Om is the 5-2 morning line favorite in Sunday’s Seabiscuit Handicap at Del Mar, and you have to go all the way back to the 2015 Mathis Brothers Mile to find his last win.
Om has raced 10 times since without a victory, compiling four runner-up efforts and four show finishes. He added blinkers for his last two starts and did not show his usual tactical speed in either of those events. He has the back class to make a run at the top prize but lacks a winning spirit recently, won’t offer much value on the win end, and is probably best used underneath.
Flamboyant and Tequila Joe finished third and fourth in the Hollywood Turf Cup on Nov. 24, and both will scratch from this spot. That leaves a trio of logical win alternatives to the favorite starting with Pee Wee Reese. The Phil D’Amato trainee is 4-for-5 with a 2nd on turf and the pace player runs well fresh. He earned his best speed figure yet when last seen in the American Stakes at Santa Anita on July 4 and he defeated Om that day.
Phil D’Amato also saddles Hunt, and he is capable of winning the Seabiscuit on his best day. He ran poorly in his last two longer graded turf routes and was definitely in over his head in the Breeders’ Cup Turf last time. The 5-year-old gelding won back-to-back graded turf routes at Del Mar over the summer and his best speed figure was earned in his shortest effort recently in the Eddie Read at nine furlongs (blinkers on). I think he can stalk, pounce, and bounce back under regular pilot Flavien Prat.
Mr. Roary is an interesting longshot from the inside post. He over-performs at times, like his show finish at 19-1 in the Eddie Read, and his 22-1 surprise victory in the Eddie D Stakes. He was outclassed in the Breeders’ Cup Mile last out and figures to show speed from the rail under Javier Castellano.
The Seabiscuit field is completed by Irish Surf, He Will, and Win the Space.