How to bet the 2023 Del Mar Handicap
The finale on the signature day of racing of the Del Mar meeting will see 11 travel 1 3/8 miles on the lawn in the $300,000 Del Mar H. (G2). A very well-matched group will compete in the turf marathon, and I will center many of my wagers around an up-and-coming sort who will be making his stakes debut in this endeavor.
Del Mar Handicap Wagers
Trained by Neil Drysdale, #7 Nineeleventurbo had blinkers added in May 2022 and morphed into a different animal following a lackluster start to his career. The dark bay son of More Than Ready broke his maiden in his initial try with the hood on and finished second in a subsequent allowance tilt to conclude his five-year-old season.
The late bloomer has crossed the wire in first in each of his four attempts this campaign, which includes a fine allowance score on the course and at the distance in his latest showing. This Kentucky-bred gelding is surely taking a major class hike in this demanding spot, but he’s worth the investment at a square number with Ramon Vazquez inheriting the ride.
Conditioner Phil D’Amato will send out a trio of win threats in the field, including defending champ #10 Gold Phoenix. The Grade 1 winner has an affinity for the Del Mar strip evidenced by his tallies in the race in 2022, as well as his triumph Eddie Read S. (G2) last time out. This Irish-bred son of Belardo has displayed his class at distances ranging from one mile to 1 3/8 miles, and he has to be on most tickets despite drawing wide. Top pilot Juan Hernandez will be in the stirrups.
Multiple Group 1 star #9 Planetario was visually impressive when annexing the San Juan Capistrano (G2) at 1 3/4 miles two back, and anything resembling that performance will make the Brazilian very dangerous in this spot. The Il Doge five-year-old showed good late energy when fifth in the United Nations S. (G1) at Monmouth Park most recently and merits inclusion while making his first appearance on the Del Mar sod. Hector Berrios will ride.
San Luis Rey S. (G3) winner #6 Offlee Naughty, and D’Amato’s #5 Cathkin Peak, will also be used in the lower rungs of the exotics.