With this year’s $1 million Haskell Invitational (Grade I) at Monmouth Park just three days away, last year’s winner, Coil, makes his 2012 debut as the 5-to-2 favorite in a $100,000 allowance optional claimer sprinting seven furlongs on Del Mar’s main track.
Coil’s 3-year-old campaign got off to a late start after breaking his maiden impressively in his first start for Bob Baffert at the end of 2010, but the son of Point Given quickly established himself as one of the most exciting runners in the country by winning the Affirmed Handicap (Grade III) and missing by just a head in the Swaps Stakes (Grade II) ahead of his Haskell glory.
Following the Haskell, Coil never got involved in the Travers Stakes (Grade I) at Saratoga finishing last of ten beaten over 41 lengths, but rebounded nicely in his first against older runners to finish third in the Goodwood (Grade I) at Santa Anita behind stable mate Game On Dude.
The scratch of Comma to the Top could land Coil on the early lead today in a race void of speed, but his sire’s progeny have had little success over Del Mar’s Polytrack with just one winner from 17 starts. However, Coil did blitz a bullet six furlongs over the strip in 1:10.4 on July 20.
Martin Garcia had been aboard Coil in his previous five starts, and although he’s making his way back into Baffert’s favor, Rafael Bejarano gets the call today.
Proven over this track with three wins from five starts including a perfect 2-for-2 last summer, Mensa Heat is dangerous first off the claim for Doug O’Neill with the hustling Edwin Maldanado climbing aboard. The 6-year-old son of Unusual Heat has predominantly done his running from off the pace, but he has laid closer on occasion, which is the likely scenario today with his new pilot and lack of other speed.
It never gets old and often reaps significant rewards, so we can’t forget about Bank the Eight debuting in his new barn as the “other” Baffert. In his only start of 2011, the 5-year-old son of Distorted Humor won an allowance optional claimer by five lengths at Parx to give him wins in half his eight career starts for Tony Dutrow.
Bank the Eight shows a steady work tab for his first start in 17 months and his sire has won with 25% of his runners over Del Mar’s Polytrack.
Shrug is the 3-to-1 second choice after snapping an eight-race losing streak by winning at Hollywood Park on June 15 and Great Warrior is a live long shot at 10-to-1 returning to Del Mar after last being seen here finishing ahead of Shrug when missing by a nose in last year’s El Cajon.
We’re off to the races!
Leg 1 – Race 5 (4,6,9) – Baffert looks loaded again here in this maiden allowance sprint for 3-year-old fillies with the debut of No. 6 Maker or Breaker, a half-sister to electric sprinters Indian Blessing and Roman Threat.
The “other” Baffert is a factor again with No. 9 Bobby Zapper returning eight months after missing by a head in her debut at Hollywood Park.
After teaming up with a first-time maiden claimer to win last week, Garrett Gomez and Bob Hess Jr. could upset again with No. 4 Acenda, who has been training great and whose dam has dropped winners with each of her five previous foals.
Leg 2 – Race 6 (2,4,5,10) – A competitive allowance optional claimer on turf for 3-year-old fillies with a good amount of early speed, including No. 4 Ricspretentiousgal, who ran huge in her last to hold on for second after an awkward trip dueling on the lead. If she can settle early there can be enough in the tank to hold on late even if she has company on the lead.
If that scenario proves again to take too much out of her, we’ll look to No. 2 More Chocolate, No. 5 Mary Fildes and No. 10 Belle de Lune to pick them up.
Leg 3 – Race 7 (3,5,6,7,8) – Use the five runners discussed above with No. 3 Bank the Eight, No. 5 Coil, No. 6 Great Warrior, No. 7 Mensa Heat and No. 8 Shrug.
Leg 4 – Race 8 (5,9,10) – No. 9 Nottahobby was wheeled back just 12 days after the claim, but now has been given some time to acclimate to his new barn and stretches out after two sprints against a bunch of proven losers. He debuted going two turns earlier this year, so that was always thought to be his game, and he should be more prepared to do so now with a foundation that also includes a solid six-furlong spin over this track five days ago.
No. 5 A Day Away sees his claiming tag cut in half after being the beaten favorite in his last, No. 10 Midnight Con gets one more chance after five runner-up efforts with Bejarano taking over for the first time.
Recap – (4,6,9) w (2,4,5,10) w (3,5,6,7,8) w (5,9,10) – Total cost of ticket = $90
Yesterday’s Result – (-$150)
Total for current Del Mar meet – (-$86.50)
Total from 12/26/10 – 7/15/12 – (-$1,571.15)
Pick 5 –
Leg 1 – Race 1 (2,5,6) – We’ll take a flier with No. 2 Musical Grace in the opener winging on the lead and also use the pair that have faced much classier with No. 5 Arriverderci Caro and No. 6 Ambitoness.
Leg 2 – Race 2 (2,4,6) – More often than not No. 2 Love My Way chokes away an easy lead, but we’ll use her along with No. 6 With a Miracle, who can inherit if the leader crumbles, and No. 4 Heart of My Life, who had lots of success sprinting on turf in Chile and could move forward with a U.S. start under her belt.
Leg 3 – Race 3 (1,4,5,11,12) – Five deep in this Cal-bred maiden claimer with No. 1 Flamboyance, No. 4 French Alps, No. 5 Ella Bea Awesome, No. 11 Memo to Maggie and No. 12 Amy’s Cashin In.
Leg 4 – Race 4 (1,2,3,6,7,8) – It’s shocking to see Baffert’s No. 2 Stirred Up in this non-winners of two claimer after being a graded stakes performer. He should dominate this field, but the drop is an obvious concern so we’ll add No. 1 Showmethemoneyjim, No. 3 Aragon Sword, No. 6 All de Victors, No. 7 Et Tu Walker and No. 8 Apply.
Leg 5 – Race 5 (6) – Close the ticket by singling potential monster No. 6 Maker or Breaker.
Recap – (2,5,6) w (2,4,6) w (1,4,5,11,12) w (1,2,3,6,7,8) w (6) – Total cost of ticket = $135
Yesterday’s Result – (-$150)
Total for current Del Mar meet – (-$629.20)
Total from 7/20/11 – 7/15/12 – (+$1,874.55)
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