Race Preview: San Diego Handicap - Del Mar, July 27, 2013

Matt Carter

July 27th, 2013

The feature race on Saturday at Del Mar is the 72nd running of the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap. Only a field of six line up for the mile and one-sixteen race, but contention runs deep.

The morning line favorite for the race and likely post time favorite is Paynter, the wonder horse that has overcome so much since his win in the Grade 1 Haskell almost one year to the day. Paynter came back just as strong when he won an allowance race last month at Hollywood Park and enters the San Diego as the horse to beat. Since his June race it looks like the son of Awesome Again has not missed one work. There is always the bounce factor, but most people will be rooting for Paynter to "power up."

Looking to upset the favorite are a couple of older horses, a Bob Baffert-trainee and a three-year-old that is wicked fast.

Kettle Corn and Clubhouse Ride are the aforementioned older horses, who have combined to make 52 career starts with 11 wins and earnings of almost $1.5-million. The two will be doing their best running late in a race that should unfold at a swift pace.

Liaison is the "other Baffert" making his first start since finishing second to Clubhouse Ride in the Grade 2 Californian. The son of Indian Charlie was a staple in the stake races last year as a three-year-old. This year, Chief Havoc is trying to become not only a top three-year-old, but also a top handicap horse. By Giant's Causeway, Chief Havoc has won his last two in wire to wire fashion. He should once again be out winging on the front end. If Paynter goes too, this race could absolutely fall apart. Unless that is, Paynter is in fact the super horse he has already shown to be.

Post time for the San Diego on Saturday where the turf meets the surf is 5:40 pm ET.