1st: 6-5-2-3…Finalygotabently (6) gets the edge in this one for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who keeps the apprentice rider up. Drops in class today and the last time he was in this cheap (Feb. 10, 2017), he won at Santa Anita. Could turn the same trick today. Royal F J (5) had two good runs at this level before getting bumped up in his last try. The 10YO may have enough last in the tank to grab a share. Fran Candy (2) figures to be the post time favorite, having won at this distance for $16C two back. Threw in a dud stretching out last time, but shortens back up and retains Joe Talamo for a very hot barn. I bet the 6 to win/place and then box the 6-5-2 in the exacta.
2nd: 7-3-6-5…Room On the Broom (7) gets the edge here, despite showing only one second in 6 starts this year. Drops in class to a career low claiming level and that may wake this one back up. If she runs anything close to her race two back, she walks on this field, IMO. Honor Maker (3) was claimed in her last by a barn that does super well (.22 win percentage) with first starts after the purchase. Training well, too. Picks up a solid rider change. Sassy Ashley and Yavrig (a daughter of City Zip, who I tried to claim at Santa Anita in December) both have a chance in here, too. I bet the 7 to win/place and then key the 7-3 over/under the other two. I bet one 7-3 exacta box.
3rd: 12-10-11-8-9-1-6-5…My Bet of the Day comes in this spot with Speakers (12). Obviously, the outside post will be something that she has to negotiate, but if she improves any at all on her first try, she will be very tough in this spot for California-breds only. Closed from last in her first try, and may a solid move. Gets Bejarano back in the saddle and is my top choice. Battleground State (10) picks up Lasix for the first time and goes for a trainer who does very well with maidens in their second starts (.26 win %). She had some trouble crossing over the dirt track in her turf debut at Santa Anita and could be tough with a cleaner trip. Halo Ahead (11) is well bred (by Kitten’s Joy) and has a nice stalking style. She will be more forwardly placed that the other two, and could sneak off and she has been running well against open company. Watch out. I bet the 12 to win/place and then box the 12-10-11. I also key the 12 over/under all the numbers listed.
4th: 3-5-8-2…Gummy (3) was nominated to the Triple Crown series by his connections and now finds himself in a $20C event. Was picked off Richard Mandella in his last out by Doug O’Neill, who def knows what he is doing in and around a barn. Gummy is a colt no more and that equipment change may be enough to get his attention today. Clifton Beach (5) nearly got to the circle for the first time in his last, losing by only a length when equipped with blinkers for the first time by trainer John Sadler. Could improve today. Shadow Op (8) is a first time starter for a barn that wins with .25% in their debuts. This one is training lights out, too. I bet the 3 to win/place and then box the 3-5-8 in the exactas.
5th: 9-5-10-7-4-11-2…Buymeabond (9) goes for Hollendorfer, who picks up the expert services of Prat in the saddle. That combo has won .26% of the time in 2016-17 and this 7YO loves Del Mar. In 8 career starts here, he has 4 wins, 2 seconds and a third. The combination of all those facts, should make this one tough today, dropping in class. Path of David (5) gets my “dot” (must use) in this one. He was in three straight Graded Stakes races in a row from last November to December. And, he drops all the way to $32C today. This one ran second to Oscar Performance just a year ago. Watch out here with a top jock for a cold trainer. Excessive Kid (10) was picked up by trainer Doug O’Neill in his last for $35,000-Claiming. Comes back today at basically the same level. Barn does well with first off the claim. I bet the 9 to win/place and then box with the 9–5 in one exacta, and then wheel the 9-5 over/under all the numbers listed.
6th: 5-7-1-2-3…Hold That Smile (5) ran a big one in her first out, before tiring late. Still gutty enough to hold second in that one and should benefit from the race and a maintenance work since for a war that is having a solid year. Adroit (7) is a first timer for trainer Eddie Truman, who does OK with 2YOs. Has been working good and he gets Kent Desormeaux to ride. That combo does well together. Sugaratsundown (1) goes for the third time today, but picks up Lasix for the first time. Appeared that she may have bled in her last, looking at how quickly she stopped in the latter stages. That could be the difference in this one. I bet the 5 to win/place and then bet the 5-7-1 box.
7th: 6-1-3-8-5-9…Tapped (6) is a filly that I have watched for a long time. She is back today to try the turf for the first time. And, this daughter of Tapit, who is a homebred, should relish the surface switch. It’s not that she doesn’t have any talent on the dirt, mind you. She ran a close up fourth to Kentucky Oaks winner Abel Tasman in the G1 Starlet last summer, and she ran second in the California Oaks at Golden Gate in February to Tap It All on the synthetic. Today looks like a good spot for her first grass try. My Second Best Bet of the Day here. Lajatico (1) was bred in Great Britain and began her race career across the pond. She has some speed to flash and may take flight from the rail today. Easy Grader (3) is a true closer who has experience over this grass course, winning once in two starts here. Retains Bejarano for this one. And, don’t dismiss Auntjenn (8), who I will definitely use in the exotics. Has only one third in three starts on the grass to date, but is capable of better. I bet the 6 to win/place and then key the 6 over/under all the other numbers listed.
8th: 2-1-6-4-10-3…Willows Babe, trained by Richard Baltas, nearly got the job done in her career debut, losing by a shortening length at Santa Anita in June. Moves up a notch in class off that try, but should benefit from the race. Midnight Summer (1) is a first time starter for Peter Miller, and she is training very well for a barn that pops with 2YOs to the tune of .27%. Acharnement (6) is 8-1 ML and if she stays anywhere close to that number (or drifts up), I am going to use. Showed scorching speed in her last before falling off the earth, which was to be expected after a quarter in :21.4. She picks up Gary Stevens today and drops out of MSW to the Maiden-Claiming ranks for the first time. Barn has hit with .50% of horses that have made that drop this year. I bet the 2 to win/place and the 6 across the board. I bet the 2-1-6 in one exacta, and then wheel the 2-6 over/under all the numbers, hoping to catch some box cars.
Good luck &
All the Best/Gene