has been second in a first-level allowance race at Monmouth this year. He even finished third in a Belmont allowance race and was last in the Gr. 2 Hill Prince over a yielding course. Must be respected.
#4 Restored Order takes a drop into a claiming race for trainer Todd Pletcher and gets Irad Ortiz in the saddle—29% combo. This appears an aggressive move with the 3-year-old purchased for $420k as a 2-year-old. He’s got a win over the Saratoga turf course last summer but has had interruptions in his racing schedule. He was next to last in the slop at Belmont last out, so the drop makes sense.
#5 Amistad is 1 for 14 and usually isn’t close, except when second three back at roughly this level.
#6 Extreme Force was claimed last out in July at about this level when dropped from $50k to $30k by trainer Steve Asmussen. New conditioner Mike Maker is hitting at 29% at the meet and is good with new runners off the claim. Negative is that this 4-year-old colt is just 1 for 13 with 5 thirds and this will be his first start on turf and just his second around two turns. Please note: jockey Jose Ortiz replaces brother Irad in the saddle and he combines with Maker to win at 32%!
#7 K. K. Ichikawa set the pace most of the way before fading to third at the level at Belmont going a sixteenth of a mile further. Jockey Joel Rosario rides back for trainer Rudy Rodriguez. The 4-year-old gelding broke maiden for state-bred $40k in September and hasn’t been close until last out. This will be his third start for Rudy and he races evenly throughout.
#8 More Like It was claimed out of the common Belmont $40k non-winners of 2 last out. He was second by a head at the level going one mile in October and has run well at Saratoga sprinting—a win and second in three tries. Blinkers go on for new trainer Hal Handel who is 17% first off the claim and just 6% with blinkers on. Expect to find this one close to the early pace under Franco. Exotics at a price.
#9 Public Information defeated a few of these in the common race at this level at Belmont Park July 1 but was disqualified for interference and placed fifth. He was claimed from the Chad Brown outfit that afternoon by Wayne Potts and a recent Spa start in a $50k starter wasn’t impressive. A return to this live level certainly should help the cause. Gaffalione rides and the trainer-jock combo are 29% (7 starts) together.
#10 Justintimeforwine went wire to wire to win a six-furlong Aqueduct turf sprint in April and was third after setting the pace in a Belmont turf route at about this level. He’s 1 for 21, so it’s difficult to muster much love for the 4-year-old gelding.
#11 Holy Emperor adds blinkers for trainer Joe Sharp off a wide trip at this level over the Spa course. He’s stuck outside in here and doesn’t have much speed, so another wide trip seems in the offing. His last win came when he was claimed at this level in April.
#12 Eucharist was claimed last out by Bob Klesaris (5% first off claim) out of a $25k Spa dirt sprint. The 3-year-old will try turf for the first time off a first out Keeneland sprint win followed by a trio of also-ran efforts—two this year and two last year. Changes in barn, surface and distance may help, post won’t.
DROP FOR THE POP: #3, #4
LOOKOUT, STRETCHOUT: #6
ON THE IMPROVE: #7
SARATOGA // RACE 8 (5:03PM ET) // ALLOWANCE // 7 FURLONGS (DIRT)
#2 Meister has been third in 3 starts since breaking maiden first out at Ellis Park. He’s been gelded since his last start in November and will race with first-time Lasix for trainer Ian Wilkes and jock Irad Ortiz. The gelding has improved Beyer Speed Figures in all four races and has a bullet five-furlong work for this. He will try to make an impact late from off the pace. This water seems a bit deep for him.
#3 Ten for Ten raced in the Gr. 2 Remsen and Gr. 3 Nashua last year and showed the early pace in both before fading to second. This shorter distance should be better for him. He last raced July 17 and didn’t fire with first-time Lasix for trainer Shug McGaughey. Two of his best races has come in the slop.
#4 Speaker’s Corner figures live in here as two of the world’s leading racing stables lock horns with a pair of homebreds. Bill Mott trains this son of Street Sense for Godolphin as they meet #5 Ducale for Juddmonte. This colt was a slow-breaking third first out here last year and then won a 7-furlong maiden race at Belmont in October. He’s been favored in both starts. He has a nice 1:00 4/5 gate drill over the Spa training track and will race first-time Lasix under Jose Ortiz.
#5 Ducale makes his third start for trainer Brad Cox (incredible 39% winner here). The Juddmonte homebred son of Twirling Candy was favored in both starts, breaking maiden last out going seven furlongs here July 17. That was an impressive performance and a repeat makes him a winner here. He’s got enough speed to be close early and Manny Franco returns in the saddle.
#1 Mahaamel adds some early spice and overall interest to the race. This son of Into Mischief has made 3 starts for trainer Todd Pletcher and they’ve all been at seven furlongs and pretty good efforts. His best came over a ‘muddy’ Belmont strip when he broke maiden, but he’s been second and third in the other two. He’s drawn outside the other speed in here and that’s an advantage. He should have something big to say about the outcome of this race.
#6 Defeater invades from Fair Grounds where he made two starts one in Jan and one in Feb. The former was an off-the-pace sprint tally and the latter was a late-finishing runner-up effort around two turns. This son of Union Rags obviously is talented and will be coming late under jockey Joel Rosario for trainr Tom Amoss (21% here).
#1A Ashiham broke maiden last out in his sixth lifetime start. That was here, a year ago, going one mile and one-eighth. He’s coupled in here with a Pletcher stablemate and appears the less threatening of the two, mostly because his closing style at a distance of ground hasn’t been enough to get there. Connections hope things heat up early in here so this son of Tapit has something to run at. He’s improved steadily but probably is a reach in here.
#7 Will Sing for Wine hasn’t raced since December and has just one win in 9 starts. That was one mile at Aqueduct and was fast enough to sniff these. Still, this field seems fairly deep and this might be a prep for longer.
#8 Mr. Tip won a $50k starter last out going around two turns at Churchill. He was claimed for $20k in Feb. at Gulfstream. He’s got 4 wins—3 more than anyone else in here—and his trainer is running red-hot (29%). Still, he’s got no early speed and seems overmatched late.
TOP PAIR: #4, #5
SARATOGA // RACE 9 (5:39PM ET) // G2 SARATOGA SPECIAL S. // 6 1/2 FURLONGS (DIRT)
#1 Nakatomi won first out in slop at Keeneland then dwelt in Gr. 2 Norfolk at Ascot. Bounce back for Ward from rail?
#2 Gunite ran fast and strong to win a maiden race at Churchill but adds blinkers off the win for trainer Steve Asmussen, who’s batting 24% here. Why the blinks? Trainer must think there’s more in the tank.
#3 Ottoman Empire adds blinks off a disappointing try in the Gr. 3 Sanford at nearly 10-1. Best in previous, first out start at Churchill while winning a slow-ish heat.
#4 Kitodan broke maiden last out in fourth career start. Needs to go faster in here.
#5 Midnight Worker won only start at 10-1 by game head here at Spa for Todd Pletcher. Will need to step up his game to add this to his resume. Still, I. Ortiz and Pletcher are nearly 30% together and 10-1 odds are interesting for price seekers.
#6 Stolen Base if fresh off a recent romp against restricted maidens in fast time going five and one-half furlongs here. He’s 8-1 in a competitive race for hot conditioner Mike Maker at 29%.
#7 Double Thunder is 2 for 2, trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by John Velasquez. He’s 6-1 partially because his wins came at Monmouth and at Churchill. The most recent was in the Gr. 3 Bashford Manor when he hopped at the start and then rallied to win going away. Seems an interesting price on this one.
#8 Doctor Jeff won his only start over a ‘good’ Belmont track going six furlongs. The race was originally scheduled for turf and he beat just 4 other foes in fast time. He’s 2-1 on the morning line off that effort but others seem as talented…or at least possibly as talented. Did the ‘off’ track move him up? How will he deal with more pressure, additional foes, Spa surface? Too many questions at a short price.
#9 Dance Code broke maiden first out at Parx and then stumbled badly at the start of the Gr. 3 Sanford at nearly 30-1. Seems in tough here but should run better than last. Exotics bomb?
#10 Glacial won wire-to-wire first out and then was third-best in the Bashford Manor behind #7 Double Thunder. Bit slow Beyers for our tastes.
#11 High Oak won first out for trainer Bill Mott--a trainer known for having young horses race into shape. Could be more in the tank second time out but will need to go much faster, according to Beyer Speed Figures.
#12 Red Run was a lukewarm favorite when disappointing last out in the common Bashford Manor at Churchill. Before that he broke maiden in the slop at the ‘Downs as odd-on choice. Jockey Santana stays with #2 Gunite, also for trainer Assmussen. This guy would need to turn it around Beyer-wise to threaten in here.
SPREAD-ISH: #5 #6, #7, #9
SARATOGA // RACE 10 (6:13PM ET) // G1 FOURSTARDAVE H. // 1 MILE (TURF)
#1 Raging Bull won the Grade 1 Makers Mark at Keeneland in April and then returned in what appeared to slam dunk spot in the Gr. 3 Poker. He was upset by the accomplished, pregnant, 7-year-old Oleksandra. Moral of the story…don’t mess with mamma. Fifth in this race last year and second the year before that, Raging Bull figures strong in here. He’s 6 years old but seems to be in sold form. The rail, Irad Ortiz, Chad Brown, a multiple Grade 1 stakes winner, all positives. He does come from off the pace and might need pace help that should come from #8 Blowout, also from the Chad Brown stable.
#2 Whisper Not invades from the coast for trainer Richard Baltas. A Grade 3 stakes winner, this 4-year-old seems overmatched in here. However, Baltas knows what he’s doing and it’s doubtful that he’d ship cross-country for no reason. On paper, this guy needs to move forward to contend but gut feeling says there may be more than meets the eye. Exotics?
#3 Daddy Is a Legend also is a 6-year-old mare whose best races were in 2019. She’s won 5 of 19 lifetime but is just 1-10 at this distance. She seems in deep this time but was third last out in June against mares in the Gr. 1 Just a Game at Belmont.
#4 Casa Creed knocked down a Grade 1 triumph in the six-furlong Jaipur at Belmont last out in June. That was one of the best races of his career and it came on the heels of 7-furlong stakes victory, but he’s just 2 for 11 at this one-mile distance. He finished third in this race last year as a 4-year-old. He has a win over this course at this distance in the Gr. 2 Hall of Fame in 2019. Solid this season since well-beaten try in BC Mile, he’s probably one you need in exotics.
#5 Set Piece has won three in a row, including the Gr. 2 Wise Dan last out at Churchill. He’s a 5-year-old who’s fired the best races of his career in his last 2 starts. Trainer Brad Cox is going gangbusters this season, winning at nearly 40% at the Spa. This gelding’s running style is from well off the pace and he and #1 Raging Bull will be looking for room when the real running starts. He should benefit from whatever pace is set by #8 Blowout. This guy’s good right now. Tough to look past him.
#6 Got Stormy is one of 3 mares in here. She was best in 2019, re-invented in 2020 as a late-running sprinter and now, at 6, seemingly, not as good. She gets in light for 0-16 Spa trainer Mark Casse and loves the Saratoga lawn with 2 wins and a second in as many tries. She’s also 9 for 19 at the distance. Again, most of that success came earlier in her career.
#7 Field Pass figures to get a nice trip behind ‘rabbit’ pacesetter #8 Blowout. He hasn’t quite been good enough to finish the job at this level, but he’s only 4 years old, so better could be coming down the road. Trainer Mike Maker has been on fire at the Spa, hitting at nearly 30%. #1 Raging Bull and #5 Set Piece have defeated this one in the past.
#8 Blowout is interesting. While it appears like the mare’s in the race to set the pace for stablemate #1 Raging Bull, she’s got a pretty solid record against her own sex and is Gr. 1 placed—lost Matriarch by a nose in November. She’s been worse than second once, when third, so you won’t find a more honest mare anywhere. All 8 of her losses have come by less than a length and most by a mere neck. How will she match up against males? Probably pretty well. She’s made 3 starts at Saratoga with 2 seconds and 1 third, so she handles the course well. She’ll do her job of setting an honest pace, will she do it too well and hang on for the win?
ONE TO BEAT: #1 Raging Bull
HOT: #5 Set Piece
WHAT'S HE DOING HERE?: #2 Whisper Not
SARATOGA // RACE 11 (6:47PM ET) // ALLOWANCE // 5 1/2 FURLONGS (TURF)
#1 Volkert, a 3-year-old, won first out going six furlongs over a ‘good’ Belmont turf course in June at nearly 65-1 odds. A July effort at this level was poor. Needs quick turnaround. Pass.
#2 Neuro broke maiden in his 14th start last out over this course at this distance. Was second in the race before that. Has some efforts that fit with these, but that overall mark for a low-profile barn is difficult to take. Not impossible, but a reach.
#3 Frat convincingly defeated ‘open’ foes at Monmouth last out. He had failed in 8 previous starts, most of them for a state-bred $40k tag. He has speed and an inside draw which should help his cause. Those maiden claiming defeats stick in our craw. He’ll make them run early, but it’s ‘late’ when the issues arise.
#4 Dr. Blute gets a rider change to Jose Ortiz and that’s notable because trainer Kimmel bats 22% overall with Jose. This 3-year-old gelding won first out over a sloppy track, finished second next out at this level on turf and then failed in a ‘muddy’ stakes. He showed a bit of life last out in Spa mud and should appreciate a return to turf. Something to think about.
#5 Clamor is a 5-year-old with 1 win and one second in 15 starts, mostly for claiming tags. Probably not.
#6 Halpert, a 3-year-old, has 1 good race out of 5 and that was a ‘muddy’ Aqueduct score in November. Irad Ortiz replaces brother Jose in the saddle for tough luck trainer Jeremiah Englehart (1 for 23 at Spa with 6 seconds). He did close some ground in his last going six furlongs but needs to do much better to win this.
#7 Luna’s in Charge has won just 1 race in 16 tries and at 5-years-old would be a surprise. Trainer Phillip Baur has had a strong Spa stand with 3 wins and 3 seconds out of 12 starters here.
#8 Mommie’s Jewel broke maiden last out here in mud. Close in 3 of 5 previous career races, mostly for state-bred claiming $40k, this 4-year-old has some talent, but would need to be faster to win this. Jose Ortiz won on this colt last out and jumps to #4 Dr. Blute.
#9 Dr. Duke didn’t handle a muddy track, first against elders last out, but was second by a head on turf at Gulfstream against fellow allowance sophs before that. The colt showed speed down south and has tried stakes foes without disgrace. Jose Ortiz is replaced by Eric Cancel for low-profile trainer Jena Antonucci.
#10 Phantom Smoke adds Lasix in third start off layoff for trainer Christophe Clement. The 3-year-old colt won first out, so he can fire fresh, gets Rosario, 25% with Clement at the Spa, and has enough speed to be stalking the early pacesetters. Clement is 21% off the layoff, 19% first Lasix and 23% in turf sprints—all solid numbers. Count him ‘in.’
MOST INTERESTING: #4, #10
DEL MAR // RACE 1 (5:00PM ET) // CLAIMING // 1 MILE (DIRT)
#1 Diva’s Finale had blinkers removed last out and closed some ground late to be third at one level above this going five and one-half furlongs. That effort suggests to connections that additional ground will be welcome at this career lowest level.
#2 Mr. Pickles scored at Pleasanton going one mile and 70 yards last out at this level. That was the gelding’s third win in 13 starts. These should be stronger than what he faced last out but at least he’s in good form.
#3 Bourbonwithatwist also arrives from Pleasanton, out of a five and one-half furlong sprint. He’s got speed and could get away a bit up front in here. How long he’ll stay around is the question.
#4 Launch Pad adds blinkers in here for 1 for 38 trainer Bob Hess. Claimed for $20k in April, this ridgeling was a well-beaten third at the distance for $20k earlier this meeting.
#5 Achilleus broke maide at the $30k level and was claimed from the effort in April. Last out was not great in a $16k non-winners of 2. Pass.
#6 Language Barrier enters off 2 poor efforts and may have been entered to make the race go for trainer O’Neill’s other runner #1 Diva’s Finale.
#7 Sometimes Always just broke maiden for $20k at Del Mar July 30. This isn’t an especially tough group, so a repeat tally for this guy isn’t impossible. He’s got speed and Rispoli returns in the irons. It should be noted that the gelding has been claimed in 4 of his 6 starts and makes his second start for Matt Shirer.
BEST: #1, #7
DEL MAR // RACE 2 (5:30PM ET) // CLAIMING // 1 1/16 MILES (TURF)
#1 Jasikan has been gone since Feb when a claim for $32k was voided. A slight drop down the ladder makes sense for trainer John Sadler during an uncharacteristically rough meeting (3 for 42). He has no speed and is just 2 for 10 on turf.
#2 French Getaway closed well to just miss by three-quarters of a length July 17 on Del Mar turf. Trainer Hess is looking for his second win of the meeting and jockey Mike Smith returns in the saddle for this 8-year-old. He needs some racing luck but often is around for a slice.
#3 Luck of the Draw was claimed last out for $25k and emerges from a common race with many in here. He’s got some speed but Rispoli probably will allow him to sit inside and wait for late racing room. Trainer Peter Eurton is having a solid meet and this guy seems like a smart claim.
#4 Irish Heatwave drops back to this claimed level of $25k where he was second in January at Santa Anita. It’s the type of aggressive placing that helps trainer Peter Miller win races in bunches. This 5-year-old gelding has shown speed on occasion and Hernandez won going wire-to-wire with him going one mile and one-eighth in May. He looks live.
#5 Full of Luck comes out of the common July 17 $25k race where he was 28-1 and finished sixth. The field was well-bunched at the finish that afternoon, so it may be advisable to look elsewhere for the winner of this rematch. This 8-year-old hasn’t won since March for $20k on Golden Gate’s main track.
#6 The Black Album also comes out of the common July 17 race--eighth, beaten 3 lengths. He was claimed there for $25k and had been claimed out of his previous start for $32k. He’s entered here for $22,500 and the descending claiming prices don’t inspire confidence.
#7 Storm the Bastille is another out of the July 17 common race. He was claimed out of that race and out of his previous start, both for $25k. Both recent races were solid efforts. He should be respected but not feared. He’s just 2 for 19 lifetime. One of those wins did come over Del Mar turf.
#8 Wesphire races for a tag for the first time and that’s always a good time to take a second look at any runner. 0-12 trainer Andrew Lerner adds blinkers. Most of this one’s 9 starts have come at Golden Gate—on turf and main track. This 5-year-old gelding really has no speed and that makes his job more difficult than it should be. A class drop to the claiming level might help. He was 85-1 last out in a $40k optional claimer/allowance race at Santa Anita and 44-1 in a Golden Gate optional claiming $62.
NEXT BEST: #3
DEL MAR // RACE 3 (6:00PM ET) // CLAIMING // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT)
#1 Bella Renella was claimed for $12,500 last out in June and returns at a likely level for veteran trainer Bill Spawr—9% off the claim. Rail isn’t the best place to sprint from at Del Mar and Spawr has another more live in #6 Vegan. This one may have been entered to help to make the race go.
#2 Summer Love tumbles from a longshot try at the $32k level. This is a much more acceptable assignment, but the filly hasn’t really run well since a wire-to-wire effort at the $16 non-winners of 2 level in November and a wire-to-wire trip is unlikely for her.
#3 Win Often last out raced for a tag for the first time since winning a state-bred $50 maiden race first out in October of ’19. He’ll need to turn his recent stuff around under apprentice Alex Centeno (0-12 at the meet).
#4 Dozo was claimed last out at this level after setting the pace and backing up. She’s got speed and will use it under Maldonado for trainer Steve Knapp. She’s won 2 of 4 races and that’s a pretty solid resume in here but that’s the wrong style.
#5 Sweet Soulmate went wire-to-wire to defeat $16k non-winners of 2 last out. She just hung on at the finish. She used the same tactics effectively to break maiden at the $30k level. Expect her and #4 Dozo to hook up early, which won’t help either one of them.
#6 Vegan ran well to be second at about this level in June at Sant Anita. It appears trainer Bill Spawr has found the correct spot for this one as she’s just outside the two other speed horses in here and the claiming level seems ideal. She should run well.
#7 Trip to Freedom goes for Jerry Hollendorfer off a poor effort for $40k July 30. The drop makes sense and could be the key as connections search for the right spot. She’s been most successful when racing on the lead and she’ll have company early in here. Best news for her is that she’s drawn outside the other speed.
BEST: #6 Vegan
NEXT: #7 Trip to Freedom
DEL MAR // RACE 4 (6:34PM ET) // OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 1 MILE (TURF)
#1 She’s So Special returns to face allowance company after a couple of stakes tries. She’s appears well-spotted for trainer Peter Miller and jockey Rispoli. She’s 3 for 10 on turf but the one-mile distance hasn’t been her best trip so far (0-3). She should get a real nice pace to chase and should be able to save ground on the rail and be looking for a way through in the lane.
#2 Quiet Secretary has speed and should show the way from an inside post position. She’s been a consistent sort with 3 wins from 7 turf starts, including a win over the Del Mar layout. Baze got to know her last out and isn’t shy about going to the lead.
#3 Querelle also starts for the Pete Miller barn and must overcome a 0-8 record at the distance on turf. That’s asking a lot. She is in good form following a runner-up effort at five furlongs on turf July 25. She seems like the less of the Miller pair.
#4 She’s Our Charm hasn’t been out since May and should add some pace to this race, particularly fresh off a layoff. She’s been a steady performer for breeder and trainer Ron McAnally, although Del Mar has not been her favorite turf course. She’ll be around a while up front.
#5 Lounge Act seems overmatched and has two wire-to-wire turf wins and that’s not the style that’s going to work in here.
#6 Trickle In makes a first start for trainer Doug O’Neill She boasts three wire to wire wins, including a stakes win at Delaware Park in July ’20. With all the speed signed on in here, something’s got to give.
#7 Disappearing Act has been plying her trade at longer distances. She doesn’t have the stakes experience of some of her foes, but her closing style ought to work well in here and jockey Van Dyke is patient enough to make that plan of attack work. She finished behind #2 Quiet Secretary last out going one mile and one-eighth at Del Mar, but there seems to be enough speed in here to force the early pace more at this one-mile distance.
#8 Golden Curl is a new face locally that was claimed for $40k at Keeneland in April. She’s had some allowance experience but has done her best work at the claiming level. This will be her first start for trainer Tim Yakteen and she’s in for the $62,500 tag. She’s another in here that likes to race on the front end, but does have an off-the-pace score showing last Sept.
#9 Hotitude will shed blinkers for this. She hasn’t started since May and was basically a sprinter with just one try at this distance on turf. This appears to be a race designed to leg her up for a cut back sprint attempt.
DEL MAR // RACE 5 (7:06PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 5 1/2 FURLONGS (DIRT)
#1 Macho Queen went for $70k as a 2-year-old and has slow-ish works on tab for this rail debut.
#2 Wetherly had a difficult first out at 30-1 odds and will need to show more.
#3 Baby Steps beat 4 foes home first out at 7-1. Apprentice Emily Ellingwood tries her hand here for trainer Ryan Hanson. She brought $70k as a 2-year-old.
#4 Sugar Sugar showed speed and faded late for Peter Miller first out against straight maidens July 31. The experience of a solid recent first race always helps. She has to be considered.
#5 Ruby Ray makes her third start for trainer Doug O’Neill and was a $55k 2-year-old purchase. She’s shown some speed but faded badly in her last when blinkers were added. They come off for this.
#6 Rock the Belles is a first-time starter from the dangerous Luis Mendez barn. She sports a best of 84 :46 2/5 bullet for this. Guessing the $20k 2-year-old purchase has speed.
#7 Sacred Beauty is by Classic Empire and went for $80k as a yearling at Keeneland. She’s had a solid series of works so she should be fit. Nothing too flashy, though and the trainer is 0-15 with first time starters.
#8 Talkative Gal is a third time starter for trainer Doug O’Neill. Her first was horrible and she dropped to the $50k level and ran better. What might we get this time?
#9 Half Past Twelve is a second-time starter for Steve Knapp. She broke slow first out and ran evenly at 39-1 odds. She was a $30k Keeneland yearling purchase.
#10 She’s Got a Way goes first time for trainer Peter Eurton who’s not known to win with first time starters (3%). An $80k yearling purchase, she has some nice works showing, especially a 1:00 gate move at Del Mar that was 4th best of 30 August 2. Love a solid 5-furlong gate work.
See you Saturday!