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Del Mar Horses To Watch Closing Week

AIR STRIKE ( August 30): Three year old colt for Phil D’Amato, who just shipped into his barn in the last week from Kentucky, made his 4th career start in Thursday’s 4th, a mile maiden special weight event on the main for 3 and up. Off as the 7/5 wagering choice in a field of 8, he broke cleanly under Prat from the 8 hole, got caught a bit wide into the clubhouse turn, then settled in nicely in third just off the pace. He sped to the lead from the outside at the ¼ pole, led by two at the top of the lane, then found another gear and won off by 7 at the wire with a strong gallop out to boot. This Street Sense colt out of a Tapit mare is bred to be any type and is in good hands with D’Amato. He looks like stakes material down the road and should have no trouble with the first allowance condition. Up the ladder.

THALIA (August 31): Three year old filly for Phil D’Amato came off a 9 week freshening and made start number 3 in Friday’s fifth, a maiden special weight for Cal breds, 3 and up at a mile and a sixteenth on the lawn. This one entered the gate at 4/1 in a full field, then was 2/1 at the half mile pole with a ton of late money action. They took her off the pace in this one as she sat 4th down the back side about 4 lengths off the leaders. She went to the lead on her own at the ¼ pole without being asked, then quickly opened up 3 at the top of the lane. She went on to win by four very easily. This daughter of Tizbud will have no trouble with the first Cal bred allowance condition at the fall Santa Anita meet.

GUM TREE LANE (September 1): Two year old son of He’s Had Enough made his debut in Saturday’s fifth for trainer Phil D’Amato in a maiden special weight sprint at six and a half on the main. Off as the 2/1 second choice in a field of 8, he was totally void of any early speed and fell back to last down the back side, 7 lengths off the pace. He never really got rolling until they straightened out down the lane, and then his big long strides made up some ground on the odds on favorite. He finished third beaten 4 and was nosed out of second place. This one has route horse written all over him and this $320K Ocala purchase is only going to get better as the furlongs increase. I’m sure D’Amato will search for a two turn race up in Arcadia and if he finds one, this one should be posing for pictures. He may have enough talent to be on the Derby trail in 2019. Follow.

GRAY MAGICIAN (September 1): Two year old colt for Hector Palma made start #2 in his young career in Saturday’s 9th, a maiden special weight event at six and a half on the main. Off at 4/1 in a 9 horse field, he battled all the way from down on the inside through fractions of 22.47 and 45.53 on a very dull race track. There were 4 across at the 3/8th pole but only the favorite and “Gray” survived by the 1/8th pole, and Gray didn’t give in to the favorite till very late. The winner was an odds on Baffert runner and those have been unbeatable in maiden events at this track. Gray was second beaten two at the wire. Unless he hooks another Baffert speedster, this Graydar colt wins next time to the post.

SNEAKING OUT (September 2: Two year old filly for Jerry Hollendorfer made start #2 in Sunday’s 7th, a sprint on the main track for Cal bred maiden special weights. Off at 6/5 and unfortunate to draw the rail in a full field, it didn’t matter to this filly. She cracked the gate under Van Dyke, vied for the lead to the 3/8th pole, opened up without being asked, and won off by 12 at the wire, geared down the final 75 yards. She ran fractions of 22.65 and 46.60 for the half, then slammed the door shut on her opposition with a final quarter in 24.36, and this is a Cal bred two year old filly. This race moves her right into stakes competition with Cal breds, and maybe even “open” company. Watch for her at Santa Anita. Up the ladder.

By Rod Young (Turfdom)

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