Seven days into the 2010 Del Mar meet and we’ve cashed one Pick 4 ticket, while hitting three of four three times. All three of those near misses came at the hooves of massive long shots, but while the first two were understandable coming in maiden races, yesterday’s 26-to-1 upset in the feature race really hurt.
As I said in my column yesterday, “Holding Her Ground has no chance facing these kind of horses,” and even though I saw her take the field wire-to-wire, I still can’t believe she did.
Esteemed clocker and handicapper Bruno de Julio echoed those sentiments by tweeting, “… how does the 4 win the 7th—come on.”
A head scratcher indeed, but that’s why they run the races. Enough crying over spilled oats.
A great weekend of racing lies ahead and it’s been confirmed that Zenyatta will run at Del Mar a week from tomorrow on August 7th. Awesome!
Grrrrr. We have the Grade 3 Cougar II Handicap on tap today along with the Miss Cougar Del Mar contest . Should be fun.
We’re off to the races!
Leg 1 Race 5 (3,7,8,10) - A Cal-bred maiden special weight sprint over six-and-a-half furlongs kicks things off. The goal is to continue to avoid first-time starters, however, the proven element here has done a lot of losing so we can’t have much confidence in them.
Is it offensive to refer to an older woman as a "cougar"?
No. 10 Franconi is the only experienced runner with one defeat to his credit, and that came by just half a length in his debut at Hollywood Park five weeks ago. He has a seven-furlong work over the track, draws nicely to the outside and is the top pick here.
No. 8 Absolutlypsitivly has run some competitive races off of layoffs, including a second place finish in his only start at Del Mar a year ago. A solid work tab, with a pair of solid works over the track, adds to the appeal.
No. 7 Gobbler’s Knob is a six-year-old who has had 24 chances to win. He has 11 in the money finishes including two second place finishes in four starts here at Del Mar. He has also trained well since shipping south and today could be his lucky day.
No. 3 Full Effect is 0-for-17, but has finished second four times this year. Christian Santiago Reyes is off to a flying start this meet.
There may be a first-time starter that is added to the ticket after seeing them in the post parade so make sure to follow me on Twitter @mdoche for last-minute updates.
Leg 2 Race 6 (7,8,9) - More Cal-breds, this time optional claiming fillies and mares going a mile-and-a-sixteenth over the turf. The two most logical contenders, No. 7 Warren’s Jitterbug and No. 9 Justice Is Brief, are both coming off layoffs making this race extremely tough.
Warren’s Jitterbug has been facing much, much better, missing by less than a length in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks in March. Even throughout her maiden races she has faced some tough cookies and she ran well here over the main track off a brief layoff last year.
Justice is Brief comes off a year-long layoff after being claimed by A.C. Avila, and while Avila excels first off the claim, he hasn’t fared well with horses coming back after being away for more than 180 days. She does show a consistent work tab and has finished in the money in all three starts over Del Mar’s turf course.
No. 8 Silver Heat has been in a pattern of running a good race and then a bad one, which means she is due for a good one today. She moves to the best turf rider on the circuit, Brice Blanc, who will give her a more patient ride.
Leg 3 Race 7 (3,5,6) - This event is a-win-and-you’re-in qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Marathon, but we’re left with only a field of five after a pair of scratches.
No. 5 Richard’s Kid was closer to the pace then he would have liked in the Hollywood Gold Cup, but still ran a solid third in his first race back from Dubai. He came up a nose short in this race last year before winning the Pacific Classic.
No. 3 Unusual Suspect pulled the 24-to-1 upset in this race last year, edging Richard’s Kid by that nose. He hasn’t won since, but he’s a threat to repeat based off his ability to get these long distances.
No. 6 Temple City will be in front early, and may be WAY in front. He could be ready for his best third off the layoff and he did only miss by three quarters of a length when he went a mile and three eights in the Del Mar Handicap last year on the turf. The front has not been the place to be going two turns on the Poly so far this meet, but maybe it will take this long race to snap that trend.
Leg 4 Race 8 (10,13) - A bad group of $25,000 maiden claimers rounds out the card. There seems to be lots of potential speed so we’ll hope those runners wear themselves out on the disadvantageous front end.
No. 10 Casa O is coming out of a pair of bad races, but his efforts there could be good enough here. Rafael Bejarano rides for the second time and he has a nice set of works since his last race on June 10.
No. 13 Leyva Man would have a much better chance if he didn’t draw the far outside and retained the services of David Flores. With Joy Scott aboard I’m not as confident, but three second place finishes in his last four starts against much better make him a contender.
No. 5 Body Builder is third off the layoff and can make an impact from off the pace with a clean break.
Recap – (3,7,8,10) w (7,8,9) w (3,5,6) w (5,10,13) – Total cost of ticket = $54.
Make sure to follow me on Twitter @mdoche for last minute changes caused by scratches.
Yesterday’s Result: (-$80)
Total for meet: (-$123.15)