The first Saturday afternoon late Pick 4 of the 2018 Del Mar summer meeting is a good one.
The four-race sequence that commences in Race 7 and concludes with the finale in Race 10 gets rolling with the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap followed by an extremely competitive rendition of the Grade 2 San Clemente. Here are my thoughts:
Race 7: San Diego Handicap
The prep for the one-million-dollar Pacific Classic gets things rolling. The mile and a sixteenth event over the main track drew a field of ten led by #7 Accelerate. The son of Lookin At Lucky has not been seen since a four and a quarter length victory in the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita in late May. The Hronis Racing runner has run some of his best races over the Del Mar main track and appears to be doing as well as ever based on three straight 106+ BRIS speed ratings dating back to a dominant five and a half-length score in the “Big Cap” in March.
I have no desire to try to beat Accelerate on Saturday. I will single the likely heavy favorite on both tickets.
Race 8: San Clemente
The $200,000 turf event for three-year-old fillies almost always attracts a strong field and this year is no exception. There appears to be quite a bit of speed signed on in this one-mile affair, so finding fillies that can relax off the pace seems like the way to go.
#1 Rockin Ready has performed well in all five starts for trainer Phil D’Amato. The $280,000 OBS March 2017 purchase has raced at both one and two turns, but her best effort came two-back when she sat a few lengths off the early pace in a race at this distance at Santa Anita. She had plenty left late that day earning a 95 BRIS speed rating in her maiden breaking score. If jockey Joe Talamo can relax the daughter of More Than Ready early and avoid traffic along the rail she has as a significant shot to best this group.
Trainer Richard Baltas has won the last two renditions of the San Clemente with Madam Dancealot and Mokat and he brings #2 Ms Bad Behavior into the race having won 3 of 8, including a victory in the China Doll Stakes at Santa Anita on March 10th. I am slightly concerned that she may get caught up in an early tussle, but if anyone can relax her it is jockey Kent Desormeaux. She is an obvious major player.
Baltas also sends out #3 Flammetta and #5 Dulce Ride. Both have appeal because they have illustrated an ability to relax early. However, their best efforts have come down the hillside course, which certainly requires more stamina than a traditional turf sprint, but still can play significantly different than a one mile affair.
#9 West Palm Beach failed to hit the board as the 3 to 5-favorite in the Grade 3 Senorita, but showed a strong turn of foot when rallying from last to first in her Stateside debut in March. If the race collapses late, this daughter of Scat Daddy could be the one to take advantage.
This five-furlong dash for two-year-olds has plenty of young males that appear to have a bright future. Jerry Hollendorfer and Doug O’Neill both got off to tremendous starts to the meet on Opening Day and each have a pair of colts that sold for six figures. #10 Rowayton is the likeliest winner of the bunch, but I will use both from these barns, as well as #3 Frosted Grace for former John Brocklebank assistant Luis Mendez.
The sequence and the Saturday afternoon card concludes with a mile and a sixteenth turf event for fillies and mares three-years-old and upward. #1 Dearborn is an intriguing daughter of Malibu Moon on the stretch out to two turns for trainer Tom Proctor. The Glen Hill Farm filly did not take any support at the windows in her debut at Belmont Park, but it was likely a prep for this two-turn affair where the connections will get an extra 30% bonus on top of the purse money with Del Mar’s attractive “Ship and Win” program.
Of those with more experience, #8 Camino Song and #9 Innocent are in with significant chances and worth inclusion.
Ticket 1: ($1 Pick 4)
Race 7: 7
Race 8: 1+2+3+6+9
Race 9: 3+4+8+9+10
Race 10: 1
Ticket Cost: $25
Ticket 2: ($1 Pick 4)
Race 7: 7
Race 8: 1+2
Race 9: 3+4+8+9+10
Race 10: 1+8+9
Ticket Cost: $30