Del Mar Picks: Flightline's moment arrives in the Pacific Classic on September 3

Del Mar's big day has arrived ... The afternoon sequences include the Grade 1 TVG Pacific Classic, and we all know who is entered, John Sadler's Flightline! Will he cement his status as North America's best? Find out, below!
Del Mar's big day has arrived ... The afternoon sequences include the Grade 1 TVG Pacific Classic, and we all know who is entered, John Sadler's Flightline! Will he cement his status as North America's best? Find out, below!

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Del Mar Thoroughbred Club Picks: Saturday, September 3, 2022

  • Race 1: 6-4-8-2
  • Race 2: 4-7-2-8
  • Race 3: 6-9-3-5
  • Race 4: 2-3-5-4
  • Race 5: 3-10-13-5
  • Race 6: 5-3-10-8
  • Race 7: 5-10-9-6
  • Race 8: 1-9-5-3
  • Race 9: 7-9-1-5
  • Race 10: 6-2-5-4
  • Race 11: 5-3-2-9
  • Most Likely Winner: Hong Kong Harry #5 (Race 7)
  • Best Value: Tango Tango Tango #5 (Race 11)

The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club is hosting another day of superb racing! Near the surf, the turf is where the day's action will reside! Situated right next to Solana Beach in SoCal, the Del Mar Meet brings together the very best in the region.

With picks and analysis through the 2nd week in September, it should be a rousing series of great races, including today's Grade 1 TVG Pacific Classic. Stay tuned … it is going to be another fabulous time at Del Mar!

At we have you covered, including all of the action! It is a good time for some of the best that North American racing has to offer. Stay tuned! If you're looking for picks elsewhere around the country this Saturday be sure to check out our free Horse Racing Picks via the gold button below. Don't forget to follow us on Twitter ... Horseracing_USA !!!

Horse Racing Picks

All-Graded Stakes Rundown … Races 7, 9, 10, and 11

Race 7: Turf, 1 Mile, Del Mar Mile S. (G2), $300k, 3+

Taking to the Jimmy Durante Turf Course, we have some excellent runner that will be contesting this 1-mile distance. Probably the biggest news is that superstar jockey Flavien Prat returns to ride Flightline in the Pacific Classic. That means he will be aboard a number of other entries across this massive stakes card. Prat will be aboard Hong Kong Harry #5, and that is a significant rider upgrade from Ramon Vazquez. Trainer Phil D’Amato is glad to have him because his former pilot missed in the Eddie Read (G2) at the end of July. The former SoCal leading jockey won when this gelding by Es Que Love (IRE) made his U.S. debut. One other entry that I quite like is John Shirreffs Astronaut #10. I wouldn’t write this one off because remember that he won the Del Mar Handicap (G2) last year at odds of 24/1. Victor Espinoza executed a brilliant ride, positioning himself and the son of Quality Road in the proper position at the top of the lane. Even though his Breeders’ Cup experience was less than satisfactory, he comes into this spot rested and ready for action. Long shot alert …  

Wagering Recommendation: $2 Exacta Box, 5/10


Race 9: Turf, 1 1/8th, Del Mar Derby (G2), $300k, 3

This grass Derby is going to be an interesting race because it is a stretch out for those that competed in the Opening Day Oceanside S. $100k. I like the chances of Doug O’Neill’s Mackinnon #7 because it is obvious that he likes to go longer. With a strong turf pedigree, he showed his skill in the El Camino Real Derby $100 back in February. The tapeta of Golden Gate plays like a green carpet, and with Juan Hernandez at the controls, this classy son of American Pharoah should be able to win this Grade 2 gem. Standing in his way is Phil D’Amato’s Balnikhov #9 and George Papaprodromou’s Cabo Spirit #1. Little Red Feather owns the former, and he scored nicely in the Oceanside $100k. Coming over from France in 2022, he competed in some tough races, which included the American Turf (G2) at Churchill Downs on the Derby undercard. That was a 2nd place finish behind Mike Maker’s Stolen Base. As for “Papa’s” runner, he was an impressive winner in the La Jolla H. (G3) with regular rider, “Jersey” Joe Bravo aboard. This gelding by Pioneerof the Nile is gifted, and his late kick can be a powerful weapon, if Bravo can find a way to get clear of the rail. What we know is that this is going to be one fabulous race on the Saturday afternoon card!  

Wagering Recommendation: $2 Trifecta Box, 1/7/9


Race 10: Dirt, 1¼, TVG Pacific Classic (G1), $1 million, 3+

They should have the Top Gun theme queued up, as a lead-in to Trevor … This year’s Pacific Classic (G1) was circled by John Sadler awhile ago … Flightline #5, his undefeated colt, is ready for takeoff. At stake is an all-expense-paid trip to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). Most pundits agree that the major obstacle is going longer … that “Classic” distance. How will the track play Saturday afternoon? Will Flavien Prat try to strike the front? Can anyone matchup with this “horse of a lifetime?” We are going to find out. From a betting standpoint, I want to take him on, and go after a nice juicy score. There is legitimate concern about this 4-yr-old colt, and if he stumbles like he did in the Met Mile H. (G1), or cannot access that high cruising speed that everyone is repeating, then he could be in trouble. I want to back 2 runners … one shorter on the tote, and one that is sure to be longer. Bob Baffert’s Country Grammer #2 showed flashes of brilliance when he was with Chad Brown, but the HOF SoCal trainer took him to new heights, as he matured from 4 to 5-yrs-old. The Dubai World Cup (G1) was a clear highlight, and even though he missed in the San Diego H. (G2), that is not unusual for international shippers upon their return stateside. The controversial Zedan is hoping his horse can create headlines … he does enjoy such pursuits. If anyone can help this son of Tonalist, it is a HOF rider like John Velazquez. He has worked well with Baffert in the past and will again. I am going to focus my attention on Ed Moger’s Stilleto Boy #6. This son of Shackleford will be missed by most bettors because the gelding doesn’t have the wins that the others do. His earnings though speak to his resolve, and the fact that he can still run. He is still looking for his 1st win at Del Mar out of 3 attempts, but I like the fact that the leading rider is once again taking him out. Juan Hernandez has taken over Prat’s spot in SoCal, and is winning at an extraordinary clip. There is no doubt that it is going to take a monumental effort to snatch this one from Sadler’s grasp … speed figure junkies are shaking their heads right now. You never know … this is horse racing.

Wagering Recommendation: $50 Win, #6


Race 11: Turf, 1 3/8ths, Del Mar H. (G2), $300k, 3+

With a ticket to the Longines Turf (G1) on the line … it is time to get back to the Jimmy Durante! This race is always a highlight for me, and I love the distance and the field sizes, traditionally … Last year, it was Astronaut who scooped at the prize at double-digit odds, so you cannot be afraid to back a long shot. We have a number of venerable SoCal routers that have assembled, which is not surprising. Classy types like Phil D’Amato’s Red King #4 and Masteroffoxhounds #10, Richard Mandella’s Tizamagician #6, Mike McCarthy’s Master Piece #9, and John Sadler’s Heywoods Beach #11, have returned for another try at glory. I do not care for any of them … I am much keener to bet D’Amato’s Gold Phoenix #2 or Gregdar #3. The latter ran nicely for the win in an OC80kn2x in late July on the Jimmy D. This 5-yr-old gets Umberto Rispoli, and his mount has some late gears that could prove helpful. Still, my top selection, the envelope, please … goes to Jack Sisterson’s Tango Tango Tango #5. This 4-yr-old by Tourist is sitting on a big race. He is much better than his performance in the Eddie Read (G2) last time out. Looking over his form, he has faced Yibir (GB), Soldier Rising, and Point Me By … some serious turfers. Declan Cannon is not without talent, and I like the fact that Sisterson has come west to play against this crowd during the DMR Summer. This is a major price play, and I will be loading up on Saturday in this finale. Sisterson's son of Tourist, he wins …

Wagering Recommendation: $100 Bankroll, Graduated Wager, WPS #5 ($10-W, $15-P, $75-S)


Enjoy where the “Surf Meets the Turf!” Best of Luck on another run at Del Mar! Be sure to follow us on Twitter … Horseracing_USA !!!

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