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Del Mar Handicap 2014; Twelve Vying For Breeders’ Cup Turf Berth

Del Mar Handicap 2014; Twelve Vying For Breeders’ Cup Turf Berth: The 2014 Del Mar Handicap rolls around every year during the third week of August at balmy Del Mar, California where the “Turf Meets the Surf” at the Del Mar Racetrack. This (GII) event is for 3-year-olds and up running 1 3/8 miles on the Jimmy Durante lawn course for $200,000 and is a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita on November 1, 2014.

Del Mar Handicap 2014

The Del Mar Handicap takes place at Del Mar on Saturday, August 23, 2014. The winner gains an automatic entry into the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita Park on Saturday, November 1, 2014. Photo: Magician (blue/orange) takes the lead in the 2013 edition of the Breeders’ Cup Turf.
Breeders’ Cup Photo ©

Since inception in 1937, the Del Mar Handicap has been contested at a number of distances. The world record time of 1:46.20 for 1 1/8 miles was set in 1969 by Figonero. The record for the current distance of 1 3/8 miles is held by Spring House set in 2008.


The most wins are held at 2 each: Frankly (1948,1950); Arrogate (1955,1956); How Now (1957,1960); Navarone (1992,1994); and Spring House (2008,2009).  Last year’s winner was Vagabond Shoes for John Sadler.

The 2014 Del Mar Handicap is the 8th race of the day on a card of 10 with a start time of 5:30 pm, PST.  With a full field of 12 here and one alternate, this race looks chalk-full of talent.

Kari’s Picks:

Phil D’Amato has two horses in here that interest me. First off is Big John B who will be stepping it up to stakes company for D’Amato. This son of Hard Spun has won five of eight starts this year. He’s won three races in a row, one by a disqualification, with his most recent on this track July 23rd going 1 3/8 miles on the turf winning by 7 1/4 lengths. This will be his third race off the claim, he was previously trained by Michael Stidham, and D’Amato has a nice percentile for graded stakes with 66%. He has a sharp 6f work recently and gets Mike Smith in the irons again from post #4.

I also like Bright Thought who was previously trained by Jorge Gutierrez and recently finished 3rd for him in the Wickerr Stakes. Prior the son of Hat Trick was 5th in the (GIII) Charlie Wittingham Stakes May 24th and 9th in the (GI) Woodford Reserve Turf Classic. His biggest wow was his first step-up to graded stakes company with a win March 2013 in the (GII) San Luis Stakes at Del Mar. I’m hoping with the recent trainer change and a few nice works, he can hit the board Saturday with Bejarano in the saddle from post #5.

For some reason I’m stuck on these guys coming off recent claims and new trainers. I’m also going to give Unbridled Command another shot running third off the layoff and claim for Peter Miller. He was off for 16 months after winning five races in a row in 2012, including the (GIII) Saranac Stakes and the (GI) Hollywood Derby. After that, he was third behind Point of Entry and Animal Kingdom in the (GI) Gulfstream Park Derby before being sidelined. His first race off the layoff he ran 8th in an allowance/optional claimer at Santa Anita June 21st. Last out finishing 5th in the (GI) Eddie Read Stakes at Del Mar on July 20th. If he gets back into his prior form and his speed figures are climbing, he would make some noise from post #10 with Elvis Trujillo taking charge. I also like the equipment change with blinkers added.

This will be one great race and I love the longer turf races. I’m going to go with Big John B for the win and hope he gets his first graded stakes win in the 2014 Del Mar Handicap.  Thanks to Sigi for adding his picks and plays as well. May everyone run safe this weekend.

Kari’s Play:
I’m going with a $2 DD starting Race #7 10/4,5,10 $6.00

Sigi’s Picks:

Quick Casablanca is a turf horse that can run all day and this distance is suited perfectly for him. He lost his last two races as the favorite so now he can win offering very nice odds. Irish Surf is another horse with the stamina to handle the distance. His last race was wonderful and if he can duplicate that effort, he will be very tough to beat.  Big John B is moving up in class but he’s the “new” horse in the Phillip D’Amato barn.

Sigi’s Play:
I’m playing a pick 3 starting Race #7:  3,10,11/9,3,4/1
Race #7:  3,10,11
Race #8:  9,3,4
Race #9:  1

Del Mar Handicap 2014 Post Positions & Odds
*odds updated when released
1.  Topic  F.Perez/N.Drysdale
2.  Poshsky  D.Van Dyke/P.Miller
3.  Irish Surf  V.Espinoza/D.Hendricks
4.  Big John B  M.Smith/P.D’Amato
5.  Bright Thought  R.Bejarano/P.D’Amato
6.  Starspangled Heat  E.Maldonado/B.Abrams
7.  Si Sage (IRE)  C.Nakatani/D.Vienna
8.  Bench Light  K.Desmormeaux/M.Pender
9.  Quick Casablanca (CHI)  J.Talamo/R.McAnally
10.  Unbridled Command*   E.Trujillo/P.Mller
11.  Fire With Fire  T.Baze/N.Drysdale
12.  Cogito  M.Gutierrez/E.Freeman
13.  Ice Cream Truck  T.Pereira/A.Avila
*  Blinkers On Unbridled Command

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