08/22/2013 12:41PM

Closer Looks: Del Mar August 23, 2013


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Race 1

One Firm Cat
Heck, just over a month ago off the claim he got a shot at a stakes here; OK, so that was too much and then came a drop to the $50K level Aug. 11 and he found those waters too deep, too; the good news, though, is he was by no means disgraced in that Aug. 11 run and now Dollase tumbles him much further; that's a bit worrisome to be sure - they don't give anything away out here - but Maldonado ride, the 3yo has some ability and maybe that drop with the move to the main track is just what the Dr. ordered...maybe.
I Don't Care Who
Last 2 weren't very pretty, though in his defense they also sandwich a 3-month hiatus; both also came vs. tougher so today's drop is significant; still, his best work has come on dirt and while he drops it's still tough to tell where he fits vs. winners, and in 3 starts over this track he's yet to be a factor really at any point.
Justa Gusta
Save for a couple duds this winter he's held pretty good form since last fall; freshened since fading to 4th on turf at BHP June 30 but not only did that come vs. tougher but it was his first try on turf and first route so you can be a bit forgiving; back to synthetic and down a peg with 3 nice local works to indicate he's doing well.
Strong 3rd here July 28 for $32K stamps him one of the ones; would have been closer, too, but had to steady while between horses late; love, LOVE, that he came back with a super 1:12.20 work Aug. 16, too; obviously sharp and likees it here and he's got the speed and versatility to give Garcia options.
Space Runner
No way to knock a horse who's won 3 of 5 and who finished 2nd in the 2 losses; also amazing to see he's been claimed out of his last 4 starts; OK, so there is a way to knock him - despite all that good form, despite all that interest they keep risking him for a tag so they're always willing to lose him; good news today is that after claiming him for $16K July 19 Keen moves him up 2 levels - that speaks of confidence, and that big July 19 win shows he handles this place just fine, with speed to be in the thick of it from the bell.
Change of Plan
Opened up early for $20K routing here July 24 as the favorite but hit the brakes pretty hard; surely capable of better, as his prior big win shows; Miller not only saw fit to claim him but brings him back up in price and there are 2 works since; speed can help him flee the outside and Gomez/Miller have been terrific together the past 20 months or so (32%); wouldn't be surprised at all to see him bounce back with a big effort.

Race 2

Boston Charley
Quit early in his maiden voyage when jammed up between rivals; his sire won 5 of 24 starts and 236K; the dam won 6 of 32 and 338K; among the winning siblings is 208K earner Candy Pull; can last longer at this level.
Grand Pulpit
The pace battle took its toll 5 weeks ago; the gelding's sire won 3 of 22 and 209K while the dam was without a victory in 9 attempts; among the winning sibs is 15K earner Kid Atlantic; needs to get away unpressured.
Newcomer hails from G1 turf specialist Good Journey who amassed 1.73 million and whose offspring have won 8 of 68 debuts; the dam won 3 of 14 and 90K; this is her only foal to make it to the races.
He's a Wizard
Returns with blinkers after facing stronger competition in his only run; his sire is the speedy Bertrando who captured 3.18 million; the dam won 1 of 7 and 34K: winning siblings include 168K earner Neme.
Punxsutawney Phil
Quit behind some of these same foes last time after breaking slowest; his versatile sire won a G2 and 1.51 million; the dam won 5 of 24 and 183K; among the winning siblings is 86K earner Sweetrayofsunshine.
Salt Power
Respectable showing last month when racing for a tag for the first time; the sire was a G1 type who won 536K; the mom won 5 of 24 and 145K; this is her only foal to make it to the starting gate.
Warrens Backntown
Encountered early trouble first time out; the gelding's sire was unraced while the dam was zero for 7 lifetime; winning siblings include 45K earner Warren's Performer; nice blowout from the gate back on 8/2.
Mr. Obeso
The grey's sire won multiple G1s and 2.35 million (progeny of Benny the Bull have won 1 of 5 initial races); the dam never competed; among the winning siblings is 16K bankroller For You Daddy; the trainer has a solid record with firsters.
Horse Laugh
Sired by Stormello who won 3 of 11 and 700K (his descendants are 3 for 47 as far as winning their first attempt); the dam won 4 of 16 and 158K; this is her only foal to make it to the races.
I Rock the Party
He shows only a modest work tab; his sire won 1.87 million including success at the G1 level; offspring of Rock Hard Ten have won 28 out of 232 debuts; the dam never raced; winning siblings include 41K earner Captain Nightcap.
Scheduled to shed the shades despite displaying vast improvement in that second run; his sire won a G1 and 591K; the dam won 1 of 8 and 8K; this is her only foal to compete; obvious pace threat if escaping AE imprisonment.
The Tom Squad
Exits a very quick race which featured a repeat winner; his sire won multiple G3s and 655K in total; the dam won 2 of 19 attempts and 48K; this is her sole foal to start; blinker addition can help him focus today.
The a.m. drill on 8/12 is encouraging; his sire won 3 of 11 races and 135K (progeny of Vronsky are 5 for 52 as far as winning their first try); the dam won 1 of 25 and 76K; sib to 15K earner Whilly Pink.

Race 3

2 good races over this course last year, but those came in a string of good efforts when she was really sharp; this year's a bit shaky - she fell and was vanned off at SA Jan. 18, was gone 5 months, came back to be a decent 4th at BHP June 14 and now has been gone another 2-plus months; drops a bit and at least it's no huge panicky drop, but it's still a tough spot and you wonder if after that Jan. 18 debacle she's still got what it takes to handle these; and yes, she's run well on turf, but she's still winless in 7 grass tries.
Comes here in solid form; a nice winner for $40K here July 19, and then a respectable 4th vs. some tough optional claimers here Aug. 4; back in for a tag but she's at least up in price and Garcia is quietly having a super meet (5 for first 13, 38%).
Ruby Pumps
No way to knock a gal who's 4 for 5 on turf; OK, maybe there is a way - all taht work has come at GG against likely softer foes than she's facing today; and even if they aren't softer foes she still must deal with shipping and new surroundings; still, McCanna doesn't win at a high percentage because he puts his horses in the wrong spots and he very well could have left her at GG and likely found a race for her there, so the fact he opted to ship encourages.
The Only Key (GB)
Took ample money (2.90-1) here Aug. 4, her first start in 2 months, but she was in a bit tight turning for home and really never got involved; does drop for this, but it's no huge panicky drop - in fact, she goes back to the level at which Hollendorfer claimed her; certainly scary if she's able to get back to her best, but after the 2 months off and so-so Aug. 4 that's no small 'if', is it?
A nice 2nd at this level at SA April 7 but then went to the bench for 3 months; it didn't matter as she next ran very well on PLN dirt July 4, finishing 2nd before being given 1st via a DQ; that being said, there's now another layoff to deal with but at least she's shown she can fire fresh and that April 7 run shows she fits at this level; all that being said, though, she's still winless in 9 turf tries and has never raced on this course.
Miss Well Molded
Had things going very, very well in the summer/fall of 2012, including a big maiden win on this course; continued that into the winter but things went south in the spring; Gallagher has given her plenty of time to regroup and there's a drop, both moves which may help; at least shown she can fire fresh and fire here and she's worked well of late, too.
Looked good powering home to beat $25K foes on the BHP sod July 7, and Dollase saw fit to claim her; he brought her back in a spot where he couldn't lose her via another claim and she had a dreadful trip; back in for a tag but it's still twice what they paid to claim her; also reunited with Talamo who was up for that July 7 win and while she was only 6th in that Aug. 3 race here she wasn't beaten that far (2 3/4 lengths) despite significant traffic issues, meaning Dollase may well have bought at the right time; strong :47 move here Aug. 17 (2nd fastest of 66 that day) is a thumbs-up, too.

Race 4

Inner Groove
Drops below the level of the barn's last out re-claim while turning back to sprint today; mare suffered her first local loss in 3 tries in that one but it has been a while since she's seen the winner's circle; she does have some positional foot so maybe that helps her secure a decent spot early from this tough post and there is some speed in this heat; contender.
Filly will try cheaper in her second spin here after coming up with little late at the trip last time; she's earned numbers that suggest she's capable of contending at this level and maybe the presence of a quicker clip will help her get more involved late at what does figure to be a nice price.
Queen of the Hill
Held well for second money against a notch better here earlier in the month and should be tighter with that return from the break behind her; gray has the foot to be just off the pace setters from the bell and the slight cut back should help; she did work this trip in the interim and may just have found the right bunch.
Meter Me Gone
Mare tries better after proving little match for the top 2 when third in her return from better than a year on the shelf; maybe she's better for that effort but she does return in just 2 weeks and don't know that she's as good as she was against her peers prior to the time off; just watching her here.
Granny Calling
Boasts a sharp drill for her return from the freshening while tackling the cheapest field she's seen this year; rider opts elsewhere, but she gets a solid replacement and she was quite competitive against better here last summer; there's other speed in here and that's her game, but her class warrants her a look.
Suances Flower
Steps up a level for her first off this barn's claim while drawing a better post today; like the new dimension she showed last time as she'd been doing her better running on the front end prior to that and maybe it's a sign she's ready to move forward; gets a solid replacement in the saddle.
Sugar Spice
Wired limited winners from the fence off the break in her local debut and has been given a full month to get over the effort; enters this off the field's best last out number, but her game is speed and there's no shortage of that commodity in here; will have to earn the repeat on the class rise.
Tiz the Route
Adds the hood for her first off this barn's claim after failing to rally into a quick local clip off 5 months on the shelf; mare has had her issues this year, but she ran fast enough last fall to factor here and did work sharply from the gate a couple of weeks back for this; price should be right to give her a look in a field where the pace could back up.
Piano Kitty
Makes her local debut after showing little upstate on the fair circuit last month; she was solid on Tapeta earlier in the year and she will get some pace to run into in this spot, but the barn has been on a pretty poor run at the stand.
Ralphy Girl
Speedy filly draws a tough post for her first start off this outfit's claim after holding the place in her local debut; she'll get a new pilot for this as she catches several others who are quick from the bell as well; expect she'll again mix it up early, but looks to face a tough task on the class rise.

Race 5

Midnight Roar
July DMR workouts suggest he is a runner; sire is 6-for-79 with 1st-time starters; is out of a 6-for-18 stakes-winning dam (251K) who produced 2 winners from 4 other foals to race including 38K-earner Abbyroar (1-for-12); the rail draw is often a tricky post position for any inexperiened runner.
Broker Brett
Exits a career-best Beyer speed figure in his 1st-ever synthetic-surface start at longer; cuts back to his shortest-distance test ever for this; the winner, runner-up and 4th-place finishers from last Beyered 94-87-63 in next-out DMR-50K-claiming and DMR-BHP-50K-20K-maiden claiming victories; can this late runner get up in time?
Fly High
Has never raced this short of a distance; has 1 start without blinkers on which represents a co-career low Beyer which was also the only route start of his career; 2 bullet workouts and a sharp DMR-morning drill for this add to the appeal; has still been unable to fire back to his career-debut Beyer Top when stalking the speed.
Expo and Fig
That July 24 workout was super for a 30%-winning maiden claiming trainer; his sire is 6-for-57 with 1st-time starters; is out of an 0-for-3 dam (1K) who produced 4 winners from 4 other foals to race including 57K-earner Diplomatic Gal (4-for-11).
Green Beret
Rallied willingly in his grassy-career debut at shorter but with a light Beyer attached; the GG-synthetic surface workout for this was OK; some runners improve 2nd-time out and he has plenty of room to move forward for this.
Southern Sunrise
Lots of potential; that 103 dirt Beyer 2nd-time out leaps off the form at you; 1st-synthetic surface start off the March layoff; on the lead in first 3 races and figures as the one to catch again here; the 2-back winner and runner-up finisher Beyered 89-82 in next-out BHP-MSW and optional claiming wins.
Fast Mast
Cuts back to his shortest-distance test ever off the long layoff; steady workouts for this but has been out-drilled in the a.m. by some of these; the runner-up finisher from last Beyered 83 in his next-out BHP-75K-maiden claiming win; the 2-back runner-up scored next out in an AQU-50K-maiden claimer with a 69 speed figure.
Formal Joker
1st time racing on a synthetic surface without a published workout on this type of oval; finished last with a career-low Beyer off the 7-week break and is back in just 13 days to face maidens again; tired at shorter so stamina is a big concern.
Mi Hijo
Exits back-to-back career-low Beyer speed figures; new rider yields 38% DMR-winners for the trainer since 2012; is another who has never raced this short of a distance; best races are when he's rallied at longer; can he get up in time to win it all is a huge concern.
Marino Mizer
Sire is 24-for-169 with 1st-time starters; is out of a 7-for-28 dam (86K) who produced 2 winners from 3 other foals to race including 169K-earning-stakes winner Kool Comic (11-for-35); has been outworked by the other 1sters for a 7%-debut barn since 2012.
Has not raced or has a published workout on a synthetic surface; 72 days since rallying at shorter; his debut win looks better since the winner repeated in an SRP allowance with a 55 Beyer; new rider got off to a 1-for-27 start at the current DMR meeting.

Race 6

Little Emily
She might be looking to jump out on top of this field right from the bell after breaking from the rail post but it looks like Good Karma and Miss Pippa aren't going to let her get away with anything through the opening stages; perhaps a minor award is within reach, but looking elsewhere for the top spot.
Midnight Music (IRE)
She's multiple stakes placed from two starts since arriving in America and those two performances have been right in line with what it will take to get the job done in this spot; she has a very live look to her while going out for a top turf barn with Leparoux aboard.
La Zubia (GB)
She appears to be well meant while stretching out in distance for her second start back from a layoff and she's capable of dialing up a performance that is strong enough to make her competitive against these; as long as she doesn't fall too far out of it through the opening stages, she figures to be in the hunt through the stretch.
Plaza de Indias (CHI)
She hasn't posted a win from 14 starts in America and not sure how she's going to handle today's 1 3/8m distance; she does usually show up and run her race, but feel that a minor award might be the ceiling.
Silver Hustler
She enters this race after a useful performance off of a layoff and this late running filly has given a decent account of herself in her recent starts while facing a number of today's rivals; Stevens takes over for Bejarano who is in Saratoga.
She deserves a lot of credit for earning a G1 stakes placing in her latest start while meeting up with winners for the first time, even if it was against 3-year-old competition; improving filly looks like she can handle today's 1 3/8m journey and going to look for her to give a good account of herself against these.
Good Karma (ITY)
Like what she did in her latest outing when she was able to grab the early lead and the third place finisher from that race returned to win next out here on 8/18 going 1m over turf in a 150k stakes with an 89 Beyer; however, being involved in the early running might be a tough way to go in here, and she is stretching out in distance quite a bit.
Miss Pippa
This filly likes to be involved in the running early on, and if horses like Little Emily and Good Karma get aggressive from the break, this miss has shown the ability to tap the breaks and sit a trip; she's an interesting option to consider while going out for a barn that has put a lot of live horses on the track at this meeting.
I Dazzle
Grade 2 stakes placed mare is capable of putting together a sharp run on her best day, and although she's a little bit of a question at today's 1 3/8m distance, she certainly looks like she's heading in the right direction entering this event; looking at her as being one of two contenders signed on in here for the Sadler barn.
High Jinks (BRZ)
This filly is going to need to really step it up over what she's shown us in her first two starts in America if she's to prove to be a player in this spot; note that she's been beaten by a number of today's rivals in those races.
Freedom Reigns (IRE)
She needs to see a scratch from the main body of this race in order to draw in and feel that this late running filly is worth keeping an eye out for; she routinely produces a pretty nice stretch run and it will be interesting to see what she can do with the extra distance to work with.

Race 7

Rail a magnet again and Beyers going in the right direction; dam was unraced; lone half bro to race took 4 sprints, was out of the money in lone route; one more move forward and he will be a handful.
Warren's Cliff S.
Seemed on the verge after the June race, then was hung out to dry; backers can point to the fact there is a route winner in the family; the hotter the pace the better for this guy.
He could be more focused with the blinks this time; legit trouble two back, this guy is due to put it all together.
Wave Catching
Gelding found best stride way too late; 2 for 16 dam earned nearly $80K, was route only; sire carried speed long easily; lone sibling took one sprint; expect him to be more involved early on the stretch out.
Will He Amaze
Maybe he just wanted maiden sellers all the time; troubled in first 2, then wide, but well clear in last; winner of BHP finale repeated in a $40K optional by a neck with an 86 Beyer; both of dam's wins came on grass; several multiple race winners in the tree including several routers and grass stakes winner Willow O Wisp, who won long and earned over $700K; clever barn due to get rolling.
Public Defender
Clear by daylight two back, the race over the surface can only help; been knocking on the door, is overdue to blow it off the hinges.
Si the Ocean
Tab the snappy move on the 11th; 8 for 41 dam banked $165K, sire won this long on turf; lone sibling Sicy won 10 times, all sprints; has some things to iron out.
On Holy Ground
After 20 or 25 beats, the upside is just tough to find; 8th finisher in last took a maiden $40K seller next out and the winner repeated in a $40K starter with an 83 Beyer; looking elsewhere for a key top horse.
Forced to steady on the first turn, went between horse, then 3 wide in the tough beat; dam took one sprint, it came at 2; this is her first to roll; looms one to beat.
Tuckers Point
Miller won a 4-way shake for this guy; can't fault those that are gun shy with the double chalk flop visible; at least there is a 5-time route winner in the tree; must display more.
Point Happy
First off, why was he gone in 2012?; note runner did flash speed in June opener; P Val aloft, should at least force the issue.
Dickery Do
Pressed issue, but lost ground in the lane for the 5th straight time; backers can say the lone sibling did graduate routing; a bit more keen to run early in last, still gave up the ghost when it counted.
Tiz Futurity
Almost blew up the tote at 69-1; is out to prove it was no fluke; could be compromised by the slot; backers have to hope a duel develops and the race falls completely apart.
He should have his sea legs under him by now; off a career Beyer, he seems much more comfortable with real estate to negotiate; don't ignore if scratches are kind.