How to bet the 2021 Native Diver Stakes
A well-matched field of eight will vie in Saturday’s $100,000 Native Diver S. (G3) at Del Mar. Conditioner Bob Baffert will saddle a trio of live players in the field and I will give the upset nod to one of his runners.
#5 Azul Coast has a lot of ability, but he has also been wildly inconsistent through this stage of his development. The Pegram, Watson, and Weitman color bearer is not the easiest horse to read, but I loved his allowance victory on the surface two back, and he will be tough to upend with a similar performance on Saturday.
The four-year-old son of Super Saver backed up in the lane when facing a very good field in the Awesome Again S. (G1) at Santa Anita last time out, but the bay has trained well since, and the colt will shop vast improvement on Saturday while returning to Del Mar. He figures to sit a good trip from behind a swift pace early on under Flavien Prat, prior to moving into prime contention in early stretch.
#2 Midcourt owns substantial back class and also likes Del Mar while posting a 5-2-2-1 lifetime line locally. The John Shirreffs trainee was a good runner-up in the race last campaign, and he gets a pass for his poor performance at Santa Anita in his most recent endeavor. The Midnight Lute gelding can be very good on his best day and is a must use as a logical win contender, in my opinion.
Baffert’s Grade 1-winning #6 Eight Rings stretches out following a solid try when fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) most recently. The Empire Maker colt will likely be the one to catch in the nine-furlong test, and while he is no cinch to thrive at the distance, the Kentucky-bred is very dangerous nonetheless. Juan Hernandez will be up.
#8 Kiss Today Goodbye, winner of the 2020 San Antonio S. (G2), has been humbled in three races this campaign while facing top competition. Trained by Brian Koriner, the Cairo Prince colt will be equipped with blinkers on Saturday, and if his recent bullet morning drill is any indication, then the four-year-old will deliver a much-improved effort in this endeavor. The stout late runner will be under the guidance of Kent Desormeaux.
Native Diver Wagers
- $1 superfecta 2, 5 with 2, 5, 6, 8 with 2, 5, 6, 8 with all ($60)