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Racing expert Lou Monaco analyzes the Hollywood Derby from Del Mar

The long Thanksgiving weekend continues at Del Mar with four graded stakes on Saturday, highlighted by the $300,000 Grade 1 Hollywood Derby for 3-year-olds over 1 1/8 miles on the turf.

The full field of 13 will go to gate for race 8 of the 10-race card with an approximate post time of 6:33 p.m. ET.

#8, Henley’s Joy, Drayden Van Dyke, 6-1

Henley’s Joy has had four straight sub-par performances (two fourths, two fifths) and looks for his first win since a ¾ of a length win in the Grade 1 Belmont Derby Invitational at Belmont Park on July 6. This will be his 10th graded stakes starts and first at Del Mar. Drayden Van Dyke gets the call for trainer Michael Maker. I think a new venue with a new jockey will do wonders, plus a 6-1 morning line doesn’t hurt either. The pick.

#4, Digital Age (IRE), Javier Castellano, 6-1

Digital Age (IRE) will be making his 8th career start, but is looking for his first win since winning three straight to start his career, culminating with a ¾ of a length win in the Grade 2 American Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 4. He is winless in his last four starts, but did have a runner-up finish in the Saratoga Derby Invitational Stakes on August 4. Javier Castellano jumps back on for trainer Chad Brown after a disappointing 8th-place finish in the Jockey Club Derby Invitational Stakes at Belmont Park on Sept. 7. I look for a vast improvement this time around. Runner-up.

#1, Mo Forza, Paco Lopez, 5-1

Mo Forza will be making his 8th start of his career and what a start it has been, going 2-3-1. He is coming off two straight Santa Anita victories, highlighted by a 1 ¾ victory over today’s entrant Succeedandsurpass in the Grade 2 Qatar Twilight Derby in his last start on Nov. 2. Paco Lopez will be in the irons for trainer Peter Miller and I believe he will be right there at the end. Contender.

#10, Moody Jim (IRE), Flavien Prat, 6-1

After a sixth-place finish in the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby on Sept. 1, Moody Jim (IRE) bounced back with a nose victory in an allowance optional claiming race at Santa Anita in his last on Oct. 12. His last win was right here, a ½ length win over today’s entrant Mo Forza in a maiden special weight race on July 27. Flavien Prat comes back for his second straight start for trainer Jeff Mullins, which is always huge. In the mix.

PICKS: 8-4-1-10

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