Analysis: Wrecking Crew faster than Schrodinger in Best Pal

August 09, 2019 03:26pm

Not everyone loves 2-year-old races. But while the lack of races on record makes it difficult, there are other angles that help.

Sometimes those angles involves jockeys or trainers, such as in the Grade 2, $200,000 Best Pal Stakes on Saturday at Del Mar. For instance, does an jockey like Mike Smith take any 2-year-old mount these days? It makes more sense to answer “no,” as the risk for injury is higher.

Smith will not waste his time at his age unless he believes there is a shot to win, and that leads to the first selection in this all 2-year-old edition of the Friday 5.

Del Mar Race 8: Best Pal Stakes

With Flavien Prat jumping ship to Schrodinger, Smith picks up the mount on the rail entrant Wrecking Crew. Prat may regret his decision, as Wrecking Crew shows a nice local maiden win on July 27 over an expensive Richard Mandella-trained colt named Tizamagician, who cost $150k as a yearling.

For the win, Wrecking Crew earned a decent 88 TimeformUS Speed Figure. 

As for Schrodinger, he broke his maiden at Los Alamitos where the competition is typically weaker and picked up only an 81. 

The high TimeformUS number in this field actually belongs to Collusion Illusion, who ran a 92 locally while breaking his maiden. But the race finished with four horses close together, and that is not the typical sign of a fast race. With maidens, sometimes making the figure is hard.

Wrecking Crew cost $875,000 back in March, which means the connections either saw a fast work or he looked superb physically. 

At 4-1 or higher, he is the choice.

Del Mar Race 1: Maiden

All the hype is falling on the Bob Baffert-trained Garth. But he drew the rail and the dam Country Star has been a poor producer at this point.

Perhaps pairing Country Star with Into Mischief and placing the colt with Baffert reverses the trend. But as another point, why is Martin Garcia riding? With Baffert's top-of-the-line horses, they usually get a top jockey.

Mike Smith is riding in this race. He gets the mount on the first-time starter
Veteran, who sports familiar connections in trainer Richard Mandella and owner Fox Hill Farms. In the his lone workout shown on XBTV, he broke kind of awkwardly. But, once he started running he easily outran his stablemate Nora's Joy, before letting him pass on the turn. 

In another XBTV video, Mandella described him as fast. 

Considering all the money will fall to Garth, Veteran is worth a shot.

Saratoga Race 3: Maiden

Despite an incredible turf pedigree,
Fame to Famous only cost $35k on March. What is in his blood? Everyone knows his sire Tapit. But Fame to Famous is also a son of Assateague, the daughter of Amelia. Besides Assateague, Amelia produced familiar names such as Kindergarten Kid, He's Had Enough and Rainha Da Bateria. This is a regal family underneath.

Yet, Fame to Famous failed to hit six figures and ended up in the unknown Edmund Davis barn. It is possible he had physical issues at the sale. 

Regardless, Fame to Famous deserves consideration because of his promising career debut. He ran a troubled fourth in a local maiden route. 

First, he got bumped at the break and started from last. From there, Fame to Famous gradually moved up on the backside and got into a good inside position behind the leaders. But when attempting to tip out though in the stretch, he got shut off. Once he got in the clear, he closed ground.

All the statistics are against this trainer. Over the past year, Davis shows a 3-percent win rate overall and zero wins out of 11 starts at Saratoga. 

But, it is possible Davis stumbled upon a good horse in Fame to Famous. 

Saratoga Race 5: Maiden 

Out of the five selections listed in this post,
Tumbling Sky is the most probable winner. In his lone workout on XBTV, he outworked his stablemate Chestertown in a hammerlock. While unraced, Chestertown is a $2 million son of Tapit. 

It also helps that Tumbling Sky's sire Competitive Edge was a precocious racehorse that won first four starts, including the 2014 Hopeful Stakes (G1) and 2015 Pat Day Mile (G3), before suddenly tailing off form and retiring. 

Trainer Steve Asmussen is cold, but a good horse can turn that around. 

The $1.4 million American Pharoah colt Kittansett will eat most of the money in this race as an expensive and well-bred Chad Brown first timer.

If Tumbling Sky starts at 2-1 or higher, that is fair value.

Saratoga Race 7: Maiden

The last selection also gets the nod because of outworking a Tapit colt. 

In this case, the Todd-Pletcher-trained
Ox Bridge looked tons better than his stablemate Portos in an Aug. 4 work shown on XBTV. Watch how much encouragement Portos needed to keep up with Ox Bridge on the turn. Portos also needed a hard right-handed whip in midstretch.

Ox Bridge is a half-sibling to a few nice horses in S'maverlous, Goats Town and Pony Up. With Gozilla the probable favorite and Option Value likely to take money too as a Chad Brown-trained colt, Ox Bridge will offer value.


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Meet Reinier Macatangay

My first time at the racetrack came as a 5-year-old kid at Santa Anita Park. For most of my younger life, that was the only track I attended other the occasional visit to Hollywood Park. 

Years later, after graduating California State University, Stanislaus with an English MA, I began writing for Lady and the Track. From late 2014-2016, my articles were seen on a weekly basis and covered handicapping, interviews with well-known racing personalities, fashion and more. 

The handicapping style I use concentrates on pace analysis. Some horses are compromised by the pace. Others are helped. Handicappers just starting out cannot easily see how pace affects the finish, so with this blog, I hope to help those unsure of how to apply pace into their handicapping and post-race analysis. 

On an unrelated note, I enjoy video games and attending anime or comic-book conventions. I am currently based in Kentucky, but spend a lot of time traveling between there and California.

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