by Dustin Fabian
July 12, 2018
Elate returns this Saturday in the Delaware Handicap and, as expected, bettors are going to bet her with both fists. That’s a culmination of two things – 1) she’s a really good horse and 2) this field doesn’t appear to be incredibly deep. It’s not often that you get a chance to bet a multiple Grade 1 winner – and last year’s Breeders’ Cup favorite – against a field that simply can’t stick up to those credentials.
But there is one sticking point. One fly in the ointment, if you will. The Delaware Handicap isn’t run in the pages of the Daily Racing Form. It’s run on the testing dirt oval at Delaware Park. And let’s face it, on paper alone, Elate is a standout. A stone-cold cinch. The lock of the day. After all, when she’s at her best, she’s arguably the best dirt filly in the country. Well, maybe second best behind Abel Tasman or Unique Bella. Definitely top three.
Problem is, I don’t expect her to be ‘at her best’ on Saturday in Delaware. She hasn’t raced in the afternoon since the Breeders’ Cup Distaff on November 3. That’s 253 days, which is a heck of a layoff to bring into a 1 ¼-mile race. This is like running in the Kentucky Derby off a prep race in August. Hard to make that work.
Plus, why have her cranked Saturday? The big goals are a divisional championship and races like the Personal Ensign, Beldame and ultimately the Breeders’ Cup. Her 2018 resume will be built there much more than it will be this weekend.
And when you look at her rivals, they aren’t that bad to merit no consideration. Unbridled Mo beat Unique Bella in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom and was third in the Ogden Phipps. Mopotism won the Grade 2 La Canada and was third in the Grade 1 La Brea. And Teresa Z won the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks last summer. At the time of this writing, it is expected that Farrell will scratch.
So how can you beat the Delaware Handicap and make things work? Well, here’s one guys approach:
Take A Stand Against Elate
Elate is 2/1 on the morning line but that feels like incredibly wishful thinking. If she’s more than even-money when the gate opens, I’ll be pretty surprised. She was 3/10 in the Beldame and that’s probably where she’ll be Saturday. Horses like Unbridled Mo (5/2) and Mopotism (9/2) will probably shift up off their morning lines.
So, with an eight horse field expected, I’m looking to maximize my return by betting against the heavy favorite. The potential reward of betting against a vulnerable low-priced horse makes the risk worth it in my book.
I’ll do so by focusing on two horses – Unbridled Mo and Teresa Z. Unbridled Mo ran into a bad setup, trying to close in the one-turn Ogden Phipps, and I just think this is a mare that wants to go two-turns. She’s 7-for-8 in two-turn races in her career, but 0-for-3 around one-turn. Her wins include the Grade 1 Apple Blossom, Grade 3 Doubledogdare and Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks. And Teresa Z is an in-form filly that just won at Delaware.
I’ll try to beat Mopotosim, who races a lot (15 starts in 2017/18) but doesn’t win a lot (2 wins in that time).
So with that in mind, here’s my Superfecta ticket –
1st - #1 Teresa Z, #5 Unbridled Mo
2nd - #1 Teresa Z, #5 Unbridled Mo, #6 Elate
3rd - #1 Teresa Z, #3 Mopotism, #5 Unbridled Mo, #6 Elate, #9 Fuhriously Kissed
4th – All Horses (eight runners)
Ticket Cost - $30.00 for a 50-cent base
Play the All-Stakes Pick 3
The Delaware Handicap isn’t the only stakes race at Delaware Park on Saturday. In fact, there’s an All-Stakes Pick 3 that wraps up in the Delaware Handicap that looks like a good bet. Here are some horses I like:
Race 7 – Hockessin Stakes
I think this is a three-deep assault, and I’ll be using Chublicious (9/2) as my top choice, and also Stallwalkin’ Dude (7/2) and Blue Y Gold (5/1). Recruiting Ready will ensure a fast pace – probably too fast of a pace – and that’ll set things up for the closers and midpack runners.
Race 8 – Kent Stakes (G3)
I think this is definitely a deep race, and I wouldn’t blame anyone who punches the ‘ALL’ button. The expected favorite, Untamed Domain (5/2), just doesn’t win enough. He’s 2-for-9 in his career, but always seems to be running on just too late. Carrick (9/2) is in strong form and the same is true for Hot Springs (6/1). The tandem has combinded to win its last four starts. Duc de Calas is first off the plane from France, where he won 3-of-6 and Gunnison just closed like a tank to win the Tale of the Cat Stakes at Monmouth.
Race 9 – Delaware Handicap (G2)
As I mentioned above, I’m going to live dangerously and use just two horses in here – Unbridled Mo and Teresa Z.
My primary Pick 3 ticket, with the ALL button in the middle leg, costs just $27 for 50-cents and will undoubtedly pay more if we can beat both Elate and Untamed Domain.
So that’s my case against Elate in the ‘Del Cap’ and my betting strategy in case she’s knocked off. Hopefully we can turn a few relatively small bets into a decent payday.
How are you betting Saturday? Tweet us @Xpressbet to let me know.