The inside runners dominated the first at Del Mar on Wednesday. Eileen's Dream led most of the race before giving way to All on the Table, who was the second choice. She proved to be the one to beat, but was not beaten this time out. I tossed Cosset because I wanted to use three horses here, but considered him for exactas, which I did not bet. $36 goes way beyond my daily wagering limit, so I only played the pick 5. Unfortunately, that cost me a nice exacta, but so it goes. I liked Cosset due to Hector Palma's good first-off-the-claim record and his nice recent workouts. The 20-1 morning line was tempting as well. Blackie's Crown ran evenly, but was simply a bit overmatched. She is one I will look for going forward, as she made a good account of herself shipping in from Lone Star.
I thought the third would be the one that got me, but it was the second. Itsphun went straight to the front and did not look back when the low-priced favorites came calling. Instead, she simply drew off, to the detriment of Unusual Darling, who got off slowly and closed well for second, despite being well-beaten. The chart says "clearly second best" and indeed she was. Unfortunately, second best does not win one a pick-5. My chalky picks went 2-3, with my top choice Lady Shazzam fading in the stretch for a well-beaten thrid. Nothing in the form suggested to me that Itsphun would go for the lead and not look back. She ran decently in her last race (and first try on the synthetic) and she did indeed improve on the stretchout. Matthew Chew has now won 3/6 when putting the blinkers on.
Nine-year old gelding Star Nicholas looked like he was knocking at the door in the past performances and he proved them correct. He made up ground last time and ran very well today. Far back at the start, five wide in the turn and six wide in the stretch, Nick took over at the end and won one for the old guys. This was the most difficult race of the sequence for me and I was happy to see Star Nicholas run well, in spite of my wager having already gone by the wayside. I never really bet the "Warren's", but Warren's Concept ran well, as he was also stuck wide around the turn. Closers filled the exacta here. Siempre Mio was in a good spot throughout, as expected under Bejarano, but could not get it done when the time came. Sir Hamilton was simply not a good bet, as he faded badly in the stretch. As I did not have a handle on this race prior to the start, I do not have much more of a handle on it now. As such, I cannot disparage nor recommend any of these going forward.
Sometimes, you just have to chalk out. It's nice when done at the right time. You're Joking was clearly the best here, taking over atop the stretch and drawing off. I could have saved myself $18 by singling him, but felt dirty eating that chalk. So, I subbed second-choice Solana Soleil (scratch) for A.P. Corsair. Bad idea. I have Neil Drysdale's 3% (from 60 runners) sprint record circled in my form. Sometimes you have to chalk out; sometimes, you have to single. This was clearly one of those times. My lack of confidence in my handicapping cost me $18 here. Oh well; it has cost me more in the past and will surely cost me more again.
Strong Wind (pictured above) had the lead by the 3/8 pole and kept widening the lead thereafter. I preferred Just Call Me Al, who was last throughout and barely made the place. Lovmeister took thrid, completing a trifecta of horses with stakes experience for a $47.80 trifecta. I felt good about tossing Law Dog here. The 9/5 morning-line (and post time) favorite did not like the polytrack and was eased. Fortunately, he is alright. Unfortunately, my pick-5 was not. I'll be back for another on Friday.