Why I'm Betting Delta Prince in the Shoemaker Mile

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

May 25th, 2019

Six months ago, I penned an article here on BetAmerica titled “Betting Regional Classic Advantages,” in which I noted how turf horses from the East Coast tend to be superior to their West Coast counterparts, a fact handicappers can use to their advantage.

Certainly I have enjoyed success betting East Coast shippers in major California turf races, and I’ll follow this lucrative approach once again in the $500,000 Shoemaker Mile (G1) on Memorial Day at Santa Anita, a "Win and You're In" prep race for the 2019 Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) over this same course and distance.

Eight of the nine entrants in this competitive one-mile race are based in California, and their form lines don’t exactly indicate a clear standout among them. #5 Catapult was the star of the show last summer and even finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), but he was beaten by #1 Ohio in the Frank E. Kilroe Mile (G1) two months ago. Ohio, an eight-year-old former claimer, couldn’t get the better of #2 Sharp Samurai in the City of Hope Mile (G2) last October, but Sharp Samurai—a four-time graded stakes winner—hasn’t run since and was beaten twice by Catapult in the summer of 2018. #8 Bowies Hero probably ranks behind them all at the moment, but occasionally he steps up and runs out of his skin, like he did while winning the 2018 Frank E. Kilroe Mile. But #4 River Boyne handled Bowies Hero just fine in the San Francisco Mile (G3), one start after failing to threaten Ohio, Catapult, and #7 Desert Stone in the Frank E. Kilroe Mile.

Confused yet? I certainly am, which is why I’m going to play against all the Californians with #8 Delta Prince, the lone East Coast shipper and arguably the classiest horse in the field.

Owned by Stronach Stables and trained by Jimmy Jerkens, Delta Prince has been a picture of consistency throughout his career, hitting the board in every one of his thirteen races while cracking the trifecta in a dozen of them. He kicked off 2019 with a gutsy performance in the 1 3/16-mile Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1), taking the lead in the stretch before weakening in the final furlong to finish third behind Bricks and Mortar (perhaps the best turf horse in the country) and the capable Irish mare Magic Wand.
Delta Prince ran huge in the Pegasus while traveling at least a furlong beyond his best distance, so when he cut back to a mile for the Makers’ 46 Mile (G1) at Keeneland, it wasn’t a surprise to see him explode from off the pace to win going away with a final quarter-mile in about :23 flat. Delta Prince is in the best form of his career right now, and by shipping to the West Coast, I’d argue he’s taking a subtle drop in class. With top jockey Joel Rosario in the saddle, I expect Delta Prince to swallow this field in the homestretch to record his second straight Grade 1 win.
I’ll bet Delta Prince to win and key him on top in the exacta and trifecta. Underneath, I’ll favor Catapult, who finished fourth in the Pegasus World Cup Turf after making a premature mid-race move to seize the lead. He was only beaten a nose in Frank E. Kilroe Mile while trying to rally into fast finishing fractions and looks like the strongest of the Californians

$13 to win on #8 Delta Prince $5 exacta: 8 with 5 ($5) $2 trifecta: 8 with 5 with 1,2,4 ($6) $2 trifecta: 8 with 1,2,4 with 5 ($6)

Good luck!