The Player's Edge - August 30th: Del Mar & Woodbine
Del Mar - Del Mar Debutante
Del Mar - Del Mar Derby 1st Div
Del Mar - Del Mar Derby 2nd Div
Woodbine - Seaway Stakes
Del Mar - Del Mar Debutante Awesome Baby Draws the Rail
The feature race on Saturday at Del Mar is the 63rd running of the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante for two-year-old fillies with Awesome Baby the 5-2 morning line favorite and one to beat.
Awesome Baby was bet down to 4-5 in her debut and ran to those odds, drawing off to win by a widening four and three-quarter lengths. The daughter of Awesome Again has come back to work three times including a bullet six furlong drill over the track on Sunday. The only concern for her is the rail.
Awesome Baby is trained by Bob Baffert and Baffert holds several aces in the including Fascinating and Secret Compass.
Fascinating is just that in the Del Mar Debutante, fascinating. By Smart Strike, Fascinating cost a cool $1.3-million as a yearling last September, possibly because she is a half sister to Grade 1 winner Bodemeister. Fascinating is winless in her two career starts, but projects to be much better as the races get longer. The regular pilot of Bodemeister, Mike Smith, has the call.
Secret Compass was bet down to favoritism in her debut, but was off slow and never got involved. Baffert brought her to Del Mar and she responded with a three-quarter length win in late July. The combined sales prices for the Baffert horses, $1.945-million.
The most accomplished runner in the field is the Doug O'Neill trained Concave, who is two-for-two in her career and is coming off a win in the Grade 2 Sorrento. In the Sorrento Concave won by a half length over She's a Tiger, who won the Landaluce at Hollywood Park in July and is also in the Debutante. Blinkers go on She's a Tiger with Gary Stevens in the irons.
Concave is owned by Reddam Racing LLC, who also has Sprouts, the Edward Freeman trained filly that has won her last three starts, two of them in stake races. Sprouts has been visually fast in her career, but three of her four starts were against state-breds. Her class level will be determined on Saturday.
The final two fillies in the race are Bajan and Southern Sunshine, the two coming out of a race with Bajan getting the better of Southern Sunshine. The margin of victory? A nose. Southern Sunshine cost $340,000 as a two-year-old this past March while Bajan cost $80,000, both out of the OBS March sale. The two look to have bright futures, but may be up against it in the Debutante.
If Awesome Baby runs back to her maiden race, all of the other fillies are going to be up against it.
First post on Saturday where the turf meets the surf is 5:05 pm ET with the Debutante scheduled to break from the gate at 9:10.
Del Mar - Del Mar Derby First Division
The Sunday feature at Del Mar drew such a overflow of horses that the racing secretary had no choice but to split the field into two and that is exactly what he did. The first division of the Grade 2 race goes as race six and drew a field of 10 with two on the also-eligible list.
The morning line favorite for the race is Gervinho, winner of one of the divisions of the Oceanside stakes on opening day. The Unusual Heat colt has won three of his five career starts with one second and one fifth place finish, which was in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf. A solid favorite with no knocks against.
The second choice on the line and perhaps the one to back is Gabriel Charles, who was second in the other division of the Oceanside. Gabriel Charles was off from December to July, but the way he rallied in the stretch, it was not the long layoff that lost him the race. Rising Legend, the race winner, got the jump on Gabriel Charles and the wire came up just in time.
Rising Legend is also entered in this race and the British-bred son of Rock of Gibraltar has never finished out of the money; three wins, two seconds and two thirds in eight career starts. He won a couple of good races last year in England and came over to be a good second in the Grade 3 Generous last November. Trainer John Sadler gave him time off after that race until the Oceanside and Rising Legend responded well. He will be running at the end and is a must use, especially at 9-2 on the line.
The pace of the Oceanside with Rising Legend and Gabriel Charles was a full second slower at the half than the race won by Gervinho and even though the final times were the same, give preference to Rising Legend and Gabriel Charles as they were up against the pace, which they won't have to worry about on Sunday.
Redwood Kitten has been first after four furlongs in seven of his 10 career starts. One of the other three times was in a four and one-half furlong sprint and the other two times he was two and one-half lengths back and a half-length back. The Kitten's Joy gelding is fast and only knows one way to go, come and catch him.
The same can be said about Chief Havoc, the three-year-old by Giant's Causeway who is dropping back down to face his own age group after finishing fourth behind Kettle Corn and Paynter in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap. No disgrace with that finish and from the outside post expect jockey Garrett Gomez to send early. If any horse has a chance to wire this group, it's Chief Havoc.
Of the remaining horses in the field, Say Ow, Si Sage and Outside Nashville all look like deserved long shots, but Procurement and Pure Loyalty could hit the board. Procurement ships back west after two graded races at Arlington Park with Pure Loyalty coming out of a three-quarter length defeat in the Grade 2 La Jolla over the Del Mar turf three weeks ago.
This is one great edition of the Del Mar Derby, but it gets better.
Post time for the first division of the race is 7:30 pm ET.
Del Mar - Del Mar Derby Second Division
The second division of the Del Mar Derby also drew a field of 10 with two on the also-eligible list with nine of the 12 between 7-2 and 8-1 on the morning line. The favorite is the Team Valor International owned Infinite Magic.
Infinite Magic came over the U.S. in mid-April with eyes on the Belmont Stakes, but after an allowance win the More Than Ready colt finished last, beaten 32 lengths, in the Grade 2 Peter Pan. It was time to regroup so the connections put him in the Grade 3 Hill Prince on the turf at Belmont Park.
Things did not go as planned in the Hill Prince, but no worries, Infinite Magic was entered in the Grade 3 American Derby at Arlington Park and he responded with a head victory over Admiral Kitten, who came back to win the Grade 1 Secretariat earlier this month. Procurement was fourth in the American Derby so a good showing by him would boost the chances of Infinite Magic.
Infinite Magic is part-owned by pro football Hall-of-Famer Marshall Faulk and he will need his running shoes on Sunday. Infinite Magic was 12-1 in the American Derby and is now 7-2. Seems like a perfect bet against.
Dice Flavor is the second choice at 9-2 off of his half-length victory in the Grade 2 La Jolla Handicap three weeks ago. Again trainer Paddy Gallagher has called on the services of jockey Garrett Gomez, who will be motoring late. Unfortunately the pace for this race does not look as fast as it was for the La Jolla.
Next on the morning line at either 6-1 or 8-1 are Play It Loud, Den's Legacy, General Election, Dry Summer, Kid Dreams and Dorsett.
Play It Loud was second in the Grade 3 Hill Prince, beaten just a neck, to Notacatbutallama, who is a stakes winner in New York, then was seventh as the favorite in the Sir Cat Stakes at Saratoga last month. Now in the barn of Jeff Mullins, Play It Loud has been stabled at Del Mar for the majority of August.
Den's Legacy has made almost $500,000 in his 15 race career, but he has two wins so it's best to use him underneath. The Medaglia d'Oro colt was second in the La Jolla, when he was caught at the wire late.
General Election won the Grade 3 Arlington Classic before finishing seventh in the American Derby. The Harlan's Holiday colt is likely to get overlooked in the wagering, but do not dismiss him at a price. Jockey Julien Leparoux is riding lights out during the current meet, especially on the grass.
Dry Summer was fourth in the La Jolla and will need another move forward in the Del Mar Derby while Kid Dreams just won an allowance race and Dorsett was beat by both Infinite Magic and General Election in the Arlington Classic and American Derby.
That leaves Ethnic Dance and Olympic Blue as the long shots, but not so fast my friend, the two have a big look in the race. Ethnic Dance will be setting the pace and Olympic Blue will not be too far behind. Those two could have it their own way on the front end and make the others play catch up.
This race has "all" written all over it. Scheduled as race nine on the 11-race card, post time is 9:00 pm ET.
Woodbine - Seaway Stakes Grade 3 Fillies and Mares
We go north of the border for our fourth stakes analysis this weekend with the Grade 3 Seaway Stakes for fillies and mares at seven furlong on the main Polytrack. The $150,000 race drew a field of six; let's take a look.
Horses are named before they ever set foot on the track in a race so if you are going to name a horse Youcan'tcatchme, you better be certain she's fast. Well, this filly is definitely fast. The four-year-old has won four of her ten career starts and is coming out of the best win of her career in the $100,000 Etobicoke Handicap earlier this month.
In the Etobicoke, like many of her previous races, Youcan'tcatchme sped to the early lead then ever looked back in a hand ride to the wire. She is once again the speed of the speed and the others will try to catch her.
The one filly that could pressure the favorite early is Nikkis Smartypants, one of four fillies bred in Ontario in the race. Nikkis Smartypants was second in her last two races early, but was close to the pace. In June she was a length and one-half off a sub 45-second half, which is comparable to Youcan'tcatchme's opening half of 45 and one-fifth second in the Etobicoke. Furthermore, Nikkis Smartypants is now a Grade 3 winner while Youcan'tcatchme just fell a nose short in her lone graded stakes try.
These two are the likely first and second choice when the gates open on Saturday.
Roxy Gap is the actual second choice on the morning line making her second start off the layoff. In her first start, the Grade 3 Royal North, she could not run with Nikkis Smartypants late and finished fourth, beaten just under two lengths. A return to the Polytrack may move her up as she has five wins, two seconds and one third on the main track at Woodbine. Jockey Luis Contreras will be sitting close to the pace, too close and the race may set up for a filly to come from off-the-pace.
The two best closers in the race appear to be Strike the Moon and Acting Naughty, both coming out of the Etobicoke.
Strike the Moon was second in the race after racing fifth in the early stages and making a run late. She couldn't catch the winner, but was two and one-half lengths clear of Acting Naughty. Strike the Moon has been in-the-money in 15 of her 25 career races, but is winless in seven start over a synthetic surface.
While Strike the Moon may prefer conventional dirt, Acting Naughty is at home on the Polytrack where she has seven wins in 19 starts including six seconds and two thirds. The daughter of Offlee Wild won the Grade 3 Whimsical over the track in April and has come back to work very well after her third place finish in the Etobicoke. Trainer Donald MacRace takes the blinkers off his filly and once again Tyler Pizarro will have the call.
Hopefully the blinkers off will help her see, and catch, the favorite.
Post time for the Seaway on Saturday is 4:17 pm ET.
Thoroughbred Racing Action
Great racing action from across the country this weekend. Watch these races all on BetAmerica.com.
Saturday– Aug 31
- Del Mar: Del Mar Debutante - G1, $300,000, 2yo f, 7f
- Del Mar: Harry Brubaker Stakes, $90,000, 3yo & up, 8f
- Arlington Park: Washington Park Handicap - G3, $150,000, 3yo & up, 9f
- Monmouth Park: Miss Woodford Stakes, $60,000, 3yo f, 6f
- Monmouth Park: Twin Lights Stakes, $60,000, 3yo f, 9f turf
- Gulfstream Park: Wasted Tears Stakes, $100,000, 3yo & up, 8.5f turf
- Del Mar: Del Mar Derby - G2, 2 Divisions, $300,000, 3yo, 9f turf
- Del Mar: Torrey Pines Stakes, $100,000, 3yo f, 8f
- Del Mar: Adoration Stakes, $90,000, 3yo & up f&m, 8f
- Monmouth Park: Sapling Stakes - G3, $100,000, 2yo, 6f
- Monmouth Park: Sorority Stakes, $100,000, 2yo f, 6f
- Woodbine: Vice Regent Stakes, $125,000, 3yo, 8f turf
- Canterbury: Minnesota-Bred Stakes, 6 races, $370,000 total purses