Del Mar Horse Betting: Breeders’ Cup Spot on the Line in Pat O’Brien Stakes

Financial fireworks await horse bettors, owners, and trainers as the Del Mar Racetrack launches its home stretch kick.

The meet that runs until Sept. 11 saves its best for last. Saturday marks the start of four “Win and You’re In” Breeders’ Cup challenge races. The $250,000 Pat O’Brien Stakes is more than an excellent race with proven horses. It provides the winner an all-expense paid berth in the coveted Breeders Cup Nov. 4-5 at Keeneland in Kentucky.

Del Mar has six of these during the course of the meet, which began in July. Four of them take place over the next two weekends.

Besides the Pat O’Brien, theWin and You’re In” showcases include the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic and $300,000 Del Mar Handicap on Sept. 3, and the $150,000 Green Flash Handicap on Sept. 4.

Bettors have much to look forward to, whether they attend the track outside of San Diego or access the action via the TVG app.

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Pat O’Brien Stakes at Del Mar

Saturday’s card at Del Mar starts at 2 p.m.

There are some wide-open races with an 11-horse field for Race 6, at Maiden-Claiming $50,000, and Race 7, for Allowance Optional Claiming $82,000. This combines horses who are good enough to run for some decent money, placed in a large field with multiple betting entries. In these events, payouts are often more than one expects.

The Pat O’Brien, meanwhile, has 10 horses going seven furlongs on the dirt. Post time is 6 p.m.

Here’s a look at the field and their post positions. Betting odds will be determined at post time in accordance with pari-mutuel regulations.

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C Z Rocket

Seems to like this race and this distance. Second in the Pat O’Brien last year at seven furlongs. Switched to 6  1/2 furlongs and prevailed in Allowance Optional Claiming company.

Principe Carlo

Second to American Theorem in the Triple Bend at seven furlongs. Was locked in an early pace in the Bing Crosby Stakes here, faded, and was beaten soundly by American Theorem and Get Her Number. Mixed signals.


No, this is not an anger management candidate. The 2022 campaign looked promising after he ran third to Life Is Good in the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile last November at this track. Has been off the board in four subsequent races. Connections hoping a trip back to the friendly confines will rekindle old form.

American Theorem

Has settled into a nice groove. Not in the picture in the Santa Anita Handicap and San Pascual Stakes, both run at a distance. Shortened to seven furlongs and took the Triple Bend. Then went to six and claimed the $400,000 Bing Crosby Stakes on this surface. Listed as a probable for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint Nov. 5.

A contender at this distance, and in this comfort zone.

Get Her Number

Ran a strong second to American Theorem in the Bing Crosby at Del Mar. Was closing ground strongly at six furlongs and now stretches to seven. Recent seven-furlong experience includes a win at Allowance Optional Claiming and a third-place finish behind American Theorem and Principe Carlo.

Has lost twice recently to American Theorem, has split with Principe Carlo. In the mix for exacta, trifecta, and superfecta wagers. Looks like a horse that can run underneath rather than win.

The Chosen Vron

Amazing consistency. Has hit the board in all seven career starts. Won the Lazaro Barrera Stakes and the Affirmed Stakes last year. Took nearly a year off and was a respectable third in the California Dreamin Stakes at Del Mar three weeks ago. The top three horses practically hit the wire together.

Lost some run after being stuck behind horses coming for home. Always runs well. Just a question of how ready he is. Last race was on the turf. Switches back here to dirt.

Laurel River

Tries new distance. Beaten handily enough down the lane by The Chosen Vron in the $100,000 Lazaro Barrera Stakes last year. Took a step down in class and a step up in distance to capture two 1-mile races in Allowance Optional Claiming company. May prefer longer routes. Seven furlongs is not quite a sprint or a distance race. Good candidate under the winner in exotics.

Speaker’s Corner

Ran an excellent second to Life Is Good in the $250,000 Nerud Stakes at Belmont Park in New York. Tracked a blistering early pace without being able to get by the 1-to-5 favorite. Comes up a little in class and has to ship to California. That’s a difficult task, but this is a good horse.

Life Is Good subsequently won the $1 million Whitney Stakes in Saratoga three weeks ago. That comparison bodes well for Speaker’s Corner.


Got locked up in a speed duel at the San Diego Handicap and that did him in. The pace was contentious and he went from the lead to out of the picture down the stretch. Beaten soundly at 2-to-1, will try at a shorter distance. Did run well for nearly a mile in the 1 1/16-mile San Diego Handicap. His connections think he may fit here.

Senor Buscador

Away more than a year and was nowhere to be seen, for the most part, in the San Diego Handicap. Was a decent horse last year before the layoff. Essentially running himself back into shape.

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Del Mar Horse Betting Stats

Horse bettors like their data, just like everyone else. There are reams of numbers to reveal about what may happen.

But here’s a look at what has happened.

Who is doing what at Del Mar? Here is a bettors’ reference to the top jockeys and trainers, heading into this week, according to track records.

Jockey Standings

JockeyMeets1st2nd3rdWin %In-Money %Money Won
Juan Hernandez11931201526%55%$2,099,406
Umberto Rispoli9317181218%51%$1,509,096
Ramon Vasquez11014232213%54%$1,341,502
Joe Bravo57145525%42%$949,756
Abel Castillo921010811%30%$833,676
Edwin Maldonado8197911%31%$526,610
Hector Berrios4886317%35%$695,960
Mike Smith4186420%44%$754,730
Florent Geroux78714119%41%$716,560
Ryan Curatolo6673611%24%$357,052

Stats are through Aug. 20, 2022.

Trainer Standings

TrainerStarts1st2nd3rdWin %In-Money %Money Won
Phillip D'Amato8012161915%59%$1,459,890
Bob Baffert411181027%71%$872,050
Peter Miller711013914%45%$875,940
Doug F. O'Neill821010812%34%$790,972
George Papaprodromou59107717%41%$799,880
Mark Glatt46811817%59%$577,196
John W. Sadler51711614%47%$549,892
Andy Mathis2471229%42%$300,408
Michael W. McCarthy4155412%34%$522,520
Jonathan Wong3254516%44%$205,620

Stats are through Aug. 20, 2022.

Winning Favorites Report

Winning Favorites61/17035.9%
Winning Favorites on Dirt36/9438.3%
Winning Favorites on Turf25/7632.9%
Winning Odds-on Favorites11/2839.3%
In-the-Money Favorites130/17076.5%
In-the-Money Odds-on Favorites24/2885.7%

Stats are through Aug. 20, 2022.

Have fun sorting it out and good luck hitting a few this weekend.

Will Pick 6 Pick Up Steam?

As action begins this week, the track had a carryover of $165,128 for its 20-cent Pick 6 wager. A player must hit all six of the final races, but the investment can be small.

The pot builds up slowly with the daily Pick 6 wager at Del Mar. If there is no singular winning ticket, 70% of the pot carries over. Momentum builds slowly and snowballs, leading to mandatory payout days in which the whole pot is paid.

On Aug. 6, the track paid out more than $4.5 million and more than 500 bettors each got more than $6,000.

The next mandatory payout is Sept. 3. It will be interesting to see where the carryover number is next week.

About the Author

Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo is a writer for California Casinos, and has covered the horse racing and boxing industry extensively since the 1980s. He was an award-winning writer at the Press of Atlantic City. As a broadcaster, he has won the Sam Taub Award for Excellence in Boxing Broadcasting, issued by the Boxing Writers Association of America. He has called major fights for HBO, ESPN, Showtime, and other networks since the 1980s. He is in the New Jersey and Atlantic City Boxing Halls of Fame. Dave shifted gears to cover the emerging legalized sports-betting industry in 2018. He now serves as the go-to authority on horse race betting across multiple websites, including California Casinos.