07/18/2006 11:00PM

Horse of the day for July 20


Del Mar - Race 3
5 1/2 Furlongs
Maiden Claiming ($50,000-$40,000)

Gold Label looks tough to beat in Thursday's baby race at Del Mar. The gray son of Touch Gold chased leading juvenile in E Z Warrior last time out, and was flattered when that foe returned to win a graded race in impressive fashion on July 4. He's been given plenty of time to recover from that effort, and has yet to take a backward step on the Beyer Speed Figure scale. There doesn't appear to be much speed in this easier maiden claimer, and Gold Label should be prominent from the outset.

Although he hasn't faced the level of competition that Gold Label has opposed, Crafty Tiger also owns improving Beyers, and he finished ahead of a next-out winner on June 22. The gelding hasn't shown much early speed in his short career, however, and may be left with too much to do when the real running begins. He should offer solid mutuel value, and looms an interesting exotics play.

Carman shows steady works in preparation for his career debut. Both the second and third dams earned blacktype, and Carman won't face the toughest group in the world. While none of trainer Vladimir Cerin's 14 previous juvenile firsters has won at Del Mar, eight of them finished in the money. A little speed could go a long way in this heat.