08/23/2013 2:14PM

Del Mar: Brad Free's Analysis August 24, 2013

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Brad Free's Analysis [BEST BET: Hustlin Nu (1st race)]

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1 Front-runner HUSTLIN NU can be gone as the most probable winner on the card. He dominated restricted (N2L) claimers eight days ago and wheels back in an open $10k claimer that he figures to control up front. Trainer Doug O'Neill won last week with back-in-seven-days Great Friends Rule. 'NU looks like a low-odds standout. LEGAL SEPARATION tumbles to the lowest level of his career, a negative drop considering he finished fourth for a $20k claim tag last month. The veteran late-runner will pick them up late. Also-eligible IT DOESN'T ADD UP gets off the rail and puts on blinkers after he cracked in a pace duel last time. Claimed by Peter Miller, he might improve. Closer Looks >>
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2 It is tough to trust a 6-year-old maiden, but TAP IT IN figures to win this $20k maiden-claimer. He returned from a layoff of more than a year last month at BHP and missed by a neck at one level higher. He has a steady workout pattern since, drops to the bottom, and enters with the highest figures in the field. CANDY SWEETHEART has something the top choice lacks. That is, a race on Polytrack. Runner-up three weeks ago in his return from a year and one-half layoff, 'SWEETHEART won't need much better to win this. HEZA GREAT FRIEND loomed wide into the lane and finished evenly in an okay debut. Blinkers on; his stable has been rolling. SIR SEARSUCKER goes route to sprint and drops to the bottom for the first time. Closer Looks >>
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3 An okay fourth-place comeback three weeks ago makes veteran ROYAL IMPORT a logical favorite in this $8k claiming route. His return was his first in nearly four months, he likes DMR, and retains leading rider Rafael Bejarano. The 6-year-old gelding can wear them down. Maybe. BLACK N BEAUTY is another dubious dropper from the John Sadler barn (similar to race-1 entrant Legal Separation). Re-claimed for $32k two starts back, he misfired once and is now entered for an $8k tag. Not a good pattern for a gelding that once was a good horse. Longshot SHEDIAK goes sprint to route. It was only two summers ago he won the $91k Windy Stakes running long on this track. Now running for an $8k tag, the "back-class" gelding is not impossible. Closer Looks >>
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4 CRUCERO finished a creditable second first start in California and first on synthetic, missing by a head under similar circumstance (special-weight route). With a local two-turn race under his belt, the lightly raced colt has an advantage over his main rival stretching out for the first time. That is IMPERIAL FORTUNE, runner-up in two fast sprints and certainly bred to route. He is by Empire Maker and produced by multiple route graded-stakes winner House of Fortune. No reason why 'FORTUNE will not stay two turns. He figures to make the lead, and could be long gone. Going into the Wednesday carrd, there was not a wire-to-wire Polytrack winner at a mile and a sixteenth since opening weekend. European import NAVARRE finished in the money several times against winners overseas. He also ran well enough on synthetic. First time in the U.S., he has an upset chance. Closer Looks >>
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5 A significant drop in class from California-bred N1X to maiden-40 starter allowance stamps BROWN BOSS as the favorite even though he has yet to run on turf. Sired by Vronsky, grass should be okay (progeny of Vronsky win 10 percent first-time turf, 13 percent all turf according to Thoro-Graph). SCORCHER chased a fast pace and tired to last in his California debut last month. That also was his first start since November. Have to believe he will improve second start back. Also-eligible THIS ONE'S FOR MEL has three successive runner-up finishes at this class level. If he draws into the field, he will need to use his speed from the outside. Come and catch him? Closer Looks >>
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6 The outstanding 2-year-old form of Jerry Hollendorfer trained WILD DUDE makes the comeback maiden the horse to beat in his first start as a 3-year-old. Last summer he finished second in a DMR maiden race won by Goldencents; in fall he finished fourth behind subsequent graded stakes class Super Ninety Nine and Shakin It Up. Sharp works at Golden Gate by 'DUDE suggest he is ready to roll first time back. The Bob Baffert-trained first-time starter CAT BURGLAR debuts with a long workout pattern that commenced in May. The colt by Unbridled's Song has a bunch of bullet works including a six-furlong gate move on this track less than two weeks ago. Yes, he is fit and ready. VAVOOM finished second in his career debut in a good maiden-50 at BHP. He returns vs. special-weight company for a good low-profile stable. Closer Looks >>
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7 Claimed from a third-place turf finish three weeks, NOISE OF THE CROWD can make his first start for Jerry Hollendorfer a winning one. The veteran mare returns at the same level (California-bred N1X/optional $25k claiming) with a strong synthetic-surface record. She has five wins and five seconds on synthetic at GG; this is her first start on Poly at DMR. She definitely can sprint. TRIBAL CHATTER missed by a neck last out in a relatively fast race that was her first try on this surface. She finished more than two lengths clear of third and looms a logical threat right back. Longshot GOLDILOCKS PLANET goes up the ladder after an upset win in a small-field maiden-40. Each of her starts has been better than the start before. Closer Looks >>
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8 Runner-up last out to Jeranimo in the G1 Eddie Read, VAGABOND SHOES meets an easier cast while stretching to the longest distance he has tried. A mile and three-eighths is uncharted territory for the former European miler, but 'SHOES could hold the current class advantage in this G2. FIRE WITH FIRE ended a 16-race losing streak with a front-running score at Santa Rosa. Unlike the top choice, distance is not an issue for 'FIRE. He might not have had much behind him at SR, but confidence-builders do a world of good and he could find himself galloping on an easy lead. LUCAYAN, like the top choice, has been a miler through his 11-race career. The marathon division in California is currently shallow and he ran well on this course three weeks ago. Closer Looks >>
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9 This $25k filly-mare claimer might be the most difficult race on the card. INNER GROOVE was re-claimed by Jack Carava from a third-place route. She cuts back to a sprint; her three starts on this racetrack have been solid. BROOKLYN ROSE also was re-claimed recently, by Bob Hess. This is her first start in nearly two months; she won both starts on this track returning from layoffs in 2011 and 2012. Same pattern three years in a row? SLEEP TIGHT won by a nose last time on turf; she also handles the main track. YOUTHEPRIZEANDI crushed $12.5k claimers and gets an optimistic three-level class hike. She might be sharp enough to handle the jump. WOEBEGON was foiled by the pace last time after breaking from an inside post. Down one level, she moves closer to the outside. Closer Looks >>
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10 Also-eligible HOPE 'N PRAY is racing at the bottom for the first time in So Cal. His fifth-place finish last out in a maiden-50 was okay; he figures prominently in this easier spot. EXCESSIVE TEQUILA got messed up at the break, and then finished with run in a better-than-looked fourth-place comeback. He is suited by the longer distance of this seven-furlong dash. WARREN'S TYLER S.also benefits from this seven-furlong distance. He will roll late. Closer Looks >>
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