Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Wednesday, Aug. 27

Give it to Prat

The jockey’s title was sewn up two weeks ago by Flavien Prat.
Heading into the final six days of racing as track announcer Trevor Denman would say, “They would need to sprout wings” to catch Prat at this point. After a 7 for 25 week, Prat has 34 victories and Drayden Van Dyke (4 for 19 last week) is in second with 24.
Abel Cedillo is proving his move from Northern California was worth it. Cedillo, following a 5 for 31 week, is in third place with 21 wins. He is also starting to get rides in the Peter Miller barn, which is a good thing.
Journeyman Rafael Bejarano is limping to the finish line following an 0 for 21 week while apprentice Jorge Velez Jr. is come off his best week of the meet with a 4 for 20 effort.

WEDNESDAY’S PICKS

FIRST RACE: 1. Of Good Report, 2. Tikkun Olam, 3. Juggles. LONG SHOT: Grab the Munny.
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SECOND RACE: 1. Buttie, 2. Road Test, 3. Tiz Toffee. LONG SHOT: Check Six.
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THIRD RACE: 1. UNAPOLOGETIC (best bet), 2. Morse Code, 3. Big Buzz. LONG SHOT: Mongolian Empire.
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FOURTH RACE: 1. Arouse N Go, 2. Smiling Excess, 3. Calese. LONG SHOT: It’s a Riddle.
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FIFTH RACE: 1. Queen of the Track, 2. Jaccat, 3. Point Hope. LONG SHOT: Coilette.
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SIXTH RACE: 1. Express Train, 2. Dean Martini, 3. Shooters Shoot. LONG SHOT: Include the Tax.
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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Bulletproof One, 2. Smiling Shirlee, 3. Been Studying Her. LONG SHOT: Vegan.
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EIGHTH RACE: 1. Trapani, 2. Darpa, 3. Tandalicious. LONG SHOT: La Dolfina.

Good luck.

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Tuesday, Aug. 20

In the saddle

Victor Espinoza led all jockeys last week with six wins. He was followed by Joe Talamo and Rafael Bejarano, who had five wins each.
Flavien Prat still leads the standings with 27 winners and an argument could be made for the fact that he had the best week despite a 2 for 22 effort. Prat won the $1 million Pacific Classic aboard Higher Power for John Sadler.
Drayden Van Dyke (3 for 22) is still second in the standings but only one win ahead of Bejarano, 20-19.
Abel Cedillo was 4 for 13 during Week 5 on the dirt and is now the leading rider on the main track with 14 victories. Ruben Fuentes is second with 13 and Prat is third with 12.
Prat had a brutal week on the grass with an 0 for 12 effort, but he shouldn’t feel bad as New York jockey John Velazquez came in over the weekend to pilfer three victories on the turf. Plus, Saratoga-based jockey Florent Geroux added another turf victory in addition to a win he scored on main track. So that was five total wins for the out-of-towners.
Fuentes scored his first win on the green but he is still only 1 for 42 on the surface. Martin Garcia is 1 for 27, Norberto Arroyo Jr. is 1 or 29, Jorge Velez 1 for 23 and Aaron Gryder 1 for 22 on the grass while Tiago Periera is 0 for 32. Ouch.

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Wednesday, Aug. 14

Prat on fire

Jockey Flavien Prat pretty much wrapped up the riding title with an eight-win week from 26 mounts during Week 4. His five-win day on Saturday was a thing of beauty and all jockeys should watch replays of his winners to see how he put his his horses in position to reach the winner’s circle.
Prat now leads Drayden Van Dyke, 25-17, after Van Dyke suffered an 0 for 17 week. It wasn’t that Van Dyke was riding poorly because he had four seconds and four thirds. It was just a case of not getting the breaks.
Rafael Bejarano also had a tough five days with just one winner from 16 mounts.
Ruben Fuentes had a solid 25-3-4-3 week as did Abel Cedillo (15-3-0-3), who missed Sunday’s card to ride at Emerald Downs.
Fuentes remains the top rider on the main track with 12 victories followed by Prat and Cedillo, who each have 10 wins each.
The turf course is being dominated by four jockeys: Prat (15 wins), Van Dyke (10), Bejarano (eight) and Joe Talamo (six). They have a total of 39 victories. The rest of the riding colony has 22 wins on the grass.

WEDNESDAY’S PICKS

FIRST RACE: 1. Shootin Money, 2. Heraclitus, 3. Deckology. LONG SHOT: Four O’Five.
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SECOND RACE: 1. Vidalia, 2. Adulting, 3. Chirp. LONG SHOT: Shesaidshesperfect.
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THIRD RACE: 1. Bellerin, 2. Sheer Flattery, 3. Dukes Up. LONG SHOT: Start a Runnin.
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FOURTH RACE: 1. Flying to the Line, 2. Equal Measure, 3. Red Bunting. LONG SHOT: Breezy Bee.
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FIFTH RACE: 1. Anniversary Sale, 2. Atomic Candy, 3. Afternoon Heat. LONG SHOT: Calder Vale.
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SIXTH RACE: 1. TRAVIEZA (best bet), 2. Gypsy Blu, 3. Just Grazed Me. LONG SHOT: Storming Lady.
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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Papa Turf, 2. An Ocala Ten, 3. Westmont. LONG SHOT: Nova.

Good luck.

SUNDAY’S RESULTS

Top choice winners: 2 (Drink $11.20, second race; Inspiressa $4, fourth)

Second choice winners: 1 (Indy Jones $6.60, fifth)

Third choice winners: 1 (Overdue $5, third)

Long shot winners: 1 (Carnivorous $13.40, sixth)

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Thursday, Aug. 8

After going 2 for 8 on last week, Flavien Prat has made the race for the jockey title interesting again entering Wednesday action.
Prat was tied at the top with Drayden Van Dyke as both riders have 17 winners entering Week 4.
In all fairness to Prat, he missed three racing days last week, two by suspension and one while riding Bellafina in the Test at Saratoga. He was in the money with all eight of his mounts.
Van Dyke made up ground by going 5 for 21 on the week and that wasn’t even the most wins for the five days of racing.
Rafael Bejarano and Abel Cedillo both had six victories and also had a hand in Doug O’Neill’s big week.
Journeyman Ruben Fuentes rebounded from a winless Week 2 to score four wins from 19 mounts.
Aaron Gryder (1 for 33) and apprentice J.C. Diaz Jr (1-33) are struggling as is Alonzo Quinonez (0 for 14).
Fuentes took over on the top while riding on the main track as he has nine victories, but he is 0 for 26 on the grass and should be avoided.
Prat and Van Dyke lead the colony with 10 grass victories each.
Victor Espinoza (1-22), Norberto Arroyo (1-29), Martin Garcia (1-16), Tiago Pereira (0-19), apprentice Jorge Velez (0-18) and Gryder (0-16) have been less than stellar on the turf course.

FIRST RACE: 1. Miss Megan, 2. Remember to Smile, 3. Takethediamondlane. LONG SHOT: Jan Jan Can.
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SECOND RACE: 1. Moonshone Annie, 2. Tig Tog, 3. Playa Chica. LONG SHOT: Divine Dharma.
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THIRD RACE: 1. Best Two Minutes, 2. Weast Hill, 3. Fast Cotton. LONG SHOT: Monydontspenitself.
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FOURTH RACE: 1. MASTER RYAN (best bet), 2. Fredikstad, 3. Cunning Munnings. LONG SHOT: Tribals Last Reign.
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FIFTH RACE: 1. Aced, 2. Emtech, 3. Vintage Hollywood. LONG SHOT: Sea’s Journey.
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SIXTH RACE: 1. Zestful, 2. Builder, 3. Play Hard to Get. LONG SHOT: Zeke.
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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Solar Nova, 2. Senora Power, 3. Lady Sunset. LONG SHOT: Kuda Huraa.

Good luck.

Good luck.

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinion for Tuesday, July 30

In the saddle

In the Del Mar jockey’s race, Flavien Prat is still on top with 17 wins, including five from 17 mounts during Week 2. However, Prat is is the middle of serving a three-day suspension. He was limited to just one ride in a stakes race on Sunday and will be off all of his mounts Wednesday and Thursday.
Drayden Van Dyke closed the gap on Prat with a seven-win week from 21 mounts. He is three behind Prat with 12 wins and look for him to be live the next two days as Van Dyke will be riding for barns that might normally choose Prat, especially in turf races.
Rafael Bejarano had a strong second week with five wins in 21 tries and is now third in the standings with seven wins.
Kent Desormeaux, Joe Talamo and Martin Garcia all had three wins on the week to secure spots in the top 10.
On the other end, Rueben Fuentes went from having five victories in Week 1 to none in 22 mounts during Week 2. Also, Fuentes is 0 for 19 on the Del Mar grass course so far.
Abel Cedillo also had a tough second week with no wins in 19 mounts. He did have two seconds and five thirds. Cedillo is just 1 for 24 on the dirt.

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Wednesday, Dec. 26 (Opening day)

Preview: Remember jockey Joel Rosario is coming West to ride until the spring so look for him to get plenty of live mounts. Also, a lot of out-of-town jockeys are in Arcadia today for the stakes-filled card. These guys can ride and you will get some great prices on great jockeys. If you like one of them, bet them. I’m not sure how the turf course will play after rain on Tuesday night so make sure you check changes.

FIRST RACE: 1. Twentytwentyvision, 2. Orchestral, 3. Taelyns Prince. LONG SHOT: Comes the Dream.

SECOND RACE: 1. Naughty Sophie, 2. Chatty, 3. Come On Kat. LONG SHOT: Easter Dream.

THIRD RACE: 1. I Am the Danger, 2. According to Buddy, 3. Shane Zain. LONG SHOT: Lil Milo.

FOURTH RACE: 1. Ms Bad Behavior, 2. Amandine, 3. Love and Peace. LONG SHOT: X S Gold.

FIFTH RACE: 1. Jumpin Thru Hoops, 2. Scalper, 3. All Good. LONG SHOT: Mo Mississippi.

SIXTH RACE (Grade I La Brea): 1. Emboldened, 2. Dream Tree, 3. Happy Like a Fool. LONG SHOT: Hot Autumn.
DREAM TREE is the rightful 8-5 morning-line favorite and is the most likely winner of this race for trainer Bob Baffert, but I have to go with the “other Baffert.” EMBOLDENED has never been worse than third over this track and has been training well for her comeback. I’m a big believer that horses either like or hate 7-furlong races and both of these Bafferts have won in their only tries at this elongated sprint distance.

SEVENTH RACE (Grade II Mathis Brothers Mile) 1. Choo Choo, 2. River Boyne, 3. Sejo. LONG SHOT: Desert Stone.
Again RIVER BOYNE is the deserving 8-5 morning-line favorite and will be tough to beat as jockey Flavien Prat stays on the 3-year-old rather than ride my choice, CHOO CHOO. This son of English Channel just missed at Del Mar and Joel Rosario takes over. SEJO is an import from France and gets Irad Ortiz Jr. in the saddle for trainer John Sadler, who got shut out at Del Mar.

EIGHTH RACE (Grade II San Antonio): 1. Gift Box, 2. Battle of Midway, 3. Dabster. LONG SHOT: Tatter to Riches.
The older horses finally take to the track and the thought is that BATTLE OF MIDWAY will be singled in a lot of wagers. Not here. GIFT BOX has been purchased privately by Hronis Racing LLC for Sadler. The 5-year-old comes out of the Chad Brown barn and has a couple of great works over the track. He has never been worse than second in three tries at the distance and that man Rosario rides back. One to watch is TATTER TO RICHES for trainer Jeff Mullins. The 3-year-old will be facing older and Mullins puts blinkers on. Plus Gift Box is coming out of a key race that has produced two winners already.

NINTH RACE (Grade I Malibu): 1. Ax Man (best bet), 2. Seven Trumpets, 3. McKinzie. LONG SHOT: Copper Bullet.
The big race of the day and it drew a field of 16 (only 14 can run). Baffert has five 3-year-olds in this race and at least one (or more) will scratch. AX MAN has been seen since July, but has been gelded since that race. He has been training lights out and Baffert’s layoff stats are huge. SEVEN TRUMPETS ships in from the East Coast for trainer Dale Romans. Throw out that eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. He’s back with has own age group and finished second at this distance in the Jerkens at Saratoga.

10TH RACE: 1. Souter, 2. Avalance, 3. Cupid’s Claws. LONG SHOT: Trojan Spirit.

Good luck.

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Wednesday, July 18 (Opening day)

Preview: Going to the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club can be a lot of fun, but let’s be honest, everyone wants to win money. Jockeys and trainers all have their strengths and weaknesses. If you know those, it can point you to the winner’s circle and away from throwing your tickets away.

Jockeys
FLAVIEN PRAT:
Without a doubt, the best rider not named Mike Smith on the circuit, and he rides a lot more than Smith. Prat began his career in France and thus he was put on a lot of grass horses early in career, but he has become a very good all-around jockey. He won the Del Mar title last summer by winning 23 races on the dirt (25 percent) and 12 races (from 80 starters) on the grass. He was also second in races won with 2-year-olds (six) and that number could improve as he has made some inroads into the Bob Baffert barn. Prat loves to get to the rail on the turf, save ground and swing out at the head of the home stretch. He sometimes gets caught in traffic with this move, but he knows what he’s doing most of the time.

RAFAEL BEJARANO: The once king of Del Mar has slowed in the last year. He did finish tied for second in the standings, tied with Evin Roman, and tied for third on the dirt. He also tied Prat and Kent Desormeaux with 12 victories on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course. If you are looking for a horse to finish down the lane, don’t bet against Bejarano because he will carry it there with his strength. The one weakness in Bejarano’s game is his work out of the gate. He registered just three wins on 2-year-olds during the 2017 meet because trainers want a jockey pushing a horse out of the gate. A lot of 2-year-old races are won by speed horses, which isn’t Bejarano’s strong suit.

KENT DESORMEAUX: There’s the good Kent and the bad Kent. If Desormeaux is in a good mood, he can be the best rider in the room, but if he’s not feeling it that day, don’t bet on him. Desormeaux, who rides a lot for his brother and trainer Keith, was fourth in the standings a year ago. He had 14 wins on the dirt and 12 wins on the grass. He is an exceptional grass rider.

JOE TALAMO: There was a time that “Talamo on the turf” made you big bucks every meet, but he has lost some of that magic in the last few years. He was fifth in the riding standings last summer (23 wins), but tied for third on the dirt with 17 winners. On the grass, he slipped to just six winners. He had a like number of victories with 2-year-olds, to tie for second in the colony. He was also second with first-time starters with three wins.

APPRENTICES: Roman, who won the Eclipse Award as the top apprentice in the country, lost his bug and is a journeyman now. Who will replace those 29 wins because you know how trainers like those 7- and 5-pound weight allowances? Fans should especially watch Heriberto Figueroa and Asa Espinoza, who just tied for the Los Alamitos riding title. Two others to watch are Edgar Payeras and Franklin Ceballos.

OTHERS: Mike “Money” Smith will ride in a lot of stakes races and 2-year-old events. If he rides in another race, take note. … Tyler Baze wins the hard-luck award from 2017 with 18 seconds and 17 thirds with just nine wins. He’s a good all-around rider. … Drayden Van Dyke scored 11 wins on the turf a year ago, one behind the leaders, and he has a great clock in his head. Watch out for him with Baffert, too. He has also made in-roads in that stable and Baffert won’t be afraid to put him up on a good 2-year-old. … Journeyman Edwin Maldonado is a rider to watch, especially on the grass as he registered seven wins on the green in 2017. He’s underrated. … Corey Nakatani maybe getting older but last summer he proved he’s still good with 2-year-olds (Bolt d’Oro) and he’s also a master on the grass.

FIRST RACE: 1. Carville, 2. Out of Patience, 3. General Ike. LONG SHOT: Above Board.
Tough race take as many as you can in the Pick 5.

SECOND RACE: 1. Upo, 2. Kylemore, 3. Ayacara. LONG SHOT: Jimmy Chila.
If this Pick 5 doesn’t pay boxcars, I’ll be stunned. This card is tough.

THIRD RACE: 1. Ketos, 2. Junior Gilliam, 3. Eighty Three. LONG SHOT: Gentrified.

FOURTH RACE: 1. Blueberry Princess, 2. Flying to the Line, 3. Dicotomy. LONG SHOT: Opus Won.
Blueberry Princess comes out of a race that has already produced two next out winners from four starters.

FIFTH RACE: 1. Bird Is the Word, 2. Ritzy A. P., 3. Ann Arbor Eddie. LONG SHOT: Castle.

SIXTH RACE: 1. Shivermetimbers, 2. Divisor, 3. Regulate. LONG SHOT: Show Me Da Lute.

SEVENTH RACE: 1. Brill (BEST BET), 2. Angel Alessandra, 3. Bizwhacks. LONG SHOT: Barbadolla.
We all know how good trainer Jerry Hollendorfer is with young fillies and this $1 million purchase BRILL looks like the real deal. She has three big works coming into the race and Hollendorfer is 17 percent with first-timers. We will never get the 5-2 morning-line, but that’s life. Looks like a single to me.

EIGHTH RACE (Oceanside Stakes): 1. Texas Wedge, 2. Desert Stone, 3. Artie B Good. LONG SHOT: More Honor.
Believe it or not, trainer Peter Miller didn’t win a stakes race at the Del Mar summer meet so you can bet (and he will) that he wants to end that right here and now.

NINTH RACE: 1. Blame Joe, 2. Super Duper Cooper, 3. Aurora d’Oro. LONG SHOT: Impression.

10TH RACE: 1. Sellwood, 2. Henry County, 3. Zipman. LONG SHOT: Starting Bloc.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Sunday, Oct. 15

Preview: Battleground State finally gave us a winner on Saturday. I was a little worried Flavien Prat was too wide, but he knew he had the horse and held on through the lane.
Two more weeks left in Arcadia and then it’s time for Del Mar and the Breeders’ Cup.

FIRST RACE: #4 Camino Del Paraiso (4-1)
Trainer OJ Jauregui ships this gelding down from Northern California and he doesn’t do that much so there is a purpose here. Despite the class hike going to the better circuit, jockey Kent Desormeaux jumps on. Desormeaux is a masterful turf rider and when he gets on a horse for the first time that horse usually shows improvement, which will be needed here. Jauregui is 3-for-7 with horses in the allowance ranks.

SIXTH RACE: #4 Hay Dude (8-1)
This gelding has won at Santa Anita on the grass four times and he has won two of five times down the hill. The only time he ran down the hill this year he won. He’s taking a slight class raise but I think he still has a big shot.

EIGHTH RACE: #7 South Texas Lingo (5-1)
Trainer Dallas Keen has stayed in SoCal after Del Mar and drops this gelding to the bottom. Keen is 41% when dropping a horse more than two class levels. Jockey Tyler Baze takes over.

NINTH RACE: #7 Sasini (4-1)
This filly is making her first start in the States and trainer Simon Callaghan is 27% with that kind. Callaghan puts blinkers on and adds Lasix. Prat jumps aboard and he is 30% with Callaghan. This filly is bred to go this far or longer.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Saturday, Oct. 7

Preview: Three stakes races on the card, but the first two don’t look like prices will be coming in. Other than that, a decent card.

FIRST RACE: #3 Cause for Pardon (9-2)
Drops to his lowest level ever in the maiden claiming ranks and gets a good jockey switch to Edwin Maldonado, who is good from the gate so look for a send job.

THIRD RACE: #1 Antioch (6-1)
This filly wasn’t bad last year as a 2-year-old, but obviously suffered an injury. Trainer Richard Mandella doesn’t bring them back until they are ready, hence he has a 26% strike rate with horses off a 180-day plus layoff. Regular barn rider Flavien Prat keeps the mount and the colt is coming out of a key race that has produced four winners from 10 starters.

FIFTH RACE: #6 Bunny Yogurt (10-1)
John Sadler has had this filly stashed at San Luis Rey Downs sans one Santa Anita work. Sadler is 20% with first time starters and I love the sire Scat Daddy on the turf. He gets 15% first time grass. Victor Espinoza is 21% with Sadler.

EIGHTH RACE: #3 Mrs McDougal (4-1)
This is it for this mare and I. Either win today or we’re done. LOL. She came from New York off a long layoff but just hasn’t shown the form she had last year. This is her third off the layoff for the team on Mandella and Prat. I suspect if she doesn’t win it will be off to the breeding shed. This mile distance appears to be her favorite with a 4-3-0-1 record.

NINTH RACE: #3 Dadtughtmewell (10-1)
Takes a drop in class off a long layoff. She is 2-for-3 at this distance. Prat and trainer Dean Pederson are 4-for-4 together the last two years.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on the Twitter

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Thursday, Oct. 5

SECOND RACE: #5 Psycho Dar
This gelding broke his maiden at first asking at Del Mar. Has speed and jockey Evin Roman stays aboard for trainer Steve Miyadi and they are 25 percent together. Also comes out of a key race that has produced two winners so far.

FIFTH RACE: #9 Hawk’s Journey (10-1)
Trainer Ed Moger Jr. is having a good year and brings this filly down from NoCal. This is her first time in a claimer and hot jockey Drayden Van Dyke jumps on. In addition to a win bet I would back wheel her in the exacta.

SEVENTH RACE: #9 Cheekaboomboom (7-2)
This gelding is 2-1-1-0 on the dowhill turf course and jockey Flavien Prat stays aboard. Prat is 25% with trainer Peter Eurton. Play an exacta box with the speedy Mr Vargas (#6, 3-1).

EIGHTH RACE: #10 Decarchy Dawn (3-1)
Trainer Bob Hess Jr. is pulling out all the stop to get this 3-year-old to break his maiden. He is adding blinkers and gelded the horse since his last race. The son of Decarchy comes out of a key Del Mar race that has produced two winners so far and keeps jockey Kent Desormeaux aboard.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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