08/04/2013 10:21AM

Del Mar: Best Pal Stakes Analysis from Brad Free

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G2 Best Pal Stakes, 8:40 pm ET

1-Celtic Moon
2-Alberts Hope
3-Guns Loaded

Analysis

CELTIC MOON (#7, 12-1) defeated a good field in his second start, albeit on turf. The runner-up returned to finish second; the third-place finisher returned to win. The win was a big move up for ’MOON, who has speed for a pressing trip and an outside draw. He can upset this G2 for 2-year-olds if he continues his improving pattern. ALBERTS HOPE (#5, 9-2) earned a respectable 77 Beyer winning his debut, although it appears he defeated an ordinary field. But his figure tops the field, and is within recent par for winners of this stake. It won’t take much faster to win. GUNS LOADED wired maidens on this track two weeks ago, and is the only starter with local Polytrack form. Wheeling back on short notice, he adds speed. ALPINE LUCK (#4, 3-1) won the slow-pace Hollywood Juvenile last out, a race that was not at all flattered when the three-four finishers returned Wednesday to run poorly in the Graduation Stakes. The connections of ’LUCK have stated that an off-the-pace strategy may be employed. His best races have been setting the pace.

Betting strategy

CELTIC MOON is listed at 12-1 on the (pre-scratch) morning line. That seems awfully high. Even if his odds are sliced in half to 6-1, he is worth an old-school win bet.