To say it was a tough week on the handicapping front during the first week of Del Mar is an understatement. Five top choice winners isn’t acceptable, but with the weather and surface changes what are you going to do? I had second choice winners score but they weren’t on top.
As for track itself, newcomer Flavien Prat leads the jockey race with six winners, five of them on the dirt. Prat is in his first full season in Southern California after riding mainly on the grass in his native France. Prat is tied for the lead on the dirt with Joe Talamo (5-for-16). Santiago Gonzalez follows with four wins, all in the mud on Sunday. There is an old handicapping angle that says bet South American-sired horses in the mud. I guess that now carries over to the jockeys, too.
On the flip side on the dirt, Edwin Maldonado is 0-for-10, James Graham is 0-9 and Fernando Perez is 1-13. Graham, a newcomer from the Midwest is off to a rough 0-for-12 start overall.
On the grass, Mike Smith, Rafael Bejarano and Drayden Van Dyke all have two wins. Tyler Baze is 0-for-7 on the grass and Triple Crown riding jockey Victor Espinoza is 0-for-6. In fact, Espinoza is 0-for-13 overall. Can you say TC hangover?
On the training front, Jeff Mullins (4-for-7) and Peter Miller (4-for-24) lead the race. Jerry Hollendorfer is 3-for-8 on the dirt while Doug O’Neill is 0-for-9 on the dirt and 0-for-13 overall.
FIRST RACE: 1. Silvertron, 2. Comanche Ruler, 3. Domingo Cat. LONG SHOT: Crazy Al.
Trainer Jerry Holldendorfer drops this 4-year-old into a claimer for the first time and gelded the son of Pulpit. Hollendorfer is 25% turf to dirt and he puts jockey Martin Garcia aboard.
Trainer Mark Glatt drops this filly to the bottom of the maiden claiming ranks. Glatt is 36% dropping a horse two or more class levels. This daughter of Dixie Chatter showed high speed on the turf and jockey Rafael Bejarano takes over and he is 27% with Glatt.
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Sunday’s top choice winners: 1 (War Destiny $5, fourth race)
Sunday’s second choice winners: 2 (Codacious $16.20, second; Pretty N Cool $4, sixth)
Sunday’s third choice winners: 2 (Toomanytomatoes $11.40, third; Husband’s Folly $7.80, fifth)
Sunday’s long shot winners: 1 (Sweet Profit $4.60, first)