Michelle Yu's Guide to Del MarWe asked our VIP Manager Michelle Yu for her thoughts on this years' Del Mar races, which opens this Friday at Del Mar Racetrack in Del Mar, CA. You can watch the races live on our website or iPhone App.
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Race 1 $12,500 claiming - 1 Mile Dirt#1 Hadfunlastnight
#3 Successful Runner
We kick off the Summer Meet with an open $12,500 claimer going 1 mile. Hadfunlastnight draws the rail and has the speed to overcome that should past gate issues not come into play. Love the addition of Jamie Theriot here who recently shipped in from the Midwest. The California riders are very quick and Jamie fits right in. Class drop is the right thing to start the meet with a win. Midwest trainer Chris Hartman has brought a barn full to take advantage of the Ship and Win program and we get to see right off if he is placing them to win. Successful Runner brings in 2 in a row and while the drop from, $20k to $8k might seem suspicious but look no further than Ramsey/Maker and you will know it was just for the win. So the hike here might be where he belongs.
Race 2: Cal Bred MSW Fillies - 5 Furlongs Dirt#6 Radish
#4 Starr of Quality
I always prefer a horse with experience and there are a pair here. I’m going with Radish like many people are. She brings in back to seconds but finally gets off the rail. That plus experience gives her the edge. Starr of Quality, a firster for Mike McCarthy, draws Flavian Prat and that alone makes this filly worth watching. Her works suggest she might be run off her feet at the start but I have to pay attention to where the good riders land on maidens.
Race 3: Cal bred Allowance n1x - 1 1/16 Turf#8 Anatolian Heat
Everyone is happy for the return of grass and you will be seeing a lot of oversized fields. Anatolian Heat broke the maiden last out routing on the grass and while this isn’t the easiest condition the Peter Miller trainee has the right hole, running style and numbers to back up that score. There are a bevy of Golden Gate shippers here who all seem to be competitors but I like a comebacker in Preacher Roe. Although the level is slightly in question, he has 5 wins to his credit and runs very well off a layoff.
Race 4: $20,000 claiming - 6 1/2 Furlongs Dirt#4 Limited Response
# 3 My Samurai Warrior
Questionable placement off the claim for Limited Response and finally is getting back to his friends here. Will need some pace here and I hope that all the tries against tougher haven’t ruined his grit. My Samurai Warrior showed improvement first off the claim for Glatt and the class hike could be a sign he has him figured out.
Race 5: Allowance n1x fillies - 1 1/16 Turf# 3 Lily Kai
#11 Grandmas Hands
Salty allowance race and I like Lily Kai who has been performing at her best lately including 3rd in a stake last out. She will line up against open company but she seems to be better than she was last time she tried non state bred foes. Grandmas Hands has done nothing wrong in her career as long as 2 turns are involved and has been game in defeat. Distance might hit right between the eyes if she gets the pace to run at.
Race 6: Maiden $20,000 claiming fillies - 5 ½ Furlongs Dirt# 2 Spread The Joy
#6 Wondrous Cat
Tough to love anyone in this race so I will go with the dropper that they stuck in MSW for too long and gets a fresh face in Noberto Arroyo. Spread the Joy put in a decent effort over this track in Nov. Brian Koriner will saddle Wondrous Cat for the first time and we know she’s quick but seems to have some stamina restrictions. Van Dyke will subscribe here and he might be able to harness her speed unlike Baze who tends to be a sender.
Race 7: Allowance Optional claiming $40,000 - 1 Mile Dirt#2 Grazen Sky
#3 Forest Blue
Grazen Sky has been muddling around at this level unsuccessfully for a while but does pick up checks. He is the type you hate to leave off because that is when he will win. I also use Forest Blue here because he has been unlucky. Both in trips and in company. I think he has the talent to win here, I love third start off the layoff and just needs to bring his rabbit’s foot.
Race 8: Oceanside Stakes - 1 Mile Turf# 2 Moonlight Drive
# 6 Tristans Trilogy
The opening day staple is always competitive and this rendition is no different. Moonlight Drive impressed in his stateside debut and while you don’t associate Bob Baffert with turf stars this one seems to be well on his way. Also going to use Tristan’s Trilogy and hope for a price here as he gets back against straight 3 year olds. Runner up try in the Singletary shows me he fits.
Race 9: Allowance optional claiming $40,000 n1x - 1 Mile Dirt# 1 Warden of the West
# 7 Westbrook
Warden of the West debuts his equipment change here as first time gelding and also gets back to a flat mile which seems to be his preferred distance. Westbrook will be trying a route for the first time but I think he is going to appreciate the stretch out and I would like to see him closer to the pace today.
Race 10: MSW - 1 Mile Turf# 5 Airlite
# 7 Jagger Swagger
Tough way to finish the day. I think Airlite will enjoy the extra ground as he has run well down the hill in his 2 prior outs. Jagger Swagger is a 3/4 to G1 Winner My Sweet Addiction and Marty Jones tends to take his time with horses but I loved the wake up this horse had first time on the lawn. Weakened after pressing but I think the longer distance could be the key. Also check out the price on Alaskan Son. Not a great draw for this US debuter but has racing experience and I think he could end up a sneaky play here if he gets ignored.