Updated on 09/18/2011 1:39AM

Free's Del Mar plays for Wednesday, August 2


It is mighty tempting to follow the crowd into the third week of the Del Mar season.

After all, the public has nailed winners this summer with absolute precision. After 12 days of racing, the win rate of Del Mar chalk is 44 percent (46 for 103), and a $2 win bet on every post-time favorite has produced an unusually high $2.30 return on investment.

Is it a short-term aberration? Or will the chalk-heavy trend continue? Sure hope it's the latter, because this column will continue to identify potential overlays.

The two suggested plays Monday were nowhere at the finish. Miami Bay ran just like a 20-1 shot in race 3, and finished ninth; Crept Out did not have the best of trips in race 6, but would not have won even with a better trip. He ran sixth, and is worth a playback at higher odds for his new stable.

There are two big prices Wednesday.

Race 6

Quinton Strikes chased a wicked pace on opening day in a highly rated race (90 Beyer) won in a romp by Delivering Speed. That $10,000 claiming race was validated Sunday when third-place finisher Send Me A Copy nearly sprang a 13-1 upset for a $12,500 tag.

Quinton Strikes exits the hot race, is drawn outside his pace rivals (the outside lanes have been preferred this meet), and will be pressing softer fractions than the :44.42 half that he chased opening day.

Chances are, Quinton Strikes is not good enough to hold off likely winner Chaseur, who had a brutal trip last time. But front-runner Quinton Strikes is eligible to outrun his 12-1 morning line, and is worth a bet at 9-1 or higher.

The bet: $25 win Quinton Strikes (minimum odds 9-1).

Race 8

Maiden-claimer Bahri's Gold has had more than his share of bad luck in a six-start career filled with troubled trips and tough competition. But the last time he raced for a tag (one start back), he got stopped cold on the turn, tried to rally late, and finished second while encountering more trouble than the six-length margin of defeat.

Overmatched in a productive maiden special-weight next out (two subsequent winners), Bahri's Gold returns Wednesday to a realistic class level ($40,000 maiden-claiming). The favorite City Swagger is stuck on the far outside in the mile race. Bahri's Gold will be rolling late, and has a shot to outrun his 12-1 morning line. He's a bet at 9-1.

The bet: $25 win Bahri's Gold (minimum odds 9-1).

Back on Thursday.

Total wagers previous day: $50.
Total return previous day: $0.
Total win/loss Saturday: minus $50.

Total wagers for meet: $485.
Total return for meet: $0.
Total win/loss for meet: minus $485.