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Cougar II Handicap Preview

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 7/23/2014 10:38:17 PM

About the Race and Track

Older marathoners will be spotlighted on Friday evening at Del Mar in the $100,000 Cougar II Handicap and online sports betting site players will need to fine the right horse that can get the marathon distance of a mile and a half on the Polytrack.

Named for the Hall of Fame runner Cougar II, who won this very race in 1970, this race has been a showcase for stout runners like Quicken Tree, Big John A, Uniformity, Navarone and Bourbon Bay.

Richard’s Kid won the 2012 and 2013 runnings of this stakes and last year he was coming off a well-beaten third in the Pimlico Special before he came from second to last to earn the winning 100 Beyer Speed Figure.

Eleven entered this race and there is a wide variety to chose from in the process.

A Longshot With Some Value: Old Time Hockey

Old Time Hockey needed his last badly and gets the services of Joe Talamo here. His trainer Tom Proctor has had some big meets down at Del Mar over the years and the value should be there.

The Pick: Will Take Charge

Lideris has won at this demanding distance in his native Peru but his stateside debut leaves much to be desired.

Longview Drive proved he belongs at this level as he just won a $100,000 stakes at Pleasanton with a 91 Beyer.

American Blend was fourth in his only attempt at this trip and he was just clamed by John Sadler from Carla Gaines.

Old Time Hockey will be making his synthetic debut so he will have to adapt on the fly. He is a proven stakes performer and got a feel of the local surface on July 17.

Ice Cream Truck has never won on the synthetic and he has only won twice in his life. He is in the cagey hands of A.C. Avila but could need softer to shine.

Big John B. was hung wide in his only synthetic effort when 5th at Keeneland.

Bailoutbobby was beaten by a repeater two races back at Churchill Downs and was probably just overmatched last time in a Grade 2.

Sky Kingdom has been carefully place. He ran very well in this race last year losing by just a half-length. He has trained fast since winning his 2014 debut 3 weeks ago.

Soi Phet is a true horse for the course, as he has not lost in 3 Del Mar starts. Claimed for $16,000 last year, he has won 6 times since entering the Leonard Powell barn.

Layton Register was making his first start on June 19 since winning in May. In that May win, that was a similar second off the layoff adventure.

Irish Surf is hung outside, has only won twice, both on grass and was a closing 5th in his last return try.

A Grade 3 winner at this distance, Sky Kingdom gets the nod in a wide-open fray. He has the tactical speed to get first run on the deep closers and his rider Victor Espinoza just won with him last time.



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