Friday, Del Mar Race 6 — 6 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Cal. maiden races

Maiden claiming $25,000, 5-1/2 furlongs, 3 yos and up

Possible overlays                         Morning line

#4 Night Justice                                    6/1
#5 Harlan’s Tune                                   6/1
#6 Salah Salah                                      9/2
#9 Syllabus                                           4/1

The likely favorite #7 Looking for Candy has been laid off since November 2009. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, this colt followed a 69 Beyer Speed Figure with a 71 in his only two races, which were both against maiden special weight foes.

If Looking for Candy was healthy then his development from a 2-year-old to a 3-year-old would probably mean that he could run an 80 speed figure. And that number would make him competitive in $40,000 and higher maiden claiming races where the median Beyer Speed Figure is 81.

So, I am going to take the view that Looking for Candy still has some problems and this horse’s low price means no value.

However, in #6 Salah Salah’s two races he’s chased legitimate speedballs and is now dropping in class. Speed is king at 5-1/2 furlongs and Salah Salah should have enough early gas to make him a contender at what looks to be a decent price.

Brian Koriner trains #5 Harlan’s Tune, a first-time gelding who last raced in March. Records show that Koriner does well getting his older maiden sprinters to run well after being away from the races for a substantial amount of time. In August 2009, Harlan’s Tune led 9 rivals for a half mile before tiring while sprinting in an $85,000 claimer. Harlan’s Tune projects to have early speed equal to Salah Salah, so he also must be considered. 

Breaking just inside of Harlan’s Tune will be #4 Night Justice, who was bet to 9-2 during his August 1 debut. In that race, Night Justice was squeezed at the start then was boxed in until the top of the lane. Jockey Pat Valenzuela eased him in the stretch, but this gelding had a strong 5-furlong workout on Aug. 14 and trainer Peter Miller frequently wins with second timers.

Finally, trainer Clifford Sise has an excellent record with maiden claimers in their first lifetime starts. Sise, who sends out #9 Syllabus today, has a record of success with this move with both the owner, Martin Wygod, and jockey, Joel Rosario.

At odds of 3-1 or more, I will bet $500 on both #9 Syllabus and #6 Salah Salah.

If the odds on either Syllabus or Salah Salah are too low, then I will not bet that horse and instead substitute $300 to win on #5 Harlan’s Tune at 3-1 or more.


Results: Lost $1,000 by putting $500 each on #6 Salah Salah at 7-1 and #9 Syllabus at 4-1.


1 1 Single Shot (CA) Valdez F Bonde J 6.90 2
3 2 El Navigante (CA) Garcia M Soto A 58.20 9
4 3 Night Justice (CA) Valenzuela P Miller P 10.90 6
5 4 Harlan’s Tune (KY) Pedroza M Koriner B 15.60 4
6 5 Salah Salah (CA) Flores D Solis W 7.30 5
7 6 Looking for Candy (KY) Bejarano R Hollendorfer J 1.00 1
8 7 Minister Machine (CA) Medellin A Saavedra A 52.30 8
9 8 Syllabus (CA) Rosario J Sise, Jr. C 4.10 3
10 9 Sea Viper (CA) Gihua J Periban J 11.00 7
SCR Hostile Waters (CA) Velazquez J Waterman S
Pgm Win Place Show
7 $4.00 $3.00 $2.40
1 $5.80 $3.80
9 $3.60
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $10.30 (7-1)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $279.30 (6-9-7)
$1.00 Superfecta paid $249.30 (7-1-9-5)

Friday, Del Mar Race 4 — 5:30 pm post time

Maiden King conquers So. Calif. maiden races

Maiden claming $40K, Cal-bred 2-yo F, 5-1/2 furlongs

Possible overlays                        Morning line

#2 She’sawontontomato                 9/2
#4 Yellow Slicker                                7/2
#7 Lola’s Lollipop                                 8/1
#12 Love At the Bay                          6/1

I like quite a few things about first-time starter #4 Yellow Slicker. This filly’s sire, Bertrando, has won with 9 of 36 of his recent 2-yo and 3-yo debuting So. Cal. progeny when their odds were less than 20-1. A $1 wager on all would have yielded a $2.06 return.

Yellow Slicker’s trainer is also top-notch with young horses running for the first time. John Sadler won with 11 of 38 of his recent 2-yo and 3-yo debuters when odds were between 2-1 and 9-1 for a $1.69 return on $1. Yellow Slicker’s slow workouts don’t bother me either because seven of Sadler’s maiden claiming debuters have had slow drills and three of them won regardless. Even owner Martin Wygod and jockey Joel Rosario have good records in this situation. 

But there is more to like in this race than just Yellow Slicker.

Bertrando is also the sire of #7 Lola’s Lollipop, who worked out fast at Santa Anita earlier this summer before coming to Del Mar. Trainer Blake Heap has done well with the few So. Cal. first-time starters that he’s run in recent years – but he is no John Sadler.

Patrick Valenzuela will ride #10 Alevei for Art Sherman. But this one has been working out at Pleasanton and I prefer horses that are stationed at Del Mar.

In the far outside post, #12 Love At the Bay was bet to 8-1 in her July 17 debut, but showed little. She worked out fast over the Del Mar Polytrack on Aug. 6, is adding blinkers, dropping in class and upgrading riders. This is a horse that can surprise.

Finally, early speed is dominant in these short sprints so #2 She’sawontontomato has to be respected. This Lewis Cenicola-trainee doesn’t have the greatest early gas I’ve ever seen, but she is only a step or two behind recent wire-to-wire winner Faisca.

Can leading jockey Joel Rosario get the job done on FTS #4 Yellow Slicker?

At odds of 5-2 to 9-1, I’ll put $300 to win on #4 Yellow Slicker and at 7-2 to 19-1, I’ll put $200 to win on #12 Love At the Bay. If Yellow Slicker is 2-1 or less, I’ll move the $300 wager win wager from her to #2 She’sawontontomato at 3-1 or higher.

Also, I want $50 exactas 2 with 4,7,12; 4 with 7,12; and 12 with 4,7. And I’ll take $35 exactas 7 with 4,12.

Although She’sawontontomato has a good chance of winning, her chances for finishing second are slimmer. So I will play her for second in the exacta at a reduced wager: $25 exactas — 4,7,12 with 2.


Results: In the stretch it looked like #12 Love at the Bay was the winner, but she took a bad step and broke down. I bet $300 on eventual race winner #4 Yellow Slicker and made a profit of $705 after subtracting out my exotic wagers that did not connect.


1 1 Elegant Strides (CA) John K Locke T 85.10 9
2 2 She’sawontontomato (CA) Pedroza M Cenicola L 3.70 3
4 3 Yellow Slicker (CA) Rosario J Sadler J 4.00 1
5 4 Warren’s Lover (CA) Bejarano R Gutierrez J 4.80 2
6 5 Good Acktress (CA) Medina L Harrington M 22.30 4
7 6 Lola’s Lollipop (CA) Verenzuela J Heap B 19.40 7
8 7 One More Palo (CA) Quinonez A Gonzalez S 64.30 8
9 8 Freewayracer (CA) Santiago Reyes C Moreno H 63.40 6
10 9 Alevei (CA) Valenzuela P Sherman A 6.10 5
11 10 Cosafina Carina (CA) Valdez F Moger, Jr. E 28.10 10
12 11 Love At the Bay (CA) Espinoza V Becerra R 2.40 11
SCR Secret Althea (CA)    
Pgm Win Place Show
4 $10.00 $5.20 $3.80
5 $5.20 $3.40
2 $3.60
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $18.70 (4-5)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $122.40 (3-10-4)
$1.00 Superfecta paid $380.70 (4-5-2-6)
$1.00 Trifecta paid $45.30 (4-5-2)
$2.00 Daily Double paid $79.20 (10-4)
$2.00 Quinella paid $18.80 (4-5)

Results, Sunday Del Mar Race 3 – lost $1,000

Riding for trainer Marty Jones, jockey Joel Rosario took #3 Hugs to All wire-to-wire.

Well, everything in this race was pointing to #9 Breakmark. He was a second-time starter dropping in class after a long layoff.

This type of horse has been very good to me in the past. In fact, of the last 20 of these types that were less than 8/1, 14 were winners.

Also, the colt’s owner, Martin Wygod is scheduled to sell 110 of his horses at a special Barrett’s Equine Ltd. sale on Oct. 12. So, why would he care if Benchmark got claimed? 

Everything was a go. Except nobody told the horse.

Benchmark broke slowly from the far outside. He showed a little run on the backstretch, then he faded to last in the stretch as the 5/2 favorite.

But for Wygod, there was at least some good news. After the race, it was announced that Benchmark was claimed by owner-trainer Steve Knapp for $40,000.

Meanwhile, a horse can’t win the race if he never gets the lead. Knowing this, jockey Joel Rosario went right to the front with the gray #3 Hugs to All. Rosario slowed the pace down just enough to allow this Harris Farms front runner to have something left for the drive.

Hugs to All held off #5 Fortunate Appeal by a neck and paid $7.80.

I wagered $1,000 on #9 Benchmark.

1 1 It’s Not Unusual (CA) Bejarano R O’Neill D 9.10 4
2 2 Melo Laser (CA) Espinoza V Herrick J 31.10 3
3 3 Hugs to All (CA) Rosario J Jones M 2.90 1
4 4 Salah Salah (CA) Flores D Solis W 6.10 5
5 5 Fortunate Appeal (CA) Pedroza M Machowsky M 2.90 2
6 6 Sea Viper (CA) Santiago Reyes C Periban J 12.10 8
7 7 Romeo Royale (CA) Nakatani C Abrams B 32.10 6
8 8 Jump On Board (CA) Quinonez A Capestro P 51.30 7
9 9 Breakmark (CA) Valenzuela P Shirreffs J 2.50 9
Pgm Win Place Show
3 $7.80 $3.80 $2.80
5 $3.60 $2.80
2 $6.80
Exotic Payoffs
$1.00 Exacta paid $13.50 (3-5)
$1.00 Pick 3 paid $16.80 (3-3-3)
$1.00 Superfecta paid $1081.70 (3-5-2-1)

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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