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Del Mar Horses To Watch (Nov 24)

OVERDUE (November 20): Five year old gelding for Phil D’Amato tried the third allowance condition on Friday at 5/8 on the turf. Off at 15/1 in a field of six, he broke smoothly under Mike Smith and was sixth down the back side six lengths back of the leaders. He put in his run at the ¼ pole, came four wide at the top of the lane, and motored home in good fashion to finish 4th beaten two at the wire. This distance is way too short for this gelding at this stage of his career, but this race sets him up nicely for a two turn race over at Anita. Even if he has to try stakes company, he’s coming up to his best. D’Amato will find the right spot and he will still retain good wagering value. Be ready.

CLAYTON DELANEY (November 20): Three year old gelding for Phil D’Amato made his 1st start around two turns on Friday in a first allowance condition at a mile on the turf for Cal breds. Off at 6/1, but taking a lot of early money, he was sent right to the lead under Cedillo and carved out fast fractions of 22.71 and 46.89 for the half. He still held the lead at the top of the stretch and when the favorite came to him at the 1/8 pole, he dug in gamely all the way to the wire and lost by a long neck. It was three back to the third horse. This was his first time around two turns in his sixth start and this looks like what he has wanted to do all along. This son of Grazen out of a Bertrando mare can knock out this condition up at Santa Anita in their winter meet, and looks like a very useful product down the road as well. Tab and follow.                                                            
EMPIRE HOUSE (November 21): Two year old filly for Jonothan Wong made her debut on Saturday in a maiden special weight event at six and a half on the main. Off at 24/1 in a field of 7, she made the running right from the get go under Ricky Gonzalez and dueled inside of the favorite the entire trip, taking all the worst of it. She hung in there gamely through fractions of 22.39 and 46.21 for the half, and didn’t give up the ghost until the final strides, losing by a half in the end. It was three back to the third horse. This daughter of Empire Maker cost $500K at the Keeneland yearling sale so she is cut out to be a runner. She’s a soon winner for the high percentage Wong barn, but may surface again up at Golden Gate, if they race again there in the next month.    They are currently shut down due to the Covid virus.                                                 
ACKER (November 21): Six year old gelding for Doug O’Neill was in for a $25,000 price tag in Saturday’s finale at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf. Off at 4/1 under Prat, he lagged early, well back in the pack, and was a good 10 lengths back of the leaders down the back side in a full 10 horse field. Prat found a seam at the top of the lane and he surged through it like a rocket and quickly took command of the race, and then had a huge gallop out well in front of the field. This was his first victory since the spring of 2019, but since O’Neill claimed him three races back, he has shown improved drills. As long as Prat rides him back, this past classer looks like he’s back on the beam and can easily handle a class hike. He is strictly turf so he won’t be in the entries till Anita opens in late December. Follow.                                 
LIFE IS GOOD (November 22) Well, Baffert has another rocket ship juvenile, what else is new? In Sunday’s second, he unveiled a son of Into Mischief called Life Is Good, and he rambled six and a half on the main in 1:15.50 and won off by 8 lengths. He set interior fractions of 21.80, 44.84, and ¾ in 1:09.08, all under a hand ride by Smith, who hardly ever moved in the saddle. He beat absolutely nothing in this five horse field, but still it was visually impressive and looks like a likely candidate for the Derby trail in 2021. With his breeding, out of a Distorted Humor mare, it may be a good idea to get down on a “futures” wager with this one if you can. He could be any kind.

By Rod Young (Turfdom)

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