Value plays for the Del Mar Derby Sep. 4
A massive field of 14 will contest the $250,000 Del Mar Derby (G2) on Saturday. The grassy, nine-furlong finale on the card has attracted a fine cast of three-year-olds in what appears to be a wide-open contest.
I could find a reason to side with many in the group, but I ultimately settled on #10 Jimmy Blue Jeans for conditioner Andy Mathis. Bred in the Golden State, the gelding has never been beaten since switching to the lawn three starts ago. The son of James Street was a measured allowance winner at Golden Gate in his initial run on the grass, which preceded a game score in the Snow Chief S. on the Santa Anita turf two prior.
In his latest assignment, the gray three-year-old was a bit headstrong early but prevailed over a nice allowance cast in his first run at Del Mar. He came home with very good energy to register a 97 Brisnet Late Pace figure, and the added ground on Saturday will not hurt his chances at all.
Jimmy Blue Jeans has excellent early presence which is a huge factor after being drawn wide in a sizable field. Jockey Kyle Frey will have the option to put the upset pick on the speed at the jump to avoid being lost in the shuffle early on. The gelding fired a bullet five-eighths on the Del Mar turf last week in preparation for this event, and he seems poised for a big run while coming in fresh.
The Grade-3 placed #3 Hockey Dad is another who I expect to have a major say in the outcome. Trained by Doug O’Neill, the Nyquist colt has performed well in a pair of tries on the course since returning from the shelf, and I love the removal of blinkers for his third attempt of the meeting.
Hockey Dad has displayed fine ability on dirt, turf, and All-Weather this campaign, and he should get a fine trip while forwardly placed and saving ground throughout. Mario Gutierrez will be in the silks once again aboard the California-bred.
- $1 exacta 3,10 with all ($26)
- $1 exacta all with 3,10 ($26)
- 50-cent trifecta 3,10 with 3,10 with all ($12)
- 50-cent trifecta 3,10 with all with 3,10 ($12)