The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club hosts a Super Saturday, anchored by the Grade 1 Pacific Classic. Talk about some excellent wagering opportunities ... Our turf-man, J.N Campbell, offers a plethora of best bets and long shots that are sure to excite. He has you covered with selections for all 11 races, plus analysis for the inviting .20 Rainbow Pick 6 that is sure to comprise a massive pool with a mandatory payout!
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The Grade 3 Torrey P. is named for the area just south of the DMR Fairgrounds. One of the most beautiful golf courses in the world is situated there. In this beauty back at the track, we find ourselves in the midst of a group of 3-yr-old fillies. Most in here have never gone 2-turns, and that could be significant. When it comes to those that will take money, I am sure Lady Mystify #1 for Peter Eurton, Forest Caraway #4 for Peter Miller, and Private Mission #7 for Bob Baffert, all look capable. They should all be below 3/1 come post time, and that does nothing for me. For that specific reason, I would rather back Paddy Gallagher’s Lisette #2. Out of Uncle Mo, she has a recent win over the surface on 5 August. That is inviting to say the least. Umberto Rispoli is not just a turf rider because he can do much when the time comes. That MSW70k event was a strong performance—winning by 3 lengths. More than a square price … that sounds inviting, plus he might be sitting on a big race.
Race 7: Turf, 1 Mile, Del Mar Mile (G2), $300k, 3+
It only gets tougher from here, so get your pencils ready … In this spot, the 35th running of the DMR Mile, we have an intriguing group of 6 afoot. A defending champ is entered, Mo Forza #6, and he is going to try to run from off the bench. His last race, which was a win, occurred back in early October of last year. Even with Flavien Prat in the saddle, this seems like a tough proposition. I am against the 5-yr-old who is making his 2021 debut.
I would much rather back a pair of runners that look much more polished in the form department. Mike McCarthy’s Smooth Like Strait #3 is such a talent that the colt’s name belongs in lights. The Cannon homebred has not missed the board in over a year. The colt is a mark of consistency, and with standard rider Umberto Rispoli in the saddle, I expect him to be somewhere around the wire at the end. His power from the back of the pack is undeniable.
Joining him at the top of the tote in my book is the double-digit odds long shot, Count Again #5. This gelding out of Awesome Again hit the board in the Eddie Read (G2) against the aforementioned tip. The cutback in distance should be intriguing to watch. Going back to the Kilroe Mile (G1) he outran his 16/1 odds then too. I like the choice of Joe Bravo once again. Let’s use this one in the P6 because he is more live than you might imagine.
P6 Leg 2: 3/5 (2 Deep)
Wagering Recommendation: $2 Trifecta Box, 3/5/6
Race 8: Dirt, 7F, AOC40k, 3+
We will take a short break to hear from our P6 sponsors, and in the meantime bring you this OC40k contest going 7F on the MT. I am pretty impressed with the ability of Bob Baffert’s Risk and Reward #1. At 5/1, the colt was strong in a 2-length score in a MSW70k race. That is something to build on as he steps up in class. The speed fig progression from last year to his 2021 debut last out was a 20pt jump. Baffert, despite all his foibles and disappointments, still has a strong work schedule. His best aspect? He is out of Frosted. That sire has made some powerful statements of late, and I want to shout from the rooftops that I think he has the potential to break records. Jockey Abel Cedillo is going to take the mount again, and I like his get to the lead mentality. The price of 5/1 will get bet down … this is Baffert we are talking about. Also, don’t forget, clean faces … they win races. This is one of 2 “Singles” that I have come up with on this P6 ticket.
P6 Leg 3: 1 (Single)
Wagering Recommendation: $25/$50 WP #1
Race 9: Turf, 1 1/8th, Del Mar Oaks (G1), $300k, 3F
Back on the stakes train, we have an incredible contest before us, and I like the action. Getting a winner out of this bunch is not going to be easy whatsoever. In fact, I am not sure that there is just one filly I could pick here. What I can say is that my top choice is Carla Gaines’ Closing Remarks #1. Much to like here … Umberto Rispoli … some back class that included G3 Co. … and a homebred that is well-bred for the grass. There are others in here that will have short prices … like Going Global #3, Madone #4, and Fluffy Socks #7. These may look like locks because they come from amazing turf barns, but they all have downsides … even the faves do sometimes. Still, I want to include them. The rest of the field is a mixed bag … we have a Mrs. Jessica Harrington import from Ireland (Soaring Sky #9), and a Richard Baltas entry that is used to tough company (Tetragonal #8). These will make this one of the toughest races in the sequence. Hit the “All” button, you will be glad you did …
We arrive at the marquee event of the weekend, and the Pac Classic is a gem of a race with a nice field of 9. Everyone drawn in here will be targeting John Shirreffs’ Express Train #5. The colt out of Union Rags will be the one to beat as the wire comes … and let’s face it, JJ Hernandez is not going to have it easy. Despite a statement like this, I believe in this barn and the 4-yr-old who is owned by CRK Stable. I think … and you heard it here folks … this is one of my top choices to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). He just has the ability to rate well near the front, and the power to finish the job.
A win here cements his status as a frontrunner in the Classic Division. I think when the dust settles on the Main Track today, we will see that he was the best. Sure, the stretch out is a concern, but the way he was running on at the conclusion of the San Diego Handicap (G2), the prep for this race, was duly impressive. If he can secure a spot 2-off the leaders, then he will win. His fitness is running perfectly, and he has one of the best/most experienced conditioners in the game. What I consider a clear “Single!” Even though some returning foes will be after him, they will not have the ability to keep pace in the end. Give me Shirreffs, please ...
P6 Leg 5: 5 (Single)
Wagering Recommendation: $2 Exacta Wheel, 5 w 1/2/3/4/6/7/8/9
Race 11: Turf, 1 3/8ths, Del Mar Handicap (G2), $300k, 3+
If you are a true horseplayer, you always feel a little deflated when that last race on a big day comes to an end. There will always be another one, but when it is done, it is done. The final race on the card is this Grade 2 race, and it is going to be a slugfest on the Jimmy D Turf Course.
To my eye, there are a number of directions you can go, but the top 2 contenders are Richard Mandella’s United #4 and Brad Cox’s Arklow #8. Each of these experienced older males has a slew of wonderful route performances under them. The former is SoCal stalwart who already has 5 tries at Del Mar, and 3 of those were wins. The Giant’s Causeway product fits with this distance, and getting Flavien Prat could the lynchpin. As for the “other” co-favorite, I would put quite a bit of emphasis on Cox’s router … the venerable 7-yr-old out of Arch. This one is probably in his top 3 horses of all-time, and though he missed in the UN (G1) last time, he does have the ability to bounce back. Florent Geroux has made the trip out, and he knows this one like the back of his hand.
What is most interesting about this pair is that they have similar running styles … their turn-of-foot is significant, and can be devastating if either of them gets the chance. I will give the nod to Cox because I like the fact that his entry is back at Del Mar where he won the Hollywood Turf Cup (G1) last year. He can do it again … the preparation and fitness are there.
P6 Leg 6: 4/8 (2 Deep)
Wagering Recommendation: $25/$50 WP #8
Enjoy where the “Surf Meets the Turf!” Best of Luck on Pacific Classic Day, the biggest event at Del Mar this Summer!