How to Bet Saturday’s San Clemente at Del Mar

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Noel Michaels

July 19th, 2019

The $200,000 San Clemente (G2) will be the headline race on Saturday’s loaded card at Del Mar. The feature is a one-mile grass race for three-year-old fillies that has drawn a wide-open 10-horse field. The large field and lack of a single standout favorite will make the San Clemente an excellent betting race. ANALYSIS The San Clemente is a 10-horse field that should be able to be narrowed down to its three top contenders, with Mucho Unusual (#3) (7-2), Over Emphasize (#6) (8-1) and Maxim Rate (#9) (3-1) leading the list of challengers in this race. Perhaps Keeper Ofthe Stars (#1) (12-1) or Seranitaa (#2) (8-1) are pace horses who could survive well enough to land in your trifectas or superfectas. Use the first three contenders on top, and the other ones underneath in the trifectas, and box Mucho Unusual, Over Emphasize and Maxim Rate in the exactas. WAGERS $2 Exacta Box  3, 6, 9 = $12 $1 Trifectas  3, 6, 9 / 3, 6, 9 /  1, 2, 3, 6, 9 = $18 Here’s a brief look at this year’s San Clemente field: KEEPER OFTHE STARS (#1) (12-1) comes into this race with three wins in a row at Golden Gate Fields, including a wire-to-wire win in her career grass debut last out in an allowance/optional claimer. Belongs in this field, but is somewhat of an x-factor, not in terms of form but because she was 0-for-3 in SoCal to begin her career, and now races for new trainer Jonathan Wong after leaving the barn of Jerry Hollendorfer. Speed and the rail, but will need to fend off other pace entered in this race. SERANITSA (#2) (8-1) clearly the best races in her past performances are on the turf, and new trainer Neil Drysdale wasted no time raising her up against graded competition in her first race for this barn last out in the Honeymoon (G3), where she ran competitive for fourth against a couple of this race’s chief rivals. In a tough spot here, because it appears she benefits from setting the pace, but she’s probably not fast enough to make this lead in this spot. MUCHO UNUSUAL (#3) (7-2) is a perfect two-for-two since switching to the grass with a wire-to-wire win in the California Cup Oaks back in February. Returned from four months between races with a mile allowance/optional claimer at Santa Anita last time in a race that was ultra-important for her because it showed she can rate and win from slightly off the pace. That new off-the-pace dimension makes her the horse to beat for trainer Tim Yakteen. DEVILS DANCE (#4) (20-1) should add even more pace to this race that already has plenty of speed entered. Stretches out to one mile for the first time off of nine sprint races ranging from five furlongs to 6 1/2 furlongs down the hill to begin her career. Won her only lifetime outing so far on this Del Mar turf course, but that was a five-furlong maiden race. Overall, her quality level seems to fall short of the top contenders in this field, and the distance stretch out is an additional question mark. APACHE PRINCESS (#5) (8-1) has been knocking around graded and Cal-bred stakes spots in her last four outings, and has gone 0-for-3 in such spots, with the last win coming back in February in the off-the-turf Sweet Life Stakes (G3) at 6 1/2 furlongs on dirt at Santa Anita. Will have a difficult time stacking up against this kind of competition, with her best chance today coming for a placing in the trifectas or superfectas with a closing move from far back off the pace in a race that seems loaded with speed. OVER EMPHASIZE (#6) (8-1) won at first asking on the grass three races ago to get the maiden win under her belt, and then added a close second up at the next level in her next race from off the pace at 1 1/8 miles. Exits a solid third-place finish in the Honeymoon (G3) where she finished ahead of both Seranitsa and Maxim Rate, and looms the best come-from-behind hope in this race who could very well be good enough to take advantage of all the pace entered in this race to be able to close for first or second. HARMLESS (#7) (20-1) has won two in a row at Golden Gate, first in a turf sprint and then in a synthetic track mile race last time out. Now puts it all together for the first time, stretching to the mile and back on the turf which seems like it’s the surface where she is meant to be. The question today really is not the distance or the surface, however, it is whether or not her quality level approaches the other horses in this race. So far it has not, but it’s tough to blame the connections for taking a shot. STILLWATER COVE (#8) (5-2) will be a factor in this race of she opts to ship here from her base at Keeneland instead of a Friday spot at Saratoga for trainer Wesley Ward. However, as the morning-line favorite in this race, she could be worth betting against in this race in favor or other, better value contenders who unlike this horse are already proven at a two-turn distance. This horse was a minor stakes winner at Saratoga last season as a two-year-old at 5 1/2 furlongs, and stakes-placed two races ago this spring at Keeneland, also at 5 1/2 furlongs. The last race, however, was an off-the-board finish at seven furlongs at Belmont, and the only prior stretch out attempt to one mile was a fifth-place finish in Woodbine’s Natalma (G1) last year. MAXIM RATE (#9) (3-1) won at first asking back in February at Santa Anita at one mile on the grass, and since then has been entered exclusively against graded competition at Santa Anita when second by a nose in the Providencia (G3), winning the Senorita (G3) and then fifth in the Honeymoon (G3). Despite losing to a pair of these same rivals in the Honeymoon, which was at a 1 1/8-mile distance that perhaps was too far for her, she is already a graded winner going two turns on turf and she has more upside than Over Emphasize and Seranitsa at this one-mile distance. KALLINIKI (#10) (20-1) exits her maiden win at one mile on the turf at Santa Anita in her three-year-old debut in a wire-to-wire effort. This will obviously be a big step up in class and her BRIS Speed figure does not stack up against some of these more established rivals in this one. Her only chance in a race like this would be to try to steak it on the front end, but there is enough other early speed entered in this race to prevent that from happening. PHOTO: Maxim Rate and jockey Kent Desormeaux win the Senorita Stakes (G3) on Saturday, May 4, 2019, at Santa Anita Park © BENOIT PHOTO