07/15/2013 3:25PM

Del Mar: J Serino heads class of juveniles to watch

J Serino was bought for $230,000 at the Keeneland September sale (above) and resold for $485,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. sale in March.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Trainer Jim Cassidy wasn’t at Ocala in March when a Malibu Moon colt now named J Serino was purchased for his client, Deron Pearson, for $485,000, but he likes what he’s seen so far. J Serino had impressed noted clocker Gary Young with his breeze at Ocala, and Cassidy was able to go right on with him over the past few months, a period of time in which a son of Malibu Moon won the Kentucky Derby. For those based in California, dreams for the 2014 Derby begin at Del Mar, and of the 2-year-old males expected to debut this summer, J Serino is among the notables to follow.

“He’s very close,” Cassidy said Saturday after J Serino worked six furlongs in 1:14.60 at Santa Anita. “I’ve got a feeling he wants more ground. He’s a big, good-looking colt.”

J Serino could run this coming weekend going 5 1/2 furlongs, or wait until the second weekend of the meet for a six-furlong race, according to Cassidy. Options abound at Del Mar, both for precocious 2-year-olds and those with long-term potential. The enhanced turf program here for 2-year-olds offers additional opportunities.

Among those ticketed for the turf is Station House, a Rock Hard Ten colt whom trainer Richard Mandella is set to unveil going long on July 24. Mandella also has two promising fillies in Gentle Humor, by Distorted Humor, and Tiz the Key, by Tiznow.

Trainer John Sadler’s best summer hope could be the Distorted Humor colt Kristo, a $500,000 yearling purchase whom Sadler said should be ready to run the third or fourth weekend of the meet.

“He looks like a real good prospect,” said Sadler, whose most-precocious colt, Kobe’s Back, has not worked since a debut win at Betfair Hollywood Park.

Of course, for any trainer to have success with 2-year-olds at Del Mar, he has to overcome the juggernaut that is Bob Baffert. Last year, Baffert won both the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity (for the 11th time since 1996) and the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante (for the seventh time since 1995). He has strength in numbers again, though Baffert cautioned that, “[I’m] a little bit behind with my 2-year-olds this year,” he said. “I’ve got more fillies ready to go than colts.”

First up for Baffert will be the filly My Lucky Rose, who debuts in a California-bred race on Wednesday’s opening-day card, though the most-notable ones to watch could include Be Proud, a Proud Citizen filly who worked five furlongs from the gate Monday in 1:00.60, and Spring Moon, a daughter of Zensational who looked terrific besting a workmate in 1:00.40 in a team drill from the gate Monday.

Among Baffert’s colts, look for Roundupthelute (by Midnight Lute), Primal Instinct (Giant’s Causeway), and a colt currently named Z Colcon (Pioneerofthe Nile) later this summer.

Baffert’s early season fillies could take on Bosserette, a Street Boss filly who has turned in several fast works for trainer Howard Zucker since being purchased at Ocala in April for $155,000.

“The way she’s training, we’re dreaming of good things,” Zucker said. “She’s done everything right so far. She’s an amazing little filly. She’s one of those who knows instinctively what to do before you even teach her. She’s fast.”

Bosserette worked a half-mile from the gate in 46.20 seconds at Santa Anita before shipping south.

Other promising fillies who could be seen the first part of the meet include Fashionably Rich, a daughter of Old Fashioned trained by Hector Palma, and Cause Im a Bigshot, a daughter of Giant’s Causeway, trained by Mike Mitchell, who is owned in part by NBA star Chauncey Billups of the Detroit Pistons.

Peter Miller, last year’s winningest trainer at Del Mar, has a number of 2-year-olds, including Southern Sunshine, a High Cotton filly scheduled to run Sunday. Southern Sunshine, a half-sister to Den’s Legacy, was purchased for $340,000 at Ocala in March. Miller expects improved performances at Del Mar from the filly Spy Girl and the ridgling Celtic Moon, both of whom debuted at Hollywood Park.

Trainer Doug O’Neill also has a deep roster of 2-year-olds, including Concave, a filly by Colonel John who won her debut on turf last Friday at Hollywood Park. She is scheduled to come back Aug. 7 in the Grade 2, $150,000 Sorrento Stakes, which is expected to attract She’s a Tiger, who remained unbeaten for trainer Jeff Bonde with her win on Saturday in the Landaluce Stakes, and Stop Smiling, a debut winner at Hollywood for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.

Alpine Luck, winner of the Hollywood Juvenile Championship on Saturday for trainer Mike Harrington, is expected to come back in the Grade 2, $150,000 Best Pal Stakes on Aug. 4, which also could lure Albert’s Hope, a debut winner on Sunday at Hollywood Park for trainer Mike Puype.