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

Results, Del Mar, Friday Race 8 – lost $180

Trainer Doug O'Neill claimed Irish-bred Titus Aurelius for $25,000 on June 4 and won a Maiden $32K claiming race with him

My first thought when I saw the morning line for this race was that the odds for #9 Titus Auerelius, at 5-to-2, needed to be much closer to those of #3 D’oro Dancer, at 9-to-2. 

D’oro Dancer had stamina, speed and decent Beyer Speed Figures. And although Titus Aurelius’ past performances looked OK, it was obvious that he was the morning line favorite because of the glamour connections of jockey Joel Rosario and trainer Doug O’Neill. 

O’Neill claimed Titus Aurelius from Simon Callaghan on June 4 for $25,000 and on June 25 the gelding showed speed before fading in a maiden special weight turf sprint. On Friday, as the horses loaded into the gate, the public saw what I saw and made Titus Aurelius 8-to-5 and D’oro Dancer 2-to-1.   

In this race, Rosario quickly went to the front with Titus Aurelius, who cruised willingly on the lead down the backstretch in this 7-furlong sprint.  D’oro Dancer, who was also running without being asked, got to the flank of Titus Aurelius as the field swang into the turn. 

At the quarter pole, jockey Tyler Baze pushed D’oro Dancer to within a half length of Titus Aurelius and it looked like a stretch duel was forthcoming. However, when Rosario asked Titus Aurelius for more, he kicked away to an easy three-length win. 

I was prepared to put $650 on D’oro Dancer at 5-to-2 or better, but his post time odds were just 2-to-1. Another one of my wagers was to bet #7 Big Wags at 3-to-1 or better, but only if D’oro Dancer was also 7-to-2 or more, which he was not. 

However, I forgot to specify odds for the exotics, which included keying 39-to-1 shot Spinco Bob for third in the trifecta and second in the exacta to D’oro Dancer and Spinco Bob. Those bets cost me $180.



1 1 Not in Siberia (CA) Garcia M Ordonez A 12.90 7
2 2 Kim’s Leading Man (CA) Gonzalez A Abrams B 18.90 2
3 3 D’oro Dancer (KY) Baze T Walsh K 2.10 3
4 4 My Last Tycoon (NY) Espinoza V Stute M 10.60 4
6 5 Yvett’s Maar (NM) Medellin A Gonzalez S 45.90 9
7 6 Big Wags (ON) Bejarano R Glatt M 4.00 6
8 7 Spinco Bob (CA) Pedroza M Velasquez D 39.00 8
9 8 Titus Aurelius (IRE) Rosario J O’Neill D 1.70 1
10 9 Anga (CA) Berrio O Garcia V 20.30 5
SCR Brianville (CA) Santiago Reyes C O’Callaghan C
Pgm Win Place Show
9 $5.40 $3.60 $2.80
2 $9.80 $5.20
3 $3.60
Exotic Payoffs
$0.50 Pick 4 paid $337.30 (8-2/6-10-5/9)
$1.00 Consolation Pick 3 paid $12.50 (6-4/5-9)
$1.00 Exacta paid $36.60 (9-2)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $73.90 (6-10-9)
$1.00 Place Pick All paid $2633.10 (7 OF 8)
$1.00 Super High Five paid $2298.40 (9-2-3-4-10)
$1.00 Superfecta paid $559.00 (9-2-3-4)
$1.00 Trifecta paid $121.30 (9-2-3)
$2.00 Daily Double paid $24.00 (10-9)
$2.00 Pick 6 paid $138257.00 (8-3-8-2/6-10-5/9)
$2.00 Pick 6 paid $965.60 (8-3-8-2/6-10-5/9)
$2.00 Quinella paid $56.80 (2-9)

Results, Del Mar, Wednesday, Race 10 – no bets

Jockey Julio Garcia got #2 JJ Minister to come again in the stretch to nail#11 Certainly Certain by a head

In the write-up before this race, I said that the experienced runners starting in this event had not come within 10 Beyer Speed Figure points of the median number that wins at this class.

Therefore, I took a long look at the five first-time starters and was prepared to bet on four of them if I got the right odds. However, both #4 Tiger Trysts and #12 Celestic Night were scratched and neither #7 Proud Jenny, at 28/1, and #10 Jakesam, at 4/1, fell into my odds range of 10/1 to 19/1. My final possibility, #9 Elessar, was also scratched. I was at Del Mar for Opening Day, but saw the odds and did not stay for the 10th.

The race, however, turned out to be an exciting one. As the gates opened, #2 JJ Minister shot right for the lead on the inside. Nearing the turn, #6 Mandelieu cut JJ Minister’s two-length lead down to one. But jockey Julio Garcia kept hustling JJ Minister around the turn and, when the colt entered the stretch a bit wide, it enabled #11 Certainly Certain to catch up.

Certainly Certain had a half a length on JJ Minister at the eighth pole, but Garcia never quit and JJ Minister responded by coming again. He paid $44.60.

Because of the scratches and undesirable odds, I had no bets in this race.

2 1 J J Minister (CA) Garcia J Perez S 21.30 1
3 2 Unbridled Score (CA) Rivera C Stute M 32.60 8
5 3 Alex T (KY) Gonzalez A Bacorn H 35.40 7
6 4 Mandelieu (CA) Verenzuela J Polanco M 43.10 10
7 5 Proud Jenny (NM) Medellin A Gonzalez S 28.70 9
1 6 Grand Maneuver (KY) Pedroza M Velasquez D 2.80 6
8 7 Bigmikeistheman (FL) Smith M Fanning J 1.10 5
10 8 Jakesam (KY) Baze T Hollendorfer J 4.10 3
11 9 Certainly Certain (CA) Santiago Reyes C Solis W 8.70 2
1A 10 B. J.’s Hope (KY) Espinoza V Velasquez D 2.80 4
SCR Celestic Night (KY)    
SCR Liquid Asset (KY)    
SCR Elessar (KY)    
SCR Tiger Trysts (KY) Gryder A Kitchingman A
Pgm Win Place Show
2 $44.60 $22.20 $12.20
11 $9.40 $7.40
10 $5.00
Exotic Payoffs
$0.50 Pick 4 paid $850.35 (5/11-3-1/10-2)
$1.00 Exacta paid $189.70 (2-11)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $289.30 (3-10-2)
$1.00 Place Pick All paid $1943.80 (9 OF 10)
$1.00 Super High Five paid $5042.50 (2-11-10-1-8)
$1.00 Superfecta paid $3149.80 (2-11-10-1)
$1.00 Trifecta paid $1452.00 (2-11-10)
$2.00 Daily Double paid $236.20 (10-2)
$2.00 Pick 6 paid $324.20 (4-8-5/11-3-1/10-2)
$2.00 Quinella paid $128.40 (2-11)


P Val back in So. Cal, while Baze is out until Oak Tree

Pictured signing autographs on Opening Day, jockey Tyler Baze will miss the rest of the Del Mar meet because of facial fractures suffered when thrown from a horse on July 24.

Jockey Patrick Valenzuela will resume riding in Southern California on Wednesday. He has a mount aboard Warrensmysterydice in Del Mar's 6th.

Facial fractures may keep Baze out of saddle 3-to-8 weeks

Tyler Baze, who was hurt when his mount Night Justice reared at the gate July 24, remained at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla Sunday with orbital fractures around his eye and a broken nose.

Dr. Jeff Umansky, who worked on similar injures suffered by jockey Rafael Bejarano last July, said that Baze may need surgery after the swelling goes down, according to the BloodHorse.  When Night Justice reared, Baze’s face slammed into the back of the horse’s head and the horse stepped on Baze’s calf before running off.

Baze was taken by ambulance to the hospital on Saturday and after the races Bejarano came to support Baze.

“Rafael was holding Tyler’s hand and he had his other hand on Tyler’s forehead,” Baze’s agent Vic Stauffer told the BloodHorse. “When bleeding from Tyler’s broken nose would develop, Rafael would take a tissue and wipe it away. It was amazing; he got Tyler to become much more comfortable with the situation.”

Sunday, Race 4 Del Mar — 3:30 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Calif. maiden races

Maiden Special Weight, 2 yo fillies, 5-1/2 furlongs

Possible overlays                Morning line

#1 Retail                                  20/1
#2 Marishka Moon                      15/1
#3 Intentional                           12/1
#4 Romanette                            6/1
#5 Tell a Kelly                            12/1
#9 Pacific Pride                           7/2

Recently, a fair share of low-priced winners have come storming home in these 2-year-old maiden special weight races. And today might be no different, as #6 Dazzling Display, #7 Pedaltothemedal and #9 Pacific Pride all look strong.

However, some other productive connections are starting horses that will probably be overlooked by the betting public. Although most of his maiden success with first-time starters is in the claiming ranks, trainer Brian Koriner has popped a few in these classier races also. He saddles #3 Intentional, who shows some quick workouts and is an early foal.

The owners of #5 Tell a Kelly have a good record with their first timers, as does the filly’s trainer, John Sadler. Most of Sadler’s debut winners were ridden by top jockeys like Rafael Bejarano, Garrett Gomez and Joel Rosario but, percentage-wise, Sadler has done just as well with riders who have less of a following at the betting windows, such as Christian Santiago Reyes, Tyler Baze, Martin Pedroza and Martin Garcia.

So, having 8-percent rider Alsonso Quinonez aboard Tell a Kelly shouldn’t be seen as a drawback. However, being a May foal is a drawback, as anybody can testify who watched even money debuter Just Imagine hang in the stretch of Saturday’s seventh race.

At odds of 7/2 to 19/1, I will wager $200 on both #3 Intentional and #5 Tell a Kelly. If both International and Tell a Kelly fall between 8/1 and 19/1, then I also want $300 to win on #9 Pacific Pride at 7/2 to 9/1. If Pacific Pride’s post time odds are less than 7/2, then I will pull back the $300 and instead bet $200 to win on #4 Romanette at odds of 5/2 to 4/1 only.

Also, if either or both International and Tell a Kelly are 10/1 to 19/1 then I will key them for second in $25 exactas 6,7,9 with 3,5 and for third in $5 trifectas 6,7,9 with 4,6,7,9,3,5 with 3,5.

Lastly, I will put $100 to win on #2 Marishka Moon at 10/1 to 19/1 only.

Jockey Tyler Baze injured after being thrown from a horse

Jockey Tyler Baze was hurt Saturday after his mount reared up and tossed him off  just before the horses loaded into the gate for the fifth race at Del Mar.

Initial reports were that Baze had a badly swollen eye and a bruised calf, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

As the horses were waiting to be loaded, Night Justice reared up and dumped Baze. During the incident, Baze was head butted and the horse stepped on the jockey’s  calf before running off.

Saturday, Del Mar Race 7 — 5pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Calif. maiden races

Maiden Special Weight, 2 yo’s, 5-1/2 furlongs

Possible overlays                Morning line

#1 Red Sharp Humor                  8/1
#4 Rock So Hard                       5/1
#6 The Phenom                        9/2
#7 Prayer for Relief                   6/1
#8 Purgestein                          12/1
#9 Just Imagine                        7/2

Eight out of 10 of these horses are making their first lifetime starts. I plan to take good prices then let the chips fall where they may.

Most of this debuters have some good things to like, but almost all of them have drawbacks. Bob Baffert starts two colts in the race. Baffert has an outstanding record when using Martin Garcia on a horse making its first start, but #4 Rock So Hard is a May foal, while #7 Prayer for Relief — ridden by Martin Pedroza — was born in February.

Breaking from the rail, #1 Red Sharp Humor looks solid for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and he employs jockey Tyler Baze, who usually gets his maidens to the front early. Trainer John Sadler sends out #6 The Phenom, who has been fast in the morning. Sadler has done well with young Florida breds, but The Phenom is also May foal.

Finally, #8 Purgestein needs to be considered at what will probably be double digit odds, while the top team of owner Paul Reddam, trainer Doug O’Neill and jockey Joel Rosario might do it with #9 Just Imagine.

At 10/1 to 19/1, I will put $200 to win on #1 Red Sharp Humor and #8 Purgestein. Also, I want $300 to win on the higher odds of Florida breds #4 Rock So Hard and #6 The Phenom. Finally, if Baffert’s second horse, #7 Prayer for Relief, is 5/1 or higher, I’ll take $300 to win on him also.

Friday, Del Mar Race 8 — 7:30 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Calif. maiden races

Maiden 32k, 3-yo and up, 7 furlongs

Possible overlays                Morning line

#3 D’oro Dancer                         9/2
#7 Big Wags                              3/1
#8 Spinco Bob                           15/1

Besides having jockey Joel Rosario aboard, I can’t see why #9 Titus Aurelius is favored in the morning line over #3 D’oro Dancer. I guess the morning line maker believes that Doug O’Neill, who claimed the gelding on June 4, will combine with Rosario to work their magic.

But trainer Kathy Walsh is also very good, too. D’oro Dancer is dropping from maiden special weight and the 74 Beyer Speed Figure he earned in a May 2 route makes him a strong contender.

Rafael Bejarano rides #7 Big Wags and he should lead or be close to the front at the half mile mark. If D’oro Dancer doesn’t fire, this one might be tough to run down.

Finally, #8 Spinco Bob ran well going 1-1/16 miles on May 21 and he has the right running style for 7 furlongs. This longshot could blow up the trifecta.

I will spread my $1,000 out this way: At 5/2 or better, I want $650 to win on #3 D’oro Dancer.  If both D’oro Dancer is 7/2 or more and #7 Big Wags is 3/1 or better, then I will take $200 to win on Big Wags, also.

In the exotics, I want a $50 exacta box 3/7 and I will play #8 Spinco Bob in the secondary slots with $20 exactas 3,7/8 and $5 trifectas 3,7 with 3,7,9,2,4 with 8.

In Vegas, being hot is only fun at the gaming tables

Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers attended Del Mar's opening day with Kyler Boller of the Oakland Raiders and 2009 Miss California Carrie Prejean

It’s one trip that never disappoints. 

This time of year, the painful Las Vegas sun scorches any fool who dares venture from the 72-degree chilled air of the casino. Most organisms aren’t made to live in this overwhelming desert summer heat. 

That’s why the area surrounding Las Vegas looks like the surface of the moon: aside from a few cactuses and a lizard or two there’s nothing alive out there.  Only God knows how wild horses survive here. 

Certainly, human beings weren’t made for this. Our bodies are mostly composed of water.  We like drinking water, looking at water and submerging ourselves in it. A little humidity and a cool breeze is nice every now and then, too. 

Water makes us happy. Don’t you find it curious that people at the beach always seem so relaxed and good natured, while the residents of  the desert climates of the warring Middle East are often angry and downright hostile? 

Even if Del Mar’s Opener wasn’t one of the best days of the year at any track in America, all arrows were pointing to San Diego for me last Tuesday.  Walking the aisles at a Las Vegas-area Costco, I found $100 coupons for sale at the Hyatt Marina Bay that Costco was selling for $80. And when I booked the room on Costco online, they knocked off another 10 percent and threw in a $25 gift certificate upon arrival. So, this $200-a-night room – right on breezy, 65-degree San Diego Bay – ended up costing just slightly more than the La Quinta Inn built under the screaming, soot-spewing jet engines swooping down at LAX. 

I rented a car – not that my 2002 Acura wouldn’t make it or anything — but if a car depreciates by mileage, then why not put the miles on the one Enterprise owns and not mine? Then I pointed the vehicle toward Del Mar and pulled away, noticing that my car’s temperature gauge read 113-degrees. 

As I drove through State Line, it was baking.  And in Baker, it was roasting. By the time I hit Barstow, I was cooked. 

But gradually, after I passed San Bernardino the temps started to cool down and when I finally got to San Diego five hours later, it was all worthwhile. I was greeted with a cool breeze of heavy, oxygen-rich humid sea air, chilled down to 65 degrees. 

Go ahead, take a deep breath near the ocean in San Diego and you’ll feel like you can run a 26-mile marathon or fight for the Heavyweight Championship of the World. In Las Vegas, you take that same deep breath, and all you do is cough up desert dust or get a mouthful of  second-hand cigar smoke. 

Before going to Del Mar’s Opening Day, I worked up a sweat by running a few miles through the misty Mission Beach air, then I dove into the frosty Pacific Ocean. Ahhhhh. 

When I got to Del Mar, things just got better. I was allowed to go into the paddock area where former movie stars like Bo Derek were chatting with owners and race fans. While in the winner’s circle, a young woman who was Miss California 2009, was with two NFL quarterbacks. 

Bo Derek was named to the California Horse Racing Board in 2008

Horse racing’s own celebrity of sorts — trainer Bob Baffert — seemed to be everywhere. But mostly he stood not too far from the saddling area, eyeballing his Thoroughbreds while entertaining the partners in the expensive animals that he likely persuaded the men to buy.  

Looking around, a record-setting crowd of 45,000 showed up. And everybody seemed to be dressed up and wound up. As the gates shot open for the first race, the customary huge Opening Day cheer went up from the overflowing grandstand. 

And in the second race, the same thing happened. Only fewer people cheered. But then somebody must have said something because the third race went off without much fanfare. 

As the day went on, drinkers sipped their cocktails, TV personalities interviewed trainers and jockeys, and others just soaked in the tremendous atmosphere. 

Yeah, Del Mar, California. This is the kind of place where human beings thrive. 

TVG's Christina Olivares interviews Bob Baffert after Go On Babe dead heated to win the 7th

Two reasons to smile

Jockey Christian Santiago Reyes poses with two women at Del Mar

Irish Carl O’Callaghan saddles up Leaving New York

Trainer Carl O'Callaghan performs final preparations before Del Mar's 9th

Plenty of peacocking at Del Mar

Simon, Ron and Todd doing their thing

The TVG crew was broadcasting just outside the paddock on Wednesday

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