An intriguing renewal of the Grade 2 $150,000 La Jolla Handicap for three-year-olds going a mile and a sixteenth on turf highlights a great day of racing at Del Mar on Saturday.
Sidney’s Candy (pictured) will likely go favored as he makes his turf debut for trainer John Sadler. Another Candy Ride colt, Twirling Candy, won his turf debut for Sadler in the Oceanside Stakes on Opening Day.
In the Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park on July 17, his first race since his debacle in the Kentucky Derby, Sidney’s Candy went off as the 1-to-5 favorite in the field of four, but was worn down on the wire by Skipshot.
A solid group of turf specialists will look to beat Sidney, who gets the services of Joel Rosario for the first time with Joe Talamo on the shelf.
I'll be on Fandicapping with TVG once again today discussing the 10th race at Del Mar. Make sure to tune in at 6:30 p.m. PDT.
We’re off to the races!
Leg 1 – Race 7 (3,4,5,8,9,10) – A competitive $80,000 optional claiming event for three-year-old fillies going a mile on the turf gets us started. With No. 2 Win for M’lou being scratched, the race loses some early speed, however there appears to be other horses that can set things up early for the closers.
No. 3 Ninth Infantry won in impressive style here on opening week, and was flattered when No. 10 Sandy Cheeks came out of a second place finish in the race to win a week later at this level. We’ll use both.
No. 5 Lava Girl is Lava Man’s little sister and she won her debut here on the main track on Opening Day at 32-to-1. The distance and the turf should be no problem
No. 4 Holy Flapper missed by a neck at this level last time in her first start around two turns and can surely improve here.
No. 8 Malibu Pier overcame tons of trouble to win her debut and looked good doing it. She tries to turns for the first time against more experienced horses and won’t offer much value, but she could be a cut above.
No. 9 Hemera has trained well for Jerry Hollendorfer since her U.S. debut at Hollywood Park a month ago. She ran a decent third in the race after experiencing some trouble and she was a graded stakes winner by open lengths twice in Russia last year. Yes, Russia.
Leg 2 – Race 8 (5) – Two-year-old colts sprint six furlongs and there are some nice looking runners in here, but we’ll focus on one.
No. 5 Just Imagine was said to be the best young horse in Doug O’Neil’s barn and was bet down to even money in his debut. He ran a decent third and that race should have him ready to make amends today.
Leg 3 - Race 9 (1,2,5,7) – The aforementioned Sidney’s Candy will likely try to sit off the early pace for the first time in a while in his turf debut. The rating tactics may not suit him and being close to the lead early has not been the place to be going two turns on turf, but he may just be far and away the best horse in the field so we’ll use him.
However, we’ll also use No. 1 Leroy’s Dynameaux, who is nearly a perfect 4-for-4 in his career and won the Grade 3 Will Rogers at Hollywood Park last time. His father was a monster on the turf and he could be well on his way to following in his foot steps.
No. 5 Kid Edward was visually impressive in winning his last two and could be a star on the turf for Jim Cassidy.
No. 7 Golden Itiz also makes his turf debut and he has reeled off three straight wins including a score in the Grade 3 Affirmed.
Leg 4 – Race 10 (7,9,10,11,13) – Another maiden special weight race, this time for Cal-bred fillies going six furlongs.
No. 7 Teddy’s Promise is the logical choice and the horse to beat after running a good second in his debut. Trainer David Hofmans excels with second-time starters and he shows a pair of nice works here.
No. 9 California Nectar shows a solid work pattern and debuts for some of the hottest connections on the grounds.
No. 10 Top Student ran behind Teddy’s Promise in their debut, but can improve this time at a much nicer price than the likely favorite.
No. 11 Warren’s Handfull is out of a sire winning with nearly 40% of his debut runners. The gap in works from May to July is a concern, but it’s nice to see Martin Pedroza ride.
No. 13 Queenie Marini can show speed again and should be tighter here than she was in her debut.
Recap – (3,4,5,8,9,10) w (5) w (1,2,5,7) w (7,9,10,11,13) – Total cost of ticket = $60
Make sure to follow me on Twitter @mdoche for last minute changes caused by scratches.
Yesterday’s Result – (-$72)
Total for meet – (-$458.80)