Del Mar: Trends to know for the 2023 summer meet

July 19th, 2023

The widely anticipated 2023 Del Mar summer meet gets underway on Friday. Racing is always fantastic at the seaside oval, with large fields and competitive races making for excellent betting opportunities.

Let’s dig into some data from recent Del Mar meets to find potentially valuable trainer, jockey, and track bias stats to keep in mind when handicapping this summer.

Trainer stats

Peter Miller ranked as the leading trainer by wins at the Del Mar summer meet in 2018, 2020, and 2021, in addition to finishing second in 2019 and a joint third in 2022. But in terms of annual win percentage, it’s hard to beat Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, whose success rate at Del Mar has ranged from 24% to 32% every summer since 2018.

Phil D’Amato has enjoyed abundant summer success in grass races at Del Mar, going 63-for-378 (17%) since 2018.

Del Mar is known for its high-quality program of two-year-old races. The dominant conditioner of Del Mar juveniles is Baffert, whose 45-for-130 (35%) record since 2018 includes a 33-for-82 (40%) tally with first-time starters.

After going 1-for-11 (9%) with four runners-up during the 2021 Del Mar summer meet, trainer Dean Pederson compiled an otherworldly 8-for-12 (67%) record during the summer of 2022.

Looking for winning longshots? Check out horses trained by Doug O’Neill. He’s saddled at least two winners at odds of 8-1 or higher at every summer meet since 2018, tallying 16 of these pricey winners in total.

Jockey stats

Flavien Prat was the leading jockey at every Del Mar summer meet from 2019 through 2021. But 2021 runner-up Juan Hernandez dominated the rankings in 2022, going 49-for-198 (25%). Prat only rode 30 horses during the 2022 summer meet, but he won 10 races, compiling a 33% strike rate.

Prat is well known for his prowess riding turf races, and since 2018 he’s gone 95-for-375 (25%) riding the Del Mar lawn during summer. But don’t overlook relative newcomer Umberto Rispoli, whose 77-for-322 (24%) tally since 2020 is almost as impressive.

Track bias stats

The most recent Del Mar meet took place from Nov. 11 through Dec. 4 and produced a few noteworthy track bias statistics. A dozen one-mile dirt races were contested, and five of them (42%) were won in gate-to-wire fashion. In addition, horses with the Brisnet “E” (Early) running style won 42% of races, while “E/P” (Early/Presser) types won 33%.

Dirt sprints across the board likewise played favorably toward speed horses. From a sample size of 41 races, 34% were won in gate-to-wire fashion. Brisnet “E” types won 41% of races and “E/P” types won another 37%.

Horses breaking from the rail in one-mile turf races at Del Mar last fall enjoyed success, going 6-for-28 (21%). Rail runners also exceeded expectations in five-furlong turf sprints, going 5-for-17 (29%).