Seeking an upset in the Del Mar Handicap
Multiple Grade 2 hero United will lead a cast of 11 to the gate in Saturday’s $200,000 Del Mar H. (G2). But I aim to knock off the fantastic 5-year-old in the big field.
Del Mar Handicap Analysis
The pace is a tricky one to figure with no confirmed front runner signed on. #1 United, #4 Big Buzz, #10 Originaire, and #11 North County Guy all possess a measure of early foot and will be forwardly placed from the start.
Del Mar Contenders
#1 UNITED -- Class of the field rides in on a three-race win streak for Mandella. The reigning Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) runner-up showed his versatility with a sharp tally in the Eddie Read (G2) on the course at 9 panels most recently and stretches back out to a preferred trip in this spot. Giant’s Causeway 5-year-old is consistently excellent and a must use with Prat up.
#2 ANOTHER MYSTERY -- Temple City colt looks to be in a tough spot for McCarthy. Bay has failed to hit the board in three straight while facing lesser and others seem more likely on this occasion.
#3 COMBATANT -- Lone Grade 1 victor in the field is winless in eight career tries on the lawn. Sadler charge has kept fine company while facing graded foes in four straight, but he is hard to back with his current turf mark.
#4 BIG BUZZ -- Kitchingman pupil made good off the claim when leading throughout in a starter allowance victory on the course. Gelded son of Mr Big removes the blinkers off that tally, and he rises up in class in a big way on Saturday. Dark bay would be a surprise.
#5 WARD ‘N JERRY -- Puype trainee has run some of his best races at marathon distances on the green, topped by a huge third in the Hollywood Turf Cup (G2) at Del Mar in December. Lucky Pulpit gelding has not been very sharp in his last pair, however, and he is hard to trust in this current form cycle despite the presence of Mike Smith.
#6 PROUD PEDRO -- Recent allowance winner made good going this distance on the course last time out. Colt is unplaced from his previous two graded attempts, but improvement off of his latest could make him an exotics contender at a price under Hernandez.
#7 RED KING -- San Juan Capistrano (G3) star is winless from eight outings on the Del Mar lawn, though he does own six top-3 finishes locally. D’amato charge has run three good ones in succession in 2020, and the son of English Channel could hit the board with a forward move in the Del Mar. Rispoli retains the mount.
#8 NEW YEAR -- Jersey Town gelding went off at 61-1 in the Wicker S. here most recently, and he faces a better field on this day. Former claimer appears to be in deep against this cast.
#9 OSCAR DOMINGUEZ -- Logical contender from the Baltas shedrow is a proven stayer on the West Coast and was second best in the race in 2019. Zoffany 7-year-old didn’t take to the ‘good’ turf at Keeneland in the Elkhorn (G2) last time out, but the Grade 2 winner will be in the hunt late with his top performance. Van Dyke will be in the stirrups.
#10 ORIGINAIRE -- Upset selection has been runner-up in a trio of Grade 2 outings and will break through with his initial graded victory on Saturday. Jeff Mullins trainee ran an even one going 1 1/8 miles in the Eddie Read last time, and I envision big improvement with the added ground under Cedillo. Zoffany colt will be tracking the pace while always in range from the start.
#11 NORTH COUNTY GUY -- Second from the Baltas barn has won or placed in nine of his last 10 in preparation of the Del Mar. Consistent 5-year-old was a smart runner-up on the course at today’s distance last time, and he has exotics appeal with a clean break from the outer post beneath Mario Gutierrez.
Del Mar Handicap Wagers
- $20 Win: #10 Originaire ($20)
- $10 Exacta Box: 1-10 ($20)