Stormy Liberal Headlines Strong Group in Friday's Green Flash Handicap at Del Mar
Understandably the Green Flash Handicap will not get the attention that the graded stakes races will receive on Pacific Classic Day at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, but the five-furlong event over the sod drew an extremely strong group of turf sprinters for the Friday twilight feature.
The field is led by the top two finishers in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) over this course.
#2 Stormy Liberal makes his second start of the form cycle after a better than looks nose victory in a high-level optional claimer late last month. The six-year-old son of Stormy Atlantic sat a couple lengths off of #3 Tribalist in the early going and got the best of him late, but what was most noteworthy was the confidence jockey Drayden Van Dyke showed in the lane. He hardly asked the 9-time winner and still got the job done. The Rockingham Ranch runner should move forward off of the 99 BRIS speed rating he put forth on July 25th, which makes him the one to beat. However, there are others that will offer better value.
#1 Richard’s Boy missed by a head in last year’s Breeders’ Cup and makes his first start since a sixth-place finish in the Grade 1 Al Quoz Sprint (G1) at Meydan on March 31st. He has never finished worse than third in five career starts over this turf course, but he was 0 for 4 in 2018 before heading to the sidelines. The rail draw and the time off make him worth taking a stand against, but he certainly has every right to hit the board as the second half of the uncoupled entry.
Tribalist ran huge in his first start off the bench for trainer Blake Heap, but still was unable to get the best of Stormy Liberal. The seven-year-old gelding was a perfect 3 for 3 over this course before his last try and ran huge in defeat making him impossible to ignore. However, he is unlikely to have things as easy as he did on July 25th given the presence of others that are likely to be prominently placed in the early going. He will need to avoid regression off of a career best 99 BRIS speed figure to earn his fifth lifetime score.
#7 Pee Wee Reese went off the 2-1-favorite in the California Dreamin’ Stakes on July 28th and led most of the way before tiring late to finish seventh beaten 5 ¼ lengths. That race came at a mile and a sixteenth though, so it is easy to toss as the son of Tribal Rule cuts back to a sprint for trainer . The Cal-bred won his only start going five panels over this course and has a huge shot if jockey Joe Talamo can relax him off the early pace. The outside draw should help his cause, especially since the temporary rails will be down on Friday. I am expecting a huge effort from the Nick Alexander homebred.
D'Amato also sends out #4 Touching Rainbows. The son of Aragorn rattled off four consecutive victories dating back to last August over the main track, but was a disappointing seventh in the San Carlos (G2.) The five-year-old gelding followed that up with a third-place finish in the Bing Crosby (G1) on July 28th. On a quick glance over his past performances his 0 for 3 record over the lawn is discouraging, but those starts all came before he made a huge move forward for his new barn. If overlooked in the wagering he could be worth using underneath in the exotics at the very least.
#5 Right Hand Man, #6 The Rule of King’s and #8 Candy Crew all appear overmatched.
$20 Win 7
$2 Exacta Wheel
7 with 2+3+4 = $6