Del Mar 2yos Analysis for July 20-22, 2018

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

July 20th, 2018

The Del Mar summer meet kicked off on Wednesday, which means it’s time to start watching the track’s many high-class races for two-year-olds in search of 2019 Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks contenders.

We’ve already seen one promising debut winner, that being the filly Brill, who was rumored to be something special and favored at 0.70-1 in a five-furlong maiden race on Wednesday. With a top-notch pedigree (she’s by Medaglia d’Oro out of a Malibu Moon mare), Brill is bred to improve going longer, so the fact that she overcame a stumble at the start to win going away by 1 ¼ lengths (running the final furlong in about :12 seconds) says a lot about her raw talent.

For her effort, Brill received an eye-catching 99 BRIS speed figure, which—according to the TwinSpires.com Twitter account—is the highest BRIS speed figure assigned to a two-year-old filly on debut since the sensational Lady Aurelia back in April 2016. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Brill appears to have a very bright future and it will be fun to see how she progresses throughout 2018 and into next year.

Speaking of Hollendorfer, he’ll be well represented in Saturday’s ninth race, a five-furlong open maiden race that has attracted a full field of ten plus two also-eligibles. Hollendorfer’s two entrants are #4 Dueling (who sold for $475,000 as a yearling) and #10 Rowayton (who brought $320,000 last summer). Of the pair, Rowayton is the one getting hyped thanks to an impressive series of workouts at Santa Anita—he’s been posting bullets since early May and wrapped up his preparations with a quick five furlongs in :59 flat (from the starting gate no less) on July 13th As a son of Into Mischief, Rowayton is bred to win early and figures to be favored on Saturday with jockey Drayden Van Dyke in the saddle.

Dueling’s work tab isn’t quite as eye-catching, but it’s solid nonetheless and he’ll benefit from having the hot apprentice rider Asa Espinoza in the saddle. Espinoza is fresh off tying for the meet title at Los Alamitos (where he won at a 26% rate), and his apprentice status means that Dueling will carry just 113 pounds, seven less than his rivals.

In all likelihood, one of the Hollendorfer trainees will prevail, though the two-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Doug O’Neill also holds a strong hand with #8 Magnificent McCool and #9 Truck Salesman, who sold for $625,000 and $230,000, respectively, as 2yos-in-training. You can usually count on O’Neill to win a handful of juvenile races at Del Mar each summer, and he’s off to a terrific start at the current meet, having won four races on Wednesday.

California-bred two-year-olds will get a chance to shine in Friday’s sixth race, a five-furlong open maiden race. Doug O’Neill will be represented here as well by #5 Takeo Squared, who started twice in similar races during the Santa Anita meet, finishing third and second. The gelded son of Square Eddie warrants respect, but is not the favorite on the morning line. That honor goes to #9 Oliver, who boasts a very similar record but with higher Beyer speed figures in his corner, which should drive wagering support in his direction.

Among the first-time starters, one of the more interesting is #7 Teacher’s Treasure, who has posted five consecutive workouts going five furlongs or longer. His trainer, Eddie Truman, might not be a household name, but he’s quietly winning at a 24% rate this year and might have a good one in Teacher’s Treasure, who is a son of Square Eddie and a half-brother to four winners.

Finally, on Sunday, the Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert will join the action by starting #3 Mother Mother in the seventh race, a six-furlong maiden race for fillies. The daughter of Pioneerof the Nile is a half-sister to 2014 Kentucky Derby runner-up Commanding Curve, making her an intriguing candidate for major two-turn races down the road.

Others to keep an eye out for include #8 Tapwater, a promising daughter of Tapit boasting an impressive work tab for trainer Richard Mandella; and #2 She Rocks the Look, a first-time starter from the barn of Peter Miller, who has done fine work training debut runners at Del Mar during recent summer meets (8-for-57 since 2013).

Enjoy the races!