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Jeff Siegel: Del Mar Picks & Analysis | Friday, July 16

by Jeff Siegel

July 16, 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: 2:00 PT Grade: C-
Use: 5-Gray Magician; 6-Leprino; 7-Conquest Cobra

Forecast: We suggest you play conservatively during the early races on the program while detecting whether or not a track bias – so often prevalent at Del Mar – exists. Generally speaking (but not always) the outside lanes/post positions are preferred and contested speed around two-turns is suicidal. Today’s opener, which tradition dictates is a one mile main track event for mid-grade claimers, looks inscrutable on paper so rolling exotic players should include as many as their budget allows. Leprino exits a much tougher race at Los Alamitos, has winning form over the local main track, and a style that should allow the S. Miyadi-trained gelding to settle somewhere in mid-pack behind what projects to be a quick pace and then have every chance from the quarter pole home. Yes, two of his previous three victories were accomplished on the front end but he’s successfully stalked and pounced in the past and there are a few others in here that should outfoot him to the clubhouse turn. Gray Magician, claimed three races back for $40,000 and now in for a $16,000 tag, comes off a sharp effort when cutting out hot splits before being worn down late and today might receive a bit more patient ride. He’s run very well at Del Mar in previous seasons, but the class drop off a good race seems a bit problematic. Obviously, anything close to his best race is good enough. Conquest Cobra is another with an unhealthy pattern but does show a number of recent outings that are good enough to win in this league. Away since mid-April and with a suspicious work pattern in the interim, the 9-year-old gelding has finished first or second in 19 of 50 starts and will be tough if he has at least one good one left. In a race with so many question marks, best advice is to tread lightly.

RACE 2: Post: 2:30 PT Grade: C+
Use: 4-Midnight Mammoth; 5-Respect the Code; 7-Axel Steel; 9-Get Back Goldie

Forecast: This maiden $150,000 claiming sprint for 2-year-olds is carded so that expensive auction purchases who aren’t considered good enough by their connections to compete in straight maiden company have an outlet to be competitive without really being subjected to a potential claim. Midnight Mammoth, purchased for $70,000 at the OBS April Sale, impressed when previewing in 33 2/5 seconds and should be a live item for B. Baffert in what appears to be a wide-open, guessing-game type of a race. The son of Midnight Lute certainly should be fit enough for a barn that hits with a superior 28% with its first-timers, and since the known element isn’t particularly attractive we’ll take a stab on a fresh face. Axel Steel has the benefit of a prior run, a not-too-bad runner-up effort at Lone Stone Park last month from an outside draw that produced a decent speed figure. This is a realistic spot for a barn that has strong stats with second-timers (21%, massive ROI) and with a healthy work tab since raced this colt from the first crop of Mohaymen should be the one to fear most. The always-dangerous P. Miller barn looks to have a contender with the debuting Honor Code colt, Respect the Code. The $55,000 purchase in the same sale that produced Midnight Mammoth looked fairly decent in a 10 1/5 breeze during the preview session and picks up one of the barn’s “go to” riders R. Gonzalez. Also, worth tossing in, at least on a back-up ticket, is Get Back Goldie, a homebred first-timer by Goldencents. He didn’t look half-bad in a recent gate work at Santa Anita.

RACE 3: Post: 3:00 PT Grade: B-
Use: 1-Quiet Secretary; 4-Pulpit Rider; 8-Going to Vegas

Forecast: On pure form Going to Vegas should be an absolute stick-out in this second level allowance affair over nine furlongs on grass for fillies and mares. The 4-year-old filly was a Grade-3 winner at Santa Anita two races back but then was perhaps in a bit too steep when fifth in the Gamely-G1 in her most recent outing. She’s had a bit of history of preferring to finish second and third (10 times) rather than win (four times) but considering the company she’s been keeping and the highly-favorable projected race flow (slow early splits) she’s going to be tough to beat. The only concern is that she was completely unfocused in a three furlong breeze around dogs three days ago, but that might just be her. If you would prefer to have some protection in your rolling exotics, consider Quiet Secretary and Pulpit Rider. The former almost certainly will be the controlling speed from the rail and has won over this turf course utilizing that style in the past (albeit not against this level of competition) while the latter is a stakes winner over the Del Mar lawn and will be making her third start off a layoff with rising numbers and a pattern that suggests she’s ready for career top performance.

RACE 4: Post: 3:30 PT Grade: C+
Use: 1-Don’t Ju Forget; 3-Dendera; 7-Doris Mae

Forecast: California-bred maiden juvenile fillies sprint five furlongs in a messy affair that drew an overflow field of 14 starters. For the purposes of this analysis, we’re going to assume the four also-eligible runners will not draw in. Among the newcomers, Dendera and Doris Mae have trained well enough from the gate to indicate they have some ability, and with no apparent world beaters in the field both should be competitive. Dandera hails from the J. Sadler barn (strong stats with first-timers) and has been given a foundation that should have her plenty fit, while Doris Mae, trained by M. Puype (modest success with debut runners), looked okay in a team gate drill 12 days ago at Santa Anita and offers a chance at a price. Don’t Ju Forget was sluggish and green during the early stages of her debut run at Gulfstream Park in late May but seemed to pick it up a bit late to finish third (beaten seven lengths) and should benefit greatly from the outing. Additionally, stats with second-time starters from the P. Miller barn (24% with a powerful ROI) are hard to ignore as is the presence of F. Prat in the saddle, so while the rail draw is problematic we have to include her on our rolling exotic ticket.

RACE 5: Post: 4:00 PT Grade: B
Use: 4-Floral Essence; 6-Takemebythehand; 11-Warrens Candy Girl

Forecast: Takemebythehand finished eagerly once room materialized to wind up a strong runner-up (well clear of the rest) in a good maiden event at Saint-Cloud in her debut in April and arrives in California following a series of recent training track drills that should have her ready to graduate in this mile grass affair for older fillies and mares. She’s looked decent in her local drills (not great) but since she was ignored at 31-1 in her only outing the English-bred filly may be type that doesn’t show much in her a.m. drills. At any rate, if she runs back to her French outing she’ll beat this field, especially with turf master F. Prat taking the call and as a first-time Lasix user. There are two others to consider on your ticket, at least as back-ups. Floral Essence has been away for 10 months but displayed some ability over the local lawn last year (third in both starts) and returns with Lasix and a healthy series of drills at San Luis Rey Downs that should have her plenty fit. As the likely controlling speed, the daughter of Candy Ride could leave her previous form behind. Warrens Candy Girl, freshened since February, is a stakes-placed maiden being ridden by D. Van Dyke, who got plenty of run out of her over this course and distance last year. She has worked well enough to be considered cranked and ready.

RACE 6: Post: 4:30 PT Grade: B-
Use: 4-Next Revolt; 9-Sea to Success; 12-Energizer

Forecast: Churchill Downs shipper Energizer looks to be well-spotted in his first off-the-claim for D. O’Neill as a first time gelding from a cozy outside post in this extended sprint for restricted (nw-3) $20,000 claimers. Though his recent form is uninspiring, the son of Uncle Mo should draft into an ideal stalking position and have every chance to regain his early form, which would be good enough to handle this modest assignment. The work tab looks promising so let’s put him on top in a race in which no result would be surprising. Next Revolt is a dangerous class dropper with a prior win over the Del Mar main track and enough early speed to be in a good pace-pressing position in a race that should produce comfortable early fractions. He’s a major contender, as is the puzzling but intriguing Sea to Success, who was simply awful (third, beaten 22 lengths) in his California debut vs. tougher competition in early June but shows a good series of workouts at Los Alamitos in the interim to indicate a bounce-back performance is possible. Arguably most effective when held up early allowed to run late, the J. Sadler-trained gelding has the proper style for this six and one-half furlong trip and with just four career starts could easily be better than shown.

RACE 7: Post: 5:00 PT Grade: B
Use: 8-Jamming Eddy; 9-Commander Kai; 10-McWherter

Forecast: A challenging, difficult, grass grab bag sprint ushers in the late Pick-4. What do we do with horse-for-course extraordinaire Eddie Haskell, a winner of six races from eight career starts over the local lawn but making his first since participating in the Breeders’ Cup in November of 2019? Unprotected while racing for the $40,000 tag, the now eight-year-old gelding shows an uninspiring work tab that may indicate he’s not what he once was, so if he wins, we’ll tip our cap but do so without using him on our ticket. Instead, we’ll focus on some up-and-comers. McWherter, lightly-raced but improving with each start, seeks his third straight score after earning a career top number when winning a starter’s allowance turf dash at Santa Anita in early June. The D. O’Neill-trained gelding has worked very well at San Luis Rey Downs in the interim, and while he’ll need to step forward once again to extend his streak the son of Goldencents could easily have it in him. Jamming Eddy, a two-time turf sprint winner at Del Mar, has a considerable edge on pure numbers and though his recent form is below standard he’s facing lesser foes today and is likely to snap back. Commander Kai, adding Lasix and making his first start since February, seems capable of firing a big shot fresh following a healthy series of recent workouts for R. Baltas. He has the kind of early speed to keep him free of trouble and in the fray throughout.

RACE 8: Post: 5:30 PT Grade: B
Use: 3-Freedom Fighter; 4-Exaulted; 8-I Got No Munny

Forecast: This is a stronger-than-par first-level allowance sprint that may tell us what kind of future the once well-regarded Freedom Fighter may have as he approaches the second half of his 3-year-old season. A debut maiden winner over the local main track last year and then an excellent runner-up to stable mate Concert Tour in the San Vicente S.-G2 last winter at Santa Anita, the son of Violence failed to stay a mile when a disappointing fourth in the Gotham S.-G3 in March and then was stopped on. The B. Baffert-trained colt returns with new pilot F. Prat and, as a first time Lasix user with a string of impressive drills leading up to this race, he’s clearly the one to beat. The most dangerous of the closing types is Exaulted, a prototype late-running sprinter returning to the allowance ranks after hitting the board in a pair of Grade-3 sprints against competition much tougher than he’s facing today. The P. Eurton-trained colt should get the help he needs up front and with the switch to U. Rispoli can be expected to receive the patient ride he requires. The rapidly developing I Got No Munny has a chance as well, though he’ll need to produce another forward move, and has every right to do so. His most recent two victories – by a combined margin of 11 and one-half lengths, came against considerably softer competition but at the price he’s worth tossing in somewhere.

RACE 9: Post: 6:00 PT Grade: B-
Use: 1-Harbored Memories; 3-Crew Dragon; 8-Flashiest; 13-Whatmakessammyrun

Forecast: This year’s renewal of the traditional opening day feature, the Oceanside S. for 3-year-olds, drew a full field of 12. Good luck to the outside draws and to the deep closers who’ll be looking for room in the short run from the top of the stretch to the wire. Clearly, those with inside draws and tactical speed should have the advantage. Harbored Memories is a major contender from his rail post and off a sharp allowance turf score at Santa Anita last month. The M. Puype-trained colt has yet to prove himself around two-turns – he was a weakening runner-up in a main track allowance miler three races back that produced his lowest speed figure – but under the circumstances we’ll consider him the one to beat. Whatmakessammyrun may be a better horse that our top pick but he, too, has to prove he can route and will have to do so from a poor draw. His grass form since arriving from Florida and joining the M. Glatt stable has been nothing short of sensational and with F. Prat staying aboard there’s a chance he’ll be able to get over and avoid getting fanned. Flashiest can really turn it on late, and unlike the first two contenders mentioned in this analysis he can absolutely handle the two-turn trip. An unlucky second to stakes winner Hudson Ridge last time out, the L. Powell-trained colt loses F. Prat (who understandably opts for Whatmakessammyrun) but picks up the capable A. Cedillo. Like the other late runners, though, he’ll need racing luck. Finally, we’ll include on a ticket or two the J. Sadler new shooter, Crew Dragon, a one-paced grinding type but exiting a couple of good races and likely to draft into a comfortable second flight, ground-saving early position. What he can do from there is strictly up to him.

RACE 10: Post: 6:30 PT Grade: B
Use: 7-The Longest Yard; 8-Albizu; 9-Exalted Joy

Forecast: The finale is a main track starter’s allowance event with at least three strong possibilities. Albizu stretches out for the first time but he’s by the successful distance-promoting stallion Include and shows steadily rising speed figures and a late-running style that should seems likely to be promoted by this main track’s profile. The switch to F. Prat obviously doesn’t hurt, so in an open fray the K. Mulhall-trained sophomore appears as good as any. The Longest Night returned off an 18-month layoff to beat a modest maiden $50,000 field with complete authority in late May and sports a steady, healthy work tab since, so we’re expecting a forward move from the son of Paynter, who has run well over the local main track in the past. The P. D’Amato-trained gelding should draft into a second flight, stalking position and then have dead aim from the head of the lane to the wire. Exalted Joy blasted a maiden claiming field by six widening lengths at Santa Anita last time out and seems the type to continue his improving pattern with added experience. He’s a fit on numbers and will be doing his best work from off the pace.