Shapiro: Thanksgiving Day spot plays at Del Mar
For those looking for an occasional respite from family during the holiday Thursday afternoon, look no further than "Where the Turf Meets the Surf."
The final four days of the four-week Bing Crosby meeting at Del Mar commences on Thanksgiving and there are plenty of solid wagering opportunities to be had over the eight-race card.
Here are a few races that I look forward to getting involved in during the Turkey Day festivities:
The first leg of the Pick 6 is a high level allowance/optional claimer run at one mile over the Jimmy Durante Turf Course. This race drew a field of eight probables in what appears to be a relatively wide-open event.
#8 A Red Tie Day has the experience edge and comes into this spot off a third place effort in the Lure Stakes during opening week of the meeting. Prior to that he dominated a much weaker field of conditional $32K claimers at Santa Anita. I think the seven-year-old gelding is worth taking a shot against as the 3-1-morning line favorite. That third place effort earlier this month looks better on paper than it was in reality and the value simply is not there.
#1 Holiday Stone intrigues me at 6-1 on the line. He was caught up in an early duel in the Let It Ride Stakes against better on opening day before tiring badly late. Trainer George Weaver takes the blinkers off, which ideally will help this son of Harlan's Holiday relax early. He still should find himself prominently placed despite the equipment change and it is encouraging that Flavian Prat sticks around to ride. I expect a much-improved effort in his second try in Southern California.
#2 Caribou Club comes off a win against lesser down the hill at Santa Anita in late October for trainer Tom Proctor. The son of City Zip has earned both of his victories going one turn, but did run well in a race dominated by front runners in his second of two tries at a mile over this course this summer. If Drayden Van Dyke gives the Glen Hill Farm gelding an aggressive early ride he should sit a great trip just off the early pace and has a huge shot to make it two in a row.
#4 Kencumin and #5 Troublewithatee faced each other two back at Santa Anita and Troublewithatee just got the better of it due to a masterful ride from Corey Nakatani. They both may be up against it on the win end given the lack of early zip signed on, but enter this spot in good form and have a huge shot to pick up the pieces in the lane.
The seventh race is a six-furlong dash over the main track. I usually am not a fan of these types of starter allowance/optional claiming events, but in this case I will certainly be getting involved. There appears to be quite a few runners signed on in this spot that like to be on or near the early lead. That should set things up for a horse from off the pace.
#3 Neighborhood Bully has just one win in six career starts, but that victory game over this racetrack on closing weekend of the summer meeting. The son of Scat Daddy was unable to do better than third in a 5 1/2-furlong affair at Santa Anita on October 29, but that race was dominated by those that sat first and second early on. Two-back he was not good enough late to run down Utah Ute, but did finish well enough to earn second.
I expect Drayden Van Dyke to have this colt at the back of the pack early on and to be rolling late. I am going to consider a win bet if he is 7-2 or higher and key him for first and second in the trifecta and hope to sneak a long shot like #4 Midnight Run into the backend.
Lots of great turf racing to close out the year at Del Mar. Good luck this weekend and Happy Thanksgiving!
Click here to find my full card selections/analysis of everyday in Southern California.
(Eclipse Sportswire photo)