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Jeff Siegel: Del Mar Picks & Analysis | Saturday, August 14

by Jeff Siegel

August 14, 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: 4-Launch Pad; 7-Sometimes Always

Forecast: The Saturday opener is a $16,000 claiming main track miler restricted to 3-year-olds. It’s a bit treacherous, so tread lightly. Launch Pad, a distant third in a tougher spot over this track and distance last month, drops a notch, adds blinkers, and has speed figures that are good enough to win. There should be ample pace signed on to compliment his late-running style, so we’ll put him slightly on top over the 2-1 morning line favorite, Sometimes Always, a maiden claiming sprint winner last time out but with prior form that suggests he’ll handle the stretch out to two-turns just fine. Both should be included in rolling exotic play.

RACE 2: Post: 2:30 PT Grade: B-
Use: 3-Luck of the Draw; 4-Irish Heatwave

Forecast: Five of the eight entrants in this middle distance turf event for $25,000 older claimers exit the same race last month, and because the whole field finished in a heap they’re very difficult to separate today. The difference may be the pace flow, which was faster than par in that race and today projects to be much softer and thus may give Luck of the Draw a bit of an advantage. Claimed in his last pair and now in the P. Eurton barn, the veteran gelding prefers to be on or near the lead throughout and probably won’t have to work too hard to get where he wants to be. Fourth but beaten just a length in that common July 17 event and with U. Rispoli staying aboard, the son of Lookin At Lucky may be as good as any at 4-1 on the morning line. Irish Heatwave drops to his lowest level ever and the former stakes winner has recent speed figures that are good enough to win in this league. He’s another that prefers to be within striking range and may in fact be the controlling speed if nothing else goes. Given that type of trip, the P. Miller-trained gelding could get very brave. We’ll try to get by using just these two in our rolling exotics but if you feel the need to spread deeper, go right ahead.

RACE 3: Post: 3:00 PT Grade: B-
Use: 1-Bella Renella; 6-Vegan

Forecast: This restricted (nw-3) claiming sprint for fillies and mares has two major contenders from the W. Spawr and both should be included in rolling exotic play. Vegan, freshened since June when she finished second in a similar event at Santa Anita, earned a career top speed figure in that race, one that is stronger than par for this level. She was 24-1 in due to poor prior form, but if she can turn in two alike she can outrun this group. A prior win over the Del Mar main track is another plus. Bella Renella, claimed by Spawr out of an open $12,500 sprint in June, showed some spark when a close third in that productive event (the first two finishers came back to win) and returns after a two month freshening. Despite the raise in claiming price, this race actually appears to be a softer spot, so if she can navigate a good trip from the rail, she should be a major player.

RACE 4: Post: 3:30 PT Grade: B+
Single: 4-She’s Our Charm

Forecast: She’s Our Charm has been sparingly raced this year (just two starts) and hasn’t been out since early May, but the R. McAnally-trained mare shows a sharp, steady, and healthy recent series of workouts to have her ready for a major effort over a turf course she’s always liked against a field of second-level allowance fillies and mares that her best effort can handle. Always most effective on the lead but capable of stalking and pouncing if the pace flow dictates, the veteran daughter of Candy Ride has a significant edge in the speed figure department and should have no excuses. At 5/2 on the morning line she’s a win play and rolling exotic single.

Race 5: Post: 4:00 PT Grade: B-
Use: 4-Sugar Sugar; 6-Rock the Belles; 9-Half Past Twelve

Forecast: Sugar Sugar ran quite well when third in a legitimate straight maiden event behind the promising Grace Adler in her debut last month and shows up today in this expensive $150,000 maiden claimer. Does the class drop appear slightly disconcerting? A little bit, yes, though it’s not likely her connections are worried about losing her. It may be mean, though, that they simply don’t believe she’ll improve enough to win a maiden special weight event. There are two others to consider in rolling exotic play, either on the main ticket or as backups. Half Past Twelve, a distant fourth in her debut in a fast, highly-rated race, seems certain to improve with that race behind her and is realistically spotted while Rock the Belles shows a :46 2/5 gate work (fastest of 84) to indicate plenty of speed, though she brought only $20,000 at auction just a couple of months ago.

RACE 6: Post: 4:30 PT Grade: C+
Use: 4-Burgoo Alley; 5-Carpe Fortuna; 9-Bleu Ballon; 12-Thrilling

Forecast: The first leg of the late Pick-5 is a grass grab bag for 3-year-old fillies, five of which exit the race won by Javanica on July 18. Burgoo Alley, Carpe Fortuna, and Blue Ballon, the two-three-four finishers in that race, all ran well and are contenders again, but each had perfect trips, so we’re not quite sure how much better they’ll perform today. Thrilling is a wild card at 6-1. She shows the two-sprints-and-a-stretch-out pattern that we always like and a style and pedigree that suggest she’ll enjoy the added distance. However, she’s stuck way out in the 12-hole, which probably will lead to a wide trip unless she can somehow and drop in and find a slot before the clubhouse turn. In short, this race is a mess that requires a spread in rolling exotic play, so we’ll go-four deep with a very slight preference on top to Thrilling in a race that most likely will produce a blanket finish.

RACE 7: Post: 5:00 PT Grade: X
Single: 1-Wearenotbadpeople

Forecast: Wearenotbadpeople has trained well enough to win at first asking in this woefully weak state-bred sprint for older horses, but he had the misfortune of drawing the rail, always a precarious spot for a debut runner. If the son of Clubhouse Ride breaks even reasonably well, the inside draw shouldn’t be an issue. Maybe he’ll be good enough to overcome a sluggish start, anyway, but at 9/5 on the morning line and likely to go lower there probably won’t be too much value to be found. To underline how soft this field is, the second choice at 5/2 on the morning line is Irondale, whose best race came two back when he finished second in a similar affair while earning a 54 Beyer speed figure. That’s 24 points lower than par for this race. Rolling exotic players may choose to single Wearenotbadpeople; others may choose to sit it out.

RACE 8: Post: 5:30 PT Grade: B-
Use: 1-Neige Blanche; 5-Rideforthecause

Forecast: Rideforthecause and Neige Blanche are two proven marathoners and they’re very difficult to separate. ‘Blanche nosed out her rival two races back in the Santa Barbara S.-G3 over 12 furlongs at Santa Anita but ‘Cause got some measure of revenge when winning the shorter 10 furlong Possibly Perfect S. in mid-June. Today they meet in the “middle” in this year’s renewal of the CTT and TOC S. at a mile and three-eighths. Both should run well and a win by either one wouldn’t be a surprise. There are others in the field that deserve a look – for example, if Tapwater gets loose on the lead she may never look back – so in another race that probably is best watched rather than wagered on we’ll use the two listed above and hope to get one of them home.

RACE 9: Post: 6:00 PT Grade: X
Single: 3-Letsgetlucky

Forecast: Here’s yet another race on today’s program that offers a logical top choice that’s likely to be a shorter price than he should be. Letsgetlucky flashed speed before weakening to be a distant third in the Real Good Deal S. last month and today drops to a much easier first-level allowance state-bred while shortening to his preferred six furlong distance. Based purely on numbers, this is a field he’s supposed to beat, but then again he was supposed to win at this level two runs back and couldn’t seal the deal under pressure when second as the 6/5 favorite. The Munnings gelding appears the best of the speed types, and the late runners don’t inspire, so we’ll put him on top as a rolling exotic single but otherwise pass the race.

RACE 10: Post: 6:30 PT Grade: B-
Use: 1-Nu Pi Lambda; 4-Fantail; 9-Lalic; 10-Isn’t She Lovely

Forecast: The finale is an “anything goes” turf sprint for entry-level/optional claiming fillies and mares. Fantail has the route-to-sprint angle we like, and while her form suggests she might be more comfortable around two turns we’re thinking this shortened trip is something that might really appeal to her. She has plenty of speed and in a race like this she’ll be allowed to use it. A couple of recent nice breezes around dogs over the local lawn tells us she’s doing very well. Nu Pi Lambda finished powerfully but too late when third in a similar affair over this course and distance last month. She’s 1-for-14 with eight seconds and thirds for a reason; the C. Gaines-trained filly lacks tactical speed and almost always gives herself too much to do. She’ll be rolling late, but she’ll need good racing luck and help up front to get up in time. Lalic returns to sprinting and is another who will be doing her best work from off the pace, but she’s another that may need more ground, while Isn’t She Lovely should benefit from this abbreviated sprint distance and has numbers that continue to move in the right direction, but her extreme outside draw means that she can’t make any mistakes leaving the gate.