Del Mar: Horses to single in the mandatory-payout $166,281 Pick 6

September 11th, 2022

Sunday is closing day of the Del Mar summer meet, which means there’s a $166,281 Pick 6 carryover scheduled for mandatory payout.

The sequence for the 20-cent “Rainbow Pick 6” wager (beginning in Race 6, post time 6:30 p.m. ET) is ultra-competitive. The six races have drawn a staggering 77 entries (averaging 12.8 per race), including also-eligible entrants. Excluding the also-eligibles, there are 67 entries (11.2 per race) and 1,814,400 possible outcomes.

The feature event of the afternoon may provide the best opportunity to seek a single. Race 10, the Del Mar Futurity (G1) for two-year-olds sprinting seven furlongs, has drawn nine entries led by #7 Cave Rock (6-5).

Cave Rock was sensational in his debut sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs at Del Mar last month. The son of Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Arrogate led all the way through fractions of :22.10, :44.55, and 1:09.35 to win easily by six lengths.

Cave Rock stopped the timer in a fast 1:15.81, earning a massive 104 Brisnet Speed rating that tops the Del Mar Futurity field. Stablemate #8 Havnameltdown (4-1) is more accomplished, entering off a victory in the Best Pal S. (G3) over this track, but Del Mar’s leading jockey Juan Hernandez has ridden both colts and evidently chose Cave Rock for the Del Mar Futurity.

Since Cave Rock is bred to improve with distance and maturity, it’s unlikely we’ve seen his best yet. If he improves at all in the Del Mar Futurity, Cave Rock can deliver victory as a short-priced single. Keep in mind, trainer Bob Baffert has won the Del Mar Futurity 15 times since 1996.

If you want a second single to help keep costs manageable… well, we might steer you toward #8 Princess Adaleigh (7-2) in Race 8, a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special weight for fillies and mares. She employed pace-tracking tactics to finish second by a neck in her debut, earning an 87 Brisnet Speed rating that is tied for the highest in Sunday’s field.

Trainer Vladimir Cerin wins at a solid 17% rate with second-time starters, and key rival #7 Censorship (4-1) hasn’t run since October (and is 0-for-4) lifetime, so Princess Adaleigh is a deserving favorite to beat this large field of maidens.

Good luck!