08/17/2013 12:18PM

Del Mar: Brad Free's Analysis August 18, 2013

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Brad Free's Analysis [BEST BET: Tom's Tribute (5th race)]

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1 BOLLER BOMB was claimed from a better-than-looked fourth-place finish by Peter Miller and can pay quick dividends returning at the same level (3yo fillies, $40k claiming). 'BOMB was forwardly placed pressing a fast pace, challenged for the lead in the lane, and then got swallowed by the closers and missed by less than a length. She does not need to be as close to the front as last time; her new jockey Garrett Gomez can guide her to a come-from-behind win. UPWARD SPIRAL drops for the first time into a claiming race. She finished a close fourth last out in a N1X vs. older; this 3yo claiming race is easier. BUCKINGHAM BULL is a Monmouth shipper exiting a race that produced three next-start winners. Closer Looks >>
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2 KEYBOARD COURAGE finished second last time in a fast route. Claimed for $8k by Mike Pender, he shortens to a sprint and moves up two levels. He offers greater wagering value than likely favorite ROYAL MERIDIAN. The latter was second by a nose in a $20k claiming race last out, and now drops to $12.5k. Not a fan of backing horses that drop in class following good efforts, and this gelding is certain to be overbet. METROPOLITAN MAN returns from a layoff at the lowest level of his career, while OL' STEELY BLUE won back-to-back $4k and $5k claiming races on the Fair circuit and makes his first start at Del Mar. Price play, perhaps. Closer Looks >>
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3 BIG WAGS made an early move last time in a $16k claiming race, hit the front at the eighth pole, then lost his punch and finished third. He drops one level, and can win this $12.5k claiming race with a waiting ride. ROCK THIS WAY is better than his most recent start looks on paper. He got stalled in traffic at the quarter pole, cut the corner and ran into another wall of horses, at which point his rider wrapped up and allowed him to coast to the wire the final three-sixteenths without being asked for any run whatsoever. It was a toss-out race by a good veteran who is down two levels and a rock-solid contender. He is reunited with Joe Talamo, who rode him to victory two starts back. FEAR THE BEARD finished fourth behind the top choice lat time. He will roll from midpack. Closer Looks >>
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4 It is true RENEESGOTZIP benefitted from a pronounced speed bias her comeback win, a daylight romp that earned a 105 Beyer. But she has always been a top sprint filly, with or without a bias. She has six wins and three seconds from nine starts against her gender, and both starts on Polytrack (2012 and 2013) were big-margin wins. She is the deserving favorite to win this G3 in front-running fashion. She will be hounded by improving California-bred SWEET MARINI, who dominated state-bred 3-year-olds three weeks ago. She is not as good as the top choice, at least not yet, but her running style and outside post means she can either push the favorite early or sit second and attack into the lane. WINDING WAY is better than two comeback races indicate. She was dead short in her June 16 comeback, and then engaged in a compromising speed duel second start back and finished last. 'WAY won this race last summer, and with a patient ride could be the late-running upsetter. Closer Looks >>
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5 The pick six begins with a potential single. Lightly raced TOM'S TRIBUTE was tons best in his most recent start under similar conditions (N1X turf route). However, he was blocked and steadied at the quarter pole, got clear too late, finished with run, but ran out of room and missed by a neck. With a clean trip he would have won for fun. He gets a beneficial rider switch to Julien Leparoux, and on paper is a standout. U S CITIZEN goes long for the first time. A pace-pressing sprinter, he was sired by Proud Citizen and therefore should handle one mile. He has been favored four of six starts, but this time the role of chalk is held by the top selection. SOMETHINGS UNUSUAL finished only a nose behind the top choice last time. He has improved each and every start. Closer Looks >>
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6 GNARLY DUDE was compromised by post and pace last time, finishing fifth in a N1X sprint. He broke from an inside post, engaged in a pace duel, and weakened the final eighth. Now he moves to and an outside post, returns to the $32k claiming level at which he was claimed two starts back, and can win if he reproduces his July 6 win at BHP. LET'S GET CRACKIN finished a creditable third in his recent return from a one-year layoff. That was only 16 days ago, a third-place finish in a strong $25k claimer. He is wheeling back rather quickly, but otherwise fits. DRESS CODE will roll from the back. He finished behind the top choice the last two times they met. Closer Looks >>
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7 The 2yo filly BOSSERETTE makes her debut with solid workouts for trainer Howard Zucker and a win-early pedigree. The 2-year-old progeny of Street Boss already have won eight races this year; workouts by BOSSERETTE suggest she can add to the total. But she faces a Bob Baffert juggernaut; he entered three including LA QUINTESSA, produced by the brilliant front-runner Madcap Escapade. Workouts look good on paper, fist-time starters from this stable are usually ready to roll. That applies to her stablemate SUNSET STRIP, whose workouts appear decent. WILD CAROLINE is a first-time starter by the outstanding debut stallion Wildcat Heir. CONSECRATE it the first horse Chantal Sutherland-Kruse has ridden for Baffert since Game on Dude last summer in the Pacific Classic. Slow works, however. Closer Looks >>
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8 UNUSUAL HOTTIE and HALO DOLLY finished two-one in this stakes a year ago; the order might be reversed this time. 'HOTTIE has had a terrific spring-summer season; her three wins include two stakes followed by a solid runner-up finish last out in the Osunitas on this course. She benefits from the slightly shorter distance of this one-mile race. HALO DOLLY has won 15 of 31 including eight stakes. She won this race the past two summers. Her third-place comeback three weeks ago at Santa Rosa was disappointing considering she was favored at 3-5, but it was her first start in two months and she has a right to improve second start back over a turf course she adores. Four starts here produced three stakes wins, one runner-up finish. HEAT TRAP goes long for the first time and will try to steal it. That has not been a winning strategy so far this summer on turf, but as a longshot pace play she is worth considering. She carries eight and 10 pounds less than the top pair. Closer Looks >>
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9 The track was favoring speed when TAMARANDO rallied from ninth to second, missing by a length here July 21. The bias is gone; the improving 2-year-old colt is the logical choice to win from behind. He will have to catch likely pacesetter TAKEM BY SURPRISE. The latter set a fast pace and tired the final eighth in his second start, which was an improved effort over his debut. From the inside post, he has no option but go for the lead and try to wire the field. Also-eligible OH DADDY OH worked a bullet half-mile from the gate four days ago. Closer Looks >>
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10 RED VINE finished well for second in his most recent start at Saratoga, a one-mile race won by the pacesetter. The improving son of Candy Ride ships to California and catches a modest field of older maidens while racing over a turf course that generally rewards late speed. NAVARRE has been running well against winners in France. The Euro-shipper makes his U.S. debut for trainer Doug O'Neill, and if he draws into the field he looms a main contender while dropping from allowance to maiden. SELF CONFIDENT showed promise his only start last summer. Solid workout pattern for his comeback. Closer Looks >>
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