McLean’s Selections for Del Mar on Thursday, July 19

Day Results4-2-0-2
2018 Overall 968362-359-427
Win % of Top Pick37.40%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall39.50%

What a nice way to kick off the Del Mar race meet. Did you play along? You should have. We hit the winner in the first two races, and our “Upset Special of the Day” ran a huge second in the Stakes event and returned $21.00 for a $1 win/place/show bet. The only race we bombed on was the 10th and final.

We will not provide full card picks for Del Mar or Saratoga, but we will give your our most select choices throughout both meets. Here is a closer look at Thursday’s card at Del Mar:

3rd: 10-1-6-3…This is a 5-furlong sprint over the sod, and despite the awful post position I will stick with G Q Covergirl (10) in this spot. This 5YO, Florida-bred mare has an abundance of speed and with a clean break should be able to get free early and clear over for the quick move into the turn. Although she does not have a win at this distance (in only 1 try), she does sport a 1-2-1 record in 5 grass tries and has been very consistent of late, hitting the board in the last four tries. The trainer scores with 29% of those returning as a beaten favorite, and with .20% of those going for the third time off a layup. The shorter distance should prove good for this one today. Painting Corners (1) is 6-1 in the ML, and I like this filly’s chances to help spark up the tote board a little bit. She will be making the third start off a layup, as well, and the trainer hits with .21% of those kind. Had a super nice work over at the newly improved San Luis Rey training facility on July 10 and has enough speed to move early and hold the right position from the rail. Last time on the rail? Have to go back to July of last year — but she won by 41/4 that day. May Girl (6) will be making her third start this year and third since arriving in this country from France late last year. Used to run sprints in the homeland, but the Brit-bred has run in two Graded Stakes here and both of those were at a distance. Now, shortens back up. Trainer only hits with .08% of those switching from a route to a sprint, but this one does seem to have a bit of early run and some class advantage. Love the work at Santa Anita on July 10. I definitely use. I bet the 10-6 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I key the 10-6 over/under the other two in two smaller versions.

6th: 6-9-4-2-8-12-7… This is another grass event, but unlike the one above this one will be contested over 11/8-miles. The horse to beat, in my opinion, is Inscom (6), a 3YO Distorted Humor colt who cost $850,000 at the Fasig-Tip May Sale a year ago. Since then, he has returned $101,000 to the owner’s purse account, but is still a far way’s off of making it all the way back. He last ran in the G2 American Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs on KY Derby Day. Track was yielding after torrential rains, and he made a nice move before tiring late to finish 9th of 14. Before that, though, he ran a super second to River Boyne in the Pasadena Stakes over a “good” grass track at Santa Anita. The last time he caught a firm track — which he will get today — was in the Eddie Logan in late December. He was beaten a head after getting the lead late in that one. Nice work on July 10 at Santa Anita. And, has been facing much tougher. The dam of this one was a Stakes winner and has 3 turf winners from 5 starters and one SW. That being written, I love two upset possibles in here, too. The first is Soltero (9), who is coming out of a MSW win at Santa Anita on June 9. I loathe to bet horses trying winners for the first time, including the likes of the one mentioned above. But…This one has only been on the grass twice and has really run well over it both times. Look back and this one gave Lombo a heck of a run in January, and that one has turned out to be really OK. This is the third time off a layup, and the trainer hits with .20% of those, and with .28% of those graduating from the Maiden ranks. Has tactical speed and may be a force. The other one that may spring a surprise in here could be Majestic Eagle (2). This well bred son of Medaglia d’Oro is out of a winning Tapit mare. He broke the maiden just two back and nearly pulled off the win in the last out, as well. Likes to stalk the lead and make a nice late run. The added distance today should be no issue with this breeding. Still, all in all, I have to go with the 6 to win/place/show and then key the 6 over/under the 9-4-2. I key the 6 over the 8-12-7.

7th: 3-6-5-1… The “Best Bet of the Day” comes in this 61/2-furlong sprint with Moonshine Memories (3) — if you can get anything close to even money (she is 8-5 ML odds). If that is possible, I load up here. The 3YO Malibu Moon filly has raced three times over this track and has won twice. She has run twice this year and ran second to a nice Baffert-trainee Emboldened and then ran fourth to the great Monomoy Girl in the G1 Acorn at Belmont Park on June 9 in her last start. The runner-up in that spot came right back to dominate in the Indiana Oaks last Saturday. This filly has raced just six times in her career to date and has two G1 Stakes wins and despite spitting the bit in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies here last year, she has the class to simply overwhelm this field. I bet the 3 to win/place and then key the 3 over the other three numbers in the exacta.

Good Luck & All The Best/Gene

(Well Defined) has a ton of natural talent and I was going to take advantage of that today,” Morales explained. “I wasn’t too worried about where I was going to be because we were really lucky with the draw position on the outside, so I figured I was going to ride a cool race.

“The horse is naturally fast and has a super-long stride, so I was going to come out running, but if somebody wanted to take the lead, I was OK with that,” Morales said. No one did, and he stretched the lead to three lengths from Knicks Go up the backstretch.

“All I wanted to do was ride a cool and collected race and keep my horse running,” Morales said. “I didn’t feel like I was going that fast at all, and my horse was going as comfortable as he possible could.

“I knew he was doing it relaxed and very much on his own. I had a lot of horse going into the second turn, so I figured I was going to ask him a little more and not wait for them to get me. If they were going to catch me, they were really going to have to come running.”

  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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