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Week 1 Del Mar Horses To Watch (Dec 1)

BURNIN TURF (November 26): Four year old gelding for Dan Blacker, who has had a great deal of trouble getting to the races, made just his 2nd career start on Thursday in a Cal bred maiden special weight race at a mile on the turf. Off at 5/1 in a 9 horse field, and not being to the post since March, he made the running right from the start under Cedillo and was on the pace throughout carving out sensible fractions. He stuck his nose in front at the 1/8 pole and hung in there gamely, but was passed late and had to settle for third beaten two at the wire. He had just got gelded six days prior. If Blacker can keep him in one piece, he’s good enough to break his maiden at this level. He will be much tighter for his next trip to the post and may have to rate a bit, but he can get the job done. Tab and follow.

KALON (November 27): Three year old filly for John Sadler made her debut on Friday at 5/8 on the turf for maiden special weights. Off at 7/1 in a field of 9, and the only filly in the race vs. colts, she broke in a tangle under Rosario and settled in near the back of the field, six lengths off the leaders. Rosario kept her near the rail turning for home and looked loaded, but had trouble finding a seam. He got her out very late in the race, and once clear, she stormed home to miss by a length at the wire, and was nosed out of second. All in all, a strong debut race, and it won’t hurt her one little bit that the sprints will be longer on the grass up at Anita, where they have the new turf course ready to go, with sprints as long as six and a half. They paid $290K for her at the Ocala two year old sale and she starts earning some of that back in start #2.

GOLDEN PRINCIPAL (November 27): After five consecutive sprints, Baffert finally stretched this three year old filly out to two turns, and I’m sure he liked the results as she scampered home to win a first condition allowance race by four, and looked awfully strong coming down the lane. Off at 8/5 and the second choice in the wagering in a field of 8, she broke running under Mike Smith and contested a fast pace with early fractions of 22.43 and 46.75 for the half. She put the other speed away at the ¼ pole and then opened up at the 1/8 pole to leave the stretch runners far behind. They also took the blinkers off for the first time in six races and that had to help as well. This daughter of the good sire Constitution may finally live up to her pedigree. Up the ladder.

BLITZKRIEG (November 28): Five year old gelding for Doug O’Neill tried the “salty” Grade 2 Seabiscuit Handicap on Saturday at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf for older runners. Off at 15/1 under leading rider Cedillo, he figured to make the lead in this race but broke a bit slowly and found himself in third in the early going. He was just a length and a half back down the back side, put in a huge eye catching move at the 3/8 pole, still had the lead at the 1/8 pole, then wilted in the final furlong and finished 8th about five lengths back of the winner. This son of the good turf sire War Front is excellent anywhere from six furlongs to a mile on the turf, and this race sets him up perfectly for the Joe Hernandez stakes at the new six and a half furlong chute turf course, up at Anita on New Years Day. For a barn that wins as many races as they do, O’Neill’s not all that great at placing his horses in the right spots, but off this race, this one wants to sprint right now. Tab and follow.

DU JOUR (November 29): Two year old colt for Bob Baffert made his debut in Sunday’s 3rd, a maiden special weight event at a mile on the lawn. Off at 4/1 in a full 12 horse field, he settled well off the pace and was 8th down the back side, a good 8 lengths back of the leaders and three wide. He made a move at the ¼ pole on the outside, then got floated a good six wide at the top of the lane, but stuck to his guns and rallied out in the middle of the course to get 2nd, beaten a length at the wire. The wide trip cost him the race but it was a sterling effort by a debut runner. This son of Temple City has talent, is grass all the way, and will get his diploma early on at the winter Santa Anita meet.

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