Four Horses To Use In Your Del Mar Bets On Opening Day 2017
by SCOTT SHAPIRO
Wednesday marks one of my favorite days on the calendar: Opening Day at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, and hopes are high as we embark on another journey “Where the Turf Meets the Surf.” For opening day handicapping reports, CLICK HERE.
The ten-race card begins at 5 p.m. EDT (2p PT) on Wednesday, offers plenty of full fields, and is headlined by a loaded maiden special weight event for promising two-year-old fillies along with the traditional feature: the Oceanside Stakes on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course for three-year-olds who have never won a turf stakes.
There should be very few short priced favorites--if any--throughout the slate of races on Wednesday. Additionally, there should be several double-digit horses that at the very least can find their way onto winning vertical wagers, so instead of focusing on Spot Plays with most likely winners I thought I would discuss a few runners that may not be good enough to hit the wire first, but have a solid chance to run second or third and “beef” up the trifecta or superfecta payouts.
#3 Popular Kid (8-1 ML)
This Big Chief Racing runner makes his second start since being claimed by trainer Keith Desormeaux. His running lines prior to the claim should be taken with a grain of salt given the massive barn upgrade. In his first try for Desormeaux, the son of Popular appeared poised for a strong late run, lacked room on the inside and never got a fair shake. On Wednesday he stretches out to two turns and gets the services of one of the best Del Mar turf riders around in veteran Kent Desormeaux. The fact this Cal-bred has been gelded since his last start adds to the intrigue.
#2 Karma King (15-1 ML)
The winner of 5 of 22 lifetime has shown an affinity for Del Mar throughout his racing career compiling 3 wins and 2 runner-up finishes in 5 career tries. He got a race under his belt at Santa Anita Park last month after an 11-month layoff where he led early and tired late to finish fourth. He meets some tough customers in this optional claimer, but is worth including if anywhere near his morning line price.
#12 Fortune of War (20-1 ML)
This British-bred son of Sixties Icon makes his first start off a two and a half month freshening for trainer Eric Kruljac. When last seen this ridgling was running down a field of ten maidens to finally break through for his first lifetime victory. He has moved forward in each of his four starts since arriving in the States and gets the services of veteran Corey Nakatani. If C Nak can angle in to save ground early, there should be enough early speed to set up his late kick. He may not be good enough to win this thing if the race collapses, but picking up the pieces is far from out of the question.
#9 Streak of Luck (6-1 ML)
This Roncelli Family Trust owned filly was well-supported first time out for a barn that rarely wins with their debut runners. She was cost all chance shortly after the start when she was squeezed back to last in the five-furlong sprint. The daughter of Old Fashioned draws outside this time around, which hopefully will lead to a cleaner voyage after running on fairly well during the latter stages of her first start. Expecting a big effort from this Matthew Chew trainee in the penultimate event on the Opening Day card.
Let’s get this meet started right!
To download my Daily Selections each day, featuring full-card analysis with best bets, CLICK HERE.