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Saturday, July 11: Del Mar Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

July 11, 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 Makers(Watch Video)

Today’s Blue Grass Stakes-G2 Analysis(Watch Video)

RACE 1: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: C+
Use: 3-Mister McLean; 4-Octopus; 5-Foreign Protocol

Forecast: The main track appeared to favor the outside lanes and the rally-widers yesterday; in other words, a typical Del Mar dirt surface. It wasn’t as blatant a bias and we’ve seen, but it was still prevalent. In today opener, an abbreviated sprint for $20,000 claiming 3-year-olds, Octopus makes his first start since being claimed for $32,000 out of a maiden claiming win over this track and distance last November and returns unprotected, not a healthy sign, but if he’s going to fire a winning shot it’ll probably be in his first race back. The recent workouts aren’t bad – he actually looked okay in his most recent drill July 3 at Santa Anita (see video) – and from where he’s drawn the son of Shackleford should be favorable placed outside the other speed in a good pace-pressing or stalking position and then have every chance through the lane. Mister McLean defeated a modest, restricted (nw-20 $16,000 field at Pleasanton last month and his recent speed figures make him competitive on this circuit. Also in from Northern California is Foreign Protocol, an open $12,500 winner three weeks ago in an effort that charts reasonably well with these. Successful in four of 10 career starts, the Q. Howey-trained gelding should settle in mid-pack and then produce his run when it matters. These are the three we’ll be using in our rolling exotics but not with a great deal of confidence, and if you find the need to spread deeper, go right ahead.

RACE 2: Post 2:35 PT. Grade: B+
Use: 1-Commander: 2-Go Time; 8-Handsome Cat

Forecast: We’re going to toss out the poor dirt race at Los Alamitos and key on the sharp runner-up effort sprinting on turf two runs back by Commander, a French-bred gelding who appears to have found his niche as a grass sprinter. Dropping realistically in class, switching to D. Van Dyke and landing the good rail post position in this abbreviated turf dash, the P. Miller-trained sophomore should settle just behind the leaders and then have his chance to produce a winning late kick. Based on numbers and company lines, he can handle this field with a good racing luck. Go Time is the “other” Miller and adds blinkers while returning to the claiming ranks and switching to A. Cedillo. He’s not as fast on pure numbers as Commander but is lightly-raced and graduated over this trip and surface at Gulfstream Park, so the conditions certainly suit. Handsome Cat represents the most dangerous of the closers and if the speed types do each other in he’ll be heard from in the final furlong. He has numbers that fit and has been facing better, so at 12-1 on the morning line he may be worth tossing in somewhere.

RACE 3: Post 3:07 PT. Grade: C+
Use: 2-Da Kine; 4-Convex; 5-Trojan Magic

Forecast: Trojan Magic shows the dangerous route-to-sprint angle combined with a realistic class drop in his second-off-a-layoff for the A. Lerner barn (powerful stats with this angle) so we’re expecting the Twirling Candy colt to be highly competitive in this bottom-rung maiden $20,000 extended sprint. The pace projects to be slower than average, so he should be on or near the lead throughout. Convex, away since last October and returning as a first-time gelding in his first start for a tag, could be much better than shown, or not. A $155,000 2-year-old in training purchase but with just two career starts, both unplaced, he’s clearly being culled from the stable but could still act against this group, so we’ll use him. Da Kine is another being tossed away; a $180,000 yearling but with a just one modest third place effort from six starts, the four-year-old son of Will Take Charge is fairly competitive on numbers and may be finally found his friends. He should be running on late, so we’ll include him on a few tickets as a back-up.

RACE 4: Post 3:37 PT. Grade: C+
Use: 1-Sapori Girl; 3-Lemon Drop Tini; 5-Surface

Forecast: Older $50,000 maiden claiming fillies and mares compete over a mile in a grass grab bag that requires a considerable spread in rolling exotic play. We’ll hope to survive and advance using just three. Lemon Drop Tini, in her second off a layoff following her arrival from Florida, may offer a bit of wagering value at or near her morning line of 6-1. She’s reasonably competitive on speed figures and may be the most dangerous of the closing types in a race that projects to have an average early pace. D. Van Dyke got to know her last time and stays aboard, so we’ll give her a slight edge on top and hope the race shape materializes as we envision. Surface needs patient handling and if she can drop over and get some cover should could run back to her reasonable decent runner-up effort vs. Bay Area straight maidens two runs back. At 5-1 on the morning line she’s worth using. Sapori Girl is an 11-race maiden and certainly not one to trust, but she can’t help but get a good trip from her rail post and finishing third in her last pair vs. similar should at least hit the board again today.

RACE 5: Post 4:07 PT. Grade: C+
Use:2-Hot Rod Charlie; 3-Girther; 4-Raisebeforetheflop

Forecast: Hot Rod Charlie brought $110,000 as a yearling – a very good price for a son of Oxbow – but as a half-brother to Mtole he might have been expected to bring a bit more. At any rate, he makes his debut following a solid series of drills at San Luis Rey Downs and then a half mile gate drill (:48 3/5) six days ago over the local main track, so we suspect he’s fit enough for this five furlong dash. With just five rivals, none of whom look like world beaters, the D. O’Neill-trained seems as good as any. Girther finished fifth in his debut with a less-than-ideal trip from his rail draw and has a right to produce a forward move, especially since the race he exits was a fast, highly-rated affair. However, it may or may not be significant that A. Cedillo, who rode him, jumps off to pilot Hot Rod Charlie. The “other” P. Miller-trained entrant – Raisebefortheflop – shows a bullet gate drill at San Luis Rey last month that indicates ability, so we have to use him as well.

RACE 6: Post 4:37 PT. Grade: B
Use: 4-Duplicity; 6-Speedy Justice

Forecast: Speedy Justice ran away and hid in his debut last summer over this course and distance but then disappeared. He finally makes it back to the races for B. Baffert and has done some excellent work in the a.m. to indicate he’s fit and ready, with a five furlongs 59 3/5 drill last week especially catching the eye (see video). Granted, he didn’t beat much in that maiden juvenile dash and is facing several older salty veterans today, but this son of Dominus could be very good. Duplicity handled a representative maiden field sprinting on grass at Churchill Downs last month and earned a solid speed figure. With a forward move in what will be just his third career start, the Into Mischief colt should be able to at least outrun his morning line of 8-1. These are the two we’ll be including in our rolling exotics – a case can be made for several of the others – with preference on top to Speedy Justice.

RACE 7: Post 5:07 PT. Grade: C
Use: 1-Rogallo; 4-Lil Sydney; 7-Mantaray Island; 8-All I Can Say

Forecast: Here’s an inscrutable affair, a restricted (nw-2) $16,000 claimers over six and one-half furlongs with knocks on just about everybody. All I Can Say comes from a low percentage outfit but has the route-to-sprint angle that we like and is drawn favorably outside. Perhaps most effective as a late-running sprinter, the son of Old Topper has numbers that fit will need some help up front to have his best chance. Rogallo is stuck on the rail – probably not the place you want to be sprinting on this main track – and is dropping from $25,000 to $16,000 off a claim, hardly a ringing endorsement. However, the Lerner barn has terrific stats with the first-off-the-claim angle and this Curlin gelding has several back speed figures that are better than par for this level, so you have to make him a major player. Mantaray Island perhaps the quickest of the quick in a race that may not have all that much zip in it. Away since March of 2019, the D. O’Neill-trained gelding returns as a first-time gelding in his first in a claimer, so there’s certainly a condition question but the works look okay. Lil Sydney exits a better race and with just seven career starts may have a bit of improvement to offer. He had a nice recent half mile drill over the track (:47 4/5, sixth fast of 80) and while slow on numbers may be perking up.

RACE 8: Post 5:37 PT. Grade: C+
Use: 1-Kiwi’s Dream; 4-Voodoo Song; 7-Souter; 8-Murad Khan

Forecast: Voodoo Song is exiting series of much better races, but he hasn’t won in almost two years and is, and always has been, a need-the-lead type. The son of English Channel guarantees a faster than par pace, and at one time in his career he would handle a field of this quality by simply running his rivals into the ground. Now, at age six, he no longer the Grade-1 winner he once was, most recently fading to finishing ninth of 10 in the Shoemaker Mile-G1 at Santa Anita in late May. This group, however, gives him a chance to bounce back. Kiwi’s Dream, thoroughly genuine and consistent is another that prefers the front end, but in this case likely will settle into a stalking position from his inside draw. If Voodoo Song clears the field as expected, this Australian-bred gelding should inherit a good stalking spot and if ‘Song starts to fade he’ll be the first one over. With just 13 starts, the 5-year-old gelding still has somewhere to go, and at this stage of his career may be more dependable, so give the V. Trujillo-trained gelding the edge on top. Always worth including a ticket or two in your rolling exotics is course-specialist Murad Khan, a two-time winner over the local lawn at this mile trip (albeit against lesser) last year. The French-bred gelding has been below form in his last pair but could perk up with the change in venue. Souter earned a career top speed figure when rallying with interest to be in a dead-head for third in the American S.-G3 last month and earned career top speed figure in the process. If there’s a pace meltdown, he could take full advantage at a nice price.

RACE 9: Post 6:07 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 3-Diva in Charge; 5-Buyback; 6-Rather Nosy

Forecast: Rather Nosy really isn’t bred to route, but if she’s ever going to be successful around two turns it’ll be in her first try. With rising recent speed figures in her recent sprints, the daughter of Majesticperfection is primed to take advantage of a field without much pace, and as the projected controlling speed in this starter’s allowance main track miler she should be hard to catch, even over a man track that isn’t always kind to stretch-out plays. We like her on top, for sure, but not as a single. Buyback may be the most dangerous of the closers. Dangerous on any surface, she returns to the main track after finishing a solid runner-up in a similar affair at Santa Anita last month, retains D. Van Dyke, and should be able to settle in the second flight and then have her chance when the pressure is turned on. First or second in six of eight career starts, the daughter of Mucho Macho Man offers a bit of value at 6-1 on the morning line. Diva in Charge seeks her third straight score with rising speed figures, though she’s coming back a bit quicker (13 days) than is ideal. She could regress following a taxing win at Los Alamitos, but if she doesn’t she’ll be right there.

RACE 10: Post 6:30 PT. Grade: B+
Use: 1-Vegas Palm; 5-Nurse Goodbody; 12-Sweet Devil

Forecast: Nurse found her best stride too late when rallying to be second in a similar maiden turf router in late May at Santa Anita. She was an also-eligible scratch last month but has worked steadily right along, so we’re expecting the daughter of Kitten’s Joy to produce enough of a forward move today to earn her diploma. Hot-riding U. Rispoli stays aboard and should have her along in time. If you’d prefer to have a couple of back-ups on your ticket for protection, there are two to consider. Sweet Devil gets the worst of the draw but seems certain to improve with the return to grass. Her runner-up effort two runs back at Santa Anita in February charts well here, and a strong series of recent workouts should have her on edge. At 8-1 on the morning line you have to include her somewhere. Vegas Palm is guaranteed a good ground-saving trip from the rail, and though she’s already had eight chances the five-year-old mare by Violence has finished second in her last pair and projects to at least hit the board again today.