How to bet the 2022 Hollywood Derby

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

December 2nd, 2022

A wide-open field of 11 three-year-olds will travel 1 1/8 miles over the Del Mar lawn in Saturday’s $400,000 Hollywood Derby (G1). The finale on a big day of racing attracted many fine prospects but no standout, and the turf tilt appears to be a strong and competitive betting endeavor.

#8 War at Sea (6-1) has never finished off the board on the green with a 6-3-0-3 turf line for conditioner Ron Ellis. By War Front, the $525,000 purchase has been in very good form in 2022 and comes off of a solid third-place performance in the Del Mar Derby (G2) last out, which followed a three-race win streak.

Kentucky-bred bay has excellent positional speed in a cast lacking an abundance of pace, and I expect the sophomore to sit close while in second or third to the top of the stretch on Saturday, which will allow him to get the jump on the deeper closing types in the test. He has posted some swift morning drills as of late and will retain the services of regular pilot Mike Smith, which is a positive.

#1 Cabo Spirit (5-1) has bagged graded stakes races in two of his last three outings leading up to this tilt and rates an obvious chance with his leading performance. The gelded son of Pioneerof the Nile is a dual winner on the course, led by a nice triumph in the La Jolla H. (G3) in August, and he proved to be more than capable at the distance when rallying off of a slow pace to score in the Twilight Derby (G2) at Santa Anita last time. Regular pilot Joe Bravo will be in the irons.

A pair of East Coast invaders will also make the majority of my tickets. Hill Prince S. (G2) victor #3 Celestial City (4-1) is 2-for-3 since adding blinkers for conditioner Shug McGaughey and has won or placed in six races in succession on the turf, with four of those coming in stakes. The versatile colt will have Ramon Vazquez up.

Todd Pletcher’s #9 Wit (7-2) has acclimated well to turf racing with a win and two seconds since transferring to the sod this season. Two-time Grade 3 hero suffered a narrow defeat in the Bryan Station S. (G3) at Keeneland in his latest performance and could be the one with a forward move off of that try. Practical Joke colt will stalk the pace early on with top gun Flavien Prat taking the reins.

Hollywood Derby Wagers

  • $10 win and place #8 War at Sea ($20)
  • $3 exacta key box 8 with 1,3,9 ($18)
  • 50-cent trifecta box 1,3,8,9 ($12)