08/09/2006 12:00AM

Free's Del Mar plays for Thursday, August 10


The racing this summer at Del Mar looks like the racing this spring at Hollywood Park that looked like the racing in winter at Santa Anita. There is a reason.

With few exceptions, Del Mar has attracted the same group of horses that has banged heads all year in Southern California.

Three weeks into the Del Mar meet, the only "other-circuit" shooters to win at Del Mar have been 12 from Northern California, and one from Arizona.

Thank goodness for a few first-time starters to make the racing somewhat interesting.

The only thing missing so far is a winner whose last race was at Los Alamitos. That may change Thursday in race 5, with a longshot that is the only play of the day.

Race 5

The two favorites in this six-furlong sprint for 3-year-old filly claimers ($12,500) have flaws. Run Goldie Run (5-2) is dropping in class for a barn that is ice cold. Trainer Steve Knapp is 2 for 37 this meet. Royal Cherry (3-1) has her claim price cut in half; she has stopped to a walk all three starts this year.

Meanwhile, 15-1 outsider Sneaky Dip is moving up in class after a good third at Los Alamitos. The effort signaled a return to form for a filly whose three wins this spring in Northern California are good enough.

Sneaky Dip is likely to be bet down from 15-1, but she is worth a bet at 6-1 or higher. It's the only play on a soft Thursday card.

The bet: $50 win Sneaky Dip (minimum odds 6-1).

(Results from Wednesday will be updated tomorrow).

Total wagers Monday: $25.
Total return Monday: $0.
Total win/loss Monday: minus $25.

Total wagers for meet: $635.
Total return for meet: $0.
Total win/loss for meet: minus $635.