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Inside Del Mar

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 8/2/2010 3:02:28 PM

One thing about the stomping grounds known as Del Mar, and it has been this way for at least 3 decades, is that you cannot make a favorite too short on the morning line. Chalk gets pounded here. It may be because it is a resort track and there are a ton of kids in the grandstand and in the infield or maybe it’s just the concept of trying too hard to cash a ticker.

Maybe it’s the salt air, but if you are swallowing chalk, you better pick your spots right. Just like with Saratoga, only the strong survive and to survive you have to pay attention to where the winners are coming from.

So far this meet, the track has played pretty fair but it has been tough on the stalkers. It seems either you wanted to be up close and close to the lead or you wanted to come from left field.

In prior years, because of the proximity to the ocean and because the synthetic surface changes from the morning to the afternoon, the bias and the way the track plays can change as the day goes on. But this season, the climate has been similar in the morning and the afternoon so far for the most part.

Still, if you are at the track, between the margaritas and the nachos, try to examine winners and why they scored from the way the race set up and played out.

Just last weekend, one day inside speed was king and it was very hard to get by runners that lead running toward the inside of the track.

The next day, the inside was dead and the place to be was to rally down the middle of the track.

Go figure.

Give horses that have a race over the track a huge edge. The owners that make the trek down for the meet want action and you cannot keep a decent claiming horse in your stable unless you padlocked him to the stall. Pay attention to upper echelon sophomores that have been freshened for this meet. The fact that they have not been through a hard grind all year gives them an opportunity to put 2 or 3 super races together against a tired crew.

As far as the turf is concerned generally speaking the Del Mar course can play a tad heavy early in the meet but as the days go on, it will get packed down and speed will hold better. Stalking styles fit well and it’s never simple to come from left field because the turns are so tight. If Silky Sullivan types are your appetizer, please get a price before diving in.

There can be some money made if a player zigs and zags as the fans generally will jump on the popular names like Bejarano, Rosario, Mitchell, Baffert, O’Neill and Sadler.

That leaves a lot of things on the table for riders and barns that fly just under the radar. A trainer that should be watched is Peter Miller.

He is stabled at the nearby San Luis Rey Downs and had a breakout meeting a few seasons ago at Del Mar starting and finishing fast.

Miller is a homeboy, he was born right up the road at Carlsbad, and as a youngster he went to jockey school before the hormones kicked in and he grew.

Miller learned from one of the best trainers ever in Charlie Whittingham as he was around stars like Palace Music and Greinton back in the day. The guy is great with youngsters, has won the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante and gamblers could do much worse than getting on the Miller Time bandwagon.

The most astute players gambling at Del Mar tend to adjust and adapt to the changes throughout the meeting.

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