07/17/2008 11:29PM

Del Mar Day 2

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Race 1:
A rather homely bunch of maiden claimers greeted us for the opener, but Fool's Paradise won the beauty contest in the post parade, and then swept by the field with a wide move to outgame my play, B. A. Homebody.  Fool's Paradise was nicely-dappled on her flank, had a nice bounce to her step, and announced her presence in the paddock with a strong whinny.  B. A. Homebody went three wide into the first turn, was sent up to engage the pacesetter on the backstretch, and dug in gamely through the lane.  Third-finisher Could She had to wait for running room at the quarter-pole before splitting horses with a mild run.  Both B. A. Homebody and Could She should have no problem finding a similar race to win.  Molitta, a vet scratch on June 26, was overbet at 2-1, and failed to muster a rally.  Skianis Girl broke very poorly.  As Fool's Paradise crossed the wire first, I could hear a tiny voice whispering in the wind...

"Second letter...O."

Anointed was wearing what appeared to be a "blowout patch" on the inside of her left knee.  These patches are to protect the knee from cuts as the horse hits itself.  I've rarely seen a horse with blowouts win...

Race 2:
...Until now.  Both Preachintothechoir and Obedience wore blowout patches, and they ran 1-2 in this weak Cal-bred $10,000 claimer.  By the way, Ray gave me the winner before the race.  I didn't make a bet on anyone.  Dark Past made an easy lead, but had no response when the closers came calling.  The winner boldly split rivals late under the red-hot Tyler Baze to break the track record for 6 1/2 furlongs.  By the way, Preachintothechoir is another of those running Unusual Heats.  Touchdown Call looked good in the paddock but, as Ray correctly noted, the "for sale" sign appeared to be appplied to this five-year-old dropdown.  He saved ground behind the leaders at 3-5, but couldn't go with the top three.  He was claimed by Peter Eurton.

Race 3:
Two-year-old fillies going short is usually my game, and I thought I found a live firster with Adam Kitchingman's Track Majesty.  Kitchingman has fantastic stats with firsters, and the Chapel Royal filly sported a win-early pedigree (Allen's Prospect on the bottom).  This 100K maiden claimer featured two New York-breds, an Illinois-bred (Sorry Baby), and a filly bred in West Virginia (Track Majesty).  When I told Travers who I liked, he sort of wrinkled his nose before saying, "Isn't she a West Virginia-bred?"  I bet her to win, and she ran like she belonged at Charles Town, showing speed for a quarter-mile before backing up like a bad clam dinner.  I believe it was larryk who mentioned Peter Miller as a trainer to watch in the early stages of the meeting, and Miller's Goodday showed good speed from the get-go en route to the popular 7-5 score.  The 5 1/2 furlong track record was broken in this race.  How long Goodday gets to hold the record remains to be seen.  They're going fast. 

"Second letter...O"

Race 4:
Sat out this optional claiming turf sprint, but wasn't surprised when Whatsitgonnatake scored off the Mike Mitchell claim.  What was surprising was the way the gray mare won.  The rail opened up perfectly for her on the turn, and she shot on through to gain a major tactical advantage on the wide-rallying Queen Ofthe Catsle.  Whatsitgonnatake held on to win by a neck at 7-5, and goes on my Horses to Watch list as a "bet-against" next time.  Bruce Headley's Zilla finished fifth at 8-1 in her turf debut. Going back to January 1, 1996, according to DRF statistics, Headley is 0-44 with first-time turf horses.  He is 1-50 in that category dating back to January 1, 1993.

Race 5:
Maiden Claimers kicked off the Pick Four, and I began my modest ticket with Bass River and Sur Brio with more weight on the latter.  Despite being away for over a year, Bass River was knocked down to 2-1 for Dan Hendricks and Richard Migliore, and the new gelding made a decisive midrace bid along the rail to make an insurmountable lead turning for home.  Sur Brio broke well, was outsprinted on the backstretch, and finishied evenly on the rail.  Dynamic Stripes pitched a fit in the saddling enclosure, and then washed out in the paddock.  Sporting front bandages for the first time, he was a dull sixth at 9-2 odds.  African Rain looked good in the pre-race festivities, but that didn't translate to a good performance on the track. 

Race 6:
Played Matty's G Force (Mitchell), Bullsbay (second off the bench), and Wink At the Girls (main speed with go-go) equally on my Pick Four tickets, and stayed alive when Victor Espinoza gave Bullsbay a cool ride.  The veteran Espinoza saved ground behind the dueling leaders, waited patiently on the turn, and split horses when a hole opened up turning for home.  Lukimbi ran well in his first start against winners while Cherokee Tear seems to have a bit of hang in him.  New Track Record?  Survey Says...Absolutely.

Race 7:
I used Spinning Yarns (speed and the hedge, third back), Distant Victory (impressive maiden winner), and Smooth Performer (dropping from Hollywood Oaks) equally in the Pick Four, and Carla Gaines may have an intriguing turf filly in Distant Victory.  The daughter of Distant View inhaled Spinning Yarns and all the rest in the stretch to post the win at 3-2 for Espinoza's consecutive double. 

Race 8:
Was alive to firster Milwaukee Rocket and Brave Justice, and watched the ticket go up in smoke when Milwaukee Rocket walked out of the starting gate. Brave Justice rallied belately for second, but it was Peter Miller again, this time with Delaware Doe, in the winner's circle.  Delaware Doe raced wide in his career debut at Hollywood, and worked a bullet over the Del Mar surface, but I missed him all the same.

Overall, the track played fair this afternoon.

Late post time tomorrow so the blog may be a little on the late side for the East Coasters.  Will be back in the same spot tomorrow if any FormBloggers come around.

Take care,

Dan