Race Preview: Oceanside Stakes First Division - Del Mar, July 17, 2013

Matt Carter

July 16th, 2013

Wednesday is opening day where the turf meets the surf at Del Mar and that means the Oceanside stakes will be run as the feature. This year there will be two divisions and there does not appear to be an even split.

The first division of the one mile turf stakes goes as race six and drew a field of ten, Know More was an early scratch and One Firm Cat drew in. Of the runners in the field, only five have graded stakes experience. Two of those, Undrafted and Manado are expected to be battling up front early.

Undrafted comes out of a dominating win over the grass at Churchill Downs last month and is now a perfect two-for-two on turf. The son of Purim finished 13th in the Grade 1 Blue Grass stakes at Keeneland, but was third in a pair of graded dirt sprints at Gulfstream Park earlier in the year. Undrafted was able to rate in his last race and that may be the plan on Wednesday, especially with the other speed.

Manado is exiting a pair of Grade 3 races on and his best effort is an allowance win at Hollywood Park in May. His turf breeding is okay for the surface switch and trainer Bob Baffert won a division of the race last year with Midnight Crooner. Manado will have company warlike with Unfettered and Freakin Rocket also expected to be pushing the pace. Freakin Rocket may be good enough to get the job done in his stakes debut after two impressive wins to start his career. The son of Rock Hard Ten is actually projected to improve on the turf.

With a fast pace expected, and the rails at zero, Gervinho, Greely Awesome and Examen have to be respected. Gervinho and Examen have some early speed while Greely Awesome is a stone-cold closer. Examen is making his first start since mid-April. The son of Giant's Causeway broke his maiden on the Arlington turf course and retains jockey Garrett Gomez. Gervinho is making his second start off a layoff and was good enough to only be less than three lengths off the winner in the Grade 1 Breeders Cup Juvenile turf last November. Gervinho is the only entrant with a win in a turf stakes race.

He only need improve a bit to upset the first division of the Oceanside.

First post on Wednesday is 5:05 pm ET with the first Oceanside off at 7:45.