Another strong horse betting weekend beckons at Del Mar Racetrack. Although the San Diego-area racetrack does not unfurl its heavy stakes artillery, it has notable developments Friday through Sunday.
On Friday, the track features the $125,000 Graduation Stakes, with a field of nine. There are several other events with good-sized fields and the finale, a 12-entry race for $82,000, offers good payout potential.
Del Mar is still buzzing from the $2 superfecta that paid more than $80,000 last Sunday. We’ll discuss that more later.
Saturday’s highlights include the $250,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes (1 1/16 miles, turf); the $200,000 Sorrento Stakes (6 furlongs, dirt); and a card-finale $82,000 turf Maiden Special Weight.
Those particulars may widen the eyes of some California bettors. These are the conditions that created the monster payout last week. Races 2, 4, 5, 7, and 10 offer excellent opportunities via big fields on Saturday, too.
The $200,000 Best Pal Stakes highlights Sunday’s card.
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Yellow Ribbon Stakes
Let’s look at the contenders for the biggest race of the weekend, the $250,000 Yellow Ribbon on Saturday.
Avenue De France
Impressive 6-to-1 victor in the Osunitas Stakes last month at Del Mar for several reasons. Handled nicely by meet-leading jockey Juan Hernandez, who patiently waited behind a sizzling early pace and moved from nearly last to first.
Track announcer Trevor Denman made it appear there was no alarm for Avenue De France trailing by more than 10 lengths in the home stretch. Denman continually noted his progress and said the winner closed like an express train.
This is a relatively quick turnaround from July 23, indicating faith in the horse.
Rocking Red Head
Missed second by head bob and was close to Avenue De France in the Osunitas. Close enough in ability to think that if you like one of these, you might like them both. Strong effort at 15-to-1 in the Osunitas.
Won the Royal Heroine Stakes and was third at the Gamely Stakes at Santa Anita Park. Brings reasonably good credentials into the race.
Beaten by Going Global in previous race. Unable to win in Allowance company after that. Will have work cut out for her.
Has a victory in May over Avenue De France at the Lone Star Park but hasn’t raced since. Off nearly 2 1/2 months. Does that matter now? That’s why they race, so we can find out. Interesting wild card in this mix.
Finished sixth in a race for which Avenue De France was third, back in January. Layoff may be problematic, along with the matchup. Would be a significant surprise.
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Who Are the Top Jockeys and Trainers in 2022?
Here are a list of the top jockeys and trainers, both with the number of victories and in-the-money percentage.
The latter is a telling statistic. It indicates how often a jockey or trainer guides his/her horse into the first, second, or third position. This is an important consideration for across-the-board, exacta, trifecta, and superfecta bettors. It is especially helpful in locating a “key.”
If one can be convinced a horse will finish in one of the top three spots, that opens up numerous betting options like the key wager, in which you would isolate a horse in one of those positions and place other entries alongside it in trying to collect a trifecta or superfecta ticket.
Big Mandatory Pick 6 Payout at Del Mar
Congratulations to the more than 500 bettors who cashed in for more than $6,000 in the Del Mar 20-cent mandatory Pick 6 payout last Saturday. Although some of the fields were large, the setting was ideal for bettors, because short and mid-sized horses won most of the races.
The pot paid out roughly $4. 5 million, including nearly $4 million on the final day.
Check here next week for a special overview of the big day, conducted with Bill Navarro, the mutuels director for Del Mar.
The next mandatory payout is Sept. 3.
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Looking Back at Big Longshot Wins Last Weekend
We talk about the breeding grounds for big paydays all the time. Del Mar had it in Race 7 last Sunday. There were 10 horses, on the turf, for $80,000. Always room for a price horse to make some noise.
And this time, it was financial fireworks.
Bear Mountain captured the race at 35-to-1. De la Luna rallied past 4-to-5 favorite Park City to finish second at 40-to-1. The exacta paid $1,742.
Park City finished third and the $1 trifecta paid an astounding $5,571. Astounding because the big-money horse still hit the board. The payout is a testament to the robust handle and large fields that spread money into the exotics pools.
Fourth went to Mucino at 17-to-1.
The $2 superfecta? Telephone numbers. It was $81,317. That means $40,658 for the $ 1 super and $4,065 for the 10-center. And this is with the short-priced chalk running third.
What helped the payday:
Zookeeper, the 7-to-2 second choice, set the pace and was in the lead coming for home, but faded to fifth. Mucino drifted up from 6-to-1 to 17-to-1. In the end, a quality horse overlooked.
The payout was big but does not have to be considered an absolute shock. The field was Maiden Special Weights. That means nobody in this field had won a race. Situations like these are excellent times to bet against favorites. It doesn’t mean one will find the right combinations, but a tip of the hat to anyone who did.
There may have been no handicapping rhyme or reason to the horses who prevailed. But when you think maidens, turf, big fields, the longshot opportunity is possible.