DEL MAR NOTEBOOK

Juveniles took the spotlight during the closing weekend at Del Mar Race Course.

Del Mar Futurity (G1): Reddam Racing’s NYQUIST (Uncle Mo) chased the leader early, took a short lead in early stretch and powered home a fine 3 ¾-length winner for conditioner Doug O’Neill. The unbeaten colt endured seven panels in 1:23 1/5 beneath Mario Gutierrez.

Del Mar Debutante (G1): Fox Hill Farms’ SONGBIRD (Medaglia d’Oro) dueled early and pulled clear late in securing a most impressive 5 ¼-length score under Mike Smith. The Jerry Hollendorfer trainee finished off seven panels in 1:22 3/5 to remain unbeaten from a pair of lifetime runs.

Del Mar Derby (G2): Sareen Family Trust’s OM (Munnings) took command soon after the beak and never looked back en route to a facile 2 ¼-length triumph under Gary Stevens. The Dan Hendricks pupil went nine panels on the firm turf in 1:47 3/5.

Yellow Ribbon S. (G2): Humphrey and St George Racing’s SHE’S NOT HERE (Street Cry) gained momentum nearing midstretch and finished best of all on her way to a half-length decision for conditioner Vicki Oliver. A close relative to the mighty Zenyatta, the four-year-old miss endured 1 1/16 miles on turf in 1:41 3/5 under the guidance of Mike Smith.

Track Stats

From a total of 55 races held at the Southern California racetrack during the past week, favorites won at a 29 percent clip and the top two betting choices combined for 45 percent of the wins. From 33 frays contested on the dirt oval, eight animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (24 percent), while five of the 22 grassy tussles went all the way on the lead (23 percent).

Speed on the main oval got better as the meeting got longer, as last week was pretty good for runners on the front end. Overall, closers had an edge early and every chance to win for the majority of the meeting. That is something we will remember for the next stanza at Del Mar.

The turf course was real fair we thought, with all kinds capable of making their run. All five wire jobs on the lawn came in route runs this past week.

Meet Totals

Races:

 

354

Dirt:

 

238

Turf:

 

116

Favorites:

 

106 (30%)

2ND Choices:

 

71 (20%)

Turf Wire:

 

19 (16%)

Dirt Wire:

 

55 (23%)

 

HORSES TO WATCH

Wednesday (9/2)

2ND – ROO’S VALENTINE (Vronsky) moved to the front at the top of the lane, stayed there for most of the stretch run and fell just a few jumps shy in a fine debut performance for conditioner Kristin Mulhall. The juvenile filly was two necks shy of graduating at first call and will be super tough next time with even slight improvement.

7TH – FREEDIE’S DREAM (Good Journey) was super live in the wagering and ran to the tote board in a fine closing win over this cast for trainer Mike Puype. The four-year-old gelding was full of run in the lane and we’d expect him to be a player in his comeback run in what could be the start of a fine form cycle.

Thursday (9/3)

3RD – Tom Bell may have made a nice claim of BROOKES ALL MINE (It’s No Joke) out of this one after the first timer ran a big second, finishing more than five lengths clear of second. The juvenile miss will be tough next time with even slight improvement.

7TH – TURNOVER (Big Brown) ran a good one in his grassy debut and he might have found a home on the turf for conditioner Bob Baffert. The four-year-old gelding should be strong next time with anything like this performance.

Friday (9/4)

4TH – Bred to be a star, DREAMOLOGIST (Tapit) took a positive step in that direction recording a fine wire-to-wire turf tally in his second start. The Richard Mandella trainee opened up a huge early lead and was never challenged, and the sophomore could be any kind going forward.

5TH – SMOKEY IMAGE (Southern Image) remained perfect in his career with a daylight tally at short odds in this dash for conditioner Greg James. The two-year-old colt dueled early on and left his foes in his wake en route to a big score, and should be graded stakes bound next time out.

6TH – INKLING (Duporth) didn’t beat a great field but did so like a good thing in his U.S. debut for Wesley Ward, and the import could have a nice future in the states with improvement going forward. The four-year-old colt was getting away late and we expect him to be stakes bound soon.

Saturday (9/5)

1ST – TEQUILA JOE (Stormy Atlantic) was well back early but gained momentum turning for home and strode home a most impressive debut winner for trainer Michael Stidham. The two-year-old colt was really striding out late at the wire and could be a nice one with anything like this showing.

5TH – JUSTIN SQUARED (Zensational) sped to the front soon after the break and never looked back en route to a fine debut sprint tally for trainer Bob Baffert. The two-year-old colt broke like a rocket and might be a fine one-turn runner this season with more seasoning.

10TH – TEXAS RYANO (Curlin) put it all together in this one for conditioner Carla Gaines, rolling home late to dust this field under the wire. The four-year-old colt beat an average field in our view but we loved how he did it, and he bears watching going forward.

Sunday (9/6)

1ST – Trainer Ron Ellis doesn’t win much first time out so when PLEASANT AS PIE (Pleasant Tap) rolled home the easiest of winners at first asking, we took notice for sure. The four-year-old filly could have won by more and is bred to run long, so we consider her one to watch.

5TH – We liked SECOND SUMMER (Summer Bird) and he came through with a big run, finishing best against like a good thing in the lane for Peter Eurton, who has finally started to heat up. The sophomore colt has run his best three races on the turf and should be a player with winners next time with any type of improvement.

6TH – LUCKY FLOIE (Distorted Humor) pressed the pace, took command in early stretch and cruised home a fine winner at first asking for conditioner Richard Mandella. The juvenile filly was much the best and could evolve into another top filly for this outfit with more seasoning.

BELLAMENTARY (Bellamy Road) was easily second best in this heat and also might be a nice one down the road. The Phil d’Amato trainee had a slow break from a tough rail post and has every right to improve in her subsequent performance.

Monday (9/7)

4TH – BIG MACHER (Beau Genius) didn’t beat a top field but did so with class in his first run since going to Dubai, rolling home for trainer Richard Batlas. The five-year-old gelding was slowest early but tons the best late and should be back with graded foes next time.

10TH – UNFORGETTABLE U (Tale of the Cat) made an allowance race that looked well-matched on paper into a one-horse affair in a superb romp for trainer Richard Baltas. The four-year-old filly should be stakes bound in the near future with more efforts like this one.

A Look Ahead

The action moves to Los Alamitos starting on Thursday.