The Grade I $300,000 Del Mar Oaks drew a field of 11 and the Grade II Del Mar Handicap lured 12, further strengthening – as if it was needed – Saturday’s TVG Pacific Classic day card.
Pace Scenario – Slow
Speed: No True Speed Horse
Stalkers: #1 Lady Valeur, #4 Mines and Magic
Closers: #2 Decked Out, #3 Mokat, #5 Barleysugar, #6 Lynne’s Legacy, #7 Harmonize, #8 Cheekaboo, #9 Mrs. Norris, #10 Stays in Vegas, #11 Tin Type Gal
How about this for a stat: In the last five races ran by all eleven entries, NONE of these have been on the lead on the first or second call. In all my years of handicapping, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that in a stakes race. You would think the pace has to be slow here, and I would assume that Lady Valuer from the rail will set the pace as she looks to be the fastest early on. Her early speed could be a very dangerous weapon here.
Top Pick: #11 Tin Type Gal
She was my pick at Saratoga on opening say when she scratched, and then I went in on her again when she ran at Monmouth Park in a decent Grade 3 stakes. She didn’t disappoint as she won by a neck in that race, and I’m expecting an improvement today once again as this will be her third race off the layoff. I like that Motion gets a local jock in Talamo to ride, and her outside post might be ok as Talamo can she how things are unfolding and put her in a good spot. She’ll need to improve to win here, but there is no reason to think she won’t do just that and pick up her first Grade 1 win.
Horses to Use in Multi Race Wagers: #1 Lady Valeur, #3 Mokat, #5 Barleysugar
To me it looks like Lady Valeur will have a tactical advantage here, and could turn the tables on Mokat. However, Mokat made an incredible move last time out to win the Grade 2 San Clemente so you have to respect her in a big time way. That same type of move today in this one will be good enough to win. Barleysugar won her first race in the United States so obviously she’s ready for this test.
Exotic Plays: #7 Harmonize
There is no doubt she ran poorly last time out in the Belmont Oaks, but the race before she finished second to Time and Motion by a half length and Time and Motion finished second in the before mentioned Belmont Oaks. That tells me something went wrong at Belmont, and I like that Mott has wheeled her back here in this spot already. Also like that she’ll keep her regular jock in Junior Alvarado.
Party Crashers: #10 Stays in Vegas
This may not be a huge upset, but considering she’s been beaten in the last two races by horses who are running back in this one the price should be ok. The slow pace here should help Stays in Vegas sit closer than usual, and if you look at her past performances you’ll notice that when she’s able to get into the race early she runs better. I like the jock change to Prat here as well…lets hope she’s at least 5-1.
Throw Outs: #2 Decked Out, #4 Mines and Magic, #6 Lynne’s Legacy, #8 Cheekaboo, #9 Mrs. Norris
With the potential crawling pace here anything could happen, but this group looks to be a cut below. From a class standpoint they’ll have to take a jump up here.
Post positions were to be drawn later Wednesday for the two graded stakes in addition to the Pacific Classic on an 11-race card. The Oaks, which determines the 3-year-old filly championship of the meeting, is 1 1/8 miles on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course. The Del Mar Handicap, a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf on November 5 at Santa Anita, is run at 1 3/8 miles.
Among the Oaks entrants are two shippers from the east. Hall of Fame Trainer William Mott sends Harmonize, a daughter of Scat Daddy who was a graded stakes winner as a 2-year-old with Junior Alvarado coming in to ride. H. Graham Motion dispatches Tin Type Gal, a daughter of Tapit and winner of a Grade III event at Monmouth Park in her last start.
The Oaks entries in alphabetical order with trainer/jockey: Barleysugar (Edward Freeman/Gary Stevens), Cheekaboo (Peter Eurton/Santiago Gonzalez), Decked Out (J. Keith Desormeaux/Kent Desormeaux), Harmonize (William Mott/Junior Alvarado), Lady Valeur (Patrick Gallagher/Rafael Bejarano), Lynne’s Legacy (James Cassidy/Victor Espinoza), Mines and Magic (Victoria Oliver/Drayden Van Dyke), Mokat (Richard Baltas/Norberto Arroyo, Jr.), Mrs. Norris (Eoin Harty/Tyler Baze), Stays in Vegas (Jerry Hollendorfer/Flavien Prat) and Tin Type Gal (H. Graham Motion/Joe Talamo).