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Del Mar 2013: Opening Day

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It's the time of the year for the turf to meet the surf. At Del Mar.

Where the turf meets the surf.
Where the turf meets the surf.
Donal Mirealle/Getty Images Sport

Where The Turf Meets The Surf

Wednesday marks the start of the 76th thoroughbred meeting at Del Mar. Ever since fans were greeted by Bing Crosby on opening day in 1937, Del Mar has been the home to a fantastic summer meeting of high quality horse racing. The 2013 meeting will be no different as the beautiful San Diego facility features "43 stakes races worth $7,800,000" including the $1,000,000 Grade 1 Pacific Classic on Sunday, August 25th.

The opening day card on Wednesday begins with the starting gate parked right in front of the grandstand for the traditional mile event in race one. 1-Casa de Cambio (6/1) has run over a synthetic surface just once in his career but will give it another shot for trainer Peter Miller and jockey Joel Rosario. This four-year-old gelding is by Exchange Rate out of an Allen's Prospect mare (Twilights Prayer), a pedigree that's had a lot of success with runners on synthetic surfaces on both the sire and dam sire's sides of the equation.

Jeffrey Metz enters 9-Beer Meister (9/1), first off the claim at Hollywood back in early July; Metz is hitting "just" 27% right with horses first time off the claim and sports a flat bet profit. Not bad at all. Throw in his 8/1 ML odds and I'm definitely intrigued.

In race two, 2-This One's for Mel (3/1) has been ultra-consistent on the lawn and the lack of speed in this race might put Garrett Gomez smack dab on the lead from the second the gate open. He's 3/1 on the ML, the co-second choice with Bipartisan behind Scorcher. Inside speed fared very well in turf routes last year and I'll be a buyer with this horse at 5/2 or better.

Race three sports a field with a good deal of early speed which could set things up nicely for 2-Katy's Star (3/1) and Rafael Bejarano.This filly didn't get much to run at in her last two starts at Golden Gate but should find the pace much more to her liking this time out.

In race four, 4-Cyclometer (7/2) drops into OC/N2X company after a fairly good run in the G1-Triple Bend at Hollywood last time out. He finished sixth of eight but he battled up front through some pretty quick splits and held on well until the final stretch drive. This field is much, much softer and should be a nice spot for him to get back into the winner's circle.

Race five is a state-bred Maiden Special Weight for juvenile fillies, most of which are making their first career start. 4-Moving Desert (9/2) will take a lot of action (deservedly so) after a couple of very good efforts at this same level in the last couple of months. And, really, 9/2 wouldn't be that bad for a horse that's finished 3rd and 2nd in his first two career starts.

Del Mar will once again run split divisions of the Oceanside Stakes on opening day; the first division runs in race six on the card. Three horses are making their grass debut in this race (Freakin Rocket, Manando and Unfettered) but I don't love the turf pedigree on any of them. 2-Gervinho (4/1) hasn't done a whole lot since finishing fifth in last fall's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf but he could contend with these if he's fit and on his "A" game.

I like a little bit of a price play with 3-Greeley Awesome (10/1) in the Oceanside as I think the pace could be quite strong in the early stages. A closer on the grass with Julien Leparouxin the irons? And a nice morning line? Yeah, I'll take a shot.

In race seven I'm fully behind 6-Royal Meridian (3/1) due to his excellent record on synthetic surfaces and at Del Mar, along with the fact that he's moving from an OC 62.5k/N2X event to open $20k, which should be just a tad softer spot for this six-year-old gelding. I'll stick with Royal Meridian as long as he's 8/5 or better.

State-bred maidens line up for race eight where I'm likely going with a pure pedigree play: 5-Love de Car (5/1). This four-year-old gelding is by Decarchy out of a Boundry mare (Loveable Mandy), and both sires have done well producing first time starters and winners over synthetic surfaces. Additionally, Mullins does pretty well with his runners at first asking, especially if you're looking solely at the ROI. Throw Joel Rosario in the irons and I'm on board.

The contenders in the second division of the Oceanside get their chance to shine in race nine, led by 4-Den's Legacy (7/2), runner up in the G2-Affirmed last time out. I found 10-Rising Legend (GB) (6/1), a second time North American starter, as a pretty interesting starter in this race. All he did in his continental debut was finished second by a half-length to Dens' Legacy in the G3-Generous Stakes at Hollywood last November, and he rallied into a slow pace that day. Unfortunately, I'm not sure he's going to get a ton of pace to run at in this spot and he's been sitting on the bench for quite some time. If he drifts up to 10/1 or better, I might be willing to place a small win bet on him.

Opening day finishes up with a $20k maiden claiming event because...well, of course it does. It's the law of the track: "All cards must end with a maiden claiming race. So it is written. So it shall be done."

If I'm lucky enough to be in the black by this point on Wednesday, I'll take my good fortune and call it a night. If I'm looking for my "get out of jail free" card, I might take a shot with 12-Spring Up (5/1), a colt with some nice synthetic pedigree genes running through his veins.

Get ready, Del Mar starts on Wednesday. First post: 2:05 p.m. Pacific.

Below is the stakes calendar for the 2013 Del Mar meet:

Date Race Gr Age Sex Dist Surf
Wed. Jul 17, 2013 Oceanside Stakes 3yo 8.0 Turf
Fri. Jul 19, 2013 CTBA Stakes 2yo f 5.5 Poly
Sat. Jul 20, 2013 Osunitas Stakes 3up f&m 9.5 Turf
Sat. Jul 20, 2013 Eddie Read Stakes 1 3up 9.0 Turf
Sun. Jul 21, 2013 California Dreamin' Hcp. 3up 9.5 Turf
Sun. Jul 21, 2013 San Clemente Hcp. 2 3yo f 8.0 Turf
Wed. Jul 24, 2013 Wickerr Stakes 3up 8.0 Turf
Fri. Jul 26, 2013 Cougar II Hcp. 3 3up 12.0 Poly
Sat. Jul 27, 2013 Fleet Treat Stakes 3yo f 7.0 Poly
Sat. Jul 27, 2013 San Diego Hcp. 2 3up 9.5 Poly
Sun. Jul 28, 2013 Bing Crosby Stakes 1 3up 6.0 Poly
Wed. Jul 31, 2013 Graduation Stakes 2yo 5.5 Poly
Fri. Aug 02, 2013 Real Good Deal Stakes 3yo 7.0 Poly
Sat. Aug 03, 2013 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes 1 3up f&m 9.5 Poly
Sun. Aug 04, 2013 Best Pal Stakes 2 2yo 6.5 Poly
Wed. Aug 07, 2013 Sorrento Stakes 2 2yo f 6.5 Poly
Fri. Aug 09, 2013 Daisycutter Hcp. 3up f&m 5.0 Turf
Sat. Aug 10, 2013 La Jolla Hcp. 2 3yo 9.5 Turf
Sun. Aug 11, 2013 John C. Mabee Stakes 2 3up f&m 9.0 Turf
Wed. Aug 14, 2013 Green Flash Hcp. 3up 5.0 Turf
Fri. Aug 16, 2013 Sandy Blue Hcp. 3yo f 8.0 Turf
Sat. Aug 17, 2013 Del Mar Oaks 1 3yo f 9.0 Turf
Sun. Aug 18, 2013 Rancho Bernardo Hcp. 3 3up f&m 6.5 Poly
Sun. Aug 18, 2013 Solana Beach Hcp. 3up f&m 8.0 Turf
Fri. Aug 23, 2013 CTT/TOC Hcp. 3up f&m 11.0 Turf
Sat. Aug 24, 2013 Del Mar Hcp. 2 3up 11.0 Turf
Sun. Aug 25, 2013 Pat O'Brien Stakes 2 3up 7.0 Poly
Sun. Aug 25, 2013 Del Mar Mile 2 3up 8.0 Turf
Sun. Aug 25, 2013 TVG Pacific Classic 1 3up 10.0 Poly
Wed. Aug 28, 2013 Generous Portion Stakes 2yo f 6.0 Poly
Fri. Aug 30, 2013 El Cajon Stakes 3yo 8.0 Poly
Sat. Aug 31, 2013 Harry F. Brubaker Stakes 3up 8.0 Poly
Sat. Aug 31, 2013 Del Mar Debutante 1 2yo f 7.0 Poly
Sun. Sep 01, 2013 Adoration Stakes 3up f&m 8.0 Poly
Sun. Sep 01, 2013 Torrey Pines Stakes 3yo f 8.0 Poly
Sun. Sep 01, 2013 Del Mar Derby 2 3yo 9.0 Turf
Mon. Sep 02, 2013 I'm Smokin Stakes 2yo 6.0 Poly
Mon. Sep 02, 2013 Oak Tree Juvenile Fillies Turf 2yo f 8.0 Turf
Mon. Sep 02, 2013 Yellow Ribbon Hcp. 2 3up f&m 9.5 Turf
Wed. Sep 04, 2013 C.E.R.F. Stakes 3up f&m 6.0 Poly
Wed. Sep 04, 2013 Pirate's Bounty Stakes 3up 6.0 Poly
Wed. Sep 04, 2013 Oak Tree Juvenile Turf 2yo 8.0 Turf
Wed. Sep 04, 2013 Del Mar Futurity 1 2yo 7.0 Poly