By Michael Patricks
Here I sit, prepared to write another installment in the weekly Blog. Just before powering up my laptop I was informed that Golden Gate Fields would be cancelling their Friday program due to unhealthy air levels stemming from the Camp Fire in Butte County where better than 600 people are still reported missing. What’s more, fire is spreading across Malibu and Agoura Hills in southern California. In essence, all of California is affected (directly or indirectly) by these various fires. My thoughts and well-wishes are extended to all at this trying time.
Historically, racing is a refuge of escape which horse players can turn to as their “go to the movies” type of experience to get away from their day-to-day troubles. Racing has always been a good friend to me in that regard. My original plan was to write about the Oakland Handicap from Golden Gate Fields, but since the Friday program was cancelled with reserve to do the same into the weekend, I’ll instead call an audible (not to be confused with the 2018 Florida Derby winner) and focus on the late Pick-4 from Del Mar on Saturday.
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Last week’s result was anything but memorable as Afleet Ascent found himself in an awkward position from between horses throughout most of the race under Kent Desormeaux in the Let it Ride from Del Mar. I’d be willing to give him another shot at a better price where hopefully he can be the beneficiary of a much cleaner journey.
Saturday, November 17th
Del Mar Thoroughbred Club-Race 6
Top Pick: #7 Whoa Buddy 5/1
There are some real suspect animals in this race and on paper it appears that just a few have reasonable chances. # 6 Jump the Tracks will be favored and he sports some reliable Beyers in the low to mid-70’s, but he’s 1-for-11 with five minor placings so I’m not in love with him at the price. He will likely sit mid-pack and make a run, but he had the lead before losing it late most recently and that scares me. # 7 Whoa Buddy has only been risked for a tag one time and looks spotted for action in here. He beat maiden specials just two starts back at Golden Gate and even though that was a different surface, I’m inclined to believe no one else in this race could replicate that performance. And I get 5/1…I’m sold.
Use 4, 6 and 7 in Pick 4’s.
Del Mar Thoroughbred Club Race 7
Top Pick: # 2 Into Rissa 6/1
You might want to go deep to guarantee your survival. # 8 Paprika is the favorite but she should race in the clear while forwardly placed and it’s quite possible she just might outlast this group to the wire. # 1 Radish has been freshened up for her return, but she’s 0-for-22 for a reason, and even if this is her day, 4/1 is a stop sign in my eyes. # 2 Into Rissa 6/1 had a good race here three back. If the pace is crazy (and it could be quite lively) she makes better sense to me at the odds and note that she beat Radish in that August 9th race. # 5 Miss Voluptuous is a ghost with some interest and gets Prat. # 7 Absolutely Perfect ran evenly in debut and could really step up off her unveiling.
Use: 2,5,7,8 in Pick 4’s.
Del Mar Thoroughbred Club Race 8
The Bob Hope Stakes
Top pick: # 3 Mucho Gusto
A couple things here: Baffert is obviously loaded with two-year-olds. He made a comment after Game Winner won the BC Juvenile that he has ‘other horses in the barn as well’, and that’s quite a scary thought. Seven furlongs is a tricky distance for a second-time starter, but if Metropol scratches with a fever and Extra Hope lands the rail draw, then Mucho Gusto has a perfect buffer inside of him to make an easy lead, or at worst, back off Savagery (Talamo bails on him) and follow that rival into the turn.
There is a lot of hype surrounding Extra Hope heading into this race due to the big jump on paper with the addition of Blinkers. Well, why isn’t Van Dyke sticking around? He’ll be finishing with interest but how far back will he be assuming he’s stuck down inside?
Everything went Sparky Ville’s way last time, enjoying a perfect trip without a straw in his path while competing in a four-horse field. Perhaps he can take another step forward but the competition in the Sunny Slope seems to be a cut below what he’ll face here in a Grade III.
Use: 3 in Pick 4
Del Mar Thoroughbred Club Race 9
Top pick: # 5 Go Ghetto 4/1
# 3 Vending Machine is the favorite, but he’s falling from grace and seems like a pretty brutal favorite. It’s been ugly as sin for him since the claim and he could just be done dealing. # 1 Matriculate might deliver the goods as your second choice but he’s kind of similar looking on paper with a bit of downtrodden form as he heads into the starting gate. Go Ghetto and Louden’s Gray look like good alternatives, but I prefer Go Ghetto’s grit and reliability at this level to that of Louden’s Gray and find him a better fit. Forgive his last race and stumbling start and note he did finish admirably. His last three tries in for a tag before that are all commendable efforts. You know what Go Ghetto is going to give you in the nightcap, whereas there are serious question marks hovering over the others’ collective heads.
Use 1,5,6 in Pick 4’s.
.50 cent Pick-4 Ticket cost: 3x4x1x3/2 = $18.00