Jeff Siegel’s “What You Need to Know” for Del Mar  – Sunday, August 6, 2023

“What You Need to Know” – Del Mar
by Jeff Siegel, Handicapper & Analyst

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s Daily Santa Anita Handicapping Analysis, Wagering Strategies, and Workout Commentary identify those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.
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
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 9-Ellie Moore
Backups/Savers/Underneath: none.

Forecast: The opener is a five furlong grass sprint for juvenile fillies that attracted 10 entrants, eight of which are making their racing debuts. Ellie Moore is one of the two that has a prior outing, and it was a good one in April at The Curragh in Ireland, where she finished in a dead heat for second (beaten a neck after a very slow start) and was assigned a fairly decent (60) Timeform rating. Hopefully, she’ll leave with her field today and if so the Phil D’Amato-trained daughter of Starspangledbanner will be difficult to beat, unless there’s a real good one that we’re not aware of waiting in the weeds.


RACE 2: Post: 2:34 PT Grade: C+
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 8-Handr’sdream; 3-Jalen Journey
Backups/Savers/Underneath: none.

Forecast: Handr’sdream plummets to the bottom and should be on or near the lead throughout in this extended sprint for $8,000 claiming older horses. A repeat of his highly rated win at Pleasanton two runs back beats this field, but the class drop from $20,000 to $8,000 clearly means he’s for sale. Jalen Journey is a New York shipper eligible for valuable ship-and-win money and at this level the veteran gelding must be respected. This will be his 39th career start (with 10 wins) and most of his best work have been done from off the pace, so at this extended sprint distance he should be heard from late.


RACE 3: Post: 3:07 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 5-Diamonds Danzing
Backups/savers/Underneath: 1-Bajan Bashert; 1-Jessebear.

Forecast: Diamonds Danzing was very well-meant in her local debut at Santa Anita in mid-June but fell short when second to next out winner Big Pond in a fast race for the level while finishing more than six lengths clear of the rest. A repeat of that effort today in this maiden special weight sprint for older fillies and mares should be more than good enough. Additionally, she was stakes placed in her previous start in New Mexico last November and is deserving of her morning line price of 9/5.


RACE 4: Post: 3:39 PT Grade: B
Main ticket (in order of preference): 4-Micro Share; Kuora
Backups/Savers/Underneath: none.

Forecast: Micro Share earned a confidence building win at Pleasanton in late June and did so with a giant speed figure, by far a career top. Local workouts since that race have been excellent, so we’re expecting the Richard Mandella-trained filly to run at least as well today and perhaps even better. Always well regarded – she brought $450,000 at auction two years ago – the daughter of Upstart is the logical 8/5 morning line favorite. The one she should fear the most is the old pro from Peru, Kuora. She is seeking her third straight win while stretching out to a distance we know she can handle, so if our top pick fails to fire, this nine-time career winner may be able to extend her streak.


RACE 5: Post: 4:09 PT Grade: B-
Main ticket (in order of preference): 9-Greer My Dear; 4-Nothing Like You; 8-Cheeky Gal

Backups/Savers/Underneath: none.

Forecast: Bob Baffert has a first time starter in this maiden juvenile sprint, so that is where we and just about everybody else will start. Nothing Like You, a $190,000 OBS April sale purchase, breezed a furlong in a quick :10 flat in a good looking drill that helped boost her purchase price. Her dam was a multi stakes winner and produced South of France, a stakes winner in New York, so the daughter of Malibu Moon has a right to be a decent type. That said, her local works have been solid but not overwhelming and our impression is that she rates no better than the second level of 2-year-olds in the barn. Cheeky Gal was a $135,000 purchase in that same OBS April sale, where she previewed in :10 flat. However, we don’t consider her to be a particularly quick type. Our actual preference in the field is the Richard Mandella-trained Greer My Dear, who has trained well enough to be plenty fit and ready for a winning effort in a race containing no world beaters. The daughter of Medaglia d’Oro has breezed like a straightforward, professional type, and from her good outside draw she can load last and hopefully break first under top speed rider Edwin Maldonado. She is listed at 6-1 on the morning line and against this group we believe she’s better than that.


RACE 6: Post: 4:39 PT Grade: B
Main ticket (in order of preference): 4-Took Charge; 9-Hot Box
Backups/Savers/Underneath: none.

Forecast: Took Charge was a strong runner-up in a starter allowance $25,000 turf sprint at Santa Anita in his most recent start and returns in a $32,000 seller, a proper placement for the hard knocking Take Charge Indy gelding. He is a strong fit on numbers, looks on paper to be the quickest of the quick, and he should really like this five furlong trip. Hot Box is the other committed speed in the field but must leave cleanly from his outside 9-hole draw. He’s been chasing tougher without much success of late but has a right to improve against this group, though we wonder if his best days are behind him.


RACE 7: Post: 5:09 PT Grade:
Main ticket (in order of preference): 10-Bigofromfresno; 1-California Tiger
Backups/Savers/Underneath: 6-Driver’s Ed.

Forecast: Bigofromfeesno is a debuting gelding finally making it to the races at age four and is doing so while being protected in maiden special weight company when he just as well could have been entered at the bottom maiden claiming rung. A good sized son of Vronsky, the Dan Blacker-trained California-bred isn’t a quick sort but can turn it on late, and if doesn’t have too much to do from the quarter pole home he could easily outrun in morning line of 10-1. California Tiger was nosed out in a similar state-bred affair at Santa Anita in May in a much improved performance over his debut the previous month, and with a repeat of that effort today he will be tough to deny. A recent sharp five furlong drill over the Del Mar really caught the eye.


RACE 8: Post: 5:39 PT Grade: B
Main ticket (in order of preference): 2-Don’t Ju Forget; 10-Flame McGoon
Backups/Savers/Underneath: none.

Forecast: Don’t Ju Forget, in her second start off a layoff, was sharp when second at Los Alamitos at this level last month in a race that produced a career top speed figure. Always most effective around one turn, the Peter Miller trained filly gets ideal conditions to settle in the second flight and then kick home when given her cue. Flame McGoon has been away since December, but the barn has solid stats with layoff runners and this California-bred daughter of Stanford has trained well enough to be fit and ready. Her prior outing over this course and distance resulted in a fast finishing third, and if she runs back to that race from last year the Mark Glatt-trained filly should be capable of posing a serious threat in the final furlong.


RACE 9: Post: 6:09 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 2-Grand Slam Smile; 3-Pushiness
Backups/Savers/Underneath: none.

Forecast: Grand Slam Smile was a visually pleasing winner of the Fasig-Tipton Debutante Stakes in mid-June at Santa Anita after thoroughly impressing in her maiden win at Golden Gate Fields the previous month. She has trained in sharp style at her home base at Pleasanton while preparing for this year’s edition of the C.T.B.A Stakes so we suspect she’ll run as well if not even better today. The Smiling Tiger filly certainly is made of the right stuff. Pushiness won as expected in her debut, though there probably wasn’t a whole lot behind her. She’s always been well regarded and is the quickest of the quick. We’re expecting the winner will be one of these two, with preference on top to Grand Slam Smile.


RACE 10: Post: 6:39 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 1-Smart Mo
Backups/savers: 2-Agency.

Forecast: Let’s take a flyer with Smart Mo at 8-1 on the morning line in this year’s renewal of the La Jolla Handicap. This will be just his third career start, and his first on grass, but as a son of Mo Town he really should like it. Drawn nicely inside in a race that projects to have easy early fractions, the John Shirreffs-trained colt is fast on numbers and continues to impress in the morning. The well-regarded sophomore could easily be this good, so let’s make him a win play and a strong push in the various rolling exotics.


RACE 11: Post: 7:09 PT Grade: B-
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 7-Hard Times; 3-Snap Daddy
Backups/savers: 9-Mt. Zeror; 12-The Key Is Unity.

Forecast: Hard Times vans down from Northern California after shaking off the rust when third in an abbreviated sprint against a bit tougher at Pleasanton. That race should tighten him up for this extend sprint, and against this group of bottom-rung ($20,000) maiden claimers the Andy Mathis-trained son of Goldencents appears to have found his friends. The addition of blinkers is another positive factor. Snap Daddy is a first time gelding and therefore eligible to leave his previous form behind. He takes a significant class drop from the maiden $50,000 ranks and has a closing style that should be effective at this seven furlong distance.

Jeff Siegel’s “What You Need to Know” for Del Mar – Sunday, August 6, 2023

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