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Friday, July 10: Del Mar Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

July 10, 2020

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.

It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.

Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.
Grade B=Solid Play.
Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.
Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.

The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.

Today’s Day MakersView Video

RACE 1: POST: 2:00 PT. GRADE: B-
Use: 5-Secret Touch; 6-El Huerfano

Forecast: The Del Mar season begins with a challenging 10-race card that probably should be treated with caution. It’s worth noting that this main track can be biased – the rail is often much deeper than the outside lanes and the contested early speed types often pay the price – but it’s not always that way so the best advice is to play conservatively during the early part of the card and then adjust your handicapping accordingly. In the opener, El Huerfano plummets to his lowest level ever, has excellent prior form over the local main track, and recent numbers that are good enough to beat this field. The veteran gelding clearly has seen better days but if he’s feeling good he’ll be hard to beat. Secret Touch returns from Oaklawn Park and is another big class dropper that must be considered a major player. A two-time winner over the Del Mar main track and with good tactical speed that should have him on or near a moderate pace, the P. Eurton-trained gelding shows a bullet half mile drill (:47 flat, fastest of 62) late last month at Santa Anita that should have him on edge. These are the two we’ll be including in our rolling exotics but we certainly won’t be playing aggressively.

RACE 2: Post 2:35 PT. Grade: B
Use: 3-Rakassah; 4-Road Rager

Forecast: We’ll double the second race, a first-level allowance five furlong turf sprint for fillies and mares. Road Rager is unproven on grass but just earned a career-top speed figure in gamely winning an extended main track sprint in Arcadia and has returned to work extremely well since (See Video). The daughter of Quality Road should find herself on the lead or in a pace-pressing position and have every chance to score right back. She finished third in her only prior outing over this course and distance last year but seems like a better type now, so we’ll give her the slight edge on top. Rakassah didn’t have a whole lot behind her when graduating in late May in a grass dash but is another that has done well in the a.m. since then (See Video) and with numbers that continue to improve the Irish-bred filly should produce another forward move today. F. Prat will have her doing her best work from the quarter pole home.

RACE 3: Post 3:05 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 3-Midnight Mystery; 4-Charlito; 5-Rayray

Forecast: The stand here is against the 2-1 morning line favorite Garth, who certainly will get plenty of play based on reputation, if not performance. He’s worked very well, yes, (See Video) but he did last year as well and did nothing but burn money. If he beats us, we’ll live with it. Charlito is progressing with every outing and has the proper style for this extended sprint trip. The son of Fed Biz finished a strong second to hot shot prospect Cezanne in his first try on dirt last month, shows a smart :59 1/5 recent workout over the local main track, and figures to be charging in the final furlong, a style that usually works well at this extended sprint distance. Rayray, a weakening third in the same race Charlito exits, is comfortably drawn outside the other speed types and should stick better today. He probably can’t beat a decent maiden but his numbers are better than par for the level and given his trip he should fire his best shot. Midnight Mystery held his own in a recent workout with Maximum Security (See Video) so the War Front gelding, away for almost a year, might be a better type this time around (he’ll have to be). He’s the “other” Baffert, so we’ll toss him in on a ticket or two as a back-up.

RACE 4: Post 3:35 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 2-Table for Ten; 7-Tropical Terror

Forecast: Tropical Terror seems logical in this state-bred main track maiden miler, but he’s still looking for his diploma in his eighth career start (with five seconds), so he’s not exactly one to trust. He’ll be running on late and certainly should at least hit the board, but with low profile connections he’s a gelding that can’t really be counted on as a single. Table for Ten, a reasonable third at 48-1 in his debut in the same race Tropical Terror exits, certainly has more room for improvement and is a “must use” in rolling exotic play. The P. D’Amato barn has very strong stats with second-timers, and as a son of Acclamation this Cal-bred gelding seems likely to get better with experience. A recent 3-horse team workout was encouraging (See Video) so we’ll try to survive and advance using just these two, with a slight preference on top to Table for Ten.

RACE 5: Post 4:05 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 4-Bud Knight; 7-Zorich; 8-Ronamo

Forecast: Churchill Downs shipper Ronamo looks intriguing in this starter’s allowance main track miler that requires a spread in rolling exotic play. Claimed out of a highly-rated maiden $20,000 victory last month in what was his 14th career start, the P. D’Amato-trained gelding lands F. Prat, has worked rather well in company since arriving in California (See Video) and hails from an outfit that always has done well with the first-off-the-claim angle. With numbers that fit, a good stalking style, and confidence-building score, the son of Run Away and Hide might be primed to take home some of that valuable ship-and-win money. Zorich, a solid runner-up in a similar affair in late May at Santa Anita while almost five lengths clear of the rest, is another that has done very well in the morning since raced (See Video) and should fire another good shot. The Hard Spun gelding projects to enjoy an ideal second-flight, stalking trip and have his chance from the quarter pole home. Bud Knight second without an excuse as the favorite vs. similar on grass last month, switches to the main track for the first time and has a pedigree that suggests he should prefer dirt. Though he loses F. Prat, the son of Tizbud still must be considered something of a threat and most certainly will be a much better price than last time. Toss him in somewhere, at least as a saver.

RACE 6: Post 4:35 PT. Grade: C+
Use: 1-Taming the Tigress; 2-Super Game; 6-Big Andy; 8-Luxury Liner

Forecast: Here’s a spread race for sure, a maiden juvenile five furlong dash for fillies with all kinds of possibilities. Taming the Tigress is a first-timer bred to win early (Smiling Tiger) with top class connections and sports a :47 3/5 gate drill over this main track that on raw time looks fairly decent. She draws the rail, so she’d better break with her field. Super Game has a :46 flat gate drill at Los Alamitos that catches the eye, and while fast works are the norm on that particular dirt oval the daughter of Super Saver has to be able to run some, at least. Luxury Liner is a newcomer trained by S. Miyadi, whose first-timers often run better than they work. We have to use her. Big Andy actually finished first in her debut but was disqualified, and while the race wasn’t particular fast she does have the great benefit of a prior race. Any one of these could win, so in a race we’ll otherwise pass, we’ll include all four in our rolling exotics.

RACE 7: Post 5:05 PT. Grade: B
Use: 3-Tonahutu; 4-Pulpit Rider

Forecast: This race is loaded with speed, so we’ll hope to get by using two that we know are capable of winning from off the pace. Tonahutu returned to winning form when given the patient ride she requires in a confidence-building score over $32,000 foes in late May and today moves up to the $62,500 level off the claim for D. O’Neill (powerful with this angle). She’s always been genuine and consistent (first or second in nine of 16 career starts), has performed quite well over the local lawn in the past, and looked good in a recent training track breeze (See video) to indicate she’s right on edge. Pulpit Rider exits a series of four stakes races and should find this drop into an optional claimer quite refreshing. Always most effective when held up early and allowed to run late, the M. Puype-trained mare is solid in the speed figure department and was a clever winner over this course and distance last year. We’ll give Tonahutu a very slight edge on top and certainly try her in the win pool at or near her morning line of 8-1.

RACE 8: Post 5:35 PT. Grade: B+
Single: 4-Sash

Forecast: Quite simply, Sash looks like a logical top pick and rolling exotic single in this extended sprint for entry-level allowance older runners. A distance specialist throughout his career, the son of Oasis Dream turns back to a sprint for the first time and should have the proper style to excel at this seven furlong journey. Second in his last pair in fast, highly-rated routers, the M. Glatt-trained gelding shows the always-dangerous blinkers off angle along with the switch to F. Prat plus a sharp recent half mile drill (:47 1/5, fourth fastest of 62) to have him set for a top try. The only negative is that at 8/5 on the morning line he may not offer a whole lot of wagering value.

RACE 9: Post 6:05 PT. Grade: B+
Use: 2-El Tigre Terrible; 7-Hit the Road

Forecast: El Tigre Terrible certainly has found a home on turf – by all rights he should be unbeaten in two starts on the sod – and today gets a chance to do his thing over a distance of ground for the first time. After winning the Speakeasy Stakes sprinting on grass last fall, the son of Smiling Tiger returned in the Desert Code Stakes last month and wound up second (beaten a half-length) after being hopelessly blocked from the top of the stretch to the wire. Can he be as effective around two turns? Maybe. A good inside draw and the switch to F. Prat will give him his chance, so we’ll put the P. Miller-trained sophomore on top but also include Hit the Road, a winner vs. tough older allowance foes in his 3-year-old bow in late May. The powerful speed figure earned in that race makes this son of More Than Ready strictly the one to beat, and a prior win over the Del Mar turf course (a maiden-breaker as a 2-year-old last year) just adds fuel to the fire. We’re expecting the winner to be one of these two so we’ll include both in our rolling exotics.

RACE 10: Post 6:35 PT. Grade: B+
Use: 8-Dark Hedges; 10-Castle Gate

Forecast: Castle Gate has much going for him in this restricted (nw-3) $20,000 claimer and can be used as a strong play both in the win pool and in the rolling exotics. The lightly-raced son of Point of Honor was pitched too high when unplaced in a recent grass sprint but drops for the money run with the return to his preferred surface, and with a comfortable outside draw should be able to secure an ideal pace pressing/stalking trip. A winner over this track and distance last year, the J. Mullins-trained colt is plenty fast on numbers and shows a bullet half mile workout (:47 3/5, fastest of 35) last week to have him fit and ready. As back up, you may want to include on a ticket or two Dark Hedges, first off the claim for M. Glatt (strong stats with this angle) and like Castle Gate a perfect one-for-one over the Del Mar dirt strip. We’re expecting the Giant’s Causeway gelding to be forwardly placed throughout and have his chance when the pressure is turned on.