American Cleopatra among a trio of impressive maiden winners at Del Mar
DEL MAR HORSES TO WATCH
John Sadler’s ACCELERATE did just that in the 4th Race, stylishly breaking his maiden as he stretched out to two turns for the first time. A $380,000 colt, the son of Lookin at Lucky prompted a fairly fast pace before drawing off by more than eight lengths under moderate urging late. The chestnut figured to appreciate the added ground being out an Awesome Again mare, but Accelerate exceeded my expectations in earning a 99 BRIS Speed rating. The promising sophomore is eligible to carry his form forward against better competition next time.
In the 4th Race, the Vladimir Cerin-trained CONQUEST COBRA looked the short-priced favorite in the eye before opening up a slight edge nearing midstretch and won going away under the wire, posting his second consecutive fine tally. The four-year-old gelding is in the midst of a lifetime-best form cycle, proving to be a new animal in his last few outings, and I would like to see the Florida-bred son of Pioneerof The Nile step up to face stakes company in his current run. The bay earned a hefty 105 BRIS Speed number for his troubles, finishing off seven furlongs in a swift 1:20 4/5, and the former claimer may continue to offer good value on a Del Mar oval he appears to love.
VEILED HEAT wound up a non-threatening third in the 6th Race, but I’ll look for a strong showing next time. The two-year-old daughter of Unusual Heat drew a wide post and gave up ground every step of the way on an oval playing favorably to speed and the inside, and I would like to see her draw a better post next time because the California-bred miss appears poised to keep showing more for conditioner Jerry Fanning. The bay filly is also bred for the lawn some and would loom a danger on a surface change or stretch out in distance.
AMERICAN CLEOPATRA made her much-anticipated debut in the 3rd Race and did not disappoint for trainer Bob Baffert. The January foal, a full-sister to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, was sent off at a healthy 7-1 and proved best with a two-length win under Stewart Elliot. The oval favored her forward run style but take nothing away from the two-year-old miss: American Cleopatra displayed plenty of promise defeating a field that appeared deep on paper. I came away impressed and the Zayat homebred will take some beating in the September 3 Del Mar Debutante (G1).
7TH – The same connections were represented by another good-looking winner later on the program, JAZZY TIMES, who romped over a field of elders and completed 6 ½ furlongs in a wicked 1:14 2/5. I remember the sophomore drawing away to a very nice maiden win when making his debut on Derby Day and had thought he could be a good one for sure. But after a pair of sprint losses at short prices, I began to lose the hope just a little. It’s been restored following this one. In doing my research prior to his debut, I came across a story where Jazzy Times’ connections put him in American Pharaoh’s old stall at the barn, as they had thought so highly of the Discreetly Mine colt. That is some high praise.
In the 9th Race, the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained NEVER SAY TRY appeared to be working well for his belated debut but no one could expect such an eye-catching performance from the 4-year-old. The Philanthropist gelding was widest of all throughout against an inside bias but still opened up in the lane to score by 11 ¼ lengths, doing so without being asked all that much in the 6 ½-furlong maiden special weight. It didn’t appear to be the deepest field of runners but the chestnut impressed nonetheless, earning a commendable 95 BRIS Speed number. I think Never Say Try can be a real useful one-turn runner as he progresses.