07/16/2008 9:38PM

Opening Day - Del Mar

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Before I get started on the day's recap, I have to mention that History's three biggest flops may be the Edsel, The Green Monkey, and Windows Vista.  Of course, my laptop is Windows Vista.  Not exactly Formulator friendly.  My trip notes were warped in some kind of code and, thus, my handicapping was limited.  In turn, that limited my bankroll.
As for betting, if you're ever at Del Mar for an Opening Day, make sure you get a voucher, and bet through the automated machines.  While the lines for teller service snaked 15-20 deep, a horseplayer could walk up the machine with 2 minutes to post without a problem.

Race 1:
Became a chalk-eating weasel, and landed on Plan for Fun for Jeff Mullins and Tyler Baze.  Played him to win, and in doubles, and felt like I owned the blueprint to the track after the race.  Joe Talamo (Win to Win) and apprentice Michael Martinez (Coronado's Pride) must have watched The Man o'War one too many times.  They engaged in a torrid speed duel for the opening half-mile only to understandably fall apart in upper stretch.  Plan for Fun rallied from last in 1:37.82 to break the track record.  It will be interesting to see how the Doug O'Neill horses (Glimmering Pete, third in this race) fare coming out of the detention barn.

Race 2:
I guess they'll fare just fine.  Pocosin's Game Boy, an O'Neill-trained Cal-bred gelding, sat just off the early pace, and blew them away in the lane.  My Double hopefuls, Earnednotgiven (second, far back early, couldn't make up enough ground), and Put It in Writing (troubled, but probably wasn't going to threaten anyway) failed, and I gave back the blueprints.

Race 3:
Here come the Unusual Heats!  This one's name is Unusual Heather, and she scored first-out for Art Sherman at 14-1.  Isaias Enriquez had a bit of "Del Mar 2007 Polytrack on the Brain" as he rated potential lone speed Ima Offended on the front.  Instead of clearing off, Ima Offended got caught up battling with Kulinski Rose, and both faltered at go time.  Think this year's polytrack is faster than last season's?  Unusual Heather broke the track record with her final time of 1:10.37.  I declined to wager.

Race 4:
Sampled chalk again with Ron Bob and, boy, it doesn't taste good when you lose.  Simply put, Ron Bob wasn't very good.  He sat the garden trip saving ground behind the speeds, and although he steadied in between horses during the stretch drive, you had the feeling he wasn't going anywhere when he had the trouble.  I'm In the Mood was rated nicely on the lead by Tyler Baze (second win), and the Washington-bred gelding withstood an objection to dead-heat with Corona Time.   

Race 5:
Didn't do the requisite work in this 2-year-old race to make a large wager, but I did like the way Miguel's Mascot rallied in his debut.  He got my money and the run of the rails to win going away at 3-1.  Oh, and he broke the track record for his 5 1/2 furlong clocking in 1:04.48.  Tactful ran well first-out for Carla Gaines, and shouldn't be a maiden for long.

Race 6:
Der Bingle sang about the place where "The Turf Meets the Surf" so it's only appropriate that the Opening Day feature is twin divisions of the Oceanside.  It's Pick Four time, and I had to put in a token ticket despite my Vista issues.  Went four deep with Moral Compass, Ez Dreamer, California Blaze, and Coronel Moldes, but there was no Kilderry on my ticket, and the bet was blown up after about a  minute and a half.  California Blaze didn't make the front as expected, and was shuffled back a bit on the backstretch.  He had to wait for room on the far turn, but didn't have any kick.  Ez Dreamer just isn't very reliable, and Coronel Moldes got on track too late.  Moral Compass was, perhaps, an unlucky loser.  He was checked a bit on the hedge at the quarter pole, then had to squeeze through a narrow opening on the fence in the stretch.  He, and I, lost by only a nose.

Race 7:
Didn't have much of an opinion in here, and played a token win bet on Brides Folly at a big price.  She raced evenly without threatening the top finishers, but Perfect Cast was a logical winner for Rafael Bejarano (third on the day) and Jerry Hollendorfer.

Race 8:
Targeted Devils Afleet as the main speed, and put a few bucks on him at 7-1.  Amazingly, in both divisions of the Oceanside, my stretchout sprinter made the front, and then was shuffled back a bit into the pocket.  Devils Afleet can't pass a parked car so losing the lead doomed him right then and there.  Dixie Chatter was the beneficiary when Devils Afleet yielded the lead after 4 1/2 furlongs, and the Richard Mandella-trained colt kept right on with it.  He had his share of physical problems lat year after winning the Norfolk like at Derby candidate, but it seems like Dixie Chatter is back on the beam.

Race 9:
Needed something to save me from a losing day, but there's a reason that Bigum is 0-18, and I can't take 9-10 on him despite the 5yo maiden's apparent edge on figs.  I pass, Bigum hangs like a chandelier, and Khun Dan goes gate-to-wire for Martinez.  I know, I know, I should have played the "Dan" horse, right?  No, I couldn't.  I'd have to look myself in the mirror in the morning.

Will be back tomorrow on the grandstand side of the paddock (right where the horses leave the paddock to head onto the path to the track).

Take care,

Dan