Race of the Day, June 23
Delaware Park, Race 6, Maiden Claiming $30K, 1 mile 70 yds, Fillies and Mares, 3 and up, Purse: $24K
It’s tough to overgeneralize about the bias of particular courses. Data metrics — at least the publicly available ones — tend to be incomplete and flawed. But memories can be even more selective. Yes, the plural of anecdote is not data. That said, Delaware’s turf course — particularly at the lower levels — tends to produce less dramatic turf closes than you would see at say, Belmont. But this doesn’t mean that they are chalky. In the most recent twenty-five races around the distance, only 52% of the winners have been 5/1 or less (according to Brisnet). A whopping 24% have been 10/1 or more. Can we make our day — and start the week off right — with a long odds winner in this race? Let’s look at the contenders:
- Sam’s Melody (#1, 6-1) is fast enough to get it done here, and this is a truly terrible morning line. 5-2 seems fair for the Dale Capuano trainee, simply on the previous speed figure alone. It’s quite possible, given the others, that you might get more.
- Stalled (#3, 10-1) goes for Mid-Atlantic turf guru Jonathan Shepard. Not a terrible amount of turf breeding on the surface, but I trust Shepard’s eye. Still, this is not the place for a “normal” first-time starter, as there are several solid other contenders here.
- Northern Smile (#6, 12-1) is another surprisingly terrible morning line. Plenty fast in her debut after lagging at the start, a better start could have her involved and improved. Her trainer doesn’t usually have them ready first-time (or second-time), but she certainly should figure at the end.
- It tough to get a read on Lionhearted Lady (#7, 5-1) who couldn’t keep pace at a 5f turf sprint last time. The stretch-out should help, but she’d really need to improve to find the winner’s circle.
- Balansense (#10, 9/2) continues to drop down the maiden ranks after a terrible effort off-turf last time out. There’s a fast enough speed rating in the PP’s, but she’d have to capture some old form. She’ll probably be overbet, and I wouldn’t play her less than 8-1.
- Gwent (#11, 7/2) is a Graham Motion-trainee trying turf for the first time. She’s 0 for 3, with 3 so-so performances on the dirt as a heavy favorite. Terrible workouts, and you have to wonder why she only now goes to the grass. Another who may win, but will be overbet.
What I’m thinking of playing
Prior to the race, it looks like we’ll see some value opportunities here. I expect the public to overbet Gwent, Lionhearted Lady, and even Balansense, which should create some value for Sam’s Melody and Northern Smile. A split win bet — something that is a relatively profitable angle when you can get past the top two favorites — might be in order. I’ll also take a deep look — and you should too — at the Pick 5 and the doubles starting and ending with this race. Note that the 8th race at Delaware is for Arabians, if you play a Pick 3 into the last.
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