How to bet the Clement L. Hirsch using Stellar Wind
Del Mar's second week of racing concludes Sunday with a strong nine-race card headlined by the Clement L. Hirsch (G1).
The five-horse field with the scratch of #5 Shenandoah Queen is led by 2015 champion three-year-old filly Stellar Wind and the Bob Baffert conditioned Vale Dori. The two mares threw down on June 3 in the Beholder Mile (G1) at Santa Anita and meet once again in the $300,000, 1 1/16-mile event over the main track that goes as the eighth race.
Vale Dori gave Stellar Wind all she could handle last time out, but I am concerned she may regress after that neck defeat last time out. Additionally, I expect Stellar Wind to move forward in her third start of the form cycle.
So the question is if you like Stellar Wind to win the 47th running of the Hirsch how do you find value with a horse that is extremely likely to be odds-on?
Firstly, I think there is a slight chance that Baffert's second runner #6 Faithfully can get the best of Vale Dori if the nine-time winner regresses like I expect. The four-year-old filly is on the improve and should sit a nice trip drawn to the outside in this compact group of five. A slight move forward from the daughter of Smart Strike will have her in the mix with Vale Dori in the lane.
I do not recommend going big, but taking a shot with a cold 3-6 exacta could be one way to find a bit of value in the Hirsch.
A wagering strategy that I prefer in this Del Mar race though is playing Doubles into the finale on the Sunday card.
#2 Rye Patch is the deserving 5-2-morning line favorite based on his resume coming into this open $25,000 claimer run at one mile over the Del Mar lawn. He has a win and a runner-up finish in three starts over this course and drops in class for his eighth try of 2017.
I respect Rye Patch's chances, but expect him to have to deal with plenty of challengers on the front end. The son of Hard Spun is brave when the race shape works in his favor. However, when he faces more adverse conditions he tends to tire late. For this reason, I will play Doubles keying Stellar Wind in the eighth and using a couple of late runners to close the card.
#9 Malko is an Irish-bred son of Giant's Causeway that does not always run his race, but when he gets the proper setup he is capable of running by the field in the lane. Trainer Vladimir Cerin is off to a red-hot start this summer at Del Mar and this gelding should be rolling late with a clean voyage under jockey Santiago Gonzalez. He is my top choice.
I also give a significant look to #8 Lazaam. The British-bred son of Archipenko has struggled to win in his 16-race career, but comes into this one in fine form for trainer Tim McCanna. The four-year-old gelding has a win and two runner-up finishes in his last three starts and is another that is likely to benefit from a contentious first half mile. Tiago Pereira picks up the mount.
Here is my wagering strategy involving the Clement L. Hirsch (Race 8):
$20 Exacta 3-6
$15 Double 3 with 8+9
Total Budget: $50
(Eclipse Sportswire photo)