Jeff Siegel’s Blog: “What You Need to Know” for Del Mar – Sunday, July 24, 2022

By Jeff Siegel, Handicapper & Analyst

(For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing).


Second Race – Post: 2:33 PT
Top Pick: 10-Straight No Chaser (5-1)

This first-time starter has been doing some sizzling work in the morning (see below) while preparing for his long awaited debut, and while he’s listed at 5-1 on the morning line we’re pretty confident he’ll be considerably shorter on the tote by post time. Purchased for $130,000 at the Timonium 2-year-old in training sale last year (looked terrific breezing a furlong in 10 2/5 seconds in the preview session), the son of Speightster has been in training locally for several months and must have some issues, but at this five furlong trip we suspect the Dan Blacker-trained colt will be long gone if he leaves with his field (always a concern with a debut runner). We’ll be keying him in the various rolling exotics, where he’ll likely offer better value than in the win pool.

Ninth Race: Post: 6:03 ET
Top Pick: Bran (5-1)

We certainly can’t blame leading rider Juan Hernandez for staying loyal to the 6/5 morning line favorite 12-Smooth Like Strait in this year’s renewal of the Wickerr Stakes, but in doing so he may have jumped off the winner. This improving 4-year-old from the John Sadler barn is fresh from a clever score in the Daytona Stakes-G3 down the Hillside Course in his last outing and today he will be trying a mile for the first time in his career. Based on what we’ve seen of him in his races and in recent morning workouts, the French-bred gelding should be able to handle the distance. Fast on figures and capable of winning on the lead or from a stalking position, he picks up Florent Geroux (that’ll do) and should offer reasonable wagering value at or near his morning line of 5-1. As for Smooth Like Strait, he’s working on a six-race losing streak and must leave from the 12-hole, so, as consistent as he’s always been (first or second in 15 of 21 career outings), the Michael McCarthy-trained son of Midnight Lute just might be vulnerable in a big field. Exacta/Trifecta players should also considering using 4-Gregorian Chant somewhere on your ticket. He’ll be running on late, he’s trained by Phil D’Amato, and, remember, this is a grass race.



(Races 1-5)
1st race: 4-Secret Fix; 7-Don’t Talk
2nd race: 10-Straight No Chaser
3rd race: 6-Allaboutthemoney; 3-Sol Del Sur; 7-Bold Endeavor; 4-Loud Mouth
4th race: 7-Havenameltdown; 9-Pure Fire
5th race: 6-In Vronsky Style; 2-Forgiving Spirit; 5-Atomic Drop; 10-Johnny Podres

(Races 6-10)
6th race: 3-Duty First; 9-Tapatio Leo
7th race: 6-Gold Phoenix; 1-Gregdar; 3-Shadow Sphinx; 2-Vantastic
8th race: 2-Tizamagician; 3-Heywoods Beach
9th race: 7-Bran; 12-Smooth Like Strait; 4-Gregorian Chant
10th race: 9-Hail Freedom; 2-Stormy Pattern; 1-Street Ruckus
11th race: 6-Graceland Gray; 12-Ballet Dancing; 11-Barrister’s Ride



An Army of Light (July 6, Santa Anita, 4f, :47.1hg). Grade: C+
In blinkers, a tad sluggish leaving the gate but then moved up to be even with workmate I Know Cash Flow (same time) through splits of :23.3, :35.1 and :47.2 while under some coaxing most of the way. Nothing more than an okay work, has bit of speed, not sure how much stick, seeking a moderate maiden affair.
View Workout Video

Peso (July 14, Santa Anita, 5f, :59.4hg). Grade: B
Decent sort of gate move the son of Pioneerof the Nile in B. Baffert barn while inside and stride-for-stride with Massimo (same time), slightly best late, splits of :24.1 :35.3, :47.3 and :59.4, mild urging most of the way while gearing up for his debut. Doesn’t strike us as particularly quick type; suspect he’ll eventually do his best over a distance of ground.
View Workout Video

Straight No Chaser (July 16, Santa Anita, 5f, 1:00hg). Grade: A-
Flew out of the gate and then – while under a hold – displayed intense speed with splits of :23.1, :34.2, :46 flat and :59 flat (faster than given) before coasting to the wire in 1:13 flat for D. Blacker while gearing up for his debut (at five furlongs on turf). If he can duplicate this drill on the lawn, he will be almost impossible to catch.
View Workout Video

Honeymoon Suite (June 29, Santa Anita, 5f, :59.4hg). Grade: B
In blinkers, solo gate work for J. Mullins, splits of :23.4, :35 flat, :47 flat and 1:00 and small change on our watch, slower than given while being ridden along throughout and appearing to empty out in the closing stages. Clearly has some zip but his lack of stamina – apparent his two races last year – remains an issue. The shorter the better.
View Workout Video



Havnameltdown (July 15, Santa Anita, 4f, :46hg). Grade: B+
Showed superior speed while leaving workmate Velvet Slippers (4f, :47hg) far behind in quick gate drill for B. Baffert, splits of :23.3, :34.3 and :46.2 on our watches, a couple of ticks slower than given but not asked until very late (ridden a bit) but not really under any type of urging. Will have him to catch when he debuts at five furlongs at Del Mar; brought $200,00 at the OBS April sale where he previewed a furlong in a sales-equaling 9 4/5 seconds.
View Workout Video

Pure Fire (July 16, Santa Anita, 5f, 1:00.3h). Grade: B
Ridden a bit late while even inside Little Rachel (same time) for J. Sadler, final three furlongs in :11.3 and :37.1, okay move for son of Practical Joke. Not a quick type, probably prefers the settle and produce a run like he did when a closing third in his debut in the Fasig-Tipton Futurity at Santa Anita last month.
View Workout Video



Duty First (July 10, Santa Anita, 4f, :47.4h). Grade: B
Was let run from the pole and displayed good speed to the top (:23.1) and then finished without pressure in fairly nice fashion for J. Bonde, up in :48 flat on our watches while staying level and balanced. Juvenile son of Smiling Tiger appears to have the kind of quickness that should make him dangerous first time out. Work pattern suggests he should be plenty fit.
View Workout Video



Tizamagician (July 14, Santa Anita, 1 mile, 1:40.4h). Grade: B
Marathon specialist was strong and steady throughout in this solo mile drill, mild urging late but otherwise mostly on his own, splits of :25 flat, :50 flat, 1:14.4 and 1:40.4 on our watches. Looks close to what he was last year at this time when he won the Cougar II Stakes easily.
View Workout Video

Extra Hope (July 7, Santa Anita, 5f, 1:00;4h). Grade: B
Niggled at late outside Royal Ship (same time) to be slightly second best, a neck behind breezing workmate with splits of :23.2, :35.2 and 1:00.4. Hard to say how he’ll handle a marathon but could get brave if he allowed to be the controlling speed.
View Workout Video



Bran (July 15, Santa Anita, 5f, :59.3h TT). Grade: A-
Solo training track drill for J. Sadler, easy early, powerful late (though ridden aggressively in the final furlong), splits of :24.4, :36.2 and :59.3, storming home in the closing stages. Might be best as a late-running turf sprinter but will get a chance to prove otherwise in the Wickerr S. over a mile next time out.
Bran (July15, Santa Anita (5f, :59.3h TT). Grade: B+
View Workout Video


Jeff Siegel’s Blog: “What You Need to Know” for Del Mar – Sunday, July 24, 2022

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