07/20/2013 11:22AM

Del Mar: Saturday Graded Stakes Analysis from Free, Hammersly, McGee

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Eddie Read Stakes

BRAD FREE

1-Sofast

2-Fed Biz

3-Jeranimo

Analysis

The turf division in California is weak; this mile-and-one-eighth Grade 1 is a good spot for a foreign import such as SOFAST. Group 2-placed in May, he recently arrived from France and makes his U.S.

debut straight off the plane against a very ordinary group. If he reproduces his European form, he can make short work of this field.

FED BIZ is expected to set the pace; his only pace rival is SLIM SHADEY, who is not as fast. The two turf races by FED Biz in spring at Santa Anita were decent. The knock on FED BIZ is that early in the meet (after two days), closers held a significant advantage on the Del Mar turf. JERANIMO seems to have lost a step at age 7, though he could improve second start back from a layoff.

Betting strategy

There is a big difference between making a pick, and making a bet. This race illustrates the “selection vs. value” challenge. SOFAST is likely to be bet below his 5-1 early odds. If so, he offers minimal value. But in the unlikely event his closing price is similar to his early price, then yes, he would be worth a bet. Midwest-based shipper MIDDIE offers a similar “new shooter” approach, his odds also could drop below the 8-1 early price.

In fact, the Read does not appear to be an attractive race on which to wager. For the sake of action, a bettor might fool around with a partial exacta wheel keying SOFAST on top of four others – front-runner FED BIZ, veteran JERANIMO, one-bad-race LUCAYAN and shipper MIDDIE.

MARTY MCGEE

BAROCCI (#1, 9-2)

Japanese-bred 5yo has made steady and commendable progress since being sent to Sadler, and you have to like the triple-digit two-back Beyer in his respectable American ‘Cap showing behind the speedy Obviously. Came through at odds-on even while perhaps bouncing a bit in that latest win; the time might now be ripe for an all-out best. Comes very well drawn from where Talamo can sit the pretty trip; if good enough, he should have every chance. Let’s link him in some vertical plays with a couple of other decent prices, Middie and Lucayan, while also playing this straight-up. The play: Win, #1; exacta boxes 1-7, 1-9.

MICHAEL HAMMERSLY

JERANIMO (#4, 7-2)

After looking monstrous winning the Grade 2 San Gabriel he ran into a bog and the best horse in the country (Wise Dan) at CD May 4, then ran into the country’s 2nd best turf miler (Obviously) at BHP June 29. He faces no such hurdles here and is the strongest of the closers. He’s a feast-or-famine type so we’ll stick with ‘feast’: key him on top, hope he fires and that those last two disappointments buoy your price.