Shapiro’s analysis of Del Mar’s closing-day Pick 6
by Scott Shapiro
Sunday marks the final day of the Bing Crosby meeting at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and with that comes a mandatory payout in the Pick 6.
The exact amount up for grabs will be determined after the completion of the meet’s penultimate card on Saturday afternoon, but regardless it will certainly be worth taking a shot at on Sunday.
The sequence that starts in Race 4 involves three races conducted over the lawn, including the featured $300,000 Matriarch (G1).
Here are my thoughts on the challenging sequence that is almost certain to pay “stacks” to those fortunate enough to march their way through all six races.
The Pick 6 commences with a state-bred optional claiming event at six and a half furlongs over the main track. A compact group of six is scheduled to break from the gate at approximately 2 p.m. (PT). My top choice, and a potential single in the sequence, is #5 Papa Mambo. The Papa Clem filly returns to the dirt after a midpack finish going five-eighths over the lawn two weeks ago. Trainer Brian Koriner has had success wheeling back horses off a short rest and his runner draws well to the outside on Sunday. If you are spreading deep in this leg, I would also include #1 Who Said Lucky, #4 Late ‘n Left and #6 Queenofhercastle.
A full field is assembled for the fifth race, a nine-furlong optional claiming event run over the Jimmy Durante Turf Course. I found this to be one of the more challenging races to handicap all meet and suggest spreading deep if you can afford it. One horse that intrigues me quite a bit at a price is #7 Mrs. Norris. This Bernardini filly has struggled to find the winner’s circle in her 13-start career, but had a troubled voyage in her last start and has shown she can get the added distance. She should run well in her third try of the form cycle. I also think #5 Girl Downstairs is interesting as a value option. This four-year-old filly has been in great form since arriving in the Vann Belvoir barn and must be respected given her four lifetime victories in a field full of fillies that have hit the wire only once or twice. I also advise including #11 Longstocking. This Michael McCarthy trainee has the look of a filly that may appreciate added ground after some solid tries going one turn.
The sixth is a non-winners of two low-level claimer run at five and a half furlongs over the main track. 9-5-favorite #4 Tuscany Beauty looks tough to beat in this spot for trainer Bruce Headley. The daughter of Cyclotron drops in class out of an optional claiming event and faces a suspect group. The five and a half furlong distance should fit her perfectly. If you are looking for alternatives perhaps #2 Pragmatical can get the jump on the favorite, but this five-year-old mare clearly has soundness issues. #3 Buzzer Beater goes first off the claim for trainer Doug O’Neill, but probably is at her best with a bit more ground. Of the price options maybe #7 Cecile’s Diamond has an outside shot. She crushed a field of rock-bottom maiden claimers two weeks ago for trainer Kristin Mulhall and draws well to the outside. However, on a limited budget I am willing to live and die with Tuscany Beauty.
The seventh is a competitive rendition of the aforementioned Matriarch run at a mile over the grass. A strong field of fillies and mares will run for a purse of $300,000. Trainer Chad Brown holds a strong hand with #4 Zindaya, #6 Mexican Gold and #7 Roca Rojo. All three have a legitimate chance and are worth including, but #12 Miss Temple City is the 3-1-morning line favorite following a fifth place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1). The Temple City filly drew poorly to the outside, but should be able to work out a trip with what appears to be a field relatively void of early speed and is a must use. #11 Time and Motion is a classy filly that makes her first trip west for trainer James Toner. I wonder if the mile distance is a bit too short though. I think the locally based horses are probably overmatched in here but if the pace is hotter than expected, #1 Tiz a Kiss or #9 Decked Out have a chance to pull the big upset.
The eighth is a high-level optional claimer conducted at six and a half panels over Del Mar’s main track. #5 Jazzy Times is the 5-2-morning line favorite and the one to beat. The Zayat Stables runner exits underneath finishes against stakes company at Santa Anita Park and if the Bob Baffert trainee can relax just off the pace of the speedy #4 Guy Code, Jazzy Times should find himself back in the winner’s circle. If he is unable to relax it could set things up for #1 St. Joe Bay or longshot #7 Just Kidding. #2 Who’s Out is also worth consideration after breaking poorly as the 3-5-favorite last time out. He has shown an affinity for this distance, has a win and a second over the surface and could sit a perfect trip.
The payoff leg and the final race of the meeting is a maiden special weight event for two-year-olds at the one-mile distance. My top choice in here is #10 I’m Living Proof. This Arch colt showed no speed down the hill in his debut and ran in spots a bit for trainer Paddy Gallagher. He figures to be better prepared for his second start and should improve around two turns, and is worthy of strong consideration at a price. #1 Kona Dreams will almost certainly be the favorite and is tough to omit, but gelding really struggled to finish as the 9-5-favorite last time out and will almost definitely be over bet. If your budget affords you to spread out in the finale, I give #9 Bobby G, #11 Activated and #3 Glacier chances to improve. Glacier makes his first start for Bob Baffert. Bobby G has run decent in three tries over the dirt and despite modest pedigree on the lawn does not have much to beat in this spot. Activated draws poorly for trainer Scott Hansen, but at 20-1 may be worth using. #6 Tastemaker and #8 Awesome Heights are first-time starters that may have some talent but will make their debut for barns that generally give them a race.