11/14/2016 3:06PM

Temple Keys looks to use closing strategy

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DEL MAR, Calif. – One is an underachieving late-runner who consistently falls short of parimutuel expectations. Another is an overachieving front-runner with more wins than the combined career total of her rivals.

The gelding Temple Keys and mare Loveintheshadows are the principals at Del Mar on Thursday in two California-bred optional-claiming turf routes.

Temple Keys runs one mile in race 3, for 3-year-olds and up. Loveintheshadows goes 1 1/16 miles in race 7, restricted to fillies and mares. Temple Keys, a closer, and Loveintheshadows, a front-runner, will employ opposite tactics over an unbiased turf course.

Ten turf routes were run opening week; three were won by the pacesetter, another winner was forwardly placed. The remaining six were won by deep closers. Although the temporary rails move Thursday from 12 feet to 24 feet, history suggests the course profile will remain unchanged.

During the summer meet, six routes were run with the rails at 24 feet. Five winners were deep closers, the other rallied from midfield. The point is that the Del Mar turf, less than 3 years old, plays true. The best horses win, particularly those that can finish.

Temple Keys, a 1-for-17 gelding whose last seven losses include four as the favorite, is arguably the best finisher in race 3, though 3-1 program favorite Over Par also packs a determined stretch kick. Tribal Tribute and Eagle Screams are co-third choices in the program.

Loveintheshadows is the most accomplished entrant in race 7. She has won 15 races from 66 starts; her rivals have combined to win nine. Loveintheshadows finished eighth last out, with a legitimate alibi. Her rivals include last-out runners-up Jennyway U Want it and Mai Tai.

Race 3

KEY CONTENDERS

Temple Keys, by Temple City
Last 3 Beyers: 77-81-78

◗ Arguably the best finisher in the field, Temple Keys is likely to be positioned last early. He is listed as the 7-2 second choice.

Over Par, by Square Eddie
Last 3 Beyers: 80-79-75

◗ He finished second last out, in front of Temple Keys. Two starts back, he finished third, behind Temple Keys.

◗ Over Par’s runner-up finish last out was validated when the horse that beat him by a neck returned to win an open first-level allowance.

Race 7

KEY CONTENDERS

Loveintheshadows, by Freespool
Last 3 Beyers: 67-78-70

◗ A front-runner/presser, she was compromised last time when she got off slowly. Instead of pressing the pace, she lost position and was shuffled to the back. Visibly uncomfortable, she failed to rally.

Jennyway U Want It, by Good Journey
Last 3 Beyers: 76-71-73

◗ Her runner-up finish last out in her 16th start earned the highest number of her career. A two-time winner, she is the only other multiple winner in the field.