08/12/2009 11:00PM

Best in local juvenile class a filly

Benoit & Associates
Zensational wins the Bing Crosby last Saturday, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 110 for the six-furlong run.

DEL MAR, Calif. - The handicapping notebook fills up quickly in summer at Del Mar. With stuff like this . . .

* California's best 2-year-old happens to be a filly. Mi Sueno crushed the Sorrento by more than six lengths Aug. 7 to emerge favored for the Del Mar Darley Debutante on Sept. 5. In a refreshing change, trainer Eric Guillot finally has the goods to back up his playful bluster. Mi Sueno, a $1.7 million Pulpit filly and the first foal out of brilliant Madcap Escapade, earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 90 and should relish seven furlongs in the Debutante.

* Shame on horseplayers who missed the $11.80 payoff on Blame the Wine Aug. 8. Jumping two levels off a big win over the track, Blame the Wine scored again like so many others. Del Mar always has been, and always will be, a horse-for-course racetrack.

* Speaking of miscues, boy did I screw up Sunday. If Anabaa's Creation (22-1) had defeated Zenyatta, my pick four would have been halfway home with $24.20 and $46 winners. But even though the next two legs chalked out, I did not have both favorites on the same ticket and would have missed a four-figure score. Big mistake, lesson learned. When going against 1-5 shots, logical contenders must be included in every other race.

* By the way, the only reason to wager against Zenyatta was value. No horse is worth backing at 1-5 on Polytrack. Actually no horse is worth backing at 1-5 on turf or dirt, either. That applies to maiden claimers and unbeaten Grade 1 winners.

* Zenyatta received justifiable praise for her 22.49-second closing-quarter, which shows how upside-down California racing has become. On dirt, the ability to sustain speed was a hallmark of achievement. No more. On synthetic, early speed does not even matter. Rather, it is how fast they finish. It takes a lot of excitement out of the game, doesn't it?

* Every time Zensational runs, you wonder - what would the freaky speedball do if given a chance to race on dirt? Now, that would be fun to watch. Zensational earned a 110 Beyer Figure winning the Bing Crosby last weekend, which ties Cost of Freedom for the highest sprint Beyer in 2 1/2 years since Del Mar went to Polytrack.

* Speaking of chalk, the rate of winning favorites in 2-year-old races is up to 65 percent at Del Mar. Through Wednesday juvenile chalk (all categories) was 15 for 23, with a return on investment of nearly $3 for each $2 bet to win. The slam-dunk 2-year-old chalk on Saturday is second-time starter Marcello in race 7.

* Best Pal winner Lookin at Lucky and Sterling Outlook rank as Del Mar's top 2-year-old colts. But watch for Samardo, whose third-place debut July 25 was huge. He broke last from the rail and took a left-hand, trailed, finished fast and galloped out big. Trainer John Sadler circled Sept. 7 for the maiden's second start - in the Del Mar Futurity.

* An old favorite runs Saturday, and though 9-year-old gelding Exceeding can be excused for his July 22 loss, one wonders if Father Time finally caught up. A 14-for-39 warrior who runs for a $10,000 tag, Exceeding was shuffled and lost position on the turn before rallying wide and late. Find out in race 6 if Exceeding still has what it takes.

* Leading rider Joel Rosario is 20 for 86 this summer on the main track. But when Rosario rides Rendezvous on the grass Saturday in the La Jolla Handicap, bettors must know that Rosario this summer is 1 for 30 on turf. Statistical gibberish? Probably.

* No horse raced wire to wire at one mile on turf the first two weeks of the meet (10 races). But on Friday, Aug. 7, Del Mar moved the rails to their outermost 14-foot setting. And in just one weekend, the pacesetter won 3 of the 5 turf races at one mile.

* Unraced 2-year-olds Bar Rock Omama and Biden My Time worked in company Aug. 7 at Del Mar. No joke. Bar Rock Omama is a 2-year-old filly by D'wildcat, Biden My time is a gelding by Old Topper. Jeff Mullins trains both for owner Mark Tatch. Ability?

"It's too early to tell," Mullins said.

* Horseplayers are commenting on the accuracy of the morning line since Russ Hudak took over two weeks ago. Hudak, who also makes the line at Hollywood Park, does not miss many tricks.

* Is Group 2-winning European import Americain the proper selection on Saturday at Saratoga in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational, or is it Sword Dancer specialist Grand Couturier? I'll take the new face at 4-1 or higher.

* It has been 10 years since Bob Baffert won the Pacific Classic with General Challenge. Time to try again with another 3-year-old? The improving Misremembered, 3 for 5 and last-out winner of Grade 2 Swaps at Hollywood, is training like he is ready to tackle the big boys. May as well. The prospective Pacific Classic field is mighty light.

* The last sentence in the previous paragraph needs revision if Einstein ships west. There are no slam-dunk cinches on Polytrack, but strictly on class, Einstein would lay all over the Pacific Classic field, with or without Rail Trip.

* Write it down: Amazombie. An unraced 3-year-old by Northern Afleet, he posted back-to-back bullets working six furlongs at Del Mar for trainer Bill Spawr. He makes his debut soon, and if he runs like he trains, look out. But know this - he will be overbet.