A Pair of Turf Stakes Races Headline Sunday Card at Del Mar
The first week of the Del Mar Summer meeting concludes with a pair of two-turn stakes races run over the Jimmy Durante Turf Course.
The feature is the Grade 2 Eddie Read is for three-year-olds and upward and is conducted at a mile and an eighth.
Trainer Phil D’Amato won the last two renditions and brings a strong trio into Sunday that includes last year’s winner #7 Hunt. The six-year-old gelding comes in off a near two-month freshening after a neck victory in his first start of the year in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Santa Anita. In that victory, he took advantage of a hot early pace set by Om and a perfect trip under Flavien Prat to spring the upset at nearly 10 to 1. He is unlikely to get that kind of setup in the Eddie Read, but he must be respected nonetheless.
D'Amato also sends out #4 Bowie’s Hero and #11 Fashion Business.
I liked Bowie’s Hero last time out in the aforementioned Shoemaker Mile, but he disappointed despite a clean trip under jockey Corey Nakatani. Perhaps he regressed off of his win in the Grade 1 Kilroe Mile in March, but I question his ability to thrive at the nine-furlong distance.
Fashion Business returns to Southern California after missing by just a neck on Belmont Stakes Day in a blanket finish in the Grade 1 Manhattan. He is up against in here, especially since there does not appear to be a ton of early zip signed on in this year’s Eddie Read.
#9 Itsinthepost has won 4 of 5 in 2018 for trainer Jeff Mullins and certainly merits respect on Sunday given his tactical speed and class, but his 0 for 9 record at Del Mar and the fact he has not run as fast as numbers over his last 3 starts makes him a play against for me.
#5 Sharp Samurai was impressive in the first start of his four-year-old campaign for trainer Mark Glatt. He did sit a perfect trip in that optional claiming event at Santa Anita, but he won rather easy under Hall of Famer Gary Stevens. With no speed to his inside and a few stalkers to his outside, I expect Stevens to send the son of First Samurai to the lead and never look back. A career best effort could be in the cards for the winner of 7 of 11 career races and 2 of 3 over this turf course.
#10 Prime Attraction moves back to the lawn after racing over the main track against graded stakes company in his last four tries for trainer James Cassidy. He was overmatched in the Grade 1 “Big Cap” in late March and has been freshened since. Look for jockey Kent Desormeaux to stalk the early pace from his outside draw, which could allow him to hang around for a share.
#2 Next Shares is in the best form of his life for trainer Richard Baltas and could be a factor late, but I think he is better at shorter distances. He still can pick up the pieces in the lane under veteran rider Rafael Bejarano
$50 Win 5 = $50
$1 Trifecta Key 5 with 2+7+10 = $6
The $75,000 Wickerr Stakes also drew a competitive field of turf milers. The restricted stakes event appears wide-open and should see a much more contentious pace than the Eddie Read given the presence of several that do their best running on or near the front end. I advise spreading in this race to start the late Pick 4, but a horse that may get lost in the shuffle is worth taking a “stab” with as well.
#4 Giant Payday ships in for trainer Ian Wilkes. The son of Giant’s Causeway tried a mile and a half over the main track in the Grade 2 Brooklyn, but was no factor at a big price. Now he cuts back to a mile, returns to his preferred surface and attracts the services of jockey Kent Desormeaux. He could be rolling late.
#8 Liam the Charmer has not raced since last August and has been better at further distances, but if he is ready to fire fresh he can definitely best this group.
#9 Big Score makes his four-year-old debut for trainer Tim Yakteen. He is likely to need a race plus he struggled to win races in 2017 with just one victory in eight tries despite seven top 3 finishes. With the right trip though he can hit the board in here.
#10 Colonist also only found the wire first once in 2018 and is a bit too ploddy to get excited about, but a minor reward is not out of the question if they go at it early like I anticipate.
#12 Perfectly Majestic is far from a win machine, but he is honest. The outside draw is not ideal, but if Corey Nakatani can avoid significant ground loss his affinity for the Del Mar lawn could lead to an underneath finish.
$10 Win/Place 4 = $20
$2 Exacta 4 with 8+9+10+12 = $8