Winter Memories got me once again, in winning her eighth of twelve career starts. She defiantly put the field away with an exhilarating move at the top of the stretch. Her action coming home - switching leads, drifting, looking at the crowd - was not exactly textbook, but it did not hinder her in kicking clear of this small but salty field. I am not in the business of touting favorites, however, so I am not disappointed by not using her. I take nothing away from Winter Memories in saying I am not a fan of hers - she simply is not much to wager on, as she has now been favored in all of her twelve career starts. She is a gorgeous filly and the only thing stronger than her personality is her powerful closing kick.
The beginning of the race unfolded as expected. Law of the Range quit early. Tapitsfly did not get the nine furlongs. Dream Peace ran late. Unfortunately for me, Zagora did not run up to snuff. She likely needed the race off of the splint injury and was probably an unwise choice. I am, however, a fan of hers, and may have bet more with my heart here than my head. I will certainly look for her next out. Hopefully she will be close to the price she offered in the Diana.
Hungry Island was a poor play. I observed that she had not been running in the same quality of races as most of the other starters here, but I used her in spite of the fact that this is a turf race. Class matters, and Hungry Island served to reinforce that principle.
Dream Peace ran a very good race. She is well-traveled and should find some respite in Chad Brown's barn. I expect that she will be dangerous down the road as she acclimates herself to U.S. racing. She is another one to keep an eye on. The fact that she could not get to Winter Memories takes nothing away from her performance.
In other news, if it can be called that: I am going to Del Mar for my first time this week. I plan to discuss some multi-race wagers and the graded stakes upcoming this weekend. We will kick it off quick and dirty in the Wednesday Del Mar early Pick-5:
1: I will be looking to the inside post positions for this turf sprint. Favored All on the Table breaks from the 2 spot at 2-1. She nearly beat $64,000 allowance company last out, beat $40,000 claimers two back, and looks the one to beat. I am looking at 1 Blackie's Crown as the main competition here. She has been running down in Texas lately, but just posted a nice four furlong work for a quality turf sprint trainer. In what looks to be a hotly contested race on the front end, 6 Magic School may sit a nice trip. I will go two-deep in the first, 1-2.
2: I am chalking out here. 4 Lady Shazzam drops from MSW for John Sadler, who hits at 40% going from that level to MCL. She should improve in her third career start. 6 Unusual Darling looms the prime competition in her third career start as well.
3: This race looks to be the toughest of the sequence and, as such, I will use several horses here. 1 Supreme Secret is another Texas shipper who has been running solid races in optional claiming company. 3 Siempre Mio cuts back from a one mile race last out and should fare better at today's distance. Bejarano should help his cause. 5 Sir Hamilton dropped from a $25,000 claimer to a $12,000 claimer last out but lost the rider. Now at $10,000 - his lowest tag yet - he could be dangerous here. Nine-year old gelding 6 Star Nicholas has been running near this level for some time. He posted a :47 and 3/5 workout July 12th and may be ready to run. I can never deny the old campaigners.
4: 5 You're Joking is my chalky top pick here. He was necked by next-out winner Thunder Canyon in his last start at Del Mar and stays near the distance he has been running at in his four career starts. This looks to be a good shot for him to break his maiden. 7 Solana Soleil has run three times on synthetics: his unassuming career debut, a ten-length loss to Blueskiesandrainbows last December, and his last start in which he finished second at this level. Peter Eurton has done well two starts off a long layoff.
5: 2 Just Call Me Al come out of a third place finish in the Holywood Juvenile Championship and tackles state-breds for the first time. He looks to be the one to beat here. 1 Strong Wind comes out of the same race, in which he finished fourth behind Just Call Me Al. He returns to state-bred company this time and may have a pace advantage if he breaks well on the rail. Steve Knapp's barn has done well with two-year olds and he could he tough. 5 Law Dog tackles his fourth track in four career starts. He worked very well at Keeneland prior to his six-length victory last out (on turf), but posted an extremely slow work over the Del Mar surface. He could beat this field off of that form if he can carry it to the synthetic. 9-5 seems like a low price to test that theory at, but he is dangerous. I really like Just Call Me Al here, however, and will likely not use Law Dog.
$.50 Pick-5: 1, 2, 6 / 4, 6 / 3, 5, 6 / 5, 7 / 1, 2