How to bet the 2023 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes
A compact field of five four-year-old fillies will travel 1 1/16 miles over the Del Mar dirt in Saturday’s $400,000 Clement L. Hirsch S. (G1). Conditioner Bob Baffert has two of the main dangers in the field, and I expect his duo to settle things inside the final furlong in the affair.
I’ll give top billing to Grade 1 heroine #2 Fun to Dream (9-5), who comes in fresh for the tilt. By Arrogate, the California-bred filly has crossed the wire in first or second in each of her career assignments to date, with her biggest coup coming in the La Brea S. (G1) at Santa Anita in December.
Fun to Dream was a stylish victress of the Santa Monica S. (G2) two back, prior to just missing in the Beholder Mile S. (G1) in her most recent performance. The gray is a two-time winner on the Del Mar surface and sped a bullet five-eighths here leading up to Saturday to signal her readiness. She loses Juan Hernandez to her stablemate, but the miss figures to sit a good trip while close in third to the turn for home beneath Ramon Vazquez.
Baffert’s #3 Adare Manor (4-5) has been brilliant in posting facile wins in both the Santa Maria S. (G2) and Santa Margarita S. (G2) in her most recent pair of outings. The dark bay daughter of Uncle Mo is back to the form she displayed early in her sophomore season and seems poised to give a fine account of herself while making her second run on the oval. The Kentucky-bred filly has big early speed and will either lead the way, or force the tempo from second, from the opening stages of the race. Juan Hernandez, who is the regular pilot for this one and the favorite, opts to guide this lass. She will be formidable with anything close to her best effort.
#5 Desert Dawn (5-1) hasn’t won in a while, but I’ve always liked the filly and she ran huge when splitting a fine duo in the race in 2022. One of two signed on for conditioner Phil D’Amato, the daughter of Cupid will stalk early and hope for a fast and contested pace ahead of her. She will be doing her best work late with Umberto Rispoli retaining the ride.
Clement L. Hirsch Wagers
$25 win: #2 Fun to Dream ($25)
$15 exacta: 2 with 3 ($15)
$10 exacta: 2 with 5 ($10)