Scully: Pick 3 play at Del Mar Saturday

Profile Picture: James Scully

August 21st, 2020

Maximum Security will take some beating in Saturday’s main event, and I will focus on a Pick 3 sequence prior to the Pacific Classic (G1) that includes a couple of nice turf stakes, the Del Mar Oaks (G1) and Del Mar Handicap (G2). Both races attracted 11 runners, and the Oaks includes a pair of dangerous French invaders.

Here are my thoughts on the races:

Race 7 -- Del Mar Handicap

United exits three consecutive Grade 2 wins and is clearly the one to beat. However, he likes to race up close on the outside and must work out a trip from the rail in a large field. Flavien Prat may elect to send him from the gate, but there’s other speed to the outside and the 5-year-old gelding is potentially vulnerable at short odds.

I’m tabbing #9 Oscar Dominguez for a minor upset. The gelding held his own versus United over the winter, winning the Hollywood Turf Cup (G2) at Del Mar and finishing a close third in the San Marcos (G2) at Santa Anita, and both races came on firm turf. After catching off turf in his last two outings, he will the firm conditions he relishes here. The Richard Baltas charge was compromised by the ground and a slow start in the July 12 Elkhorn (G2) at Keeneland, and Oscar Dominguez should be fit after rallying well in the latter stages.

#10 Originaire has improved at age 4 for Jeff Mullins, recording a sharp allowance score three back and a troubled close third (elevated to second by the stewards) in the Charles Whittingham (G2) two back. He didn’t receive a favorable trip between rivals in the Eddie Read (G2), checking repeatedly in the early stages, and is eligible to receive a better trip Saturday. I’ll also use Santa Anita H. (G1) winner #3 Combatant, who returns to turf for John Sadler.

Race 8

Eight are entered for the non-winners of two “other than” allowance/optional claiming event at a mile on the main track, and #6 Extra Hope merits serious respect in his 4-year-old debut for Richard Mandella after concluding last year with placings in the Damascus S. and Native Diver (G3).

In case the expected favorite is rusty off the nine-month layoff, #4 Take the One O One and #5 El Tigre Terrible will be added. Take the One O One looks like the one to catch and is 2-for-2 on Del Mar’s main track. Turf stakes victor El Tigre Terrible, who looked good defeating a suspect cast while switching to the main track last time, is a candidate to keep moving forward for Peter Miller.

Race 9 -- Del Mar Oaks

A fast and contested pace appears very possible, and French group stakes winners #3 Miss Extra and #8 Neige Blanche are eligible to receive the right set-up for their finishing kick. I give the former the edge at the 1 1/8-mile trip.

#4 Warren’s Showtime enters on the upswing for Craig Lewis, stepping up in class with a fast-closing third in the July 25 San Clemente (G2), and she’ll be charging late with new jockey Mike Smith. # 2 California Kook is also intriguing at long odds; the California-bred filly exits a pair of fine late-running efforts and should receive a favorable ground-saving trip from her inside post.

$1 Pick 3 Wager (races 7-9)

3,9,10 with 4,5,6 with 2,3,4,8 = $36