A tough start to our pursuit of the Pick 4 on Opening Day at Del Mar, as 21-to-1 shot J J Minister goes virtually wire-to-wire in the finale to prevent us from cashing a ticket. He was the only horse on Day 1 of the meet to carry his speed the distance and cross the wire first, so it will be interesting to see how the track bias evolves early in the meet.
The day after Opening Day brings much less fan fare, but for many Del Mar regulars, it is the first day for them to enjoy their paradise without the massive crowds and drunken debauchery.
We’re off to the races!
Leg 1—Race 5 (5)—A couple of key scratches in this five furlong turf dash leaves only one horse that isn’t a need the lead type.
#5 Waveline can win from off what should be a hot pace coming off more than a year long layoff for trainer Ben Cecil. She won off an 11-month layoff in 2008 and has a nice set of drills leading up to this race.
She’s also faced better fields than her competitors, except for the graded stakes company that Pasar Silbano has been keeping, and jockey Rafael Bejarano fits her running style like a glove.
A single to kick off the Pick 4.
Leg 2—Race 6 (2,3)—The chalk looks tough in the $50K maiden claimer for the two-year-olds.
#2 Ride Candy Ride finished third beaten just over a length in the race that J J Minister debuted in and it looks like he’s ready to win 2nd off the layoff for trainer Mark Glatt.
#3 Comma to the Top exits a race that featured some of the best two-year-olds on the circuit and missed by just a head in his debut at a similar level as he returns to today.
The first-time starters don’t look like much, and as I mentioned yesterday, it generally takes a special horse to win first time on the Polytrack.
Leg 3—Race 7 (1,2,3,4,5)—Optional claimers go a mile-and-three-eighths on the lawn and #1 Job Boss completed the exacta behind impressive Isle of Giant’s in his latest. He has finished second in three of his last four and he should be able to get the distance. Today could be the day for his second win of 2010.
#2 Low Gear Power has finished first or second in 10-of-15 lifetime starts and shows the best current form, albeit against mostly weaker competition. He’s never run this far, but with trainer Mike Mitchell in charge, getting the distance isn’t out of the question. He also showed good turf form last year and gets Bejarano to climb aboard for the second time.
#3 Scorpion Time ran a career best race in his last going a mile-and-a-half on the turf at Santa Anita, but that came in November. The layoff is the biggest concern, but he remains a contender.
#4 Tripitaka won three races in Europe, including once at today’s distance and twice going a mile-and-a-half, and he may be set to win for the first time making his third start in the U.S.
#5 Soul Candy was visually impressive in winning his last start at Hollywood Park and hasn’t missed a beat in the morning since. He ventures outside of state-bred company for first time and has never run this far, but there is lots of room to improve further considering he didn’t make his first start until the end of his three-year-old year.
Leg 4—Race 8 (1,5,6,7,8)—A sorry bunch of $25K three-year-old maiden fillies rounds out the card.
#8 Warrens Matchmaker has been running pretty much the same race all year, and that might finally be good enough today. Trainer Jack Van Berg won a few races recently at Hollywood Park with maidens that had similar form that finally broke through when they found the weakest field of their career.
#1 Great Bernardine has run races that would make her competitive here.
#5 Go Lourdes Go has a steady work tab including a spin over this track after a pair of races. She adds blinkers and switches to Bejarano.
#6 Sexy Melody ran a good fourth in her debut, but then hit the sidelines for three months for low percentage trainer Derek Meredith. A steady work tab and jockey Martin Garcia staying aboard are positives.
#7 Searfavoritesecret comes off a career best third place effort, but jockey Johnny Gihua has only one win in Southern California since coming from Peru.
Recap—(5) w (2,3) w (1,2,3,4,5) w (1,5,6,7,8)—Total cost of ticket = $25
Make sure to follow me on Twitter @mdoche for last minute changes caused by scratches.
Yesterday’s Result – (-$48)
Total for meet – (-$48)