ANAL­Y­SIS

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - Del Mar -

BEST BET: RACE 9, OPERANDI

FIRST RACE

GIRL DOWN­STAIRS re­turns from a two-month respite to the turf course/class level on which she won by more than six lengths in sum­mer. The only en­trant in this field with a win at Del Mar turf (two wins), she runs well fresh and en­ters as the best mare in the lineup. The pace sce­nario is murky; ‘DOWN­STAIRS has enough tac­ti­cal speed to be for­wardly placed. BE­LIEVE IN­DEED wheels back in eight days, while turn­ing to her pre­ferred twoturn trip. She fin­ished fifth last week rac­ing five fur­longs at Santa Anita; her win two back in a $20k claim­ing turf mile sim­i­lar to this $25k claim­ing turf mile puts her in the hunt with the top choice. AWARD IT, an anatom­i­cal her­maph­ro­dite, was claimed for $20k one week ago and has run races fast enough to com­pete with th­ese.

SEC­OND RACE

DANC­ING BELLE, a 10-start maiden, gets the nod in a maiden route that sets up for her clos­ing style. Five of her six ri­vals are stretch­ing out from sprints, in­clud­ing two con­firmed front-run­ners. This race is likely to un­fold at a strong pace, which flat­ters the clos­ing rally of ‘BELLE. Can you trust a maiden in the 11th start of her ca­reer? Of course not. Front-run­ner CRE­ATIVE CON­TESSA mer­its re­spect on the stretchout. She set a fast pace last out, shook off her pace ri­vals, was no match for the win­ner, but fin­ished more than five lengths clear of third. ‘CON­TESSA stretches out for the first time in the third start of her ca­reer; she could steal it if able to shake away from her pace ri­vals again. Her pedi­gree is fine for two turns. WAZE READY has a clos­ing style that suits the pace. She ran well in a sprint on this track in sum­mer; she re­turns to dirt af­ter a spin-aroundthe-course come­back prep on turf. TIVAT is the main pace ri­val for the top choice; GIVEHERDALUTE stretches out with an even-paced run­ning style that sug­gests two turns might be to her lik­ing.

THIRD RACE

TRAPALANDA fig­ures for a great trip po­si­tioned be­hind the speed in this $8k claim­ing starter al­lowance route. The geld­ing was claimed in Au­gust by Jeff Mullins, he re­turns from the lay­off in a starter al­lowance from which he can­not be claimed away. The place­ment is op­ti­mistic, the geld­ing’s works are solid and he should fire his best shot first start back. EX­OTIC GHOST can win if he re­turns to his sum­mer form that in­cluded two big ef­forts (win, sec­ond) over this race­track. The knock is a com­plete mis­fire last out at Fresno. Fa­vored at even-money in a $6,250 claim­ing starter, he fin­ished third by more than seven lengths. If that race was an aber­ra­tion, he can win. If that race is race sig­nals declining form, he is a toss. Tough call. BANZE NO OESTE fin­ished a solid third last out against tougher; he should get a more fa­vor­able pace sce­nario this time around. He ex­its a race won by SENSE OF GLORY, who faces more speed this time. ABOVE BOARD might be the speed of the speed. He day­light win last out was partly due to a speed bias.

FOURTH RACE

NEIGH­BOR­HOOD BULLY re­turns to his fa­vorite sur­face in a race that sets up for his clos­ing style. Both ca­reer wins came over the Del Mar dirt, he was only prep­ping last out on turf and is now back at the level of his most re­cent win. ITALIANO fin­ished in front of the top choice last out in a turf sprint at Santa Anita; he also ben­e­fits from a re­turn to dirt and a drop in class. He has more speed than ‘BULLY, and will get first run. TREA­SURE HUNTER mis­fired last out at Fresno, he fin­ished close to the top choice twice dur­ing the Del Mar sum­mer meet. Front-run­ners WILD VERSE and ROYAL BAR will keep the pace hon­est.

FIFTH RACE

RUM­PUS CAT, a maiden claimed for $50k from a run­ner-up fin­ish last out in a down­hill sprint at Santa Anita, stretches back to a route and gets a ben­e­fi­cial rider switch to Flavien Prat. The class hike from maiden-50 to this maiden-62.5 level is okay. SHAKY AL­IBI drops for the first time to maiden-claim­ing; his third on this course last fall in a maiden spe­cial-weight would prob­a­bly

be fast enough. With a prep un­der his belt, and eas­ier com­pany. SHAKY AL­IBI looms a con­tender with a front-run­ning trip. FAL­CONE, run­ner-up four straight, will roll late. AUSSIE FOX, claimed for $20k in sum­mer, ran the best races of his ca­reer in three pre­vi­ous Del Mar turf routes. One more chance, at a price?

SIXTH RACE

FAST COT­TON is the speed of the field, and most likely win­ner of this maiden-20 if he re­pro­duces his run­ner-up fin­ish here in sum­mer. Come catch him. OP­TI­MUM im­proved sec­ond out, but was un­able to get past Ko­pi­tar, who was fi­nally win­ning a race in the 12th start of his ca­reer. HAR­LEY’S PRIDE re­turns from a lay­off of nearly a year. He showed speed and tired in his de­but last fall; he re­turns at rock bot­tom.

SEV­ENTH RACE

SOUTER and WOR­THY TURK traded de­ci­sions in Au­gust and Oc­to­ber; they are tough to sep­a­rate in this starter al­lowance turf mile. The call goes to SOUTER, whose run­ner-up fin­ish last out was val­i­dated when win­ner Start­ing Bloc re­turned to win a N1X. WOR­THY TURK won at this level in sum­mer when he jumped a con­di­tion and won as a maiden. In the money three sub­se­quent starts, he will roll late. SNAZZY DRESSER is the speed of the field, taking off blink­ers and a front-end threat if they leave him alone.

EIGHTH RACE

JUST GRAZED ME ben­e­fits from a re­turn to one turn, and a pace sce­nario that fa­vors her clos­ing style. Her first two starts were blowout sprint wins from off the pace, fol­lowed by a pair of mod­est run­ner-up routes. No doubt she prefers one turn, she won a Cal-bred stakes over the Del Mar track in July, and is back do­ing what she does best. Off the pace and into the win­ner’s cir­cle. SPICED PER­FEC­TION is a Del Mar horse for course; she has won 3 of her 5 starts here. She out­ran her 27-1 odds last out when third in a turf stakes; dirt seems her pre­ferred sur­face. Like the top choice, ‘PER­FEC­TION ben­e­fits from the pace sce­nario and re­turn to dirt. LOVE A HONEY­BAD­GER ran the race of her ca­reer last out when she wired an off-turf stakes at five fur­longs on a “good” sur­face. The chal­lenge is to re­pro­duce that race while stretch­ing from five fur­longs to seven, mov­ing to “fast,” and cop­ing with a quick ri­val with a sim­i­lar style. That is GOR­GEOUS GINNY, a three-time stakes win­ner last win­ter at Turf Par­adise mak­ing her sec­ond start back from a lay­off. She du­eled and faded in her come­back three weeks ago; with that race un­der her belt she is likely to im­prove. At very least, she will keep ‘HONEY­BAD­GER hon­est on the front end. S Y SKY, sta­ble­mate of the top choice, needed her come­back ef­fort. She also can im­prove.

NINTH RACE

OPERANDI re­turns to Del Mar at the top of her game, with proven sprint form on the Del Mar turf and a highly rated win last out in a N3L turf sprint at Santa Anita. OPERANDI won a five-fur­long turf sprint here in sum­mer at this Cal-bred N1X/con­di­tion; she is el­i­gi­ble be­cause she en­tered for the op­tional $20k claim tag. She has speed to es­tab­lish po­si­tion from the in­side, and she can fin­ish. Looks ob­vi­ous. SHY­LOCK ED­DIE might of­fer value; her sixth-place fin­ish last out at Santa Anita was bet­ter than it looks. She had to wait for room at the dirt cross­ing, waited longer at the top of the stretch, an­gled to the out­side and fin­ished with run. It was too late, but she ran well. Her third­place fin­ish two starts back rac­ing five fur­longs on turf at Golden Gate puts her squarely in the hunt. She is a late threat. BAKO SWEETS will take a cu­ri­ous class drop, from a run­ner-up fin­ish for $40k at Golden Gate, to $20k op­tional here. Her best re­cent race was the last time she ran on tur, run­ner-up by a neck. Also-el­i­gi­ble POW­DER has been run­ning fast on dirt, but now tries turf and is stuck on the far out­side.

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