Del Mar: How to bet the Eddie Read

Profile Picture: Keeler Johnson

July 25th, 2020

If it seems like California’s best turf horses take turns beating each other all year long, it’s because that’s pretty much what they do.

The horses entered in Sunday’s 1 1/8-mile Eddie Read (G2) at Del Mar are classy runners but infrequent winners. Six of the seven are graded stakes winners, including #1 Bowies Hero (defending winner of the Eddie Read) and #7 United (runner-up by a head in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Turf), but only United has managed to string consecutive victories together during the last year.

United figures to start as the favorite, after he kicked off 2020 with victories in the San Marcos (G2) and Charles Whittingham (G2) racing 1 1/4 miles at Santa Anita.

But United has done all his best running over extended distances, which raises a new question. Can he cut back to 1 1/8 miles and keep his win streak alive?

It’s possible, especially with high-percentage jockey Flavien Prat (a 27% winner on turf) in the saddle. United rallied to win a 1 1/8-mile allowance at Del Mar last summer, which shows he can handle this course and distance. But the Eddie Read is a tougher spot, and if United starts at a short price, is he really worth playing on top in this competitive field?

Acknowledging the unpredictable nature of California turf racing, I’m going to play outside the box with #2 Originaire, the only horse in the Eddie Read who has yet to win a graded stakes. An Irish-bred son of Group 1-winning sprinter/miler Zoffany, Originaire showed an affinity for the Del Mar turf course last summer, when he rallied to win a 1 1/16-mile allowance and charged hard to finish second by a neck in the 1 1/8-mile Del Mar Derby (G2).

Even better, Originaire has taken a clear step forward in 2020. Two starts back, he unleashed a powerful finish to dominate a 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita allowance by 5 1/4 lengths, in the snappy time of 1:46.45. And on May 23, Originaire finished just a half-length behind United in the Whittingham, even though he was bumped around in traffic down the homestretch.

Jockey Umberto Rispoli has been hot at Del Mar this summer, going 7-for-21 (33%) to start the meet. Drawing post 2 should allow Originaire to save ground, and with a clean run, he can spring a surprise against his more accomplished rivals.

Let’s bet Originaire to win and play him on top of United and Bowies Hero in the exacta.

$20 to win on #2 Originaire
$5 exacta: 2 with 1,7

Good luck!