The Del Mar Oaks is 9 furlongs on the turf course for leading 3YO fillies. My top 3 here are Cheekaboo, Lynne’s Legacy and Decked Out.
Cheekaboo is 8 of 9 in the money lifetime, with a win in the Honeymoon Stakes at Santa Anita 2 races, and the Campanile at Golden Gate in May. Shares in best distance and turf speed figure (Honeymoon was 98, her best lifetime effort). Bounced to a 90 in the Sandy Blue last time out at Del Mar on 7/17. Had some traffic trouble early in that race; I feel she can bounce back from that figure and have a better run here. Best works of the field too, with 3 fast local ones.
Overlay pick: Lynne’s Legacy 6 of 9 in the money, took 8 tries to break maiden, did so 2 races back at Santa Anita on 5/29, going at today’s distance. Followed up with a 65k allowance race win on 7/21. Forged new top in that race, tho leaves her as a bounce risk. Also ran much better at 2nd call than in previous.
Next is the Del Mar Handicap, 9.5 furlongs on the turf course for 3YOs+. My top 3 are Ashleyluvssugar, Flamboyant and Metaboss…which are also the top 3 per morning-line as well. Can’t expect this race to be all profitable.
Ashleyluvssugar has 6 wins in 15 races, including the Charlie Wittingham and the San Luis Rey. Best speed figure for distance (103 in last year’s United Nations) and turf (108 in last year’s San Luis Rey). 97 last time out in the Eddie Read, finishing with a 4-wide move. Solid high 90s numbers last 3 races.
Next is the TVG Pacific Classic as Del Mar welcomes back champion horse and home-bred California Chrome. Top 3 are Dortmund, Hoppertunity and Imperative.
Overlays: Win The Space hasn’t won yet in Graded company but his race pace numbers should cause serious looks. 103 lifetime best in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita, then 2nd here in the San Diego. Possibility of bounce from that number. Turn time gain plus lower speed figure suggests he has more coming.
Overlay: In a race with favorites up front, there’s a small chance that Hi Holiday might be overlooked. Best pace form of the field, setting small new top of 85 last time out in a 30k optional claimer on 7/23.
UPDATE: Hi Holiday a scratch, so no overlay in this race now, no change in the order.
Hold That Giant is one of 2 overlays I see here and a longshot pick for me. Winner of the Edmonton Juvenile in 2nd start. 2016 campaign sees a positive change in speed figures, all in the 80s. Might be fastest of these horses by run style if any of the also-eligibles don’t run. Trainer Tim Rycroft (21 % winners here) has done the most of any trainer for his horse (class, distance change). Waiting since 7/16 to stretch from 8.5 furlongs. Impresses with 1 second turn time gain between last 2 races. 2 bullet works since last race.
The other overlay here may be The Accuser. Set small new tops of 74, then 79, then big gain to 86 last time out in a 50k ungraded stakes event here 7/16. 3 works since then, all at NP, 1 very fast.
Next is the Spa, and the Fourstardave Handicap, a race rescheduled from last week.
Grand Arch has an impressive 21 of 26 in the money, with wins in last year’s version of this race as well as the Shadwell. Drops 6 lbs for this race. Won the last 2 times he’s dropped significant pounds. First race after reclaim by Bryan Lynch. Best workouts of the field, with 6 in all, 2 very fast.
King Kressa remains the overlay of the field. 108 Brisnet is lifetime best as well as best for the Spa, the distance and turf course. Moved from 93 to 100 last time out wining the Forbidden Apple at Belmont, hanging on to win by a nose.
Tower Of Texas, in fact is my lone overlay.
13 of 17 in the money, with his last win in the King Edward Stakes (grade 2) here in June 2015. Was nosed out of a win in last year’s version of the Play The King. 99 speed figure is best for the distance and Woodbine of this field. 21.8 turn time from his last 2 races and .6 second gain is the best mark of the field.
UPDATE: Green Mask a morning scratch. I’m inserting Dimension as 3rd choice in a race with a fair amount of value attached.