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Del Mar Horses To Watch (Aug. 25)

BIG FISH (August 21): Two year old gelding for Dave Hofmans made the third start of his career in Friday’s fifth, a maiden special weight for Cal breds at a mile on the turf. Off at 4/1 in a 10 horse field, he broke well enough under Rispoli and was fifth into the clubhouse turn. The jock kept him on the rail down the back side and he was about five lengths off a moderate pace. Rispoli swung him to the outside at the ¼ pole and he started to gobble up ground with these big long strides and was into contention by the 1/8 pole. Although five wide coming down the lane, he rolled by the early leaders and won going away by a length. This was his 1st start on the grass and 1st time going two turns, and this son of the good  turf sire Mr. Big really relished the lawn. He will have no trouble with the first allowance condition for state breds and he looks like stakes material down the road. Up the ladder.

PRINCESS NOOR (August 22): Two year old filly for Bob Baffert was “all the rage” coming into her debut race in Saturday’s opener, a five and a half furlong dash on the main. Off at 3/5 off some solid drills, this $1.3 million purchase came out running under Victor Espinoza, assumed the lead quickly under a hold, and easily wired the field, without ever really being asked to run. She won by three geared down and never looked like a loser at any point in the race. She is bred to go long and appears to be another future star for the Baffert stable. Up the ladder.

SECRET KEEPER (August 22): Three year old filly for Cliff Sise made her first start around two turns in the Grade 3 Torrey Pines stakes on Saturday and raced too good to lose. Off at 2/1 in a field of six, she made the running right from the start under Cedillo and ran a wickedly fast first quarter in 22.13. Even with that, she was hounded all the way by a Baffert runner and never did get a breather. She put the other horse away at the ¼ pole, found another gear and opened up a one length lead, but couldn’t hold off the perfect tripper from off the pace. She was still battling at the 1/16 pole but the quick first quarter did her in. She was undefeated in two starts sprinting coming into this race and she proved that a mile is well within her scope, though she does needs to slow down a bit early. Sired by Into Mischief out of a Candy Ride mare, she is bred to run all day, so she could very well be a star in the making. She is even bred for the sod so Sise has plenty of options. She will be back in the winners circle soon. Tab and follow.

SALVATOR MUNDI (August 22): Four year old gelding for Phil D’Amato has really put it all together this year since being claimed last fall at Churchill. He was in for the first allowance condition in Saturday’s finale of a very strong Pacific Classic day, at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf for older runners. Off at 9/2 and a Turfdom Best Bet on the day, Rispoli had him in third down the back side just 3 lengths off the pace and always within striking distance. He asked him for run at the ¼ pole and he swept to the lead on the outside and was instantly in front by four lengths. He was pretty much geared down the final 100 yards and his margin was four at the wire, the easiest of winners in a pretty strong field for the level. This was his third start off the layoff and each race has been better. He is super sharp now and though the step up to the next condition is much more difficult, he appears to be able to handle it with ease. Rispoli makes no mistakes on this turf course and is riding with the utmost of confidence.

ACTING OUT (August 23) Three year old filly for Art Sherman made her debut in Sunday’s 3rd, a maiden special weight at ¾ on the main track. Off at 25/1 in a field of 7, she made the running right from the get go and ran a quick opening quarter in 22 flat (quick for two year olds) and opened up a length on her competition by the 3/8 pole. She still had the lead at the 1/8 pole and dug in gamely late, but got nailed in the final strides by a late runner with 4 races of experience. All in all, a terrific race for this daughter of Blame and for the Sherman barn, who just doesn’t have many runners these days. She’s a soon winner somewhere on the So. Cal circuit in the very near future. Follow.

By Rod Young (Turfdom)

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