Spot Plays for the San Clemente, San Diego

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

July 25th, 2020

Of the two boutique summer meets, Del Mar arguably is hosting the more interesting of the graded stakes on Saturday -- from a betting perspective that is. Here are horses I'll be eyeing in their two features.

Race 8 -- San Clemente Stakes (G2)

#9 WARREN'S SHOWTIME (7-2) is 4-for-6 on turf, owns a win over this course and in open stakes company, and had an excusable, troubled trip in her one unplaced try on the green.

Note loss two back, in the state-bred Fran's Valentine S. was against a tougher older group, with the winning Super Patriot a Grade 3-placed mare that returned to run second in the Osunitas S. a couple weeks ago.

Back with her own age group here, this homebred should sit an ideal stalking trip with rivals #6 Cheermeister, #1 She's So Special, and #3 Laura's Light all potentially contributing to an honest pace.

Race 9 -- San Diego Handicap (G2)

A factoid that perhaps will have no ultimate bearing on this race, but is worth mentioning, is that Bob Baffert has captured this race a mere once, with Fed Biz in 2014. Indeed, two of the most significant upsets in Del Mar history, outside Cigar's loss in the 1996 Pacific Classic (G1), have occurred with Baffert-trained horses in the San Diego. Silver Charm was 3-10 when finishing last of five by 27 lengths in 1998, and we all recall Arrogate finishing a badly-beaten fourth three years ago at odds of 1-20.

#5 Maximum Security is the most accomplished horse here, by far, but might be worth taking on considering his new barn's lack of dominance in this race compared to many other stakes on this circuit.

#6 MIDCOURT (4-1) is 2-for-2 over the Del Mar strip, which isn't every horse's cup of tea, including an impressive victory in the Native Diver (G3) last November. Dominant a couple months later in the San Pasqual (G2), he was then stretched to his absolute distance limit in the 10-furlong Santa Anita H. (G1) when finishing a narrowly-beaten third.

Blinkers were off in the Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) last time, when Midcourt turned in a very sub-par effort. It was so poor it looks like a race that's a safe tossout. The hood comes back on here and his best would be competitive if Maximum Security happens to regress.