Top handicapper Andrew Champagne runs through the meet at Del Mar on Friday
RACE OF THE DAY - RACE 6
Thursday was a strong day in this section, as the $40 ticket I gave out for the Thanksgiving late Pick Four at Del Mar hit and paid $482.90. I'll look to keep things rolling in Friday's late sequence where the turf meets the surf, one anchored by the Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup.
RACE #6: I can guarantee you we will not be bounced out of this sequence in the first leg. Why? Because I'll be using the horseplayer's best friend, the “ALL” button!
This is an eight-horse field, and not much would surprise me. The only thing I know for sure is that I'm against #3 JAMMING EDDY, a gelding that hits me as a very vulnerable favorite. He was very good two and three starts back, when he won a pair of turf sprints. He simply doesn't seem as sharp on dirt, and this is a pretty salty race for the level.
If we can beat Jamming Eddy to kick things off, this Pick Four has the potential to pay pretty well. If we can't...well, at least we'll be alive heading into the Friday feature.
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RACE #7: The Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup (which, oddly, has not gotten a name change since moving to San Diego) has drawn a decent field, including a number of horses shipping in from other circuits. The large field size should ensure a decent betting race, and while I'm using the two morning line favorites, I don't think either will be a prohibitively short price.
My top selection is #8 LACCARIO, who makes his second stateside start for trainer Graham Motion. He was second behind Channel Maker in the Grade 1 Turf Classic at Belmont last time out, and not only did Channel Maker have everything his own way in that race, but he franked the form by coming back to run third in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Turf. I think Laccario is in line to get a far better setup in this spot, and if he does, I think he'll be the one they have to hold off late.
#5 ARKLOW is the morning line favorite, and for good reason. He was beaten less than four lengths in the Breeders' Cup Turf and generally seems to run the same race every time out. This certainly seems like the right level for him, and Joel Rosario sees fit to ride. He's got some tactical speed and could get first run on the leaders when they turn for home, so I can't leave him off my ticket, either.
RACE #8: Older distaffers will go postward for an optional claiming event, and I found this race pretty puzzling. Every contender has some serious question marks, and as a result, I felt the need to spread and go four-deep.
If you subscribe to the notion that pace makes the race, #6 POWERFULATTRACTION looks, well, rather attractive at her 10-1 morning line price. She's the lone closer in what seems like a race full of early speed, and she tried graded stakes company over this surface twice a season ago. She certainly needs to improve in order to win this, but it sure looks like she'll get the race shape she wants.
I'll also use #1 VELVET QUEEN, #4 NORTHERN GRAYSTAR, and #5 GOLDEN PRINCIPAL. Velvet Queen and Golden Principal both have lots of early speed, while Northern Graystar has shown some class this season up at Hastings Park. Any of these three could win, but I can't get overly excited about them at short prices, either.
RACE #9: I'll finish off the sequence with a single in this turf route for older maidens. I wish I could say it's a price, but I think the morning line favorite is well-meant.
#4 ON EASY STREET came off a long layoff for patient trainer Paddy Gallagher earlier this month and ran well when second at this level. That was his first start since February, and it's safe to assume he may have needed the race. Drayden Van Dyke sees fit to ride back, and the recent work at Santa Anita looks pretty sharp. Any improvement off of his return would make him a handful, and even a repeat of that race could put him in the winner's circle.
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