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2010 Del Mar: Day 4

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

Entries: Del Mar - Day 4 (July 24, 2010)

Race 7: Maiden Special Weight, 5 ½ furlongs, 2yo

I love the pedigree of 4-Rock So Hard (5/1) but I tend to shy away from Rock Hard Ten first time starters (and juveniles) due to the fact that they seem to need a race or two before they are ready to run their best.  Rock So Hard is trained by Bob Baffert, a trainer who is noted for working his horses fast in the mornings, but this colt has nary a bullet on his morning tab heading into his debut race.  He's a nice looking colt but I don't know that he fits the profile for a first time winner in this spot.

While Rock So Hard might not make sense as a first time winner, the other Baffert colt, 7-Prayer for Relief (6/1), appears to be rolling into his debut effort in fine fashion.  The gate work on July 9th (5f in 1:00, 3/48) looks quite nice and jockey Martin Pedroza works well with Bobby B.

Race 8: Grade 1 Eddie Read, 1 1/8 miles (Turf), 3&up

First time North American starter 1-Crowded House (GB) (15/1) has run some decent races in the UAE and in the U.K. but his last three races across the Atlantic were fairly uninspiring.  First time Euros can sometimes represent great value on the board but I don't know that his colt has shown enough in his previous efforts to warrant much action in this spot.

Of all the horses in this field, I think the 5/2 morning line odds 5-Loup Breton (IRE) represent the worst value on the board.  As I wrote last weekend after the Arlington Handicap when General Quarters ran a very flat race, I think the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic is going to turn out to be a fairly weak race.  Loup Breton was right with the winners that day but his so-so effort in the Grade 1 Whittingham at next asking was all I needed to see to steer clear of this one today.

6-Enriched (6/1) has a solid record over the lawn (11-5-2-2) and at the distance (1-1-0-0) but he's done most of his damage has been accomplished against allowance level while faltering every time he's tried to steps up in class.

The Usual Q.T. (2/1) looks to take most of the action at the windows but it's 4-Acclimation (9/2) that I think has an excellent shot at coming out on top in this race.  He's most likely not going to get the clear, easy lead in this race, but he's can run pretty fast in the early going he looks to have a bit of a stamina edge on many of these in this spot.  At 9/2 on the morning line, he could be the value play of the field.

Race 10: $50k Claiming, 1 mile (Turf), 3yo

2-Clouda (8/1) is a first time off the claim for John Sadler who hits that move at 16% with a $1.66 ROI in the last five years.  First time turfers also hit at 16% during that same time frame but with a much higher $2.57 ROI.  Combing the two moves (first off the claim and first time turf), yields a population of only six horses over the last five year, to which Sadler is 1-for-6 with a $4.60 ROI.  Sadler doesn't put his first claimers on the lawn very often so he must see something in Clouda to make this move. 

At 3/1 on the morning line, 3-Otto Von Voom could represent some serious value in this competitive field.  He's making a decent jump up the claiming ladder ($32k to $50k) but he's proved to be unbeatable at a mile on the lawn (4-4-0-0).  He ripped off a bullet work at five furlongs on the 14th indicating to me that Mullins has this gelding ready to roll in this spot.