Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Truth About Del Mar's New Surface

After watching and digesting the 2007 running of the Pacific "Classic" I've come to one conclusion: The secret ingredient in Del Mar's new "Polytrack" is quicksand. I'm not trying to say that something must be "up" because Lava Man didn't finish in the money. That was bound to happen sooner or later. After all, they're horses not robots.

But when the winning time is 2:07 and change for a 1 1/4 mile race, something is seriously amiss. This is a completely different sport than the one we're used to.

And three horses that barely figured finish 1-2-3, the so-called "Classic" that resembled a walk-out 9th race of 16K claimers. A million-dollar "Classic" race isn't supposed to be a "great race for a bunch of 10-cent superfectas". You should be able to be at least somewhat certain you can pick at least one horse that will finish in the top 3 or 4.

And now Student Council earns a automatic berth into the 2007 Breeder's Cup Classic. That's not a changing of the guard, that's a joke!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Pacific Classic Sunday

A great field has been put together for Sunday's Grade I, $1 Million Pacific Classic at Del Mar (1 1/14 Miles on the Poly Track).

Defending champion Lava Man is the 5/2 morning line favorite to repeat. The Mike Mitchell trained Big Booster is 9/2 on the morning line. I'm not sure if he merits 9/2. He ran 3rd in the Hollywood Gold Cup behind Lava Man and A.P. Xcellent who is 8-1.

But Mitchell has been working miracles with former claimers like On the Acorn who won the San Juan Capistrano and Sun Boat who won the San Diego Handicap. Sun Boat is 6-1 and my gut tells me that a lot of "educated" money is going to be placed on him.

Top West Coast 3-year-old, Tiago, is 6-1. He won the Santa Anita Derby and Swaps Stakes and ran 3rd in the Belmont Stakes in June. Other 3-year-olds in the race are Albertus Maximus (2nd in the Swaps) and Time Squared.

Strub Stakes winner Arson Squad is 12-1.

Rounding out the field are Student Council, Awesome Gem, Porfido, Salty Humor and Hello Sunday.

It's a great field and a nice betting race. My heart tells me Tiago, my gut tells me Sun Boat and my head tells me Lava Man. We'll see.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Best Pal Stakes on Sunday

Two-year-olds will line up on Sunday, 8/12, at Del Mar for the Grade II Best Pal Stakes (6 1/2f on the dirt). The field includes Hollywood Juvenile Championship winner Salute the Sarge, runner up Leonides and four others. It's a prep for the big one of the meet, the Del Mar Futurity, to be run on Del Mar's closing day, September 5.

Last year the race produced three Triple Crown "contenders": Great Hunter, Stormello and Cobalt Blue. So don't say you haven't been warned.