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Five Things to Watch This Week at Del Mar and Saratoga

by Jeremy Plonk

July 29, 2019

Saratoga offers one of its premier summer races this Saturday with the $1 million Whitney, while Del Mar presents headliners like the Yellow Ribbon and Sorrento. The two boutique meets have hit their stride and horseplayers can start to feel more comfortable attacking.

Here’s our weekly statistical look at what you’ve seen and what you can expect:

Del Mar Betting Tips

1. Flavien Prat and Drayden Van Dyke are hitting exactly 50% in the exacta between them. Van Dyke is 21-for-40 while Prat is 20-for-42. That’s 41-for-82 and a heck of a sample size after 2 weeks. By comparison, Mike Smith at 7-for-16 is the only other jockey with more than 15 mounts to be even close to 50% in the exacta.

2. Los Alamitos preppers are outperforming Santa Anita preppers by a 15% to 12% winning rate through 2 weeks and jumped up with 10 victories last week after 4 opening week. Consider the Los Al runners hit only 9% and 11% at Del Mar during July of 2017 and 2018. A dozen different trainers have accounted for the 14 winners via Los Alamitos, only Peter Miller and Bob Hess, Jr. have 2.

3. Sire Smiling Tiger continued his strong ways at Del Mar last week with a win and a third from 2 starters on the main track. His offspring are now 4: 3-0-1 at the stand on dirt and a sparkling 26% winner here since 2017 from nearly 50 starters.

4. Trainer Jeff Mullins is 3: 2-1-0 at the meet with his horses who last ran at Churchill Downs and returned west for the Ship & Win bonuses. He’s 2-for-2 on turf at the maneuver. Wins came at 7-2 and 7-1 odds and the runner-up was 4-1.

5. Since winning the opening day Oceanside with favorite Jasikan, John Sadler has been mired in a Del Mar turf slump. He’s gone 14: 0-1-2 since with 3 losses at 2-1 or less. And while trainer Phil D’Amato won the Eddie Read Stakes with Bowies Hero, that’s all he has to show for the turf so far. He’s 19: 1-2-3 with a pair of losses at 2-1 or less.

Saratoga Betting Tips 

1. Obvious to observers, the inside of the main track was a terrible place to be for much, if not all, of last week. Expect a maintenance correction during the dark days Monday and Tuesday by ‘blading’ the inside of the track and removing some of the depth. From a gambling standpoint, the best thing you can do with that situation now is to go back and highlight which horses were hampered or helped by their position on the track last week and make future notes for bet-backs and bet-against horses.

2. Monmouth shippers continued their outstanding Saratoga run during Week 3, going 15: 4-2-1 for 27% wins and 40% in the exacta. The $1.81 ROI for each $1 bet also stood out. In fact, Monmouth preppers who went off 13-1 or less were 8: 4-2-0 last week. For the meet, the Monmouth set is hitting 26% wins, 45% exacta and a whopping $2.02 ROI for each $1 bet. Nine different trainers have the 11 wins via Monmouth, spreading the wealth (Todd Pletcher, Jason Servis with 2).

3. Trainer Jeremiah Englehart is 8: 3-3-0 with his 6-furlong dirt sprinters at the meet for a $2.18 ROI for each $1 bet. He’s 1-for-20 at all other distances and surfaces with the other victory coming at 5-1/2 furlongs on dirt.

4. Sire Medaglia d’Oro’s offspring are 8: 3-2-1 to start the 2019 Spa meet with a $3.31 ROI for each $1 bet. They’re winning from 7 furlongs on the dirt to 1-3/8 miles on turf.

5. American Pharoah’s first crop of 2-year-olds have been live when bet at the Spa. A trio have been bet to 2-1 or less and are a sparkling 3: 2-1-0. Those let go on the toteboard at higher prices are 3: 0-0-0 and haven’t finished better than sixth