Speed play on Del Mar’s opening day

Profile Picture: James Scully

July 19th, 2017

Del Mar opens Wednesday with a contentious 10-race program and the Late Pick 4 (races 7-10) concludes with a one-mile claiming event that lacks front-running types. I will take a stand in the finale with inside speed.

#2 Anxious Times has fallen down the class ladder over the past 24 months but the 6-year-old gelding exits an encouraging fourth at Santa Anita July 2 in which he set the pace, registering BRIS Early Pace numbers of 94 and 99 that clearly stand out among a weak group of rivals. His Pace numbers run as high as 105 (E1) and 110 (E2), and the return presence of Tyler Baze guarantees Anxious Times will be sent from the start.

He shows a nice win at the one-mile trip in his immediate past performances and finished second in a starter allowance over the track and distance previously. Anxious Times ranks third in BRIS Prime Power (124.5) and the two horses ahead of him, #6 Belisarius and #11 My Discretion, are turf horses trying something new in declining form.

His 12-1 morning line may not be realistic but Anxious Times should still offer a nice return after leading wire to wire.

The $100,000 Oceanside, a one-mile turf affair for 3-year-olds, serves as the feature and #4 Bowies Hero looks like a standout among 14 rivals. The Artie Schiller colt loves the course, posting a convincing win in the Del Mar Juvenile Turf, and enters in good form for Phil d’Amato, who led all trainers by wins last summer.

Winner of the Singletary at Santa Anita in his 2017 bow, Bowies Hero exits a troubled fourth to Oscar Performance in the June 3 Pennine Ridge (G3) at Belmont Park. That rival came back to capture the Belmont Derby (G1) and Bowies Hero appears poised to follow suit as the favorite.

I will spread in the other two legs of the Late Pick 4.

50-cent Pick 4 ticket (races 7-10)

1,2,3,5,7,9,10,12 with 4 with 2,3,4,6,9,10,11 with 2 ($28)

Good luck on opening day!