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2010 Del Mar: Day 12

Entries: Del Mar - Day 12 (August 5, 2010)

Race 3: Starter Allowance $40k, 1 mile (Turf), 3&up

If you were to take a quick glance at the conditions for this race you'd think it's just a garden variety starter allowance event.  The additional race condition language, however, provides a bit more depth.  According to the conditions, this race is open to:

a) Horses that have broken their maiden for $40k or less, or

b) Horses that are California-bred, or

c) Horses that have broken their maiden for $50k or less but have never won two races.

After breaking down the conditions, I went through and noted how each horse qualified for this race:

1-Surefire: Broke maiden for less than $40k.
2-Rockstar Ben: Broke maiden for less than $40k.
3-Strikingly Sinful: Broke maiden for less than $40k.
4-Gotham Devil: Broke maiden for less than 50K and never won two races; Cal-bred.
5-Lucky Fitz: Broke maiden for less than $40k.
6-Eze Does It: Broke maiden for less than $40k.
7-Greely's Ghost: Broke maiden for less than $40k.

Every horse in this field, with the exception of 4-Gotham Devil, broke their maiden for less than $40k.  Additionally, all of those horses have never won two races, so they each qualify under option "a" and "c". Gotham Devil broke his maiden for exactly $40k, so he qualifies under option "b" and "c" (UPDATED: Actually, I mis-stated that -  Gotham Devil qualifies under all three since his maiden price was equal to 40k and it's "40k or less").

The strange thing to me with this race is that the conditions allow multiple race winning horses to enter, yet every single entry has only a maiden score to their credit.  I'm a bit surprised that a trainer didn't try to enter a strong, multiple race winning horse to cherry pick in this spot.

I like 1-Surefire (5/1) a bit as there appears to be enough speed to allow him to sit just off the pace and make a good run once the leaders hit the top of the stretch.  His first try on grass last time out was a decent effort, even if he faded a bit in the stretch.  He should have some added fitness off of that race and perhaps he can get the best of his rivals in this spot.

Race 4: $12.5 Claiming N2L, 1 mile, 3&up, Fillies & Mares

The conditioned events are flying around Del Mar today as we are treated to another race where the field is comprised entire of horses with only a maiden win to their credit.

7-Musical Grace (8/1) isn't a filly that I would normally gravitate to in this spot with her 14-1-3-2 lifetime mark, but she's got a couple of things going for her that might make her an attractive play.  First, she's coming out of, an open company $16k claimer at Hollywood on 6/24, a race that has seen four fillies come back to win at next asking (1st, 4th, 6th, and 10th place finishers). Musical Grace finished 9th that day, beating only Ann's Seven; in her next race, Ann's Seven won after dropping into $12.5k N2X company, a class drop similar to what Musical Grace is attempting today.

The second attractive aspect to Musical Grace is the class drop - Musical Grace's last two races were against open company 16k and 20k claimers and the move from that level to a $12.5k N2L race might just be the move that will wake her up.

Race 7: OC $40k/N1X, 5 furlongs (Turf), 3&up

5-Mallinson Road (NZ) will make his second North American start after being outrun from the gate in a six furlong sprint at Hollywood.  Hollendorfer obviously wants more speed out of this gelding as he's throwing the blinkers on; he ran with blinkers during his time in New Zealand but went "blinkers off" for his first start in North America.  He's never been much of a turf dash horse in his career (3-0-2-1), so he might want a bit more ground than what he's going to get today.  I don't know that he represents much value at 5/1.

3-Winter Camp (6/1) takes a big step-up in claiming price but he's gets a bit of a reprieve facing conditioned claimers as opposed to the open company he faced last time.  This Forest Camp gelding has pretty good gate speed and he's shown a ton of eagerness early on in his last two races.  The furlong cut-back might be right up his alley.

Over the past five years Trainer Mike Mitchell is 68-for-238 with horses running first times after a claim (29%, $2.25 ROI) and he's got another horse in that position with the 6-Quick Enough (3/1).  This Cal-bred takes a bit of a price jump following the claim $32k to $40k) but he's done very well on the sprinting on the turf (5-2-1-2) and many times has prevailed when he's had to face pressure on the front end.

I like Winter Camp in this spot and will play him to win so long as the odds stay at 5/1 or higher.  I'll back that up with an exacta of Winter Camp and Quick Enough.