08/20/2009 12:00AM

Couple quietly cashes big-time

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DEL MAR, Calif. - The 2009 meet has passed the halfway point, and it's time to clean out the handicapping notebook again. With stuff like this . . .

* A man and his wife ducked the media Wednesday at Del Mar, where at noon they quietly cashed for a net $136,440, three days after hitting the pick six on a $24 ticket (3x2x2x1x1x1) After winning the first five races Sunday, the bettor had only one horse in the finale, a first-time starter getting no action. But 33-1 Malibu Win wired the maiden grass route, giving the bettor the only winning pick six for $169,041 plus consolations.

* There is a good reason the name Jeff Nahill pops up. Turf writer and ace handicapper for the San Diego County newspaper North County Times, Nahill ran amok Aug. 15. He picked six of 10 winners, including $28.60 Tamerin, $20.80 Ballistic Heat and $14.60 Blue Chagall. His win payoffs totaled $91.40, and pushed Nahill's published selections into flat-bet profit zone, along with his daily wagering column also in the black. Nice job.

* Baby talk: The sire Swiss Yodeler leads the Del Mar meet with four juvenile winners. Roman Ruler has two. Meanwhile, the unusually high win rate for juvenile chalk continues - favorites won 21 of the first 32 races (65 percent) for 2-year-olds.

* Just when it looked like Polytrack at Del Mar was becoming consistent, it went from one extreme to the other in less than a week. A pronounced speed bias emerged Friday, Aug. 14. Five days later, the Wednesday, Aug. 19, Polytrack races were dominated by rally-widers. Makes it kind of tough to plan wagering strategy before the card begins.

* The "key race" angle reappears Saturday in race 6 at Del Mar, where Infernal becomes the 12th and last horse to run after making his most recent start March 29 in the Sunland Derby. From 11 other Sunland Derby starters that returned, five won next out, including Mine That Bird in the Kentucky Derby.

* Circumstances were against Mine That Bird when he finished third at Mountaineer Park last out. And the Kentucky Derby winner might have been a big play a week from today in the Travers. Throat surgery less than two weeks out tempers enthusiasm. But it also inflates the odds if Mine That Bird does run in a Travers he can win.

* Magical Fantasy rolled Sunday in the Grade 1 Mabee, and enters fall ranked high in the female grass division. But good luck when the competition gets real. Magical Fantasy is a good filly and likely winner of the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon on Oct. 10 at Santa Anita. She has been beating creampuff locals, however, while Forever Together and Dynaforce are established against international competition. Bottom line - if Magical Fantasy somehow runs third in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, consider it a victory and move on.

* Looking at the soft field entered Saturday in the Philip Iselin at Monmouth Park, it is hard to imagine that once upon a time, great horses roamed the handicap division and won the Iselin. They include Spectacular Bid (1980), Spend a Buck (1985) and Alysheba (1988). This year? Go get 'em, Coal Play!

* Trumpet Player Jay finished a troubled 11th in the Longacres Mile last Saturday at Emerald Downs. But wait until the Oak Tree meet at Santa Anita. Trainer Mark Glatt believes Trumpet Player Jay will find his niche sprinting on the downhill turf course. A half to stakes-caliber turf runners Dyna Da Wyna and New Joysey Jeff, Trumpet Player Jay is eligible to the second condition. Write it down for Oak Tree.

* It was very cool to watch the veteran turf sprinter California Flag fight them all off in a triumphant return from an eight-month layoff Wednesday in the Green Flash at Del Mar. Nice job by trainer Brian Koriner, jockey Joe Talamo and owner Keith Card.

* The 3-year-old turf division has life. Meteore powered Aug. 15 in the Grade 2 La Jolla like he was supposed to in the opening-day Oceanside; graded stakes-caliber Massone scored a confidence builder Aug. 16 by ripping apart a N1X. Those two meet Northern Afleet in the Del Mar Derby Sept. 6. A one-horse race suddenly has three good locals.

* Fillies on grass are up Saturday in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks, and there is one horse to beat. Well Monied developed rapidly in summer, from maiden to allowance to Grade 2 winner in three jumps. Compromised by an impossible trip when second in the American Oaks, she returns as the class of the Del Mar Oaks field, and already proven against tougher competition than she meets Saturday. Well Monied will be awfully tough to beat.

* Price-shoppers in the Oaks must consider Internallyflawless, who ran better than it looked three weeks ago in the Grade 2 San Clemente. Fourth with trouble while racing for the first time in eight months, Internallyflawless enters the Oaks as a legitimate longshot.

* Clever handicappers have keen insight into the Alabama Stakes. Big deal. My pick is based purely on California pride. Wynning Ride began her career here, runs for local connections, and is expected to campaign this winter at Santa Anita. Before she comes home, Grade 1-placed Wynning Ride can knock off the East Coasters on Saturday at Saratoga.

* Anyone who tunes in late Saturday at Del Mar will miss a good show when first-time starter Malibu Song goes favored in a six-furlong maiden race. Julio Canani trains the 3-year-old Malibu Moon colt who debuts with rave advance notice. His odds will be short, but Malibu Song is worth watching. He might be a stakes colt.

* Still waiting for a 2-year-old that can warm up Sorrento Stakes winner Mi Sueno. The best 2-year-old filly in California is scheduled to breeze Saturday morning at Del Mar, her first workout since a breathtaking victory Aug. 7.