07/31/2010 11:48AM

Speed good at cool Del Mar


It took longer than expected to launch this blog. Sorry about that. Dot-com issues have been slightly chaotic.

Here’s a quick July 31 handicapping postcard from Del Mar.

Summer here has been remarkably cool, with daily temperatures barely topping 70 under daylong cloud cover. The pleasant, mild weather has helped create the most consistent main track Del Mar has had in three-plus years of Polytrack.

A Del Mar synthetic surface that is consistent? Who would have predicted that?

If shade is the reason, let’s hope the sun never comes out.

Two-year-olds are always in the Del Mar spotlight, and the most impressive so far was the dazzling July 25 maiden win by Pedaltothemedal, a filly. Sired by Medallist, she smoked gate to wire at five and a half-furlongs, racing 1:03.42 and earning an 84 Beyer.

Trainer Art Sherman wondered if Pedaltothemedal had anything left at the head of the lane when she was hooked by first-time starter Dazzling Display. She did.

Despite a blazing half-mile in 45.23 seconds, Pedaltothemedal kicked clear and won by a length and a half. “She’s pretty game,” Sherman said. And fast.

Sherman will skip the Grade 3 Sorrento Stakes on Aug. 6. “I’m going to give her a little more time.” Sherman will point Pedaltothemedal to the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante on Sept. 4. Will she stay seven furlongs?

“Speed is always dangerous,” Sherman said.

It will stay dangerous if the Polytrack surface continues to favor speed going short. Race times have steadily quickened the first eight days of racing, and when was the last time anyone could say speed was a weapon at Del Mar? Not since the days of dirt.

Exactly half of the main-track sprints have been won gate to wire (19 of 38).

Will the profile remain? Just took a look outside, and on Saturday morning the sun remains a no-show. Looks like speed might be good again, at least in sprints.

A motley group of older horses race a mile and a sixteenth today in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap. It’s a race begging to be won by a longshot. Red Eye Express, perhaps?

Quality picks up Sunday when Cost of Freedom and E Z’s Gentleman top a good field of sprinters in the six-furlong, Grade 1 Bing Crosby Stakes. The 3-year-old Smiling Tiger and new shooter El Brujo will try to knock off the favorites.

That’s it, until next time.