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Jeff Siegel: Del Mar Picks & Analysis | Sunday, August 8

by Jeff Siegel

August 8, 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: B
Use: 2-Surplus: 4-Hot Spot

Forecast: Surplus had every chance with backed down to 4/5 at Los Alamitos last month in a similar state-bred maiden sprint, but after comfortably establishing the pace simply couldn’t hang on and missed by a half length while four clear of the rest. The speed figure he earned was 17 Beyer points lower than par for this race and yet he’s the morning line favorite at 8/5 in a commentary on is how weak this race came up. The P. Miller-trained gelding will appreciate this shortened five furlong trip and may respond positively to the blinkers off angle, so while he’ll offer no real wagering value the son of Fed Biz may be about to outlast this group. Hot Spot, somewhat green but finishing with interest in his debut sprinting on grass at Santa Anita in mid-June, has a right to produce a forward move today for a stable that has superior stats with the second time starter angle (30% with a massive ROI). The K. Mulhall-trained gelding has trained very well since his first race, retains J. Valdivia, and should make his presence felt from the quarter pole home. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics; due to price considerations we’ll give the edge on top to Hot Spot.

RACE 2: Post: 2:30 PT Grade: X
Single: 6-Defunded

Forecast: Defunded was nosed out by stable mate Classier in the Los Alamitos Derby-G3 last month while 14 lengths clear of the rest and today returns to the first-level allowance ranks for what trainer B. Baffert hopes will be a confidence building win. This will be his first start facing older horses, but after earning a career top speed figure in his most recent start and then working in sharp style over the local main track since that outing the son of Dialed In seems certain to continue his improving pattern, especially as a first-time Lasix user. At 9/5 on the morning line and likely to go lower, he’s a logical short-priced rolling exotic single.

RACE 3: Post: 3:00 PT Grade: B
Use: 2-Castle; 3-Austin’s Boy

Forecast: Castle won a $25,000 claiming turf sprint in early May at Santa Anita but then disappeared. He returns three months later in a first-level allowance state-bred affair but is eligible to compete for the huge $72,000 purse only if entered for the optional ($20,000) tag. It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if he got claimed and won the purse, and if he returns as well as he left the M. Glatt-trained gelding might do just that. He has seven career wins, including one over this course and distance, and the work tab looks reasonably solid. Austin’s Boy, an easy five length maiden winner sprinting on turf at Santa Anita in February of 2020, finally makes it back to the races and will need to be as good now if not better than he was when last seen to beat this field. The four-year-old gelding shows a series of strong recent drills, and the fact that he’s coming back protected must be viewed as a positive sign. Castle gets the main push, but both should be included in rolling exotic play.

RACE 4: Post: 3:30 PT Grade: B-
Use: 1-Commissioner David; 3-Respect the Code; 6-Charter Oak

Forecast: Charter Oak and Respect the Code, third and sixth, respectively, in a high-priced maiden claiming sprint last month, return in this maiden $80,000 seller for juveniles and both have a right to produce a forward move. Of the two, we actually liked the effort by Respect the Code a little bit better, as the son of Honor Code stayed on well through the lane after racing in traffic down the backstretch. With patient tactics today, the P. Miller-trained colt could be a dangerous late threat at 6-1 on the morning line. Charter Oak drew the rail in that race and kept to his task nicely to wind up a close second after settling in the second flight. It was a good effort, though he never had a straw in his path. We’ll also toss in the first-timer Commissioner David, a colt who previewed pretty well in 10 3/5 seconds at the Timonium 2-year-old in training sale and also shows a bullet three furlong local workout in 34 4/5 seconds just four days ago. If he breaks well from the rail, the D. O’Neill-trained colt likely will show enough speed to be a threat.

Race 5: Post: 4:00 PT Grade:
Use: 1-Iva Toguri; 6-Youonlylivetwice; 9-Big Summer

Forecast: Big Summer is the logical top pick based on her promising debut performance sprinting on grass in February at Santa Anita. The daughter of Mr. Big was quick enough to rush up from the rail to establish the pace but weakened late to wind up third behind next out winner Another Eddie in a stronger-than-par race for the level. The recent work tab isn’t flashy but it’s healthy and steady so let’s assume that she’s fit enough to pick up where she left off. Youonlylivetwice ran better than the line will show in her debut and could easily improve enough to give ‘Summer a serious challenge from start to finish. The daughter of Midshipman was somewhat green and erratic during the early stages of her race while lacking room along the inside but then finally settled and loomed a threat into the lane before losing her steam in the closing stages. The M. Glatt barn is solid with second-timers and the work tab since that mid-June race is strong and healthy. Iva Toguri is a newcomer bred for speed (Grazen) that has done all of her preliminary work at Los Alamitos. A bullet workout in late July (4f, :47 4/5 seconds, fastest of 19) indicates she may have the kind of speed that can make her competitive.

RACE 6: Post: 4:30 PT Grade: B
Use: 2-Trip to Spain; 4-Rock N Rye

Forecast: Rock N Rye is drawn outside the other speed types in this five and one-half furlong dash for juveniles and seems likely to draft into an ideal, cozy, stalking position. His maiden win in late May was visually pleasing (good gallop out past the wire) so we’re expecting the W. Solis-trained colt to enjoy today’s extra distance and be tough right back. Trip to Spain appears to be the quickest in the field based on his smart gate-to-wire debut win at Golden Gate Fields two weeks ago. The concern is that he’s being wheeled back on short rest while tackling tougher foes following a long van ride and trying conventional dirt for the first time, so if the son of Stay Thirsty can score right back it’ll be to his credit. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Rock N Rye.

RACE 7: Post: 5:00 PT Grade: B+
Use: 2-Bad Beat Brian; 6-Torosay

Forecast: There’s a ton of suspect speed signed on in this five furlong grass sprint for first-level allowance/optional claimers so let’s zero in on stalker/closer types and hope that that a pace meltdown sets things up for the late runners. Bad Beat Brian, first off the $40,000 claim for M. Maker, finished well without being knocked about in a similar affair over this course and distance last month and seems likely to step forward for a trainer who’s had this gelding in the past and has done very well with him. A prototype late-running sprinter, the 4-year-old gelding switches to T. McCarthy and projects to settle well off the leaders and then blast home from the quarter pole to the wire. With good racing luck he could be along in time. Torosay, away for almost a year, returns in a logical spot and has run very well over this course in the past, including when last seen in a close third place effort in the 2020 Green Flash H.-G3. The son of Goldencents has run well fresh in the past and shows a work tab that should have him plenty fit; however, he’s always preferred to run second or third (eight times) than win (just once). Both should be used in rolling exotic play with our main punch going to Bad Beat Brian

RACE 8: Post: 5:30 PT Grade: C
Use: 3-Bonita Leona; 6-Essential Worker; 9-Sally Stanford; 10-Amanda Rose

Forecast: We’ll spread the eighth race, a guessing game of a maiden claiming sprint for juvenile fillies that is loaded with unknowns and question marks. Nothing would surprise us. Sally Stanford just failed at 30 cents on the dollar in a similar event after having every chance pressing the pace. She gets a break in the weights with the switch to good bug girl J. Pyfer, but that advantage may be offset by today’s half furlong extension in trip. Amanda Rose, drawn directly to her outside, adds blinkers while exiting a much stronger maiden special weight race and seems certain to improve against this group. She should have dead am on the leaders and have her chance to produce the last run. Essential Worker is a first-timer from the P. Miller barn that has done most of her preliminary work at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico. Maybe she can run, maybe she can’t, but you have to use her. Bonita Leona was well-backed (2-1) in her debut vs. straight maidens here last month but had a rough trip and probably didn’t show her best stuff. She made a right hand turn leaving the gate, raced wide, and then wasn’t really preserved with while finishing last of eight, beaten 13 lengths. The Smiling Tiger filly deserves another look at this level.

RACE 9: Post: 6:00 PT Grade: B-
Use: 1-Stilleto Boy; 2-Wyfire; 3-Hudson Ridge

Forecast: It seems like the main contenders in this year’s La Jolla H.-G3 are coming from all different directions. We’ll take some price chances and hope to be right, but this appears to be a race to spread as deeply as your budget allows. Hudson Ridge, assigned high weight of 123 pounds, seeks his third straight score and should draft into an ideal stalking position similar to the type of trip he enjoyed when winning a first-level allowance event at Santa Anita last month. Prior to that the son of American Pharoah overcame severe trouble to capture the Cinema ‘Cap, so while his numbers are just okay the B. Baffert-trained colt has developed into a consistent and genuine turf specialist. Stilleto Boy was a private purchase (apparently) following his runaway, highly-rated score in the Iowa Derby last month and makes his first start on grass for trainer E. Moger, Jr. in a race in which he’ll surely be the controlling speed. The sophomore gelding is unproven on turf but on pure numbers he’s got a chance, so at 6-1 on the morning line you have to include him. Wyfire seems better than his 12-1 morning line gives him credit for and is worth tossing in as well. The P. Miller-trained gelding had a nightmarish trip when a close fourth in an allowance event over this course and distance last month and seems certain to improve with the good stalking trip that he’s projected to enjoy today. He’s a fit on numbers, and in his third start off a layoff looks ready for a career top effort.

RACE 10: Post: 6:30 PT Grade: C+
Use: 5-Head for Business; 7-Hot Pursuit

Forecast: We’d rather not get too involved in this bottom-rung maiden claiming sprint, so we’ll try to get by using just two but not with any degree of confidence. Hot Pursuit, in the money in all three of his career starts and most recently third at Los Alamitos in his comeback, may have more room for improvement than the others so we’ll put him on top and hope that he can clear the field and then hang on. Head for Business drops to the bottom and has numbers that fit at this level, so we’ll use him as well. Toss in anybody else you like, it’s that kind of race.