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Aug 31 Horses To Watch Del Mar

CEES GET DEGREES (August 25): Four year old gelding for Jonathan Wong was dropped into a claiming race for the first time in his 16 race career and responded with a gutsy win as a Turfdom Best Bet on the day. Breaking from the 7 hole in this six furlong sprint for non winners twice with a $32,000 claiming tag, he went right to the front in this 10 horse field, but quickly had company with two horses from his outside. There were three across the track down the back side with “Cees” taking all the worst of it down on the rail through fractions of 22.27 and 44.99 for the half. But he put the other speed away at the top of the lane and opened up two by the 1/8 pole. He cruised on home to win by three in hand and paid $11.20 on the front end. He was 8/1 with a minute to post. Nobody dropped a claim slip in this claim happy meet, so Wong can place this one just about anywhere for his next start. Look for him to take this one back up the ladder. Tab and follow.

AH JEEZ (August 26): Two year old colt for Doug O’Neill made start #2 in Friday’s opener, a maiden special weight event for juveniles at 5/8 on the turf. Off at 3/1 in a field of 9, he broke running under Cedillo and was third down the back side just one length back of the leaders. He moved up under urging at the top of the lane, seized a narrow lead at the 1/8 pole, and then the jock gave him one right handed whack and he spurted clear to win going away at the wire by three. It was an impressive turn of foot for a two year old making just his 2nd start. If they keep him on the turf, he won’t see action until Santa Anita’s fall meet, but being a son of the hot juvenile sire Mendelssohn, he can handle either surface. Nonetheless, he is a sharp horse on the way up for a good barn. Follow.

HONDO CROUCH (August 27): Two year old gelding for Steve Miyadi made his debut in Saturday’s 4th, a Cal bred maiden event for a $50,000 claiming tag at five and a half on the main. Off at 5/1 in a field of 9 and breaking from the 7 hole, he got slammed right off the bat by the 8 horse, who veered in at the start. “Hondo” was away in last and was quickly 9 lengths back of the leaders. Frey kept him on the rail and he got lots of dirt kick back in the face while saving some ground. He had to check badly at the ¼ pole when a horse in front of him stopped running and had to regain his momentum. He rallied up on the rail to finish third while showing some run and some courage. It was a dreadful trip through no fault of his own or the rider. He will probably return at the same level, probably at Los Alamitos, and should move up considerably in start #2. Tab and follow for a very high percentage barn.                                                       
HOWBEIT (August 27): Five year old full horse for Mark Glatt made his third start off a 10 month layoff and finally had a trouble free trip. Off at 10/1 in a 7 horse field, he was five back down the back side, made a strong move on the outside at the ¼ pole, though going five wide into the top of the lane, and finished with good courage to finish third, but only beaten a half for the entire pot in this 2nd allowance condition at ¾ on the main. He had already won this condition back in 2021 so he was in for the $80,000 tag. With his return to form, Glatt has plenty of options with this one, though he probably won’t show up until the fall season up at Arcadia. He’s a soon winner for a top barn.      

GOOD BOO JOO (August 28) Three year old filly for Jeff Mullins, who he claimed back in May for $50,000, made her 1st start for the new connections in a straight maiden allowance at 5/8 on the grass, 3 and up. Off at 9/1 in a field of 11, she broke well under Berrios and was sitting in fifth down the back side, 4 lengths back of the leaders. She put in a run at the ¼ pole, then dove inside at the 1/8 pole when a hole opened up, and finished with good courage on the rail to get up for second beaten ¾ at the wire. This was just her 3rd career start and first on the sod, which she is bred for being a daughter of the good California sire Grazen. She’ll get her next start up at Arcadia and will get a bit more distance up there with their sprints, which will be to her advantage. She’s a soon winner.

by Rod Young (Turfdom)

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