Early Del Mar trends are crystalizing and although just a few days result is not a body of evidence, it can give the player a map to the future.
Opening day, essentially the early Del Mar Daily Double, was an education about how good a trainer Vladimir Cerin has proven to be over the decades. He had Our Nation entered in the first race for his longtime clients Holly and David Wilson and since the whole thing about Del Mar is winning, he dropped the runner into a super good spot. It was the softest spot of Our Nation’s career in a $16,000 claimer and the runner earned $18,000 for the win as the 3-1 third choice in the race.
Cerin showed his versatility in the very next race with Gemologist, who had not raced since beating only one home in May. The gelding is also owned by the Wilsons and the runner settled far back and reeled them all in as the longest shot on the tote board.
The first race was won on the lead and Gemologist and the third race winner Cheekaboomboom came from dead last. The third race was on the grass and it was the first turf race of the meeting. Traditionally, the grass course at Del Mar will play heavy and favor closers early in the meet but then, when the grass gets packed down, the speed will become potent.
The fourth race opening day was won by jockey Flavien Prat, for this third win of the day. The Simon Callaghan runner Classy Tune was a head off the lead early, took over as they went a half mile and won just holding it together.
Bob Baffert had Just a Smidge set for her debut in the next race. She was the 2-1 favorite and sat an ideal two-hole trip to win in game style.
Moonless Sky was favored on grass in the next race but she was caught wide early and never really recovered. Shehastheritestuff was second to last early under Rafael Bejarano and then exploded in the stretch to go from eighth to first. She won at 11-1 and keyed a $4,700 $1 superfecta.
Speed was again prominent in the next race. Gato Del Oro chased the leader early, took over turning for home and just had enough in the tank to win the mile race on dirt.
Yet again, closers dominated on grass in the $120,000 Oceanside Stakes. The early Del Mar trends were in full force as the leaders in this race, Allaboutmike, My Man Chuckles and Rockin Ruby finished 10th, 11th and 6th respectively. The winner Bowies Hero was a deserving victor. Trained by Phil D’Amato, this is a legit turf star in the making.
Tactical speed was prominent in the ninth race and the speed horse Preacher Roe almost held on for the win in the nightcap. The runner fought back after leading the entire race and was nailed on the wire by Shackleford Banks.
All in all, speed was good on the dirt and closers were the order of the day on grass.
The early Del Mar trends of the second day started with Joe Talamo. The solid jockey was aggressive in the first race with Frac Candy sending the gelding to the lead. The runner made every pole a winning one for trainer Bill Spawr, who has had some sensational meetings over the decades at Del Mar.
Talamo used patience winning the second race and he sat a preferred three-hole trip to win with Room on the Broom.
The third race was the first turf race of the meeting that went to a speed horse. Easy Song was coming off a third at Santa Anita but she graduated in fine style for Harris Farms.
Speed and chalk worked in the next race as Gummy earned his diploma as the betting favorite.
The fifth race was a $32,000 claimer for turf runners and again closers prevailed. County Lineman was the tepid chalk and he chased between horses early, raced four wide and prevailed under urging from jockey Santiago Gonzalez. Once again, Cerin popped again and the Wilsons were again celebrating at dinner.
Speed on dirt was prominent in the next race but long-fused closers won the seventh race, a five and a half furlong turf sprint for $62,500 optional claimers. Trainer James Cassidy, who can pop at a price at times, saddled the winner Snow Cloud and the mare paid nearly $26.
The shortest way around the track is from the rail and Midnight Summer proved to be Cinderella in the next race. She won a speed duel and just kept on going to end the racing action.
Once again, racers on dirt wanted to be closer up and closers were all the talk on grass solidifying the early Del Mar trends.
On Saturday, the racing gods flipped the script. Closers won the early Del Mar Daily Double but things were restored to normal in the third when An Ocala Ten took them all the way on the lead to graduate on dirt.
The leader of the Grade 2 Eddie Read Stakes struggled a bit in the next race and it left the door open for Hunt, who sat about a length and a half off the leaders early by rallied in time to win by a length.
Positional speed proved the right strategy for Trapalanda in the next race and then the early Del Mar trends on grass reappeared. Sorry Erik was trying to beat winners for the first time in the sixth race and he was patiently guided by Kent Desormeaux. He allowed Sorry Erik to settle in seventh and then ignite to get up by a head.
Dirt speed scored in the next race and Girl Downstairs sat about two lengths off the pace on the grass in the next event but slipped through late to get up in time.
The main race of the Saturday program was the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap. It was supposed to be a walk in the park for Arrogate but in the end, that is why they run races.
Arrogate tasted defeat for only the second time in the San Diego Handicap as early Del Mar trends of speed on dirt prevail. Accelerate was pushed along early and just never gave up the ghost. By the time they got to the top of the stretch, Accelerate was seven lengths in front and he extended from there.
Arrogate was the prohibitive chalk. He went out at five cents to the dollar and was not able to run in the money. When a heavy favorite like this runs out of the money, all hell breaks loose on the tote board.
Accelerate was the second choice in the wagering at 7-1. He paid $17.60 but because of all the money bet on Arrogate, Accelerate paid $32.60 to place and $22 to show. It even got better for the second finisher Donworth. That runner was the fourth choice in the wagering but paid a whopping $119.80 to place and $67.40 to show. Cat Burglar took third and paid $38.20.
The early Del Mar trends figure to stay intact for a good portion of the meeting but bettors have to pay strict attention. Because of the proximity to the ocean, early Del Mar trends can change at the drop of a hat.
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- Early Del Mar Trends Crystalizing - July 24, 2017
- San Diego Handicap Entices Half Dozen - July 21, 2017
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