Del Mar: The best way to bet the San Clemente

Profile Picture: Keeler Johnson

July 24th, 2020

Saturday’s San Clemente (G2) at Del Mar is shaping up to be a classic East-versus-West battle, and while the West Coast participants hold a home-court advantage, my money will be riding on an East Coast raider.

Held over a mile on turf, the San Clemente has attracted 11 sophomore fillies to the fray, and the vast majority are based in California. This includes morning-line favorite #3 Laura’s Light (3-1), who has used her tactical speed to claim victories in the Blue Norther S., Sweet Life (G3), and Honeymoon (G3) over the Santa Anita turf course.

With major wins over distances ranging from 5 1/2 furlongs to 1 1/8 miles, Laura’s Light has proven herself to be a versatile competitor for trainer Peter Miller, who has gone 4-for-15 (27%) to start the Del Mar meet. She would be a straightforward pick to win, if not for the presence of #6 Cheermeister (6-1), a daughter of Bodemeister who is shipping in from Gulfstream Park in Florida.

Like Laura’s Light, Cheermeister is a three-time stakes winner with frontrunning speed. During the winter, Cheermeister used her tactical foot to win the 1-mile Sweetest Chant (G3) and 1 1/16-mile Herecomesthebride (G3) in gate-to-wire fashion and counts Grade 1 winner Abscond and two-time stakes winner Micheline among her beaten rivals.

Cheermeister gave dirt a try in the May 15 Hollywood Wildcat S., but seemed to express a clear disdain for the surface and faded to finish last. Returning to turf should trigger a rebound, and I am optimistic she will find the competition easier in the San Clemente. I prefer betting East Coast turf horses in matchups with their West Coast counterparts, because they generally hold a class advantage. With this in mind, Cheermeister at 6-1 strikes me as a terrific value play.

Cheermeister and Laura’s Light are the only clear speed horses in the San Clemente, so there’s a chance they’ll run 1-2 all the way around the course. We’ll play the race accordingly.

$20 to win on #6 Cheermeister
$10 exacta: 6 with 3
Total: $30

Good luck!