It's a little more active than usual this Sunday with a handful of $100,000 or more stakes races spread throughout tracks all around the country and in Canada.
Del Mar Race 8 - $200,000 EDDIE READ STAKES – GRADE II
Del Mar Race 10 - $125,000 CALIFORNIA DREAMIN' STAKES
Monmouth Park Race 9 - $100,000 JERSEY DERBY
Saratoga Race 9 - $150,000 BERNARD BARUCH HANDICAP – GRADE II
Woodbine Race 7 - $125,000 SEAGRAM CUP STAKES – GRADE III
Let's put our attention on the race with the biggest jackpot the Eddie Read Stakes at Del Mar. It's a race that's been around since 1974 when Blue Swede had us "Hooked on a Feeling." MY OLD FRIEND won the first rendition and BOWIE'S HERO won the last, ridden by jockey Flavien Prat.
Both return to the 2020 rendition but not as a team. Prat, who has won two of the last three Eddie Read Stakes gets off the defending champ and opts to ride UNITED (PP: 7 ML 8/5). Sunday's 1 1/8 miles trip on the turf will be the eight-straight journey on the morning line favorite for UNITED; so, maybe flipping rides isn't that big of a deal.
Nonetheless, it looks like the jockey is sticking with the horse that's in the best form right now, just a neck and a head away from a four-race winning streak. He hasn't raced since May 23rd but has been training well heading into Sunday's run and should put another strong effort on the track.
ORIGINAIRE (PP: 2 ML 9/2) is our second choice. He was right on UNITED in his last race, the Grade II, Charles Whittingham Stakes at Santa Anita, and was bumped late, ruining his chance for the W. Despite finishing third, he tied for the top, last race speed number with UNITED, the winner. He'll look for the revenge ride today.
We have last year's champ, BOWIE'S HERO (PP: 1 ML 41-1) making another trip to the podium, the bronze this year. He's making his second start after an extended period in the barn. Trainer Philip D'Amato scores at a solid 22% in second starts. However… BOWIE'S HERO has taken a step back in four of his last five-second runs off the bench. His first start wasn't good enough to bring him home first in this year's Eddie Read. A step back and he'll have no chance to keep the crown.
We tie up our top four picks with the three, SHARP SAMURAI (ML 5-1). He too is making his second start off the break but tends to get a little better in round twos. He's a fan of the distance, winning four of seven with a second in five 1 1/8 mile go-arounds. He's also done some good Del Mar work with a pair of wins and a trio of second in seven where the turf meets the surf. If he takes a small step forward, as is usual it won't likely be enough to dislodge the top-choice.
NEPTUNE'S STORM (PP: 6 ML 6-1) and COMNATANT (PP: 4 ML 12-1) are our alternative picks.
Horseplayers might craft their tickets keying our top two selections as we believe they are a cut above the rest and you'll get some value with ORIGINAIRE.