Ellis Park Picks and a Del Mar Best Bet August 9, 2020
Before we dive into my Ellis Park picks and my Del Mar best bet, Tiz the Law won the Florida Derby and the Belmont but yesterday he dominated the Travers and will be the clear favourite in next month’s Kentucky derby. Earlier in the Saratoga card, Serengeti Empress broke a step slow, rushed up to set a wicked pace and managed to find something for the stretch to win the Ballerina. Visually, Gamine looked stunning while never being asked for her best in the Test winning convincingly in a final time that was faster than the older Serengeti Empress covering the same distance.
Today Ellis Park leads the way with multiple stakes leading up to the Ellis Park Derby where Art Collector looks like a strong favourite. Let’s look at some races:
Ellis Park 4th: Pico d’Oro might get right set up 3:14 pm Et
The Ellis Park 4th is the Runhappy Juvenile for two-year-olds going seven furlongs on dirt. Cowan was bet down to 3/5 in his debut and was an easy winner and was made even money on the morning line today based on that performance. He can win but he is stretching out from 4 ½ furlongs to 7 and that’s not insignificant especially since I expect him to take pace pressure throughout and with the rail draw he’s almost forced to try and make the lead. Also, others might just be faster than him early.
One of those early speed horses is Medicine Tail who showed enough speed to clear from post 11 two starts ago at Churchill Downs. Medicine Tail had less work to do early last time when breaking his maiden. There is other speed in this race outside of him and Cowan so while he can win, as one of the favourites he’s unappealing.
From a Beyer speed figure perspective Waist Deep brings the best race from Delaware Park but he beat a small field that doesn’t appear to be very good. The second and fourth place finishers came back to run on Friday at Laurel and both disappointed. While he can win, I don’t want to bet him out of his last race as the form of that race has been suspect.
The horse I want is Pico d’Oro (15-1 ML). I can make a strong argument that his maiden allowance debut at Churchill Downs was the toughest two-year-old maiden race run the entire meet. Evidence of this is that the 1-2 finishers from that race came back to run 1-2 in the Saratoga Special on Friday. Last time Pico d’Oro was second to Medicine Tail who was left alone on the lead. The pace should be more contested this time around giving Pico d’Oro a better chance to rally and he gets an extra furlong to work with, something his breeding suggests will only help him.
Ellis Park 9th: Lady Apple can rebound 5:40 pm Et
The Ellis Park 9th is the Groupie Doll for fillies and mares three years old and up going one mile on dirt. Between Lady Kate, Dos Vinos and long shots Inthemidstofbiz and Sara Sea there is enough speed in this race that none of them overly appeal. If I had to choose one it’d be Lady Kate who typically runs well at today’s one-mile distance. That potential pace makes morning-line favourite Street Band look appealing. She does, however, have the outermost post and is coming off a three-month freshening.
I prefer Lady Apple (4-1). Yes, Street Band beat her the last time they met in the Apple Blossom but Lady Apple drew post 13 in that race whereas Street Band drew much better. Today Lady Apple projects to save ground compared to Street Band’s ground losing post. Note these two have met multiple times previously and they have both finished in front of the other in different races. Lady Apple disappointed as the favourite last time but from a Beyer speed figure perspective, she ran her race and think her race is good enough to win in a spot like this.
Del Mar 10th: Give K P All Systems Go another chance 9:30 pm Et
The Del Mar 10th is the grade three La Jolla for three-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on turf. I’m against Azul Coast and Storm the Court who both make their turf debuts. Azul Coast will likely be overbet for trainer Bob Baffert and Storm the Court has been unable to replicate his Breeders’ Cup Juvenile win this year and now switches to turf.
Not totally against morning-line favourite Smooth Like Strait whose last race in the War Chant at Churchill Downs was very good. He is expected to face some pace pressure from Storm the Court and I’m Leaving You while trying his longest distance to date off an 11-week layoff. I won’t let him beat me but looking for a better price.
The horse I want is K P All Systems Go (6-1 ML) who was running really well until last time when he was rank and four wide on both turns. He made a middle move in that race which he could not sustain. His previous three races at Santa Anita would all give him a chance and with a better trip, expecting a rebound effort.