08/23/2013 4:34PM

All Star Stakes Analysis For Del Mar, August 24

Email  All-Star selection G2 Del Mar Handicap
By Brad Free

1-Vagabond Shoes
2-Fire With Fire

Runner-up last out in the G1 Eddie Read, VAGABOND SHOES meets easier in this G2 while stretching to the longest distance he has tried. A mile and three-eighths is uncharted territory for the former European miler, but ’SHOES holds the current class advantage in a turf marathon that is not particularly strong. Kind of looks like an allowance race, to tell the truth. FIRE WITH FIRE ended a 16-race drought with a front-running score at Santa Rosa. Unlike the top choice, distance is not an issue for ’FIRE. Although he did not have had much behind him at SR, confidence-builders can do a world of good and he could find himself galloping on an easy lead while setting slow fractions. LUCAYAN, like the top choice, has been a miler through his 11-race career. But the long-distance turf division in California is shallow and he did run well three weeks ago on this turf course.

Betting strategy

This seven-horse field lacks wagering appeal. For the sake of action, a conservative approach would be a win bet on second preference FIRE WITH FIRE, and an exacta box using 'FIRE with likely favorite VAGABOND SHOES. For entertainment only. $6 win Fire With Fire
$2 exacta box Vagabond Shoes and Fire With Fire Total = $10

Michael Hammersly selex for Grade 2 DMR Handicap at DMR Sat., Aug. 24

VAGABOND SHOES He came from Europe with a nice resume but things got off to a rocky start in the U.S. this winter. No matter – he’s recently looked more like the horse who did well in Europe with 2 strong outings including a fine 2nd to top-class turfer Jeranimo in the Grade 1 Eddie Read here July 20. He faces no one like that here and appears well spotted to get his first U.S. win. A couple tempting runners to use underneath in exotics are HOLDING GLORY, a Grade 1 winner on turf in Brazil and who was a strong 2nd in his U.S. debut on this main track earlier this month (though he may scratch to try the Grade 1 Pacific Classic Sunday instead); HUNTSVILLE, who frequently outruns his odds, scratched from surely an easier spot Wednesday for this instead, and who boasts a super bullet 5f work here Aug. 15 (:58.80, fastest of 54 that day); and MR T BIRD, who looks like a new horse of late.

Dmr Graded Stakes Play; for Sat. Aug. 24; from Marty McGee

Del Mar Handicap at Dmr (Race 8)

Holding Glory (#2, 5-1): Raise into graded company seems quite deserved for this Brazilian-bred off that eye-catching allowance effort, one in which he earned a Beyer (97) that matches up favorably with the rest of these. With not a whole lot of speed in here, look for Chantal to place him close on this stretchout from a synthetic mile; hopefully he’ll show the same kind of kick he had in his homeland and in his North American debut earlier this month. The play: Win, #2; exacta/trifecta keys, 2 up-and-back with 1, 3, 6. – Marty McGee