We are officially in the lead-up to the Breeders’ Cup with Saratoga wrapped up and closing weekend at Del Mar. Both are phenomenal tracks to visit for their own reasons, but Del Mar will always have a place in my heart. It is one of the bucket list tracks for anyone who loves horse racing with a truly unique experience and picturesque views. This weekend, the two-year-olds take center stage with the Del Mar Debutante on Saturday and the Del Mar Futurity on Sunday. Kentucky Downs is in full swing as well with a monster card on Saturday featuring six graded stakes culminating in the Grade 2 Turf Cup with $1,700,000 purse up for grabs. Let’s dive into some of the best betting races of the weekend and cash some tickets.
Del Mar Debutante – Del Mar, Saturday, Race #10
This turned out to be a wonderful betting race with fourteen two-year-old fillies signed up to go seven furlongs. There is an abundance of speed that should ensure a hot pace. #7 Dreamfyre, winner of the Grade 3 Sorrento last time out, will be vying for the lead early but should have some company with both #8 Pushiness and #1 Julias Dream. Having all three in the race should ensure a quick tempo and set up for horses who close well, especially at the seven-furlong distance. One of those horses is the #9 Tamara. This daughter of Del Mar legend Beholder was exceptional in her debut. Breaking from the 1 post, she stumbled and had to make a trip to win going away. She has a more favorable post today and, with a step forward, she will be tough to hold off down the lane. #13 Laurent had similar trouble at the start last time out and was in last 12 lengths back before unleashing a furious rally on the outside to win at first asking. She is eligible to take a step forward here and has shown the ability to pass horses, something not all two-year-olds are able to do. The #4 Benedetta chased home Dreamfyre in the Sorrento but was the favorite that day and was facing winners for the first time. She offers value at 10-1 today, especially removing blinkers and adding the extra distance.
Picks: 9 – 13 – 4 – 7
Bets: I’m going to play #9 Tamara to win at 3-1 or better. I’ll play a trifecta 9,13 / 4,9,13 / 4,7,9,13 which will cost $12 for a $1 base.
Franklin-Simpson Stakes – Kentucky Downs, Saturday, Race #8
Kentucky Downs offers some wonderful betting races with large fields, and this is no exception. With twelve three-year-olds ready to sprint on the turf, this race is just asking for a price to win. The morning line favorite at 4-1 is #8 Mo Stash who was a successful turf sprinter at two before stretching out at three. The cutback in distance and the unique Kentucky Downs turf course should both be positives for Mo Stash who should be able to sit just off a hot pace. The wild card of the bunch is #7 Sweet Cherry Pie who will take to the grass for the first time in his career, but he’s bred to handle the surface on both top and bottom. Trainer George Arnold tried to get him on the turf in his last start, but the race was rained off and run over a sloppy main track at Monmouth. Sweet Cherry Pie won that day impressively, and Irad Ortiz Jr. takes the mount, both positive signs. One price I am going to use is #4 Bat Flip who is 20-1 on the morning line. This Todd Pletcher trainee ran well sprinting on the turf before stretching out. He was overmatched last time out in the Grade 2 Hall of Fame at Saratoga, but that was his first start after nearly a year layoff. He is a logical horse to improve the second time off the bench and possesses both tactical speed and good enough kick to be a player when they hit the wire. #2 Private Creed will also be running second off a layoff and has won over the Kentucky Downs turf. He is another horse who should get a good trip just off the speed and get rolling late. #12 Behind Enemy Lines should be flying late as well, but the post and the price, 5-1 morning line, both make it hard to endorse this one on top.
Picks: 8 – 4 – 7 – 2
Bets: If #4 Bat Flip is 10-1 or higher, I’ll be placing a Win bet since the value is there. I will play an Exacta Box 4,8 and a Trifecta 4,8 / 2,4,7,8 / 2,4,7,8 which will cost $12 for a $1 base.
Saturday, Del Mar Race #11: Exacta 6-1
Saturday, Kentucky Downs, Race #12: Win #2, 3-1 or better