Six deep to start the Pick 4 yesterday in what we knew was an open race, and the last horse left out on my ticket scores at 44-to-1. Nobody ever said this game can’t be evil.
Yesterday’s payout was a perfect example of the potential of a small investment for a high reward as the $.50 Pick Four paid $8,254.35. That was with our single and heavy favorite, The Usual Q.T., romping in the Eddie Read. As a small consolation, the Pick 3 back-up returned $183.
Still in the black going into the final day of opening week, and the potential for another nice payoff is definitely there considering the depth in the featured $150,000 Grade 2 San Clemente Handicap for three-year-old fillies on the turf.
We’re off to the races!
Leg 1 – Race 6 (5,8) – The $100,000 California Dreamin’ Handicap run over a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the turf comes down to a two-horse race.
No. 5 Bold Chieftain is the proven veteran of the bunch shipping down from Golden Gate for trainer William Morey. He is a proven graded stakes performer and has won three of four at the distance and run well over Del Mar’s turf course. He can win from just off the lead or even further back if a quick pace develops.
No. 8 Bruce’s Dream is a rising star making just the second start of his four-year-old campaign. He has won four of his five career starts and has had good tactical speed sprinting and also showed the ability to pass horses. He’s also two for two over the Del Mar turf course and a nice six furlong work here over the lawn should help him be successful going two turns for the first time.
Leg 2 – Race 7 (1,2,3,4,7) – A solid group of older males sprinting six furlongs on the Polytrack is a rather intriguing race to handicap.
No. 1 New Believer ships in for trainer Wesley Ward and he is three for three running on Polytrack. The first two of those wins came at Keeneland, with the third one coming at Woodbine in his latest start on June 19.
No. 2 Silver Stetson Man has faced better throughout most of his career and has been a consistent performer until his last two starts of 2009. He has trained forwardly for his return and can win on his best for trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Martin Garcia.
No. 3 Jack o’ Lantern has been off a long time, but he is a Grade Three winner. His works look good coming in accentuated by a bullet over this track five days ago.
No. 4 Golden Winner has romped by six lengths in both career starts and ships down from Golden Gate for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and jockey Russell Baze. He may not have beaten much up north, but the way he has won cannot be overlooked.
No. 7 Afleet Ruler is extremely consistent, but with a case of seconditis having been the runner-up in almost half of his 13 career starts. He has just missed to some nice horses in 2010, including against the aforementioned Bruce’s Dream in his last start.
Leg 3 - Race 8 (1,2,5,6,9) – An abundance of speed should set the Grade Two San Clemente up to be won from off the pace.
No. 1 Crisp came flying to finish second in her first career start on turf in her last start. The Santa Anita Oaks winner could be rounding back into her best form after a pair of debacles on dirt on the East Coast.
No. 2 Fortunia ships in from Lone Star after missing by just a neck against Wasted Tears, who is one of the best older turf mares in the nation.
No. 5 Switch has been facing the toughest three-year-old fillies in the nation and has finished in the money in five of six lifetime starts. In her last two, she missed against Tanda by half a length and scored over Blind Luck by more than a length.
No. 6 Evening Jewel has won in wire-to-wire fashion in two of her last three, but she has also shown the versatility to come from off the pace. Having finished first or second in nine of 10 lifetime starts, she is a logical contender to sweep the graded stakes this weekend for trainer James Cassidy and jockey Victor Espinoza.
No. 9 It Tiz is a perfect two for two since switching to the turf for trainer Mark Glatt, defeating both Crisp and Crisis of Spirit in her last start at Hollywood Park. In her first start on turf, she beat older horses including Lilly Fa Pootz, who won the Osunitas here yesterday.
Leg 4 – Race 9 (6,7) – Another tough two-year-old maiden race, similar to yesterday’s first leg of the Pick Four, rounds out the opening week of racing at Del Mar.
The horses that have run haven’t shown much, so we’ll go with a pair of first-time starters.
No. 7 Storddim is out of a sire that wins with 18 percent of his juvenile debut runners and No. 6 Party Ruler’s sire wins with 14 percent of his debuting babies. Both show a steady work tab and are drawn well.
Recap – (5,8) w (1,2,3,4,7) w (1,2,5,6,9) w (6,7) – Total cost of ticket = $50
Make sure to follow me on Twitter @mdoche for last minute changes caused by scratches.
Yesterday’s Result – (-$45)
Total for meet – (+$78.85)