Out Cap Da Shap at Del Mar on July 25
by SCOTT SHAPIRO
The second week of the “Out Cap Da Shap” promo at TwinSpires.com is upon us after eight customers were able to piece together a challenging late Pick 4 that paid $888.65 for 50-cents on Opening Day. The octet each earned an additional $250.
I will look for redemption with a sequence that includes the featured Cougar II Handicap (G3), as well as a pair of maiden claimers and a challenging starter allowance event over the Jimmy Durante Turf Course in Race 6.
A state-bred $50K maiden claimer conducted at six panels over the main track kicks things off. The first leg of the late Pick 4 looks fairly wide open so I will go five deep.
#2 Cayate is listed as the 3-1-morning line favorite for trainer Kristin Mulhall. The four-year-old gelding has been facing better and has as good a chance as anyone, but he did try this level back in January and finished a non-threatening second.
The 7-2-second choice #5 Black Storm is a toss for me. The son of Treasure Ride has had plenty of chances and has not done better than a trio of third place finishes in eight tries.
#1 Poise to Strike draws the rail, which will be a challenge, but goes third off the layoff for a low-profile barn that has gotten off to good start at the Del Mar summer meeting. He is my top choice.
The outside two geldings #7 Sound Logic and #8 Friendly Steve could provide some separation to kick things off.
There appears to be quite a bit of early zip signed on in this one-mile event over the sod, so even though the temporary rails are out at 30 feet for the initial time this summer, I still give significant chances to runners from off the pace.
#9 Souter is the clear one to beat in his third start of the form cycle for trainer James Cassidy. He has struggled to get out of the gates in each of his first three tries in the States, but I am hopeful that Kent Desormeaux can do what Joe Talamo could not and get him into the race a bit earlier. If Kent can, the son of Poet’s Voice will be tough to beat.
If Souter gets off to another slow start I think #3 Spa Shackalacka, late running Chicago import #5 Jimmy D and #10 Amazon Cry are the likeliest to spring the minor upset.
Race 7: The Cougar II Handicap
The $100,000 event run at a mile and a half over the main track is led by 6-5-morning line chalk #4 Hoppertunity. The veteran son of Any Given Saturday returns to Southern California after two 103+ BRIS speed ratings over the Belmont Park surface. He has a class edge over this group, but his 0-for-3 record at Del Mar and a lack of early speed makes him vulnerable. It is not a given that he will run as well as he did in New York where he clearly has an affinity for the wide swooping turns “Big Sandy” offers.
I will double up and consider a Win wager on #3 Little Scotty. The five-year-old gelding should be able to make an easy early lead and has shown an affinity for the dirt after racing solely over the turf in his first 25 races. If they let apprentice Asa Espinoza dictate a moderate early tempo, this son of Paddy O’Prado could be tough to get by late.
A rock bottom maiden claimer concludes the card and the late Pick 4.
I lack a strong opinion in this group and cannot rely just on the two favorites, #11 Belle Monte and #12 Red Bomber. They both go out for ice cold barns to start the summer in San Diego County and have not shown me enough on the track to start their career. Hopefully, I can navigate my way through the first 3 races and connect with #5 Omerta or #8 Kya since they will provide much greater value.
Late Pick 4 Ticket (Subject to change with scratches):
Race 5: 1,2,3,7,8
Race 6: 3,5,9,10
Race 7: 3,4
Race 8: 1,5,8,11,12
Ticket Cost: $100
TwinSpires.com has brought back 2016’s favorite contest, “Out Cap Da Shap," where players can try to “out cap” Scott Shapiro every Wednesday at Del Mar. If able to do so, you will get additional funds on top of the late Pick 4 payout. Just “Opt In” under the offers section on Twin Spires to be eligible. Shapiro’s Pick 4 ticket each week that costs no more than $100 and if he hits, you will split $1,000 with every other winner. If Shapiro’s loses, you will split $2,000.