Thanksgiving already. It’s certainly been a year nobody will ever forget. We hope you had a nice Thanksgiving with your family, whether it was in-person or Zoomed. Either way, the food was surely great.
Retailers waste no time moving past turkey day and right into the holiday shopping season. To help keep the credit card balances in check, let’s see if can find some winners at Del Mar racetrack in beautiful, southern California. The track dubbed where the turf meets the surf hosts three stakes races with prize pools of at least $100,000, punctuated by the $300,000, Grade I, Hollywood Derby.
Del Mar Horse Racing Picks
Race 5 - Jimmy Durante Stakes
All the fields are deep and competitive; so, it should be a good betting day for horseplayers. We’ll start with race 5, the Grade III, Jimmy Durante Stakes.
Thirteen horses will run 1 mile on Del Mar’s turf course. It’s a race of two-year-olds which can be like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.
PIZZAZZ (PP: 7 ML 6-1) broke her maiden in her last race, getting her first win in her third try. It was her second consecutive race at 1 mile on the turf with the win coming at Del Mar. She led from gate to wire with fractions that were a little slower than we’d like. However, she wasn’t challenged by any of the other six in the field, maintaining a lead of 2 ½ lengths for the last half mile. It’s possible she would have ran faster if needed.
MAGICAL THOUGHT (PP: 12 ML 12-1) has raced twice, finishing third in her debut and winning in round two. It’s not much back history to work on but we like that she fought hard in both of her races. It shows she has a competitive spirit to win. She’ll need that fight in her first race of 1 mile or more for trainee Peter Miller, who has been hot to start the Del Mar meet, winning at 29%.
BAY STORM (PP: 10 ML 5-1) ran the highest, last race speed figure for these young ladies. It was her first win in two tries. A strong move in the stretch put her in the winners’ circle with a convincing win. Late legs will serve her well running at 1 mile for the first time, as well.
INVINCIBLE GAL (PP: 13 ML 6-1) just got crushed by the competition in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, crossing the line 11th of 14. Despite the off effort, being in the BC tells you she has talent and at 67-1 odds, bettors weren’t expecting much anyway. Now, she’s facing a field that is nowhere near as tough as her last and should be in contention for the win at the wire.
WIN: #12 MAGICAL THOUGHT
EXACTA BOX: #7 PIZZAZZ, #10 BAY STORM, #12 MAGICAL THOUGHT and #13 INVINCIBLE GAL
Race 7 - Seabiscuit Handicap
Another 13 will take on 1 1/16 miles on the turf course. This distance has an awkward starting position with the inside horses starting on a turn while the outside horses get to run straight. The unusual start gives outside posts an advantage, in our opinion.
FLAVIUS (PP: 12 ML 5/2) started his career in Ireland. He was a head away from winning his first three races in Ireland before coming the United States. Since, he’s brought his European closing style to a handful of races on this side of the Atlantic. If he can avoid congestion and get a clean path, his strong mid-to-late rush could be enough to take the checkered flag.
BOWIES HERO (PP: 13 ML 6-1) is making his first start sine October 3rd. The six-year-old appears to benefit from some time on the sideline. He is a length from being unbeaten in his last three starts following a layoff. One of the off the break wins was at Del Mar and produced one of BOWIES HERO’s best performances in his 26-race career.
ANOTHERTWISTAFATE (PP: 8 ML 4-1) is stringing together a lot of firsts here. It’s his first race on turf and his first race with trainer Peter Miller. His breeding days he might like the surface switch and going dirt to grass in a 16% winner for Miller, who hits at 15% in his first race with a new horse. Expect ANOTHERTWISTAFATE to be near the front all the way around the track.
ONE BAD BOY (PP: 10 ML 12-1) is another that likes to take charge early and make all the others pass him. He’ll be making his third start after taking more than a year-off. This will be his second start in a row without hitting the sidelines for some additional rest. His limited resume suggests he’ll be a little better than he was in his last, a wire to wire win at Santa Anita.
WIN: #12 FLAVIUS
EXACTA BOX: #8 ANOTHERTWISTAFATE, #10 ONE BAD BOY, #12 FLAVIUS and #13 BOWIES HERO
Race 9 - Hollywood Derby
Another 13-horse field that starts on the turn; however, the starting gate isn’t in a weird spot that gives any positions an advantage. Long races on the turf tend to favor closers unless there are a few speed horses.
SMOOTH LIKE STRAIT (PP: 2 ML 7/2) is a horse for the course, winning both of his starts at Del Mar. Winning isn’t unusual for the three-year-old as he’s crossed the line first in five of his 10 starts. All the victories were in his nine grass goes, including his last in his lone trip at today’s distance.
GUFO (PP: 13 ML 4-1) is another that’s not a stranger to the winners’ circle, visiting it for a photo session in five of his seven races, including two for two at 1 1/8 miles. He’s a head away from winning his last six starts and we expect he’ll be one of the prime players today too.
STRONGCONSTITUTION (PP: 7 ML 20-1) has run on the turf a trio of times, all at Del Mar. He won two of them and hustled his tail off late in an effort to find the money in the other. He ran out of room in the 5-furlong affair and finished fourth. He won’t run out of room at today’s length and is coming out of his best career effort (pay no attention to the lower speed figure, look at the fractions instead).
DOMESTIC SPENPING (PP: 8 ML 5-1) got the better of GUFO by a head in his last race on August 15th. Since, his workouts have been OK to blah at best. He has spent some time on the shelf once before and returned to work with a win. We can’t overlook the fact that he has three wins in four races, but those works are concerning.
WIN: # 13 GUFO
EXACTA BOX: #2 SMOOTHLIKESTRAIT, #7 STRONGCONSTITUTION, #8 DOMESTIC SPENDING and #13 GUFO
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