Final Del Mar plays of the meet

I’m not in love with anything today, but since it’s closing day, I’ll release a few horses I think have a shot at a price today:
2ND — Improvising Gal. I think the way the track is favoring closers right now gives this 3-year-old filly a big shot. She has enough tactical speed where she can lay fourth or fifth and move in the stretch and she’s already won over this track, breaking her maiden for $25,000 on July 19.
3RD — Spanish Bunny is only 4-1 on the morning line, but I love it when a trainer, in this instance Barry Abrams, steps a horse up in class after a semi-close loss. She was beaten 5 1/4 lengths in her debut here on Aug. 20 and has every right to improve off that race.
6TH — Mickey Rocks is another stepping up a level, although he drops in against Cal-breds after racing against open $32,000 maidens on Aug. 14. Jon Court is one of the best long-shot riders on the grounds.
8TH — Charmvictor (30-1) and I Am Thor (10-1) are the price plays, and Wild Buddy (3-1) might be a good exacta wheel horse in this spot.
10TH — I’m going to box Burna Dette, Western Engagement and Stuttgart in the Del Mar season finale and play any of the three separately that goes postward at 10-1 or higher.

Good luck today!!

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Del Mar winding down

It’s tough to believe another Del Mar season has come and gone, but there’s only one card left. Rafael Bejarano has clinched his third consecutive riding title and first at Del Mar after winning the Santa Anita and Hollywood Park crowns. The race for second is wide open, with Joel Rosario (35), Garrett Gomez (34) and Tyler Baze (33) still all in the running. John Sadler long ago wrapped up his second consecutive training title on the heels of his Hollywood Park spring-summer championship. He goes into today with a 12-win lead, 30-18, over Mike Mitchell.
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Will Del Mar host Breeders’ Cup in 2012?

Let’s see, Del Mar president Joe Harper has already gone on record as saying that his track would love to host a Breeders’ Cup. All Del Mar needs to do is expand its turf course, which surely could be accomplished before 2012. If NYRA president Charles Hayward is correct, that Churchill Downs will host Breeders’ Cup 2010, then Belmont Park gets the event in 2011 and it’s time to return to the Southland in 2012. What better spot than beautiful Del Mar?
Yes, traffic could be a nightmare, but there are plenty of hotels in the area to accommodate out-of-towners and as most of us already know, the list of fine restaurants around Del Mar is virtually endless. I have a feeling some of the Eastern folks who have never been to the track might consider a permanent move west if they ever saw the place. I mean, the weather and the scenery, you just can’t beat it. Yes, I think Del Mar will host the 2012 Breeders’ Cup.

The Frankel phenomenon

Imagine the odds you could have gotten in Vegas — Bobby Frankel winless with 17 starters through the first 41 days of the Del Mar meet. It’s downright unthinkable, but it’s happened. One of the top trainers in the country, Frankel is fourth in both all-time victories and stakes wins at Del Mar. Well, it says here the drought ends today, and Frankel could do it with a bang.
His West Coast assistant, Humberto Ascanio, will saddle three horses on today’s 10-race card, and all three are live — Bleu Intense in the second, Solo Piano in the sixth and Ksar Ghilane in the nightcap. Frankel spends his summers these days at Saratoga. He’s a native New Yorker and he’s not all that hyped up about synthetic surfaces. But any bad vibes he and Ascanio have about Del Mar figure to be put to rest today.
I really like Ksar Ghilane a lot in the 10th. The 3-year-old Grand Slam colt signified his readiness in his last on June 28 at Hollywood Park by holding his speed to the stretch for the first time. He was wide most of the way and finished fourth, beaten only 4 1/4 lengths in a race that sets him up perfectly for today’s maiden special weight at 6 furlongs on Polytrack. He’s 8-1 on the morning line, but figures to get some play and might go postward around 5-1.
Good luck today!!!