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2010 Del Mar: Day 3

Results: Del Mar - Day 2 (July 22, 2010)

Entries: Del Mar - Day 3 (July 23, 2010)

Race 1: $25k Claiming, 1 mile (Turf), 4&up, Fillies & Mares

I found the first race on Friday's card to be probably the most difficult race to handicap; open company claimers, with a myriad of droppers, horses coming out of allowance, starter, or state-bred ranks, or simply a bunch of horses that have been beating up on each other on the circuit, can be awfully tough to decipher

Right off the bat this race makes you deal with a mare taking a pretty decent drop in class as 1-Lullabytime (7/2) comes into this race fresh off a 4th place finish in an open company $40k event.  That's a good amount of class relief, especially for a mare that won at this level two races back.  She didn't get out of the gate very well in that last race and that probably cost her any chance to win.  If she can deal with the speed to her immediate outside (2-Hidden Romance (5/2)), then she's got a shot to take this field all the way around the course.

3-Powerofvoodo (5/1) comes out of a strong $28k Claimer where she finished fourth by 3 ¾ lengths to Dash Dot Dash.  Since that race, Dash Dot Dash has gone on to dominate three consecutive listed stakes at Calder, including last Saturday's Our Dear Peggy where she won by 12 lengths.  The filly that finished 6th that day (Malusita) came back to win a $12.5k claimer, and the 7th place finisher (Operetta Italiano, who lost the rider at the start) came back to score at $25k.  The two other fillies that finished ahead of Powerofvoodo that day (Warren's Appeal and Connie the Queen) have yet to return to the track.

This is certainly a tough spot for Powerofvoodo, but I like her as a pure value play based on the strength of that last race at Santa Anita.  And if she performs well in this spot, I'll be adding the Warren's Appeal and Connie the Queen to my watch list.

Race 6: OC $80k/N1X, 1 1/16 miles (Turf), 3yo

It may have been only a maiden race, but the performance of 1-Lunda Bay (3/1) in his first turf try last time out was quite impressive.  The Baffert trainee, wearing the blinkers for the first time, broke alertly and got loose in the lead to score by a length and a half as the 6/5 favorite.  Bobby B. stretches him out to two turns for his second start and he should be the absolute, clear lone speed in this spot.  The pedigree suggests that the distance shouldn't be an issue (Dixieland Band out of a Kris S. mare) and Baffert hits at 16% with three year olds making the move from sprinting to routing over the past five years. (19-for-117, 16%, 1.40 ROI).  A Baffert trainee getting loose on the lead is a dangerous proposition.

I have to make a mention of the 4-Velikiy Zevs (8/1) because I think this is the first time in my horseplaying career that I've ever seen a horse in the past performances that raced in Russia.  Velikiy Zevs, a Kentucky-bred son of Giant's Causeway out of a Machiavellian mare, ran the first two races of his career at Pyatigorsk race course, which I had to look up on the internet to find this information:

Pyatigorsk is located in the Caucasus, a region traditionally dedicated to the breeding of horses. As a symbol of this equine history, the Pyatigorsk race course has been subject to a wide program of renovation in order to promote the equine sector and to create a Russian racing society. The new race track in FIBERsoil sand, inaugurated in May 2008, was a real success for the trainers and the authorities, who decided to organize the "President Cup" in Pyatigorsk in September 2008.

So, the track is in Caucasus and it appears to be a synthetic course.  Good to know.

In the past five years Jerry Hollendorfer is 2-for-10 with foreign imports running for the first time in North America.  Both of his winners were well backed at the windows prior to post (Sugar Mint (IRE) - EVEN and Tuscan Evening (IRE) - 7/5), so it's probably important to see whether or not this colt takes any action on the tote board.

7-Dave in Dixie (7/2) makes a return to the track after dabbling in the Triple Crown fun this spring.  His last two races (Illinois Derby and Belmont Stakes) were complete disasters that saw him finish approximately 43 lengths behind the winners.  He's making his first start on the turf course today but his current form concerns me much more than any questions about the surface switch.

If the Baffert colt isn't able to get it done on the front end I think 9-Jairzihno (GB) could use his powerful late kick to run by the rest of the field in deep stretch.  Jairzihno fits at the class level, the distance, and he's shown the ability to put up some very fast final fractions in his last two turf routes.


Race 7: CTBA 100k, 5 ½ furlongs, 2yo, Fillies

A listed state for Cal-bred juvenile fillies serves as the feature race on Day 3 of the Del Mar 2010 meet, it is also the contest race for the on-line handicapping tournament.

A lot of times these summer races for juveniles will have one or two clear standout runners with the rest of the field spotted well above their heads.  This race, however, is even across the board with several fillies that makes sense as win candidates.

The last three winners of this races (since the track changed to Poly) have seen one winner that led after a ½ mile, and two others that were no more than 1 ½ length behind the leader at that same point, so it's going to be extremely important to get out of the gate cleanly and into a good position early. 

Several of these fillies haven't shown much speed out of the gate, so I'll start by eliminating them from consideration (1-Arta B Tappin, 3-Miss Reditore, 5-Vonn Nez, 12-Social Event).  Social Event may be eligible for a better start in this spot as she was off slow in her one and only starts. 

7-Deo's Secret (5/1) draws a nice post in the middle of the field and she rolls into this race off of a nice maiden breaking win at Hollywood Park in early June.  Deo's Secret was able to display a nice stalking move in that Maiden Special Weight race and if Rosario can put her in that position today she should have an excellent chance for the win.  She finished second to rival 11-Hi Ho Yodeler in a state-bred Maiden Special Weight in early May, and that filly would again to be her chief competition.