Spot plays for July 30 stakes at Saratoga and Del Mar

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

July 29th, 2021

A pair of black-type races on opposite sides of the country will highlight the racing on Friday. I believe that both of the events will come down to the morning-line choices, though I have a strong opinion for value contenders to complete each exacta.

Saratoga -- Curlin S. (Race 9)

The unbeaten and exciting #4 First Captain (7-5) will make his two-turn debut in this contest and looms a menacing figure for conditioner Shug McGaughey. A $1.5 million purchase in 2019, the son of Curlin has shown versatility and heart to this stage of his development, and both his pedigree and running style hint that he will thrive in his initial try at 1 1/8 miles.

#1 Miles D (10-1), also by Curlin, exits a maiden win and is taking a big class hike for Chad Brown, but he looks like a fine prospect who is ready to give a good account of himself at the level. The $470,000 yearling buy has trained in smart fashion since his Belmont Park tally, and he is another who will likely move forward going two turns for the first time. Joel Rosario retains the mount.


  • $30 exacta 4 with 1 ($30)

Del Mar -- Real Good Deal S. (Race 6)

California-bred three-year-olds will dash seven-eighths on the dirt with seven contenders in the mix. Despite his tricky draw on the rail, I still think that #1 The Chosen Vron (6-5) will come out on top. The once-beaten gelding comes off two straight impressive Grade 3 wins, and his pair of recent morning moves on the course tell me that he will handle the surface just fine while making his local debut.

#5 Letsgetlucky (8-1) is swift and gets an ideal post draw outside of the other early pace in the field. The recently gelded son of Munnings was third to the top pick in the Echo Eddie S. two prior, and he intrigues me coming in fresh on Friday. Joe Bravo will guide the dark bay who will prompt the action from the opening bell.


  • $30 exacta 1 with 5 ($30)