Del Mar Picks & Analysis for August 29: Shared Belief Stakes

Trainer Bob Baffert's Medina Spirit is back in the Shared Belief Stakes on Sunday at Del Mar! J.N. Campbell has a full analysis of the race, and everything else that is on tap ...
Trainer Bob Baffert's Medina Spirit is back in the Shared Belief Stakes on Sunday at Del Mar! J.N. Campbell has a full analysis of the race, and everything else that is on tap ...

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The Medina Spirit saga and his possible disqualification in the Kentucky Derby continues to be a story ... Without a ruling from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, the Thoroughbred industries continue to hold their collective breath. In the meantime, trainer Bob Baffert sends his colt into Sunday's Shared Belief Stakes. It should be an interesting race, to say the least.

Once again, our turf-man, J.N Campbell, offers some suggestions on how to bet and a few long shots that are real gems. He has you covered with selections for the entire 10-race card. Another weekend of beautiful weather from Southern California is on the way ... where the surf and the turf merge!

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 3: Galilean #6, 5/2):

Trainer John Sadler’s Del Mar Meet is about average right now (18%-W) … he needs to string together some “wins.” He has a good shot here with this 5-yr-old out of Uncle Mo. In case you did not know, these offspring are pretty game on the green. The fact that West Point Thoroughbreds, Terry Finley’s outfit, is involved with this one, speaks volumes. Dropping down to this level out of a “Non-G” 150k race at Del Mar at the end of last month where he finished 6th … that sounds like a plan. Sometimes a runner just needs a race after coming off the bench, and I think he will appreciate playing hooky from those classes. Getting lawn jockey Umberto Rispoli back in the irons is a positive, and he can make the difference in getting Sadler’s charge back in the winner’s circle.

Wagering Recommendation: $100 Win, #6

 

Off-the-Pace Play of the Day: (Race 7: Livingmybestlife #1, 8/1):

This Florida bred, out of The Big Beast, is a 3-yr-old filly with some excellent upside. Last out in an AOC40k event on the MT she broke well going 6F, but faded before the top of the lane with Victor Espinoza aboard. Now, Hronis Racing, an outfit that typically works alongside trainer John Sadler, is hoping that Joe Bravo can help get this one home. She will be more than a square price come post time. With a couple of works under her saddle, she should be in much better shape this time around. As they say … “Clean faces, win races.” Going early … it can assist.

Wagering Recommendation: $100 Bankroll, Graduated Wager WPS #1 ($10-W, $15-P, $75-S)

 

Spotlight Race of the Day: (Race 9: Dirt, 1 Mile, Shared Belief S., $100k, 3):

Historically this race, the Shared Belief Stakes, has served as a stopover for some of the best 3-yr-olds in the small circle of top runners who reside in SoCal. Some of the alums that have scored over the past 10 years include, Fed Biz, Holy Lute, Red Outlaw, Accelerate, Battle of Midway, Improbable, and last year’s victor, Thousand Words. Who will join them this time around?

Well, of course we probably should start this survey of the field with the proverbial “Elephant in the Room,” Bob Baffert’s Medina Spirit #2. The … Kentucky … Derb … y … winn … Well, at any rate … the Zedan Racing colt may not know how much controversy is surrounding him because he is a racehorse, but this saga just seems to go on and on and on … In the meantime, Baffert continues to fight legal battles, and play the waiting game, as the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission deals with issues like errant tests. Who knows when a verdict will be handed down? The colt out of the now famous Florida bred Protonico is hoping to get back in action. We have not seen him since his 3rd place finish in the Preakness (G1). How sharp will he be? That is anyone’s guess … but what we do know is John Velazquez is making the trip from Saratoga to ride him.

As for the rest of the field, amazingly, there are some other storylines that are developing. For instance, John Sadler’s Rock Your World #3 is entered, and he will take money, since most recall his celebrated run through the Santa Anita Derby (G1). Though he failed miserably in KYD147 and in the Belmont, I think bettors remember fondly his level of talent, and will give him more chances. I am against him, simply because he might have been a “flash in the pan,” as the phrase from firearm technology goes, and value can be found elsewhere. Incidentally, I actually do not think that comes in the form of Doug O’Neill’s The Great One #5, since he too is off an even longer layoff (last out in the SA Derby (G1) in April). No to him, as well …

Speaking of a selection, I am very keen on trainer Ed Moger’s Stilleto Boy #6. This is my top pick because the former Doug Anderson runner was excellent on the dirt back at Prairie Meadows in the Iowa Derby 250k. Winning that race really showed some heart running at 1 1/16th, so he should be able to handle 1 Mile, quite easily. Moger switched him to the grass last out in the La Jolla (G3), and it did not go well. Now, jockey Kent Desormeaux gets the call once again. He can be in a much better position this time around. Rounding out your exotic bets, you might consider rolling Doug O’Neill’s untested colt, Team Merchants #4, into some slots. A son of the great Nyquist (O’Neill’s KYD Winner), he could be an interesting pick after posting an excellent speed fig. last time. The problem is … that was an OC40k race at Del Mar back in July, which is hardly a resume builder.

In the end, I am sticking with the Iowa Derby Champ, as he goes head-to-head with some runners that, to quote the late/great Jim McKay on ABC’s The Wide World of Sports, have enjoyed the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat. Should be fun … to say the least.

Wagering Recommendation: $2 Trifecta Wheel, 6 w 2/3/4/5 w 2/3/4/5

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

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