By Brian Monzo
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This week marks the opening of my two favorite summer racing meets. Saratoga opens up on Friday, and Wednesday opens up the summer meet at Del Mar Racetrack in Del Mar, California. Just off of the Pacific Ocean, Del Mar is just 20 miles north of San Diego.
The meet features the Grade-1 Pacific Classic next month.
Wednesday’s Opening Day card features 10 races, including the 100K Oceanside Stakes.
We will look at three races, starting with race two:
Race 2: 40K Allowance, 1 mile on the turf:
Keep Movin’ tries the turf for the first time after breaking his maiden at Hollywood two weeks ago. He needed two turns to score his first and I think a fast pace will allow this horse to find his footing on the turf. Peter Miller/Joel Rosario look like an appealing team here. Bipartisan should stay close to the lead, and if the pace can stay reasonable, Joe Talamo should have this horse in a nice spot to get a piece. The slower the early pace, the better the chance this horse has to win. Scorcher has not run since November, but his speed clearly fit here, if not making him the clear choice. He may need a race, but with Rafael Bejarano on board, he should be ready to run.
Race 7: 20K Claiming, 6 furlongs on the dirt:
Diamond of Blue got caught in a fast pace in his last outing and couldn’t keep up. If the front is just a fraction slower, he will be tough to hold off. He will come out on top if he is dragged into a speed duel. Sir Allison has run well in three of his last four, and this could be the race where he breaks through. Bob Baffert/Martin Garcia know how to win and Baffert can win at Del Mar. I expect a good performance. Guidopanzini is 8-1 on the morning line, and while this is a step up, his last race off of the claim was dominant. Talamo stays on the mount and I think that he has a huge shot to win with a solid price.
Race 9: 100K Oceanside Stakes, 1 mile on the turf
Rising Legend is coming off of a long layoff, but his second place effort in the G3 Generous was so impressive that I think he can overcome the time between races. Julian Leparoux can perform magic on turf with a closer, and this guy is just that. John Sadler is a smart trainer and would love to get this one to start the Del Mar meet. Rosengold is pure speed, but has been able to hold off good horses at this distance. He will be let loose by Garcia out of the gate and could open up by multiple lengths on the backstretch. The question is, can he hold off the cavalry? I think he hits the board. Den’s Legacy is a classy horse and has hit the board 10 times in 16 races. My problem is that he’s only had two wins in those 16 races. The beastly connections of Baffert/Rosario will get this horse bet, but I would hesitate making the win bet. Exotics, for sure.
Del Mar is a great meet. It’s fun to watch and the racing is the best that California has to offer.
On Friday, we will look at Opening Day at Saratoga.
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