Race Preview: Graduation Stakes – Del Mar, July 31, 2013

Matt Carter

July 31st, 2013


photo: Matt Carter

The feature race on Wednesday is the $100,000 Graduation Stakes for California-bred or sired two-year-olds. After scratches, a field of seven will line up in the gate and contention runs deep.

The morning line favorite for the race is Willie B Awesome, the Awesome Gambler colt that has won once in his four starts and is stakes placed. Willie exits a third place finish in the Hollywood Juvenile Championship, beaten just a half length. He is likely to show more speed on Wednesday and will break from the outside post.

If you are playing the pick-6, an “all” here would probably be best advised. Gangnum Guy broke his maiden in career start number three in wire-to-wire fashion and has three drills over the track that signify “go.” Solid Wager won his debut from off-the-pace and was third in the Williard Proctor and fourth in the Hollywood Juvenile. The course profile throughout the first two weeks; however, has not favored his running style.

Moving Desert should have been named Moving Polytrack as the Desert Code filly romped in her first start over the surface on opening day. The connections obviously think enough of her to try a race against the boys. Better Bet has pretty much ran the same exact race in his five starts and finally caught a field he could beat just 10 days ago.

California Chrome makes his first start since the Willard Proctor when he finished fifth, beaten just over seven lengths. He has been training well in the mornings at Hollywood Park and might surprise at a number.

Betting McCann Can is the likely longest shot on the board, but even he is stands a chance. The California-bred gelding made his debut at Boise Park in a $12,000 stakes race and won going away. Now in the barn of Mike Puype, the home-bred is likely to improve. The speed figure earned in Idaho is not too far off from the others.

Tough, tough race and an important one on carryover Wednesday.

Post time for the Graduation is 8:10 pm ET.