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.

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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.

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