Main track more conducive to late runners; Esposito & Glory among Del Mar horses to watch

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

November 11th, 2015


Track Stats

From a total of 34 races held at the seaside racetrack during the past week, favorites won at a 44 percent clip and the top two betting choices combined for 53 percent of the wins. From 21 frays contested on the dirt oval, two animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (9 percent), while two of the 13 grassy tilts were taken all the way on the front end (15 percent).

A week after early types had something of an edge it appeared to change as runners from off the pace dominated the dirt racing this week. Just a pair led at every call on the main track and only a single horse from the rail got the job done this past week. We’ll watch to see if the surface continues to be conducive for off-the-pace runners.

Both of the wire jobs on turf came in route races. The surface is playing fairly and we’ll only give an edge to speed in one-turn races for now.

Meet Totals












30 (44%)

2nd Choices:


9 (13%)

Turf Wire:


3 (12%)

Dirt Wire:


11 (26%)





Thursday (11/5)

6TH – CHEEKABOO (Unusual Heat) was a bit unlucky being stuck behind a slow pace and clear leader, and finished second while burning a lot of money on this day. The Peter Eurton-trained juvenile filly obviously has some talent and shouldn’t be a maiden for long with improvement off this one.

Friday (11/6)

1ST – RIRI (Speightstown) stayed perfect from a pair of lifetime runs with a sharp tally in her route debut for conditioner Phil d’Amato. The two-year-old filly possesses tactical speed and a big turn of foot and should be stakes bound very soon.

4TH – AVANTI BELLO (Include) continued his nice form run as the stakes-placed Cal-bred took charge of this field with a mostly facile score under Tyler Baze. The sophomore colt has run well in three straight and could be headed back to the stakes ranks for Doug O’Neill.

8TH – MAKENA (Pioneerof the Nile) pressed the pace, took the lead at the top of the lane and held well to be a very good second off the long layoff. The Scott Hansen trainee was more than 12 lengths clear of her nearest foe and will be graduating before long with outings of this nature.

Saturday (11/7)

1ST – ESPOSITO (Ghostzapper) improved off a nice third in his debut with a strong maiden tally second time out for trainer Tom Proctor. The juvenile colt is bred to run longer and perhaps on the lawn, and looks like an intriguing prospect going forward.

3RD – Trainer Hector Palma might have gotten away with one as TOUGH BUT NICE (Good Journey) cruised home a powerful first-out winner in this maiden claiming race, and was not claimed. The two-year-old colt was more than six lengths clear at the finish and will likely not be offered for a tag next time.

6TH – GLORY (Tapit) took the lead soon after the break and left no doubt en route to a 2 ¼-length tally with Mike Smith in the silks. The talented sophomore miss came home swiftly in this turf affair and is now perfect from a pair of outings on the green.

7TH – ALL RUN (Flower Alley) took a short lead at the top of the lane and finished best in a smart allowance victory for trainer Richard Baltas. The four-year-old gelding has transformed into a different runner since joining this barn three back, posting a healthy 102 BRIS Speed number in this spot.  

Sunday (11/8)

6TH – NINETY ONE ASSAULT (Artie Schiller) rallied from off the pace with a strong finish to just miss, recording a fine debut try in this turf test. The Keith Desormeaux pupil was well clear of third while a nose behind the odds-on choice in what we thought was a nice field. Tab the gelding as a major factor with improvement going forward.

7TH – POWER JAM (Concord Point) fell a little shy after nearly running down a horse who got the jump on him, and we consider this to be a pretty game race off the long layoff for conditioner Bob Baffert. The sophomore still has a lot of room to improve with just a pair of lifetime tries under his belt, and looks to be of stakes potential.

A Look Ahead

The $100,000 Bob Hope S. (G3) on Saturday is the lone graded run this week at Del Mar.