- This weekend at Del Mar is highlighted by the Pat O’Brien Stakes
- The Pat O’Brien Stakes is a Breeders Cup Win and You’re in race
- How should you bet this weekend’s stakes action Where the Surf Meets the Turf?
Last weekend Maximum Security’s win in the Pacific Classic highlighted the biggest day of racing at Del Mar’s meet. While the racing this weekend is not wall-to-wall graded events, Saturday’s Pat O’Brien Stakes is a Win and You’re in contest for the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile. Additionally, there are opportunities to make a strong return on investment in a couple of other stakes.
Named for the actor and co-founder of Del Mar, the Pat O’Brien Stakes is a seven-furlong event on dirt. It has been won by champions such as Lit de Justice, Alphabet Soup, and Goldencents. Trainer John Sadler and owner’s Hronis Racing saddled Catalina Cruiser to victory each of the last two years. Trainer Bob Baffert has won the race seven times.
Let’s do a deep dive on the Pat O’Brien and take a look around the other stakes action at Del Mar this weekend.
2020 Pat O’Brien Stakes Odds
|Horse||Odds at Bet365|
|C Z Rocket||+400|
|Law Abidin Citizen||+800|
|P R Radio Star||+1600|
All odds taken August 27
The Pat O’Brien Stakes is race number 10 out of 11 on Saturday at Del Mar. Post time is slated for 9:30 pm EST. It will be televised on TVG.
Owned in part by Hronis, and trained by Sadler, Flagstaff is stepping down in level of competition in this race. He has just one win in four tries this year, but faced McKinzie last time out, and was flying late in April’s Count Fleet Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
Flagstaff has one win in four starts at Del Mar. His lone graded stakes victory came in Santa Anita’s San Carlos Stakes in April.
A seven-time winner, Law Abidin Citizen remains winless at Del Mar in six tries. That said you can argue his best career race was a third-place finish last time out locally in the grade one Bing Crosby Stakes.
Law Abidin Citizen has a pair of grade three victories during a 27 race career. Jockey Abel Cedillo is will be aloft on Saturday, and Law Abidin Citizen is two for four when partnered with Cedillo.
Giant Expectations has not raced since running poorly in last year’s Breeders Cup Dirt Mile. He was second in this race last year, and won the event in 2017.
Giant Expectations has not won since late 2017, but consistently hits the board in graded stakes races, and like Flagstaff is not facing the monsters he sometimes lines up against.
Vertical Threat is the new kid on the block. A three-year-old facing older foes, he is two for three in his career and coming off a win in his first stakes try.
While the level of competition is significantly stronger in this test, Vertical Threat has gotten increasingly better in each start, and trainer Richard Baltas may have a good one both now and going forward
C Z Rocket is stepping up in class after three straight victories in Kentucky. Top rider Flavien Prat will be aboard. C Z Rocket has never hit the board in four graded stakes tries.
After a flat effort in March’s San Carlos Stakes, Manhattan Up will be a first time gelding and a solid price on Saturday. He has never won a graded stakes event, but finished as the runner up in last year’s Lazaro Barrera Stakes.
Flagstaff is reasonably priced and has a very good chance, but we can’t resist the value on Vertical Threat. It is possible the youngster is the most talented horse in the field, and his last race is super impressive.
Pick: Vertical Threat (+450)
Del Mar’s Other Weekend Stakes Races
Tranquility Lake Stakes
Only five fillies and mares are entered to contest this mile dirt stakes on Friday. Hang a Star has been running against better competition, and while she has just two career wins, anything close to her second-place effort against Bellafina in May’s Desert Stormer Stakes likely would get the job done here.
Zusha has been running against better competition too, but she hasn’t won in more than a year and has just two victories in 21 races.
Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith will be on Proud Emma for just her second start of 2020. She finished a solid second against so-so competition on August 16 at Del Mar and her second off a layoff, and second race as a four-year-old ought to be among her better career efforts.
Generous Portion Stakes
Untested two-year-old fillies going six furlongs highlight Sunday’s Del Mar card. Most of the horses have only run once, and Governor Goteven is the only two-time winner in the field. She was a significant longshot when pulling the upset in the California Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Stakes.
Big Andy won her debut, finished second in July, and last time out finished second behind Governor Goteven as the 6/5 favorite.
After running poorly on a synthetic surface in her first race, I’m So Anna won impressively at Los Alamitos in early July.
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