Del Mar Horse Racing Handicapping News and Notes Nov 13

• Del Mar opened their four week fall meet with a four day race week as fires were ravaging the state throughout, but none around the race track. The Santa Ana conditions, where the wind blows in from the desert, sometimes as strong as 70 MPH, were prevalent at Del Mar on Monday, where the horses were aided by the wind down the back side, but ran into a strong head wind in the stretch. Nonetheless, the track played fair throughout the first four days, as did the turf course where the rails were out 18 feet the entire week. The times were quicker than they were for the summer meet as they purposely “slowed” the track down in order to make it safer for the horses in the summer. After three days of racing, the $2 pick six was hit on Sunday by a single ticket holder for over $188,000 plus. The wager carries over to Thursday with a pot of $45,000 plus. The track will go back to their normal Thursday through Sunday schedule this week and we will have selections out on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
• They ran four stakes races the first four days of the meet, one each day, and there were some exciting finishes. On Friday, they ran the Kathryn Crosby stakes at a mile on the turf for older fillies/mares, and the winner was a Canadian invader who had never even run on the turf. However, she was coming off 8 straight wins on minor tracks in places like Alberta and Manitoba, and although she didn’t win the race, she got the money for the ninth straight time through a disqualification of Excellent Sunset, when the winner crowded her in the stretch. It was the right call by the Stews and Escape Clause paid a very generous $39.40 to win. We didn’t have the winner but a lesson was learned by the results. Any time a horse can win 8 straight races anywhere, they must be an awfully good horse. That is no small feat and when this situation comes up again, and it will, we won’t make the same mistake. Another good priced horse got the money on Saturday when Risky Proposition came from far back and won the Let It Ride stakes at $47 for three year olds at a mile on the turf. The winner was yet another good claim by trainer Bill Spawr, who will probably try the Hollywood Derby in three weeks, which is a Grade One at 9 furlongs on the turf. Our selection in the race was a Best Bet named Choo Choo, who tried to get through on the inside and came up ¾ of a length short at 14/1. Had he been on the outside, where the winner was, he may have got the money. Choo Choo paid $12.00 to place. Del Mar has always been a “horse for course” race track and the winner of the Sunday stakes, Spiced Perfection ($10.40), proved that theory out once again. She rallied from well off the pace under Prat to score in the Betty Grable stakes at 7 furlongs on the main for soph fillies. This was her 4th win in six starts at the seaside oval and she is one for seven everywhere else. We were second once again with our Best Bet, Just Grazed Me, who tried to rally down on the rail and came up second. The winner is trained by Brian Koriner, who won three races on the day, the last being the night cap at $63.60. Monday’s stakes winner is hardly worth the printing, as Chasing Yesterday won as the one to two favorite in just a three horse field in the Desi Arnaz stakes for two year old fillies traveling 7 furlongs on the main track. The winner, a half to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, will try Grade One company next in the Starlet at Los Alamitos on December 8th. None of the stakes races on opening week were graded.
• Just two stakes races this week with the Grade 3 Bob Hope stakes on Saturday and the Cal bred stakes, the Cary Grant on Sunday. I’m sure you get the picture by now with all these stakes races being named for friends of the co-founder of the track, Bing Crosby, back in 1937. The Bob Hope is for two year olds on the main track at 7 furlongs and should have a large field headed up by Sparky Ville, Savagery, and Mucho Gusto. On Sunday the field will be smaller for the Cary Grant, which is also 7 furlongs on the main track for older Cal breds. Touching Rainbows, a very good sprinter for Phil D’Amato, who was third in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby this past summer, headlines that group. Defending champ Edwards Going Left will also be in the lineup as will Brandothebartender, He Will, Ann Arbor Eddie, and Solid Wager. The racing is not great at Del Mar in the fall like it is for Del Mar in the summer, but it is still quite good. Del Mar fills a void in the calendar with the closing of Fairplex and Hollywood Park prior to that. Plus, they love to use the turf course, and that makes for some very exciting and competitive finishes
By Rod Young (Turfdom)