Our Analysis of the BING CROSBY, VANDERBILT and JIM DANDY
FRIDAY, JULY 27, 2018
Bigger, that's what we like about weekend racing. Everything is bigger: the crowd size, the mutual pools; and the races.
We've got the big three covered for you on Saturday:
Del Mar Race 9 - $300K G1 BING CROSBY STAKES
Saratoga Race 8 - $350K G1 VANDERBILT HANDICAP
Saratoga Race 10 - $600K G2 JIM DANDY STAKES
We'll start out on the west coast as 11 three-year-olds take to the dirt to run 6 furlongs in the Grade I Bing Crosby Stakes. FYI, in case you missed our Del Mar day one commentary, the Hollywood heavyweight Bing Crosby is one of the original Del Mar partners, and greeted fans at the gate on opening day at Del Mar. That would have been way too cool. That would be like Drake and The Rock, rolled into one, high-fiving fans when they came through the door.
Bing Crosby Taking the First Ticket at Del Mar
Anyway, on to the race. We'll start off by eliminating a horse, #1 Annie's Candy (M/L 30-1) as the post has failed to score a win in 17 races between 5.5 and 6.5 furlongs at Del Mar so far. No big loss at 30-1, right? But here is something you can use, the higher-class races run between 5.5 and 6.5 furlongs have seen the winner running 2nd at the 1/4 mile pole and first in the stretch.
So, which in our bunch meets that profile?
#3 ROY H (M/L 2-1)
#4 AMERICAN ANTHEM (M/L 5/2)
#10 TOUCHING RAINBOWS (M/L 10-1)
If hot (as in winning) jockeys is what you like to play, then nobody has been a bigger winner than Drayden Van Dyke, followed by Flavien Prat. Van Dyke is riding #9 EDWARDS GOING LEFT (M/L 10-1) and Prat saddles up #5 RANSOM THE MOON (M/L 6-1). On the trainer front, Doug O'Neil is leading the way and he brings lucky #7 STONE HANDS, and he might need some luck at 20-1.
Plenty of those horse and angles are in our official picks. We like the favorites in the Bing Crosby upfront noting, "ROY H begins the road to his Breeders Cup Sprint title defense in this spot. He was second in this race last year before rattling off three straight victories. AMERICAN ANTHEM is two for two this year, and picked up a big win last time out in the Grade 2 San Carlos Stakes." However, RANSOM and EDWARD round out our alternate picks.
You can watch Roy H's last run at Del Mar for the 2017 TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Sprint here:
Now we move from Bing Crosby to Frank Sinatra's New York, New York for Saratoga's pair of stakes races. Since the beginning of both Del Mar and Saratoga meets, we have done MUCH better at Saratoga, even despite the off track conditions. Just yesterday our Saratoga picks paid out over $24,000.00!
Like the Bing, The Vanderbilt Handicap is 6 furlongs on the dirt, but only fielding seven, three-years-old and up. And like Del Mar, the Saratoga season is still in its early stages; so, trends aren't etched in stone. Plus, the weather in Saratoga Springs, NY has been a bit on the wet side, making race-by-race observations a little tougher.
The weather man says to expect "scattered showers and thunderstorms, mainly between 2pm and 5pm [Saturday]," which means Race 8 could be run on an off-track; however, it may not matter.
Good weather or not, upfront runners have fared well for the first 10, six-furlong races at Saratoga. Only one of the 10 winners ran outside of the top three at the 1/4 mile marker, none were outside of the top three at the 1/2 mile call, and eight of the 10 were first in the stretch. In case you were wondering, the other two were 3rd in the stretch.
Recent performances point to a trio of horses that like to run that race:
#1 SWITZERLAND (M/L 2-1)
#4 IMPERIAL HINT (M/L 6/5)
#7 DONE DEAL (M/L 8-1)
For the shorter races, 6.5 furlongs and under, the one post position has been a tough spot at Saratoga. However, track conditions have played a big role. We'd consider downgrading SWITZERLAND if the storms come.
As of now, we have SWITZERLAND picked second to the morning line favorite IMPERIAL HINT. Our bonus commentary says "IMPERIAL HINT got back to his winning ways last time with a nice win in the Grade 2 True North Stakes. This will be his first start at Saratoga, but he looks to be the class of the field. SWITZERLAND is undefeated since moving to the barn of Steve Asmussen, including a victory last time out in the Grade 3 Maryland Sprint Handicap. DONE DEAL comes into this race as the hot horse after four straight victories. He was a winner in the Iowa Sprint Handicap in his last start."
Considering the follies of the rail in the rain, horse players might think about upping DONE DEAL in the event it's wet as he killed 'em on the slop, winning by 6 3/4 on his lone run in the mud. Although, our top two choices have won 4 of 5 in the rain.
We'll wind it up with the Jim Dandy Stakes, 1 1/8 miles on the dirt for three-year-olds. Once again, speed has been a big factor. Seven of the 11 winners at the distance were first or second at the quarter pole, with four wire-to-wire efforts. On a fast surface, the bias has been more pronounced as all three winners ran in the top two out of the gates.
The one horse, FLAMEAWAY (M/L 7/2) is the only one of the five entrants that's consistently run that race. It's his second start following a layoff, giving him room to improve. But... will it be enough to get past the even money favorite, VINO ROSSO?
Certainly, if it's wet, we'd be more likely to look past VINO as he finished 9th in the mud at the Kentucky Derby. FLAMEAWAY hasn't done so well when it's wet either. The only one of the five to win on an off track is #4 SPORTING CHANCE (M/L 8-1). If the odds hold up that would make for a great value play should the track turn ugly.
Best of luck this weekend!
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