* There was $390,684 in the pick five pool Sunday at Del Mar. This is a bet that carries a low 14 percent takeout. It’s also a bet that, according to one representative of the Thoroughbred Owners of California, would never catch on with the bettors. Well, it’s now one of the most popular bets on the Southland circuit.
* After an encouraging first couple of weeks, Del Mar’s all-sources handle has been heading south the past two weeks. According to figures released by Equibase, total handle was down $2,203,711 Saturday and dipped $928,677 Friday night after a slow Wednesday and Thursday. Wednesday, after you figure in that last year Del Mar had a $1.2 million pick six pool on Day 16 of the meet, Del Mar was down about $1.1 million in handle. Down about $800,000 Thursday.
Meanwhile, the TOC sits and tells us we need to wait a few years before the bigger purses lead to increased handle.
Well, first of all, this sport might not have a few years left. Secondly, it seems the only people happy these days are the owners who are running their horses for these huge purses.
Del Mar, Hollywood Park and Santa Anita have all asked the TOC to lower takeout on doubles and exactas. Track executives see the writing on the wall. Del Mar might be down in all-sources handle between now and Pacific Classic weekend Aug. 27-28.
Meanwhile, the TOC does nothing.
Meanwhile, around the rest of the racing world:
* Trainer Bob Baffert, who was looking at the Travers Stakes on Aug. 27 for his talented 3-year-old colt Coil, may be having second thoughts.
On his Twitter account, Baffert tweeted the following on Saturday: “Saratoga main track was so deep today horse fell and injured my gallop boy. Might have to rethink travers.”
I still think it’s better than 50-50 that Coil, impressive winner of the Haskell Invitational on July 31, goes in the Travers. But you can be sure Baffert will not run him if he believes there’s any trouble with the Saratoga track at all.
* Uncle Mo, who missed the Triple Crown series because of illness, worked five furlongs in a bullet 1:00.34 at Saratoga on Sunday morning and seems to be ready for the King’s Bishop Stakes on Aug. 27. Baffert’s The Factor also is still under consideration for the King’s Bishop, a seven-furlong race for 3-year-olds.
* Two of the leading contenders for the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Aug. 28, Twirling Candy and Caracortado, worked over Polytrack on Sunday morning.
Twirling Candy went seven furlongs in 1:25.20 under Joel Rosario and Caracortado drilled six furlongs in 1:11.80 under Joe Talamo.
* Baffert attributed Midnight Interlude’s fourth-place finish in Saturday’s La Jolla Handicap at Del Mar to an unlucky journey.
“That’s turf racing,” Baffert said. “You’ve just got to look forward to the next race. He’ll be fine.”
Baffert indicated the Del Mar Derby on Sept. 4 will be next for the Santa Anita Derby winner.
* It’s a four-way battle royale for the Del Mar riding title. After Sunday’s action, Rafael Bejarano leads defending champion Joel Rosario and Garrett Gomez by one victory, 23-22. Joe Talamo is only one victory further back with 21.
In the trainer standings, John Sadler holds a 12-11 lead over Mike Mitchell, who saddled three winners Sunday.
* Through the first four weeks of the seven-week meet, there have been 159 claims for a total of $3,749,500, or an average of $23,581 per claim. Doug O’Neill leads with 13 claims and Mitchell has taken 11.