Calculator, Zealous Tale eligible to run better next time
DEL MAR HORSES TO WATCH
Race 1: Trainer Doug O’Neill made what I thought was a great claim of ZEALOUS TALE out of this opener, after the five-year-old made a good late run to be third in a second lifetime outing. The son of Tale of the Cat was off the pace and wide on an oval that was kind to speed for the duration of the week but still finished a nice third, and the gelding has posted solid BRIS Speed numbers of 89 and 85 in his two outings to date. If properly placed, he can pay instant dividends to new connections by graduating next time out, especially if the track is playing more fairly.
Race 7: ENOLA GRAY lived up to her 1-10 odds by dominating this stakes field as expected for conditioner Phil d’Amato, improving her mark to a perfect three-for-three. The California-bred gray has yet to be tested and has all the tools to take the jump into open company soon. The daughter of Grazen is a push-button runner who can seemingly turn it on and off as she pleases and while I thought she would be best at one-turn prior to this race, the sophomore showed me that she can likely run at least nine panels. With the exception of the mighty Songbird, the three-year-old filly division is pretty wide open in the Golden State. The one-mile Torrey Pines S. (G3) on August 28 could be the next logical step for this exciting prospect.
Race 5: We were impressed by the Peter Miller-trained CALCULATOR, who finished a good third making a turf debut. The Grade 3 hero is mired in a five-race losing streak at the current juncture, but he was clear in the lane after being part of a swift early pace and deserves another chance on the green. The Florida-bred four-year-old is already proven to be a high-quality one-turn runner on dirt, placing in a pair of Grade 1 events at one turn, and we are hopeful that he will try his hand sprinting on the turf where he could shine.
Race 10: SHAZARA did not topple the greatest turf field ever assembled in the Saturday finale, but the John Shirreffs trainee impressed me from a visual standpoint. Racing on the sod for the initial time, the lightly raced four-year-old ran down a clear one in the lane with long and determined strides after being last early on, and I think it’s safe to say she is better on this type of surface. The Kentucky-bred will have to get faster to evolve into a black-type turf performer, but she can surely be a late player with winners next time on a course she obviously runs well upon. It’s also likely that this miss can run longer with her running style and being out of an Empire Maker mare.
Race 5: BIG SCORE was relaxed early behind a moderate early pace but shifted outside and drew off late in a fine debut tally for conditioner Tim Yakteen. The Kentucky-bred son of underrated turf sire Mr. Big came home fast, recording his final quarter in :23 2/5 under mild urging from pilot Flavien Prat. We’re not exactly sure what the juvenile colt defeated on this day, but he will almost surely reappear in a stakes ranks on this lawn next time and could evolve into a Breeders’ Cup type with further improvement expected.
Enola Gray photo courtesy of Benoit Photos