08/15/2006 12:00AM

Free's Del Mar plays for Wednesday, August 16


Sometimes you "win" by not making the bet.

It happened in race 8 on Monday. Second-time starter Capture the Cat got hammered from 8-1 in the program to a ridiculous starting price of 5-2. No thanks.

The risk was not worth the potential reward, which is the point of establishing minimum odds. Capture the Cat finished fourth, but since she started below 4-1, there was no action. Thank goodness for small miracles.

The $50 wager was saved for another day, at a higher price.

It was saved for a day such as Wednesday.

Race 7

The favorites in the Green Flash Handicap (five furlongs on turf) are vulnerable. Carthage (5-2 favorite) ran poorly in the Bing Crosby Handicap, has never raced on grass, and trainer Art Sherman has been under-productive this summer.

Thor's Echo (7-2) is racing for the first time since March in Dubai, and has never raced on grass. Carthage and Thor's Echo are good horses that might win. Let them. Their odds are too short to support.

Railroad (9-2) should get the same trip he got winning a $71,000 stake one back. That is, saving ground just off the pace, cutting the corner into the lane, and reeling in the speed. Railroad can be played at 7-2 or higher.

Fast Parade (12-1) runs well fresh, he might be the speed of the speed, and is qualified to steal it. It is his first start on grass, but he had a sharp grass work last weekend and is a threat out front. Fast Parade can be played at 6-1 or higher.

The bets: $20 win Railroad (minimum 7-2); $20 win Fast Parade (minimum 6-1); $5 exacta box Railroad and Fast Parade. If either does not reach minimum odds, double the win bet on the other to $40. The exacta is good even if only one reaches minimum odds.

Thursday's card is full of opportunities. Back then.

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

Total wagers for meet: $850.
Total return for meet: $0.
Total win/loss for meet: minus $850.