Xpressbet writer Jeff Siegel offers his top horse racing plays for Saturday.
Del Mar Race No. 8 (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT)
#4 Spirit of Makena (3-1)
Lightly raced colt followed a sharp debut maiden win with an excellent runner-up performance over this track and distance in a similar first-level allowance race, establishing the pace and then proving hard to down while boosting his Beyer Speed Figure by 11 points into the mid-90s. Likely the controlling speed in a race that should produce moderate fractions, the son of Ghostzapper has every right to produce another forward move and if not pressured early should be able to dominate gate-to-wire. He’ll get our main punch in the Win pool and in the various rolling exotics, with #5 Traeger the one to fear most and a logical Exacta partner with our top pick.
Del Mar Race No. 9 (7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT)
#3 Celestial City (4-1)
New York shipper arrives with a two-race winning streak, a good allowance score in September and then a sharp victory with authority in the Grade 3 Hill Prince Stakes the following month that produced a career top speed figure. The son of Uncle Mo can really quicken when set down, and from a cozy inside draw the Shug McGaughey-trained sophomore projects to enjoy an ideal second-flight, stalking trip and have every chance from there. There’s good value to be found in the Win pool and in rolling exotic play at or near his morning line of 3-1.