Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
We’re heading down the Pacific Coast Highway, for opening day at the place where the turf meets the surf: Del Mar! They’ve got a typically fantastic 10-race card to kick off the 2018 racing season, with the Oceanside Stakes reprising its role as the traditional opening day feature. Post time for the opener will be 2:00 PM PDT.
We’re happy to have Michael Tartaglia (@mjtags11) providing FREE picks & analysis of the card. Michael’s a long-time racing fan and an avid follower of the Del Mar meet. You can catch his thoughts on all the action in SoCal every Wednesday here on Danonymous.
Good luck to everyone playing along out there!
Nothing beats the racing action from the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club during the summer. “Where the Turf Meets the Surf” has been one of the best places to race each and every year, topped by the $1 Million TVG Pacific Classic, Del Mar Futurity, and Bing Crosby. Opening Day continues to offer excitement each year – starting off with two one mile affairs, one on the dirt and one on the turf, and playing host to a full field of three-year olds going one mile on the turf in the Oceanside Stakes to start off Del Mar’s own turf Triple Crown – it is as Cool as Ever. Join me every Wednesday to kick off the racing week from the seaside oval.
(5) OUT OF PATIENCE is 4 for 5 in the money at Del Mar (finished 4th once) and now drops into a similar spot to what he has been entered into past times. Mulhall & Talamo team up with him again which has led to all three of his most recent wins. Also, one of my favorite angles at Del Mar is speed going one mile on the dirt – an angle that will come up time and time again this meeting. Primed to get the first win of the meeting.
(1) CARVILLE might be coming from lower company up at Golden Gate, but his solid effort sprinting at this level at Santa Anita (May 20) means he can fit well here and if he gets the lead, could be gone. His last race would probably be enough to win here and helps that there were three next out winners in that race.
(6) POPULAR KID will be closing in fast on what may be a quick early pace – with Carville, Above Board, and Out of Patience going to the front early. He closed in well late last time out and looks to improve upon that here. Doug O’Neill is 23% first off the claim this year out of 115 starts, and mainly with favorites.
(7) UPO steps up to a route for the first time. One of the top Del Mar angles is 6.5 downhill at Santa Anita to one mile here – Upo fits that bill. He has taken a big step up since switching to turf and getting Flavien Prat.
(5) SO LONG SAILOR makes a similar move into this race as Upo is; while coming from downhill races, he does have experience routing. While his first route race on the turf isn’t anything to write home about, he was much younger then. I will try him again here and love that Drayden Van Dyke is picking up the mount.
(1) JIMMY CHILA is hard to ignore completely, who finished ahead of So Long Sailor last time out. He will also be trying his hand at a turf route for the first time, but his recent workout and consistent speed may help him get to the front and take them wire to wire. While it will be hard to get to the front in a race with a lot of early runners, if he can, he may be a country mile in front in the end.
(2) KETOS last time out ran a bang-up 2nd against much tougher. He comes back off some rest and with new trainer David Jacobson off the claim – who is not only 18% first off the claim, but also is a whopping 28% when dropping too. Del Mar is a course that Ketos likes, having won here in his last start at the track in 2016 before going on a 365+ day layoff. Speed on the inside is dangerous at Del Mar and gets the weight break with apprentice Heriberto Figueroa.
(3) GONNA FLY NOW starts his second off the claim for Richard Baltas, now going back to sprinting company. A former Pat O’Brien Stakes third place finisher, he has been improving greatly since returning to the races after a near four year layoff. I was visually impressed with his last start and should improve second start with Baltas. Bejarano gets aboard and might be able to get out of this horse the late kick he has been lacking.
(8) BURN ME TWICE is a horse that I just love in this spot. Although he stood no chance last time out against some of the same foes, I will play him back again here, especially with Delgadillo coming back (he got him to win twice at Del Mar last summer). This is a course he loves and he should not face as much early pace pressure as he did last time out. Spawr is 23% off the layoff and brings him into this spot very similar to how he did this time last year.
(10) DICHOTOMY is coming out of the same race as Flying to the Line – a Los Al maiden won by Scatapulp, who finished second to Juan Gonzalez Memorial winner Lippy the race prior. Last out, she broke in and started at the back of the pack for much of the race. She closed strong down the stretch to finish second behind driving Scatapulp & Flying to the Line. A clean break here might be what she needs to best her foe this time around.
(7) BLUEBERRY PRINCESS lost all chance at the start in her last race and her tilt with Lippy and Scatapulp. Nonetheless, she was still moving strong late and looks to improve off her poor start. She put in a sharp :47 2/5 workout on July 8th gearing up for this race.
(3) SQUARE PEGGY is a first time starter that I am going to take a chance with. I’ve liked her workouts in the mornings and looks to be primed for a good start first time out. Square Eddie progeny are 17% winners first time out as well.
(8) RITZY A.P. gets Prat back here, after winning with Flavien Prat at last year’s Bing Crosby meet – and in a very similar spot to that of today. His form has been all over the place in his last four, showing speed and fading each time. I will look for Prat to get him under control here and run a much more straight-forward and sustained effort. Prat and Blacker are also 20% when teaming up over the last year.
(2) ARMS RUNNER lost all chance at the start and had a tough trip last time out. Still, that effort was among the best in this race; I hope he can get past his starting woes. A risk to play, but if he is on his game, he can beat this field.
(10) VENDING MACHINE isn’t one that I’m not 100% sold on, but I like his running lines coming into this race. His downhill starts at Santa Anita have been excellent, but it is clear that he excels at a mile or more. This is his fourth back of a long layoff, and he has been improving in each start against some top quality horses. He draws towards the outside which should aid him nicely.
(1) SHIVERMETIMBERS just cannot get a break – McKinzie, Lombo, Justify, Ax Man, Dark Vader. Jerry Hollendorfer is looking for today to be the day by putting Mike Smith aboard (they connected for his maiden breaking score at Del Mar in November). This is much needed class relief and fits very well in this spot.
(4) DIVISOR has a lot of things lining up well for him – Philip D’Amato is shooting at 22% with horses coming second off a layoff & 44% in the money when going sprint to route, and he gets Santiago Gonzalez back aboard, who won both starts on him in September and November of last year. This is a very favorable spot for him.
(9) SHOW ME DA LUTE has a great shot to hit the board in my eyes, though I do not fancy his changes of winning. Baffert excels heavily at bringing back horses off a layoff (although when does he not excel at everything). He has only put Pedroza on three horses in the past year, but two of those three were winners. Doesn’t hurt that Pedroza is hitting the board at a 61% clip in route races this year.
(7) BRILL looks to be the next great Medaglia d’Oro filly for the Hollendorfer camp, and she has the looks of it alright. Selling for a million at the Fasig-Tipton July sale last year, she has been putting in excellent workouts for Hollendorfer since May. Waiting til now to start her, she finds a nice group of well-bred fillies to go with. In her June 16th workout, she worked 4 furlongs in a quicker time than Accelerate, Roy H, and Unique Bella; for a 2yo, she has a lot of speed and energy in the mornings (in her last workout, she stopped the clock in under a minute, second fastest of 64) – top that off, she finishes out her workouts excellently (go back and watch her July 7th workout). She will be winning at a high percentage and I hope today is the day she starts that.
(9) BIZWHACKS last out looked like a winner early, but was caught down the stretch to finish second. She looks to rebound here for Doug O’Neill and her workouts suggest that she hasn’t lost a beat since her last start. O’Neill is hitting the money at 43% with second career starters over the last 157 starts and even better with 2yos overall.
(4) VANGOGO is a first time starter that is worth a good look coming from Los Alamitos. Trainer Luis Mendez has hit the board with all 5 of his first time starters this year, with 1 win as well. He is also 2 for 2 when teaming up with Ruben Fuentes over the past year.
Race 8 (OCEANSIDE STAKES):
(9) MOVE OVER might be the one to beat in the Oceanside Stakes. Keeps going with Tyler Baze and comes out of a very live downhill prep at Santa Anita, where he picked off next out winner Calexman (who will be right to his outside today) late and beat Indiana Derby winner Axelrod. He looked like he wanted more distance and a bit slower early pace – he will get the first today and should get the second.
(2) TEXAS WEDGE doesn’t have the stakes form like many of his fellow runners, but his two starts on turf have been well. He won on this turf course with Flavien Prat back during the Bing Crosby meeting and then prepped off a layoff in a down the hill turf sprint at Santa Anita – as I have said time and time again today, this is a very good angle for these one mile turf affairs. If anyone is poised to pop today, it would be him.
(7) RESTRAINEDVENGENCE if you are looking for some value here, this one might be where to go. He outfinished my top pick Move Over down the hill in April and was able to have a nice front running finish in his mile race last time out at Santa Anita. I’ll give him a pass in the Singletary – he lost all chance in that race at the start and then was wide all the way around. He should do better without the blinkers, a move that has put Val Brinkerhoff in the money 35% this year. Getting Evin Roman is a huge plus – he is a rider that knows how to win at Del Mar.
(3) FAWREE’s first race in the US last time out at Golden Gate was very impressive. Sprinting is definitely not for him, but he showed he fit well in that spot. Now switching to the Andy Mathis barn, he gets to go a much more favorable distance and first after being gelded. I will give him a long look here.
(8) BLAME JOE has been coming from sprint races and finds a spot that is perfect for his second start off a layoff. Peter Miller gets them primed second back and he already romped by ten last time out at a very similar class level. This field is mostly filled with horses who just broke their maiden or have been well beaten since. His last effort probably is enough here if he can stay the distance.
(6) SUPER DUPER COOPER just cannot seem to find his way home. Maybe today is the day and is hard to avoid the class edge that he holds over the field. I will strongly say to play him in every exotic, especially if Kona Coast wins earlier in the card, but as a win contender I will look elsewhere; if he beats me, at least I’ll have him in my exacta and trifecta plays.
(4) SELLWOOD lost all chance last time out going wide from the 12 hole in a mile turf event at Santa Anita. I’ll give him a pass and step over to him here. His prior races fit very well with this company and it’s shocking that he hasn’t one yet. I feel that he will take a strong liking to the Del Mar turf course – his running style fits it well – it finally break the maiden today.
(1) KAZAN was moving down the lane last time out in his first start off the layoff. He was running against much better as a 2yo and now looks to get his first win against a light class. His start here should be even much better than last and the added distance on the Del Mar turf should help aid his running style. Dangerous horse in this spot.
(8) DATA CENTRAL is eligible to improve third off the layoff and has been knocking on the door in his last three. Keith Desormeaux is excellent when coming back with the beaten favorite and third off the layoff. This is a group of horses that he can beat and the added distance should help.
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