Sunday, Del Mar Race 3 — 3 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Calif. maiden races

Maiden claiming $40K, 3 yo’s and up, 6 furlongs

Possible overlays                Morning line

#9 Breakmark                            5/1

Most of the lower-priced horses on the morning line in this race showed early speed in their last starts. Getting the lead early is typically a good way to the winner’s circle, but the early lead is much more valuable at 4-1/2, 5, and 5-1/2 furlongs than it is at 6 furlongs.

In fact since early 2007, just 26 percent of all older maiden claimers that had the lead at 6 furlongs held on to win the race. That contrasts with 38 percent of the same class of quarter pole leaders that won races shorter than 6 furlongs.

The best time to bet speed may be in races for 2-year-old maiden claimers that are running in sprints shorter than 6 furlongs. In these races, the quarter pole leader won a whopping 43 percent of the time.

Anyway, in races like this one today for older maiden claimers, I usually won’t wager on the early speed unless the runner is at least 7/2 and preferably 5/1.

The morning line favorite in here, #3 Hugs to All, appears to be the quickest experienced horse out of the gate. He’s 5/2 on the morning line and the addition of leading rider Joel Rosario will not help that price.

Second time starter #5 Fortunate Appeal was bet to 5/2 in his June 19 debut when he finished second to Honor Family, a horse who was fully cranked coming off a long layoff. Fortunate Appeal adds blinkers, which is a positive, but at 2/1, I’ll pass.

Two first time starters  — #1 It’s Not Unusual and #7 Romeo Royale — might have some appeal to me, but they both have one huge drawback – they are late foals. Both horses, who are sired by Unusual Heat, have decent workouts and good trainers.

The best bet in this race is unquestionably #9 Breakmark. This colt is making its second lifetime start off a long layoff and is dropping in class. In the past, this type of horse has been very profitable for me.

Furthermore, the colt’s owner, Martin Wygod, is selling 110 horses at a special Barrett’s Equine Ltd. sale on Oct. 12, so I doubt he would care if Breakmark got claimed – as long as he won the race.

Therefore, I will wager the full $1,000 to win on #9 Breakmark at 2/1 or more.

Saturday, Del Mar Race 2 — 2:30 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Calif. maiden races

Maiden Special Weight, 2-year-olds, 6 furlongs

Possible overlays                      Morning line

#1 Joburg Star                              6/1
#2 Alert Rocket                             15/1
#3 Asno Del Caramelo                     3/1
#6 Gahnzo Bob                              8/1

Curiously, three of the contending 2-year-olds in this main track race prepped on July 4 at 5 furlongs on the Hollywood Park turf.

All three — #1 Joburg Star, #3 Asno Del Caramelo, and #6 Gahnzo Bob — showed some potential without putting it all together for the whole race.

Trained by Peter Miller, Joburg Star was 4-to-8 paths wide throughout the turn, yet he still ran a 63 Beyer Speed Figure.

More forwardly placed, Asno Del Caramelo sat about three lengths off the lead, but was steadied hard on two different occasions to lose two lengths while earning a 66 BSF. Finally, Gahnzo Bob’s jockey Julio Garcia pulled him to the back of the pack as the race began, then Garcia kept him very wide on the turn, however the colt rallied well when asked. 

Gahnzo Bob only ran a 51 Beyer, but any of the three horses I mentioned can probably run a low-to-mid 70s Beyer Speed Figure.

Some of these 2-year-old maiden special weight races come up extremely strong, while others are very weak. The range of Beyer Speed Figures that have won at this class goes from 38 to 99, with the median being 75.

Trainer Bob Baffert starts #8 Benergy with his money man Martin Garcia at the controls. Benergy has had several sharp workouts, including a bullet on July 21. But over the last few years, Baffert has not had much success with debuting 2-year-olds at 6 furlongs. I much prefer to bet his first time starters at 5 or 5-1/2 furlongs.

Benergy is 5/2 on the morning line and I think the public could knock his odds to 2/1. 

Trainer Jeff Mullins teams up with jockey Rafael Bejarano on #4 Baby Tate. Mullins has had most of his success with second-time starters in maiden claiming races, not in these classier events. And Baby Tate looks no better than numbers 1, 3 and 6, yet his odds will probably be significantly lower than at least two of them. 

Lastly, debuter #2 Alert Rocket has had nothing but slow workouts, however he’s worth a bet if his odds fall between 10/1 and 19/1.

At 2/1 to 5/1, I will bet $150 to win on #3 Asno Del Caramelo. At 3/1 and up, I will put $200 to win on #1 Joburg Star and at 4/1 or higher I’ll put $300 to win on #6 Gahnzo Bob.

In the exotics — which are only live bets if the horses are in my odds zones — I want $50 exactas 6 with 1,3,8; $40 exactas 1 with 3,6,8; and $30 exactas 3 with 1,6,8.

Also, I’ll put $100 on #2 Alert Rocket at 10/1 to 19/1.

Friday, Del Mar Race 3 — 5 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Calif. maiden races

Maiden claiming $32,000, 2yo fillies, 5-1/2 furlongs

Possible overlays                   Morning line

#1 Darling Ciana                            8/1
#3 Sparrow                                      7/2
#5 Missilette                                   9/2
#6 Amor de Mi Alma                   20/1
#9 Darling Disarry                         5/1
#10 Natural Pearl                          10/1

Of the 13 fillies listed in the past performances, eight of them are making their debuts. The median winning Beyer Speed Figure for this class is a 61, which is seven points higher than any of the experienced horses have run.

But #5 Missilette, who is making her fifth start, has legitimate early speed for this class and that’s important at 5-1/2 furlongs.

Several of these first time starters look promising because  they have worked out well, they are saddled by high percentage trainers and are early foals. It would be no surprise to see any of #3 Sparrow, #9 Darling Disarray or #10 Natural Pearl hit the wire first.

Also, #1 Darling Ciana figures to go to post at double-digit odds and she is  bettable at the right price. Although, I likely won’t wager on #13 Mama’s Spell, it is worth noting that trainer Craig Lewis won with three of 17 debuters sired by Larry the Legend that went off at less than 20/1 since 2007.

At odds of 7/2 to 19/1, I will bet $300 to win on both #3 Sparrow and #9 Darling Disarray. At odds of 5/1 to 19/1, I want $200 on #1 Darling Ciana and #10 Natural Pearl.

In the exotics, I will take $30 exactas 5 with 1,3,9,10. Also, I want $25 exactas 3,9,10 with 1,3,9,10. All the exactas are contingent on the horses odds being in the above zones.

Thursday, Del Mar Race 3 — 3 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Calif. maiden races

Maiden claiming 32K, 3 yo’s and up, F, 7 furlongs 

Possible overlays                Morning line 

#1 Lost Prophet                           3/1
#4 Kaysa Deeya                           7/2
#6 East Lake Shore                       8/1 

According to Brad Free in the Daily Racing Form, Mike Mitchell is 5-for-8 first off the claim with maiden claimers over the last four Del Mar meets. In this race, Mitchell saddles #1 Lost Prophet, who he claimed from Howard Zucker for $25,000 on July 9. 

This maiden $32K race is hardly a step up for Lost Prophet, as the median winning Beyer Speed Figure is only one point higher at $32K than at the maiden $25K level.  Also, Lost Prophet looks like she’ll get a clear lead and she might enjoy the leisurely fractions in these 7-furlong races. 

However, only 15 percent of all 7-furlong maiden claiming races for older horses in the last few years have been won wire-to-wire. So Lost Prophet does not have the right running style for this distance. 

A horse who does have the right 7-furlong running style is #3 Indiara. This Eoin Harty-trained runner has been bet below 5/1 in each of her last six starts and the Beyer Speed Figures in six of her last 10 outings would win most races at this level. 

But I can’t see Indiara going off at 5/2 or greater, so I most likely won’t be betting on her. 

Second-time starter #6 East Lake Shore looks interesting. Trainer Tim Yakteen who is winning at 19 percent for the year is just 1-of-29 in the last few years with debuting maidens at less than 20/1. 

And having watched the replay of East Lake Shore’s first start, she looks to have been given a tune-up race. She has worked out well and was bet down to 6/1 in her debut. 

Also, Yakteen has a decent record second time out and top jockey Joel Rosario is at the controls. 

I see nothing wrong with #4 Kaysa Deeya, who should come with a closing kick with jockey Patrick Valenzuela up. Kaysa Deeya, trained by John Sadler, also ran a couple of recent Beyers that are close to the median winning speed figure. 

If #1 Lost Prophet is 5/2 to 4/1 then I will bet $700 to win on her. Also, I want $300 to win on #6 East Lake Shore at 4/1 to 12/1. If Lost Prophet doesn’t fall into my odds zone, then I will put the $700 on #Kaysa Deeya at odds of 5/2 or higher.

Wednesday, Del Mar Race 8 — 5:30 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Calif. maiden races

Maiden claiming $40K, 2 yo Cal Breds, 5-1/2 furlongs

Possible overlays                  Morning line

#3 Tahoe Yodeler                       5/1
#5 Call Me Later                         6/1
#9 Beer Friday                           20/1
#10 Warrens Heartthrob           12/1
#12 Swiss Tart                           7/2

Although #1 Tahoe Yodeler flashed early foot in his July 11 debut, I believe that #12 Swiss Tart is just a little quicker. On May 23, Swiss Tart was running under his own power while chasing River’s Chapel in a maiden special weight sprint, while in his debut Tahoe Yodeler was hustled to the front by jockey Felipe Valdez.

I am not saying that Swiss Tart will get the lead in here. But the quick first quarter mile shows that the horse has a good burst of speed, which will allow him to get position and make a move on the turn. However, if stable money slams Tahoe Yodeler’s odds to less than 4/1 then I will increase his chances and be forced to make a decision. 

Two first time starters in here come from connections that perform very well with debuting horses. But both #5 Call Me Later and #10 Warrens Heartthrob have nothing but slow workouts.

 I still like them both, though, at the right price.

Finally, if I see action on #9 Beer Friday, I will significantly upgrade his chances.

I will bet $200 to win each on #5 Call Me Later and #10 Warrens Heartthrob at 7/2 to 19/1.

If #1 Tahoe Yodeler’s post time odds are 2/1 to 4/1, then I will bet $200 on the longer of the two horses between him and Swiss Tart. If Tahoe Yodeler’s odds are 9/2 or more, then I will put the $200 on Swiss Tart at 2/1 or more.

Also, I’ll put $150 on #9 Beer Friday if he is 7/2 to 14/1.

In the exacta,  at odds of 5/1 to 19/1, I will key #5 Call Me Later and #10 Warrens Heartthrob. I will play $25 exactas 1-5-10-12 with 5-10. 

In the trifecta, I will key both #5 Call Me Later and #10 Warrens Heartthrob at odds of 10/1 to 19/1 only. I will bet $5 trifectas 1-5-10-12 with 4-5-6-7-10 with 5-10.

Results, Del Mar, Sunday, Race 4 – lost $200

Jockey Joe Talamo

The public as a group is a very good handicapper, which is why the tote board plays such a huge part in my wagering decisions.

In this race, seven out of nine of these starters were running for the first time ever. Yet, the crowd pounded four fillies to 4-to-1 or less while allowing five runners to go off at 20-to-1 or higher.
And the results: The favored horses finished 1-2-3-4.
My plan of action was to bet three debuters —  #2 Marishka Moon, #3 Intentional and #5 Tell a Kelly  — if their post time odds were 10/1 to 19/1.  I also liked #9 Pacific Pride, but only if her odds were 7/2 to 9/1.
The public totally ignored my first timers at the betting windows, so the odds were too high for me to wager. And then the crowd loaded up on Pacific Pride. And at 5/2, I couldn’t bet her either.
But I have contingency plans. And in the pre-race write-up I noted that I would put $200 on #4 Romanette if her odds were 5/2 to 4/1, which she was.
However, it really didn’t matter because #7 Pedaltothemedal jumped to an early lead and got stronger as the race got longer.
To watch a replay of this race, go to

1 1 Retail (KY) Blanc B Sahadi J 26.70 7
2 2 Marishka Moon (KY) Bejarano R French N 28.30 8
3 3 Intentional (KY) Espinoza V Koriner B 27.50 6
4 4 Romanette (KY) Rosario J Baffert B 4.10 3
5 5 Tell a Kelly (FL) Quinonez A Sadler J 24.90 5
6 6 Dazzling Display (KY) Garcia M Baffert B 2.30 2
7 7 Pedaltothemedal (KY) Talamo J Sherman A 3.00 1
8 8 Pat’s Dream (KY) Flores D Hajek I 27.10 9
9 9 Pacific Pride (KY) Smith M Hollendorfer J 2.70 4
Pgm Win Place Show
7 $8.00 $4.00 $3.00
6 $3.80 $3.00
4 $3.20
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $13.70 (7-6)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $66.70 (6-7-7)
$1.00 Superfecta paid $81.80 (7-6-4-9)

Results, Del Mar, Saturday, Race 7 — lost $800

Jockey Alonso Quinonez

Eight of the 10 runners in this race were making their first lifetime starts. Many of them hailed from the world’s top barns: Those run by Bob Baffert, John Sadler, Jerry Hollendorfer and Doug O’Neill.

But amazingly, the debuter with the no-name jockey — Alonso Quinonez — and the low-profile trainer — Myung Kwon Cho — got the job done.

Although lots of these eight debuters had quick workouts and great connections, each one seemed to have strong drawbacks, also.
By looking at years of past results, I know that Florida breds have better records for precociousness in Southern California than horses bred in Kentucky or California. So, I prefer them.
But in this race, Florida breds #4 Rock So Hard and #6 The Phenom were both May foals, which are usually a money-losing propositions when debuting. Other information sent me mixed messages, too. 
For example, trainer Bob Baffert, who saddled Rock So Hard, also ran #7 Prayer for Relief, who was a February foal with good workouts – both positives. 
Baffert has an outstanding record when he uses jockey Martin Garcia on his first timers. But Garcia was on Rock So Hard and not Prayer for Relief. So Baffert’s money horse was unclear to me.
In the race, #10 Premier Pegasus, who is a son of Fusaichi Pegasus, shot out of the gate at 44-to-1. As the field went down the backstretch, Rock So Hard took the lead, but some seven runners were within two lengths of each other. On the inside, jockey Tyler Baze tried to make a move with #1 Red Sharp Humor, but that didn’t work, so he backed off.
Throughout the turn and at the top of the lane, the running order didn’t change much. Rock So Hard led on the inside, Premier Pegasus was a head behind in the two path, while #9 Just Imagine was looming three wide and a half a length away.
The field remained compact as race caller Trevor Denman told the crowd “this one’s wide open.” In deep stretch, Garcia was wailing away with his whip on Rock So Hard, while Quinonez was essentially hand riding Premier Pegasus, although the rider did give him a few taps of the stick as the wire approached.
Just Imagine disappointed his backers by hanging in the stretch as the even money favorite. I’ve heard race track myths that when first time starters are bet down below 3-to-1 they are great bets. But, in reality, they are some of the worst wagers in racing.
I had $200 on #1 Red Sharp Humor at 16/1, $300 on #6 The Phenom at 8/1 and $300 on #7 Prayer for Relief at 10/1.

1 1 Red Sharp Humor (KY) Bejarano R Hollendorfer J 16.40 4
2 2 Clubhouse Ride (KY) Espinoza V Lewis C 9.20 5
3 3 Joburg Star (KY) Flores D Miller P 9.20 7
4 4 Rock So Hard (FL) Garcia M Baffert B 5.20 2
5 5 Palio Prince (KY) Smith M Barba A 42.40 9
6 6 The Phenom (FL) Talamo J Sadler J 8.00 10
7 7 Prayer for Relief (KY) Pedroza M Baffert B 10.10 6
8 8 Purgestein (KY) Santiago Reyes C Bonde J 22.20 8
9 9 Just Imagine (KY) Rosario J O’Neill D 1.00 3
10 10 Premier Pegasus (KY) Quinonez A Cho M 44.40 1
SCR American Wildcat (VA)    
Pgm Win Place Show
10 $90.80 $30.60 $11.00
4 $6.00 $3.60
9 $3.00
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $434.80 (10-4)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $5813.30 (4-10-10)
$1.00 Superfecta paid $18710
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