08/23/2006 12:00AM

Del Mar internet plays for Thursday


This is the point in a five-week-old race meet when horses come back and haunt bettors who are not doing very well.

Remember the good dirt sprinter Unfurl the Flag? He was the front-runner that stretched out to two turns July 29 in the Wickerr Handicap, and finished third at nearly 8-1. The $25 wager that day was all on the front end, and he lost by a little more than a length.

Unfurl the Flag dropped into an easier spot Wednesday, and you can probably guess what happened. Unfurl the Flag wired the classified allowance field at a fat $13.80.

Maybe that will be the redeeming feature of this wagering column. Perhaps it will be a glorified horses-to-watch list. And while we passed Unfurl the Flag on Wednesday, one of the suggested plays that ran and lost can be played back.

The race-1 wagers were flat, but race-4 longshot Easy Connection ($20 win, $4 exactas) can be followed. Easy Connection raced four-wide start to finish in the mile turf route for 2-year-old maidens, and did not weaken until the head of the lane. With a route under his belt, he should be dead fit for his next start in a similar spot.

There are two live longshots worth considering on Thursday.

Race 5

Flyer Mine is listed at a juicy 12-1 in the program, and it is entirely possible he will get chewed up in a pace battle. But this six-furlong bottom-rung claimer is his second start back from a two-month layoff, and he should take a big step forward. He may get bet down, but is worth a play at half his morning line.

The bet: $25 win Flyer Mine (minimum odds 6-1).

Race 6

Entourage ran super in his sixth-place debut, finishing strongly and galloping out well past the wire. Sired by A.P. Indy and produced by a top-class turf mare, he should move up a ton while stretching out and switching to grass. He is the most likely winner on the card, listed at 5-2, and will comprise one-half of the exacta with longshot Happyhour Atthebrig. The latter showed speed and cracked last time, but his closing fifth one start back on turf suggests he wants this surface. He is 20-1 on the line.

The bet: $15 exacta Entourage over Happyhour Atthebrig; $10 exacta Happyhour Atthebrig over Entourage (no minimum odds). If either scratches, make it a $25 win bet on the other (no minimum odds).

Back on Friday.

Total wagers previous day: $60.
Total return previous day: $0.
Total win/loss previous day: minus $60.

Total wagers for meet: $1,260.
Total return for meet: $246.
Total win/loss for meet: minus $1,104.