How to bet the 2022 Del Mar Oaks

August 19th, 2022

Barring any late withdrawals, Saturday's $300,000 Del Mar Oaks (G1) will have a capacity field of 14 three-year-old fillies. Although the morning line favorite looks very strong on paper from a class perspective, she will be in unknown territory trying 1 1/8 miles for the first time. Rather, a longshot with further upside will be the centerpiece of our wagering plans.

#12 Ballet Dancing (20-1), a seemingly big and long-striding filly, figures to appreciate the step back up to nine furlongs after rallying for second behind #8 Gracelund Gray in a July 24 first-level allowance going 1 1/16 miles. Before that, in her debut against winners, Ballet Dancing finished third in the nine-furlong Honeymoon (G3) behind the vastly more experienced #5 Cairo Memories and #3 Island of Love.

An $800,000 Keeneland September purchase for Coolmore, Ballet Dancing is by Medaglia d'Oro and from the family of juvenile filly champion Halfbridled. There was seemingly much to like about her to command such a price, and the late-developing sort still has plenty more room for improvement. Her late running style and a congested field could prove problematic, but she does figure to get an honest pace and hopefully can find some luck in running.

#11 Spendarella (8-5) is the one to beat. Following graded wins at Gulfstream and Keeneland early in the season, she shipped to England for the Coronation (G1) at Royal Ascot, where she finished second behind Inspiral, one of the top milers in all of Europe.

San Clemente (G2) heroine #2 Bellabel (5-1) is 2-for-2 against stakes foes since her importation from Ireland and is the strongest looking of the Phil D'Amato-trained quartet in the Del Mar Oaks. She won the San Clemente by two lengths despite not having run since Jan. 2, and chances are she won that without being 100 percent fit. If that was indeed the case, she might be even more dangerous in this spot.

We will back Ballet Dancing in the win pool and key her in exacta boxes with the two classy rivals mentioned.

Del Mar Oaks wagers

  • $20 win: #12 Ballet Dancing ($20)
  • $5 exacta key box: 12 with 2,11 ($20)