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Jeff Siegel: Del Mar Picks & Analysis | Saturday, July 31

by Jeff Siegel

July 31, 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: 2-Defense Wins; 3-Ka’nah; 7-Rayray

Forecast: Here’s a tough opener in a race dominated by class droppers. Rayray, a $50,000 D. O’Neill claim two races back but showing up today in a restricted (nw-2) $25,000 affair, is comfortably drawn outside the other speed types and seems likely to enjoy an ideal pace-prompting trip. He’s run very well over the Del Mar main track in the past so we’re hoping he can regain his winning form against this softer bunch. The big class drop is of some concern but in reality this is where he belongs. Defense Wins has been chasing tougher since being haltered for this same $25,000 price three races back and like our top pick should find this group well within his capabilities. Freshened since early May and from a barn that has strong stats with layoff runners, the veteran Flatter gelding is reunited with F. Prat, who got good run on this gelding two runs back. Though winless in four prior starts at Del Mar, he’s at least hit the board in all four of those outings. Ka’nah exits a pair of infinitely tougher races and seems certain to go better at this level. The Gio Ponti gelding has back numbers that would easily win this race.

RACE 2: Post: 2:30 PT Grade: B+
Single: 6-Grace Adler

Forecast: Grace Adler has done everything in the a.m. like a high-quality prospect, and though she’s certain to be better at the longer distances the daughter of Curlin lands the cozy outside draw and should simply outclass this band of maiden juvenile fillies. A $700,000 yearling purchase that looks the part, the B. Baffert-trained filly is listed at 9/5 on the morning line but seems certain to go lower. We’ll make her a win play and rolling exotic single.

RACE 3: Post: 3:00 PT Grade: B+
Use: 1-Astronomer; 3-Lookout Point

Forecast: Astronomer makes his racing debut over a mile on grass and has trained like a quality sort who’ll appreciate the lawn and will run all day. The son of Air Force One has done everything asked of him in the morning while working on the dirt main track but has a pedigree that suggests he’ll be much more comfortable and effective on the lawn. From his inside draw, the S. Callaghan-trained colt should draft into a good ground-saving position and then have his chance to show his stuff under top turf rider U. Rispoli. Listed at 4-1 on the morning line, he’ll offer plenty of value at or near that price. Lookout Point has the benefit of a prior run, a runner-up effort going long on the lawn at Santa Anita last month in what we rated as a modest affair. He can be expected to be fitter and tighter, but at 8/5 morning line he’s liable to be an underlay. We use him as a saver, but our main punch will go to Astronomer.

RACE 4: Post: 3:30 PT Grade: C+
Use: 6-George Herman Ruth; 7-California Kook

Forecast: California Kook tries the boys today and returns to the Del Mar main track, of which she was a maiden special weight state-bred winner at this distance a couple of years ago. In her next start, she was beaten 33 lengths in a Los Alamitos stakes race and hasn’t been tried on dirt again until today. Her recent form has been below her best efforts from last year, but she did earn speed figures that fit very nicely with this group, so perhaps she can snap back to winning form for the always-potent F. Prat/P. Miller team. She’s also being re-equipped with blinkers, for whatever that’s worth. George Herman Ruth has been runner-up in two of his last three outings at this level and the son of Grazen should be in the fray once again. These are the two we’ll be using in rolling exotic play in a race that we’ll otherwise pass.

Race 5: Post: 4:00 PT Grade: C+
Use: 3-Till I Found You; 5-Speeding; 8-Gayles Evening

Forecast: Sophomore fillies entered to be claimed for $50,000 compete over five furlongs on grass in an open affair that requires a spread in rolling exotic play. Till I Found You tries turf for the first time, and while we can’t say she’s bred for it she does have excellent Bay Area form over synthetic, so there’s hope. The daughter of Old Topper is a quick sort that will appreciate this abbreviated distance, so if she can shake clear early she may be hard to run down late. However, Gayles Evening will likely blast out and go from her outside draw and keep the pressure on. A perfect one-for-one sprinting on grass up north but primarily an all-weathers specialist during her eight-race career, the J. Thomas-trained filly could be asked to change tactics and employ a stalk and pounce strategy outside Til I Found You, though that strategy hasn’t been successful with her in the past. If the two speedsters hook up early – a reasonable possibility – the closers may dominate. Speeding is a Midwest invader showing a decent maiden win sprinting on grass at Gulfstream Park earlier this year that charts nicely with this group. She gets a break in the weights with good bug rider J. Pyfer in the saddle and sports a bullet workout at San Luis Rey Downs last week to have her on edge. She could draft into a stalking position and be at the right place and the right time heading for home.

RACE 6: Post: 4:30 PT Grade: C+
Use: 4-Railsplitter; 5-Dark Prince

Forecast: We’ve never considered Dark Prince even remotely genuine or dependable, but the son of Cairo Prince drops sharply to a realistic level (nw-2, $16,000 claiming) and stretches out to a distance that produced his only prior win, so perhaps under these conditions the B. Baffert-trained veteran will regain his confidence. A decent third sprinting at Santa Anita in starter optional claiming company in late March but off the track since, he’s done his usual good work in the morning to be fit and ready and projects to be in an ideal pace-stalking position outside. Against this group, he may get brave. Railsplitter, claimed two runs back for $25,000 and now dropping two notches below that price, flashed speed at Los Alamitos before fading but may stick better with this group. He’s run well on this main track in the past and under bug rider C. Ortega probably will employ gate-to-wire tactics. In a field lacking in effective closers, he could hang around for a long time.

RACE 7: Post: 5:00 PT Grade: B
Use: 3-Alice Marble; 7-Lava Lane

Forecast: Trainer P. D’Amato has two major bullets to fire in this five-furlong turf sprint for first-level allowance state-bred fillies and mares. Alice Marble, unplaced in two prior outings on the sod but probably a much better type now, is strong in the speed figure department and figures to beat this group if she can transfer her main track form to this course. She has a good stalking style and has really improved since gaining the services of F. Prat, who stays aboard. The “other” D’Amato is Lava Lane, a maiden turf sprint winner two races back at Santa Anita and then second in a photo vs. similar on dirt at Los Alamitos in her most recent outing. She probably prefers turf and can be expected to produce a forward move.

RACE 8: Post: 5:30 PT Grade: B-
Use: 1-Herd Immunity; 6-Wipe the Slate

Forecast: Wipe the Slate exits a series of considerably tougher races and is realistically dropped (finally) into a claimer for the first time while seeking his winning level. A distant third in a highly rated first-level allowance sprint last month at Santa Anita, the D. O’Neill-trained gelding projects to enjoy a comfortable stalking trip outside and then have his chance to seal the deal against a field that based on speed figures he should be able to handle. Though the rail post does him no favors, Herd Immunity, in his first start following the claim by W. Spawr, should be the one to fear most. The Union Rags gelding has steadily rising speed figures (though still considerably less than what our top pick has produced) and seems likely to step forward again for his new connections. He has the proper style for this trip and despite the rail he should be able to secure a good stalking position under F. Prat, who knows him well and stays aboard.

RACE 9: Post: 6:00 PT Grade: B-
Use: 2-Me and Mr. C; 6-Ready Soul; 9-Rip City

Forecast: We’ll go three-deep in this grass grab bag for second-level allowance/$62,500 claimers but the contention actually goes deeper than that, so you should use as many as your budget allowance. Rip City is a genuine and dependable gelding who missed in a photo in a similar event in late May at Santa Anita. After a series of hard races, he should fire a big shot today following a brief vacation. A two-time winner over the local lawn, the son of City Zip is a perfect one-for-one at this nine-furlong trip and has the type of tactical speed that will likely allow for a soft, easy, pace stalking trip under regular pilot M. Gutierrez. At 4-1 on the morning line, he’ll give you everything he has. Ready Soul moves up a notch after a clever win in a first-level allowance turf miler last month in his California debut. He’ll need another forward move to win on the raise, but his speed figures continue to rise, he retains F. Prat, and projects to have a good second-flight trip in this nine-furlong affair. Me and Mr. C. has been a bit below his best form in his last three starts but tries an easier gang in his first local outing for good trainer M. Maker while seeking valuable ship-and-win money. First or second in nine of 20 career starts and a stakes winner at Tampa Bay Downs earlier this year, the Khozan gelding can produce a terrific turn of foot when he’s on his game.

RACE 10: Post: 6:30 PT Grade: B
Use: 2-Vertical Threat; 3-C Z Rocket; 8-Dr. Schivel

Forecast: The 2021 renewal of the Bing Crosby S.-G1 is a salty affair and is as deep as any sprint stakes for older horses we’ve seen in the West in quite some time. Dr. Schivel is a 3-year-old tackling older for the first time but after earning a career top speed figure in his sophomore debut last month despite a less-than-ideal trip the son of Violence appears ready to tackle the big boys. Unbeaten in two starts over the Del Mar main track including a victory in the 2020 Del Mar Futurity-G1, the M. Glatt-trained colt prefers to settle in the second flight and blast home, a strategy that regular rider F. Prat surely will employ in a race that should have sizzling early splits. C Z Rocket, winner of the P. O’Brien S.-G2 over the Del Mar main track, is a tough-as-nails gelding who will appreciate the turn back to this distance after flattening out going a mile at Lone Star Park last time out. A multiple graded stakes winner with a relentless late kick, the P. Miller-trained son of City Zip Is listed at 5/2 on the morning line and will be attractive at that price if you can get it. Vertical Threat hasn’t been seen since winning a stakes in the Midwest last November but returns with a series of strong workouts that should have him plenty fit. His numbers make him dangerous so if he returns as well as he left for R. Baltas (superlative stats with layoff runners) the son of Tapiture has a legitimate chance at a nice price (8-1). Toss him in somewhere.

RACE 11: Post: 7:00 PT Grade: B
Use: 1-Sea of Liberty; 2-Carmelita’s Man; 3-One Fast Bro; 4-U. S. Danger

Forecast: The nightcap is state-bred first-level allowance turf miler and another in a series of deep and contentious races that offers a full field with plenty of wagering value to be found. Carmelita’s Man, freshened since late May and showing a good series of recent drills that should have him cranked up and ready, has good form at this level and a prior win over the Del Mar turf course. He’s guaranteed a comfortable, ground-saving trip from the rail and with good racing luck should have his chance to produce a winning late kick. One Fast Bro is listed at 6-1 on the morning line and at that price he’s a major player. Away since March but good enough to beat this field if he returns fit and ready, the S. Ruis-trained gelding broke his maiden over this course last November and has performed well since at this allowance level. He has good tactical speed and can finish, too. U. S. Danger is a committed front-runner seeking his fourth straight victory in just his second start of the year for the high percentage J. Wong barn. He’ll take them as far as he can. Sea of Liberty lands the rail in his first start since being claimed for $35,000 by P. Miller last month. The barn is terrific with this angle (26% with a powerful ROI), so we have to use this late-running gelding on our ticket.