Making Money around Unique Bella in the Clement L. Hirsch
By SCOTT SHAPIRO
The Clement L. Hirsch (G1) came up very weak outside of 2-5 morning line favorite Unique Bella, so as a horseplayer the question becomes how to make money around the star Don Alberto Stable filly.
The daughter of Tapit has not completely mastered the mental part of the game, but her physical ability has never been questioned. She brings an 8-for-11 record into the $300,000 1 1/16-mile event that has been won in recent years by the likes of Stellar Wind and Beholder. She would need something to go wrong to not make it two straight Grade 1s for hot training Jerry Hollendorfer.
Betting Unique Bella to Win is not an option for me and finding an Exacta combination that I am confident in and will provide a decent payout is also not happening, so I will look to the horizontals to hopefully take advantage of the closest thing to a “free square” you will see.
The race (4th) before the feature is a maiden special weight event on the lawn for two-year-old fillies. The majority of the field is unraced, but one young female stands out to me based on connections and pedigree.
#1 Summering debuts for trainer Tom Proctor. The Glen Hill Farm filly is bred to go a route of ground on the sod being by War Front out of an Indian Charlie mare named Wishing Gate. This is Wishing Gate’s first foal to race, but in her days as a racehorse she was highly successful doing just what Summering plans to do on Sunday afternoon.
Wishing Gate broke her maiden in her second career start (first over the lawn) in a special weight over this same turf course. After that victory she went on to win 4-of-16 races, including a victory in the San Clemente (G2), as well as the Autumn Miss. She earned over $374K.
Summering draws favorably to the rail, which should allow jockey Drayden Van Dyke to save ground early and get the best of this group in the lane. Her price is not overly attractive at 7-2 on oddsmaker Russell Hudak’s morning line, but I am hopeful that a somewhat chalky Daily Double from her to Unique Bella will still be worth getting involved in. I will also play Summering to Win and key her on top of the in-race exotics.
If you are looking at a Pick 3 starting with Summering, it probably will only be worth attacking if you take a shot against Bob Baffert conditioned #1 Roadster in Race 6. The son of Quality Road is a colt that Baffert has spoken highly of, but he draws the rail and ideally wants to go longer for his Hall of Fame conditioner. #5 Of Good Report, #3 View Magic, #6 Gunmetal Gary, #7 Savagery, #9 Parsimony and #10 Jefe may not have the talent of Roadster, but all appear to have enough ability to win on Sunday afternoon.
$25 Daily Double: 1-2
$2 Pick 3: 1 with 2 with 3+5+6+7+9+10 = $12