The summer racing season at Del Mar is finally here!
In addition to covering big races at the meet and providing behind the scenes access to jockeys and trainers, I will offer up a daily pick 4 ticket with analysis every racing day.
The pick 4 is the best bet on the wagering menu in my opinion, offering players the most realistic chance at a big score for a reasonable investment.
The powers that be “Where the Turf Meets the Surf” have made the wager even more appealing for 2010, lowering the minimum bet to $.50. This will allow many more players to get involved, along with those who already took part when the minimum was $1, which is sure to provide massive pools.
Deep fields and great racing at Del Mar add to the value, and the Opening Day card featuring the Oceanside Stakes provides a challenging sequence where the extra coverage we get with the $.50 minimum helps our cause.
We’re off to the races!
Leg 1 – Race 7 (2,3,5,9) - A tough race to decipher with quality female maidens three-years-old and up and a handful of first-time starters.
Going deep is the only option.
We must use both horses trainer Bob Baffert sends out as he can do no wrong of late. The only real concern for both #3 Mama Bouche and #5 Go On Babe is the fact they both show consecutive gate drills meaning they could have issues breaking cleanly.
Mama Bouche did just that in her debut in June at Hollywood Park, but still contested the lead early and held on for third, while Go On Babe will be making her debut. First-time starters struggled over Del Mar’s Polytrack last year, so we’ll go with experienced runners until proven otherwise, unless we have a potential monster on our hands which is always possible coming from the Baffert barn.
The inside draw for #2 Roman Chic could work to her benefit if she can break cleanly and use her speed to get to the front and have the shortest way around the track.
We’ll throw in #9 Wooden Sky, who had no chance breaking from the far outside on the turf at Hollywood Park in her debut and trainer David Hoffmans connects with 23% of his 2nd time starters.
Leg 2 – Race 8 (3,5) – The Oceanside Stakes for three-year-olds run over a mile on the turf could be a coming out party for #3 Twirling Candy.
Scratched out of Saturday’s Swaps Stakes to avoid running against stable mate Sidney’s Candy, Twirling Candy will be going two turns and seeing turf for the first time, but off his nearly eight length score in his last race, he appears to be a freak capable of handling the new challenges being presented to him.
#5 Hockley, the regally bred son of A.P. Indy out of a Storm Cat mare, is the potential upsetter coming from off what should be a hot pace.
A $560K Fasig-Tipton purchase, the turf specialist could be turning the corner off his latest victory.
Leg 3 - Race 9 (1,5,9,10) – We have non-winners of two races lifetime here, and in these races I try to find horses that have not been stuck running at this level for long.
That tandem of Baffert and Garcia breaks from the rail with #1 Spectacular Slew, who won impressively at first asking for Maiden $25K a month ago.
Although he must have his issues for Baffert to offer him up twice, he should be good enough to win again here, but he’ll probably be switching barns after this race.
#5 Lucky Fitz is a three-year-old facing elders for the first time, but he’s improving each race and this will be the first time he’s run in a non-winners of two.
#9 Island Run will be making his third start off a layoff and is a logical choice at the level after coming up just a head short in his latest start.
#10 The Whammer could be on a lonely lead in his third off the layoff after breaking from the far outside and takes the drop from starter allowance company.He broke his maiden impressively two back against a decent field of $25K maidens and has finished in the money in 8-of-11 in his career.
Leg 4 – Race 10 (1,8,10) – The finale is for two-year-old $32K maiden claimers and the entry for low percentage trainer Danny Velasquez looks tough.
#1 Grand Maneuver ran a decent third after breaking poorly in his debut and #1A B.J.’s Hope also broke poorly in his debut and ran an even race after that.
Both have a pair of solid drills since running.
#8 Bigmikeistheman is the most likely winner having just missed by a head as the favorite in his last start. In his debut, he broke from the inside, then hit the rail turning for home and still only missed by half a length.
His connections got ambitious after that start, running him in a maiden special weight against some of the top two-year-olds on the circuit, but now dropping to the lowest level in his career he will prove tough.
We’ll also use first-time starter #10 Jakesam out of the Jerry Hollendorfer barn, which hits with 29% of their debuters.
He is by Smoke Glacken, who gets 18% debut winners in juvenile races, and his connections paid $70K for him at Keeneland last September. His works are on the slow side training at Golden Gate, but there could be talent here against a relatively weak bunch.
Recap – (2,3,5,9) w (3,5) w (1,5,9,10) w (1,8,10) – Total cost of ticket = $48
Make sure to follow me on Twitter @mdoche for last minute changes caused by scratches.
Yesterday’s Result – N/A
Total for meet – N/A
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