I’m still on the fence regarding synthetic surfaces, but Del Mar management deserves credit for fixing the inconsistencies that plagued its Polytrack surface last summer in its debut season.
Last summer, the surface produced very few gate-to-wire winners and times were slower than molasses. This year so far, the track has played much fairer to both frontrunners and stretch runners and the times are much more realistic than that 2:07-plus fiasco that was the Pacific Classic in 2007. On Sunday, for instance, there was a gate-to-wire winner in a mile claiming race and then, in the Bing Crosby, Street Boss closed from last in the field of nine to get up and win by a length.
Today’s top plays —
FIRST — Scibelli has the speed to wire this short field of maidens.
SECOND — Stuttgart should be closing for trainer Carla Gaines in her second career start.
THIRD — Forest Phantom and Sorcerers Spell both look like solid plays in this spot. Both are nice 6-1 prices on the morning line.
SIXTH — Applaud Dubai and Cupid’s Kitty are live in this $16,000 claiming event. I like Cupid’s Kitty a bit more, but Applaud Dubai at 15-1 on the morning line can’t be ignored.
SEVENTH — Knockout Artist figures to be one of the horses coming home fastest at the end for trainer Art Sherman. Corey Nakatani, one of the best turf riders around, gets the call. At 20-1 on the morning line, the 4-year-old gelding is an across-the-board play.