Stakes Analysis: Torrey Pines, Soaring Free, Seaway Stakes
SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2018
Coming off a monster Saturday of stakes races headlined by the TRAVERS where our tipsheet paid $29,569.60, Sunday feels like a comfortable drive down a tree-lined, Kentucky road in a classic convertible. There are only four $100,000 stakes races.
Del Mar Race 9 - $100,000 TORREY PINES STAKES GRADE 3
Saratoga Race 9 - $100,000 SMART AND FANCY STAKES
Woodbine Race 8 - $100,000 SOARING FREE STAKES
Woodbine Race 10 - $125,000 SEAWAY STAKES GRADE 3
At Saratoga, we've got a good betting race as a dozen three-year-old and up ladies will be running 5.5-furlongs on the turf. Meet-to-date, the distance/surface has favored stalkers with the average winner running 2.8th place at the quarter pole and 2.4th at the 1/2 mile marker.
CHANTELINE taking the tape at Oaklawn
Horses that fit that profile include, Chanteline (PP: 3 - ML 5-1), Fire Key (PP: 4 - ML 20-1), and Just Talkin (PP: 6 - ML 8-1). While the typical race victor is more of a stalker, 26% of winners take the 5.5-furlong grass races wire-to-wire. And there is plenty of early speed in this race: Battle Joined (PP: 1 - ML 15-1), Amapola (PP: 2 - ML 30-1), Tillie's Lily (PP: 5 - ML 5-1), Girls Know Best (PP: 7 - ML 8-1), and Morticia (PP: 8 - ML 4-1).
Handicappers who handicap pace over horses would say there is too much upfront speed, meaning the early fractions will be too fast, setting up for- you guessed, the stalkers. That's exactly how we see it too, writing in our bonus commentary, "Trainer Steven Asmussen and jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr. win at 27% when teamed-up. The duo works together with CHANTELINE, who popped by far the best speed figure in this field last out. JUST TALKIN stumbled in her last and still managed to find her way to third. A better start and second after a layoff should help TALKIN improve."
If Sunday is anything like Saturday as Saratoga, you'll want to see today's full card picks too. Our Travers day selections hit for cool $29,569.60 on Saturday.
North of the border, six, two-year olds will race for the SOARING FREE STAKES. It's a 6-furlong turf affair. We'd normally get into the bias and average winner stuff about now, but you can throw a lot of that out the window with these babies. Like children, you never know what to really expect for two-year-old horses. They can look like Secretariat on day and a field mule the next.
So, we look at a few things that we've found to help identify two-year-olds that might be a bit more consistent. One of the first things we like to look at is how much was paid for the horse. Like most things, one expects to get higher quality based on the amount paid. Well the better the breeding, the more expensive the horse.
There are four horses that owners paid more than $100,000 to buy: $410,000 for Fluminense (PP: 5 - ML 5/2), $200,000 for Saints Marching In (PP: 3 - ML 3-1), $130,000 for Muskoka Wonder (PP: 4 - ML 2-1) and $125,000 for Tricky Magician (PP: 2 - ML 6-1). From there, high-priced horses are usually paired with high-priced trainers and jockeys, so we pay close attention to the jockey/trainers.
Finally, we rank the horses from the fastest to the slowest in the last race based on early fractions, 1/4 and 1/2 mile markers. We add our own special sauce to create our predicted finishing order. Not surprisingly, our picks look a lot like the price paid.
"We've said until we are blue, two-year-olds can be like rollercoasters, up and down. FLUMINENSE was up the most last time out, winning on the Churchill Downs dirt by 6 3/4 popping to top speed figure in the field. CRAWL FROM THE BAR benefits from the top jockey and trainer team; Da Silva and McKnight winning at 34% in the last 60-days. MUSKOKA WONDER fits the profile of a 6-furlong winner to a T, running around fourth at the 1/2 mile marker and then bypassing fading front-runners down the stretch. SAINTS MARCHING IN was bet down hard in his debut, raced up front, gave up the lead in the stretch, and then fought back for the win. Usually, young horses don't battle back once they've given up the lead; a horse with heart."
From the SEAWAY to the surf, the ninth at Del Mar hosts the TORREY PINES Stakes, a mile on the dirt for three-year-old fillies. It's another good bettors race with 11 ladies and a lukewarm morning-line favorite at 5/2 - Just Grazed Me (PP: 9). The nine in the ninth just sounds right.
The horses that got it right at the one-mile dirt distance were near the front, but not on the lead right away. While the average 1/4 pole call is 3.4, only 16% of winners went gate-to-wire. The nine in the ninth fits that profile fairly well. We believe she has a good shot to make it three wins in a row to start her career. Watch her take the Fleet Treat at Del Mar on July 29, 2018:
"There are a lot of evenly matched horses in Torrey Pines. JUST GRAZED ME gets the nod as she's got two good wins to start her career. In stretching out to 7-furlongs from 6.5, she cut a second off her 6-furlong time."
Best of luck!
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