Below is the Pick 4 ticket for July 15th at Del Mar. Let's start the meet out right! As always, the ticket is $20 or less.
Forest Blue (#3, 9-2) makes his third start off a layoff after catching strong fields in his first two starts off the bench. He had to slam on the breaks twice in his last start and now stretches out to the distance of his second place finish in last year's Oceanside Stakes. Peter Miller always starts out the Del Mar meet strong and Forest Blue looks like he will give Miller a winner on Opening Day.
Victory Call (#6, 6-1) ran fast in an impressive maiden score in his U.S. debut before running 5th in the same race Forest Blue ran 3rd in. Considering the hot early pace, Victory Call held on reasonably well after making a nice middle move. He also may have bounced off his big effort first time in this country. Victory Call will be routing for the first time in this race, but it seems like horses bred by Speightstown can run at just about any distance on any surface. Look for a bounce-back race from Victory Call.
Race 8 Oceanside Stakes:
Ebadan (#7, 8-1) has one of my favorite angles going for him in this spot. He faced tough older allowance foes in his two starts in this country and now meets strictly three-year-olds in this spot. Realistically he is dropping in class to make his stakes debut. After winning a 1X allowance in his U.S. debut, Ebadan ran 3rd behind Ohio, who in entered and live in both the Wicker Stakes and the Grade 1 Eddie Read this weekend. 8-1 is tremendous value on this gelding.
Moonlight Drive (#2, 7-2) was ultra impressive in his U.S. debut after working lights out leading up to that race. Based on that performance he will be a handful in the Oceanside for Bob Baffert, but one is left to wonder where this colt has been for the last four months after that big effort? If he is fully cranked, then Moonlight Drive will give Ebadan a run for his money.
Dr. Dorr (#5, 7-2) is the wildcard in a race filled with underwhelming horses. He won his debut in nice fashion before running 4th in the Bob Hope Stakes after stumbling at the start. He has not been seen since November, but Baffert is very strong off the layoff and Dr. Dorr may return as a better horse while making his three-year-old debut.
Pioneerof the West (#6, 6-1) broke slow and closed reasonably well to snatch second behind a lose leader at Santa Anita Park just 13 days ago. He has improved in every start since removing the blinkers four starts ago and figures to be flying late.
Westbrook (#7, 6-1) comes out of the same strong race as Forest Blue and Victory Call and will attempt to stretch out for the first time. He has an improving pattern and managed to beat a troubled Arrogate, who will win the Travers, in his debut. Laker fans should place a few bucks on this horse, because it is the only time they will be able to root for Westbrook in Southern California.
Langham (#9, 9-2) has been working hoof-to-hoof with Grade 2 winner Nancy from Nairobi in the morning and this colt looks very live first time out. Mike Smith has been aboard for his last few works and decides to stick around for the last race to ride. This $460,000 purchase by the talented Fastnet Rock is likely the most talented horse in this field. That does not guarantee that he will win in his debut, but he is a must use.
Airlite (#5, 7-2) has the classic two sprints to a route angle and attracts the services of the best rider in the country, Flavien Prat. He lost to Scuderia by over 4 lengths in his debut, but was just a neck behind that foe last time, showing great improvement. Trained by the patient Richard Mandella, Airlite looks primed to break through in this spot.
Alaskan Son (#11, 8-1) makes his U.S. debut after mixed results in Ireland. His best races may be good enough to win this and his connections enhance his chances. He is owned by the crafty Little Red Feather Racing Stable and trained by Santa Anita Park's leading trainer, Phil D'Amato, Alaskan Son should be included on all tickets at a juicy 8-1.
$0.50 Pick 4 Ticket: 3,6 / 2,7 / 5,6,7 / 5,9,11 = $18