Del Mar Thoroughbred Picks & Analysis for July 18

Where the 'Turf Meets the Surf' ... Del Mar is back! J.N. Campbell has our Sunday perspective!
Where the "Turf Meets the Surf" ... Del Mar is back! J.N. Campbell has our Sunday perspective!

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The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club is ready for another summer by the surf … and we know precisely what to expect on the nearby turf. Based in La Jolla, California, the Del Mar Meet brings together the very best of SoCal racing, as they prepare to host the November Breeders’ Cup.

At, we have you covered for all of it, as we bring you picks and analysis through Labor Day. It should be a rousing good time ... Some of the highlights including the forthcoming Grade I TVG Pacific Classic. Stay tuned … it is going to be another fabulous time at Del Mar!

If you're looking for picks elsewhere around the country on Sunday, be sure to check out our free Horse Racing Picks via the gold button below.

Horse Racing Picks

Most Likely Winner: (Race 7: Neptune’s Storm #2, 8/5):

Breeder Tracy Farmer produced this runner a few years back … flashforward to 2021, and the 5-yr-old gelding out of Stormy Atlantic has some nice class lines. An 80k “Non-G” should not be any problem. This former runner in Richard Baltas’ care now belongs in Peter Miller’s camp. Last time, in his bow for the new barn, he was 2nd in the American (G3). The 1 Mile clearly suits his abilities, and I fully expect Flavien Prat to be able to put him in the right spot when the time comes. The jockey is coming back to SoCal after riding seemingly everywhere, from Indiana Grand to Saratoga. He is well-travelled, and you know he has the ability to take over a turf race. This one is a “win bet” all the way!

Wagering Recommendation: $100 Win, #2


Off-the-Pace Play of the Day: (Race 3: Summer Love #9, 12/1):

I am particularly fond of the offspring of sire Summer Front when they take to the turf (out East, Pletcher has turned this into an industry). The work of trainer Phil D’Amato only adds to the mix in here, and when he pairs with JJ Hernandez, this is a bet. D’Amato’s filly (who he also owns) is fresh as a daisy after running last at Oaklawn Park back in early February. Obviously, the switch back to the turf is suspect, but I like her recent works. JJ has the ability to navigate traffic, and I am banking on a reset. Summer Front’s pedigree should assist …

Wagering Recommendation: $100 Bankroll, Graduated Wager WPS #9 ($10-W, $15-P, $75-S)

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Spotlight Race of the Day: (Race 10: Dirt, 1½, Cougar II S. (G3), 3+):

The annual renewal of “The Coog” is a key dirt test for those that like to go long. Nothing like seeing runners stretch out to 1½ distance. I am inclined to just “go for it” and back John Sadler’s entry … Heywoods Beach #1. This one scratched out of Saturday’s San Diego Handicap (G2) in order to enter this race. I like that move by the colt’s conditioner because this spot will seem like a relief when compared to his last race, the Grade I Gold Cup. The Speightstown offspring was way overmatched, and was not going to have any chance against the likes of Country Grammer, Royal Ship, and Express Train. Let’s use him for sure.

Others that excite include both Phil D’Amato’s Red King #4, and Craig Dollase’s Cupid’s Claws #5. The former is switching to the dirt, but has major experience at distance contests. A 7-yr-old out of English Channel, he also has deep “Graded” experience. The colt’s form is littered with SoCal events of the highest order, and we shouldn’t forget that he ran in the BC Turf (G1) at Keeneland last year. As for Dollase’s charge, this gelding out of Kitten’s Joy used to be a long “go-er” back in 2020, and the M/L thinks that he can recall what that kind of racing was like. More recently, he has only run at a mile up at Golden Gate and last out at Santa Anita. That is a concern … backing a runner like this one (even with Mike Smith) could be dicey.

As for the prohibitive favorite who is coming into this spot … money will flow towards Richard Mandella’s Tizamagician #6. At 8/5, that is pretty deserved, especially considering that he was 2nd last out when he shipped to Belmont for the Brooklyn (G2). There was no way he was going to catch Lone Rock that day, but the Tiznow colt still acquitted himself well up against a well-matched field. There is no question that he can score here, and he probably will. Flavien Prat will once again hop aboard, and his ability to ride all kinds of winners is impressive. Here is the wager …

Wagering Recommendation: $2 Trifecta Wheel, 1/6 w 1/4/5/6 w 1/4/5/6


Enjoy where the “Surf Meets the Turf!” Best of Luck on another run at Del Mar!

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