08/22/2014 10:30AM

DRF Plus Graded Stakes Analysis: Del Mar Handicap


BENCH LIGHT was no match for BIG JOHN B when he chased that foe on the Santa Anita turf June 29, finishing fourth, beaten 3 1/2 lengths. BIG JOHN B showed he’s indeed come into his own as he next came here and won a laugher over optional claimers at this distance July 30, romping home by 7 1/4 lengths. So, on the surface of it BENCH LIGHT can’t beat BIG JOHN B. However, BENCH LIGHT likewise came out of that June 29 race with a big move forward and like BIG JOHN B it came on this course at this trip vs. optional claimers as he blasted them by 6 1/4 lengths. The difference for this is that BIG JOHN B has now run three straight big races so he may well have peaked. BENCH LIGHT, on the other hand, comes off that one explosive performance and may well have another forward move left in him. And best of all, BIG JOHN B’s recent record and the fact he easily beat BENCH LIGHT June 29, along with some strong other runners, means BENCH LIGHT’s price is going to stay more than attractive. He opens at 6-1 on the morning line and it’s hard to fathom him going much shorter than that as there is ample power lined up against him. BENCH LIGHT’s Beyer for his big July 24 win was 93, just one notch below what BIG JOHN B earned for his July 30 romp (94). In other words, he fits right alongside that foe and again their prices will be disparate. BENCH LIGHT also appears to have some versatility, which can give his rider options. He bided his time early off a fast pace in that July 24 race but note last summer and fall at least a couple starts where he had the speed to prompt the pace.