Saturday’s 52nd running of the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks, going 1 1/8 miles over the turf, has come up as a very intriguing feature event. Bettors will have several options available when trying to take down 6/5 favorite Storm Mesa, who seeks an impressive 6th straight victory for owner Rick Davis andtrainer Bret Calhoun. The 3-year-old daughter of Sky Mesa took to the turf quite impressively in the Grade 2 San Clemente on July 26 and was able to prevail despite being steadied midway through the race. A field of 10 will compete for the $350,000 purse.
The field for the Oaks with jockeys and expected morning line odds:
- Storm Mesa (E. Martin) – 6/5*
- Ginger Pop (R.Migliore) – 12/1
- Lethal Heat (R. Bejarano) – 10/1
- OceaneMusic (M. Smith) – 15/1
- Magical Fantasy (A. Solis) – 20/1
- Bel Air Sizzle (C. Potts) - 12/1
- Misty Ocean (J. Rosario) – 6/1
- Satan’s Circus (G. Gomez) – 5/2
- Missit (D. Flores) – 10/1
- Million Dollar Run (T. Baze) – 20/1
The early pace could be decent in this one. Lethal Heat will likely attempt to take the lead early on. The question for the 3-year-old daughter of Unusual Heat is going to be the 1 1/8 mile distance. I’m not expecting that she’ll be able to hold on with such a competitive field here today. Besides, I think Misty Ocean will be right there with her every step of the way breaking from the 7 hole.
Ginger Pop and Storm Mesa should be sitting right behind Lethal Heat and Misty Ocean and will look to get first jump turning for home. Ocean Music, Missit and Million Dollar Run are not likely to let the leaders get too far away as they attempt to rate as well.
This could set things up nicely for the closers in here, such as Bel Air Sizzle or Satan’s Circus. Satan’s Circus in particular looks very playable as the 2nd choice on the morning line. As noted by Michael Hammersly’s comments in the “a closer look” section of the DRF, this is a filly who has run respectably against the likes of Zarkava. Zarkava is considered a serious player for the Arc de Triomphe – you know, that prestigious French turf race that Curlin was at one time pointing towards. Not bad, huh? It took all Pure Clan had to get past her in the American Oaks last month, andnow she switches to Garrett Gomez. She ran well enough in the American Oaks to win, with Pure Clan having to punch through horses late while Satan’s Circus bursted to the outside of the fading Raw Silk. Pure Clan was able to hold on, andClearly Foxy was gaining late, but she looked like a Grade 1 winner that day and if anyone is going to stop the consecutive race streak of Storm Mesa here today, it’ll be Satan’s Circus.
It would be hard to imagine Storm Mesa not finishing in the exacta (at least). In fact, if s he keeps running like she has this whole thing could be over before it’s begun. I just think 6/5 is a bit tough to swallow here. As she’s “classed up”, the competition has been getting closer to her, and then there’s the issue of the distance in the Oaks. Is 1 1/4 miles a good fit for her, and are you confident enough to take 6/5 on that? I think the world of her, but I’ll be playing against her today. She’ll likely get a beautiful trip and I wouldn’t worry at all about her being on the turf. Her San Clemente win was much more impressive than the Beyer figure or the running line as a whole suggest. Obviously you play against a winner of 5 straight races at your own risk. She has my respect, she won’t have my prime wagering dollars.
I’m thinking Misty Ocean has a chance to hang around for a minor award unless she gets absolutely toasted on the front. If her and Ginger Pop go at it up front they are likely both gone when it counts. As such, I’ll also add in the French invader, Oceane Music. It looks like she’ll get a nice trip just like Storm Mesa tracking the leaders. In fact, she could be good enough to crack the exacta. On the other hand, it will be her U.S. debut so make sure you get a look at her in the post parade for any clues on how she may run. If she doesn’t make a good impression, Bel Air Sizzle or Missit would likely make a useful alternative in the wagering.