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:
|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|