Racing is back at Del Mar Race Track – “where the surf meets the turf”. After cancelling last week’s racing as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak among the jockey colony, Del Mar is back in a big way. This weekend they will host the San Diego Handicap and the return of eclipse award winner Maximum Security.
If you bet our selections last week, you should’ve come out on top once again as we went 2 for 2 selecting feature races between our primary and alternate selections. This week, we’re back to give you our selections for the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar, and for the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga. Good luck to all. And, we’re off:
Del Mar Race Track – Saturday, July 25th
San Diego Handicap – Grade 2, $150,000 1 1/16 miles on the dirt
This year’s San Diego Handicap marks the return of Maximum Security who had an incredible 2019 season. In 2019, he won the Florida Derby, Haskell Invitational, Cigar Mile and Saudi Cup to go along with his controversial DQ in the Kentucky Derby. On Saturday, he makes his long anticipated first start under star trainer Bob Baffert. We will see if he is ready to go on Saturday after a lengthy layoff.
Win Bet – #2 Ax Man (8/1 ML): Since bursting onto the scene in 2018, Ax Man has pretty much been a total disappointment to race fans. This Bob Baffert trainee was supposively a rising star, but instead is still searching for his first graded stakes win. That being said, why would we choose Ax Man to win his first graded stakes against grade one competition? Here’s why: Ax Man is 2-3 at the mile and a sixteenth distance including a win in his last start against graded stakes winner Multiplier. On top of that, Mike Smith, Bob Baffert’s undisputed #1 jockey was given this mount over Maximum Security. Likely to be at double digit odds when the gates open, Ax Man has the potential to be a huge value play and just might have the talent.
Alternate Selection – #5 Maximum Security (1/1 ML): Maximum Security is obviously the most talented horse in this race. However, he has one loss in his last five starts and that came at this same mile and a sixteenth distance. You have to include this horse in all exotics, but with Abel Cedillo taking the mount instead of Mike Smith and with the four month layoff, it is tough to be completely confident he will get the job done.
$20 Win/Place/Show #2 Ax Man = $60
$5 Exacta Box 1-2-5 = $30
$1 Trifecta Box 1-2-5 = $6
Total = $96
Saratoga Race Course – Saturday, July 25th
Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap – Grade 1, $250,000 6f on the dirt
Win Bet – #4 Volatile (4/5 ML): On Saturday we will see the first graded stakes start for Steve Asmussen’s Volatile. This horse looks every bit the second coming of Asmussen’s superstar sprinter Mitole. This past June, Volatile competed in his first stakes race and powered past five competitors to win by 8 lengths, finishing the six furlong race in a wild 1:07. While this field boasts top grade 1 competitors, Volatile looks to have the talent to blow past them once again. Hope for at least even money odds.
Alternate Pick – #3 Firenze Fire (4/1 ML): Firenze Fire comes into this race 5 for 9 at the 6 furlong distance to go along with 2 graded stakes wins within the past year. In addition, Irad Ortiz is winning sprint races at a 24% clip this year. If Volatile doesn’t run his race, look for Firenze Fire to take over.
Longshot Pick – #6 Mind Control (6/1 ML): Very rarely do you have the opportunity to bet on a grade one winner at 6-1 odds. Yet in this field of talented horses on Saturday, the opportunity is there with Gregory Sacco’s Mind Control. Don’t count this horse out and be sure to include in all exotics.
$80 Win #4 Volatile = $80
$1 Exact Wheel 3,4 with 2,3,4,5 = $6
$1 Trifecta Wheel 3,4 with 2,3,4,5 with 2,3,4,5 = $18
Total = $104
Ellis Park – Sunday, July 26th
Race 3 – Allowance – $38,000 – 5.5f on the Turf
#4 Moon of Love (IRE) (TBA ML): Moon of Love (IRE) will make her second start for Wesley Ward and the CJ Thoroughbreds barn after shipping over to the US at the beginning of 2020. Rafael Bejarano takes the mount at Ellis Park. Heard lots of talk about this one over the past few months and their barn is expecting a victory. Bet to win.
$50 Win/Place #4 Moon of Love (IRE) = $100
Total = $100