Value play in a wide-open Del Mar Handicap


Eclipse Sportswire

It’s a blockbuster Labor Day weekend of stakes action at both Del Mar and Saratoga, the latter of which wraps up its meet on Monday. There are no fewer than five automatic bids to the Breeders’ Cup on the line from both tracks, including two for the Classic reserved for the winner’s of the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) and $1 million Pacific Classic (G1) on Saturday.

This week’s Super Screener provides in-depth analysis and wagering strategies for both of those seven-figure automatic qualifiers and multiple other stakes, including the Del Mar Handicap (G2) going 1 3/8 miles on turf.

In the $300,000 Del Mar Handicap, a competitive field of 11 is signed on with Master Piece the lukewarm 3-1 favorite for trainer Michael McCarthy. Master Piece is exiting an upset win in last month’s Eddie Read (G2) at 16-1.

Super Screener rates the favorite as a logical win contender, but identifies Gold Phoenix (6-1) as both its “most reliable board hitter” and “top value” in a race rated as having “high payoff potential.”

Gold Phoenix, a lightly raced 4-year-old Irish-bred gelding, is one of four horses entered for top California turf trainer Phil D’Amato. Third in the Whittingham (G2) in the spring in his only previous stakes try, Gold Phoenix most recently was third in an allowance at Del Mar when he was well off of “a dawdling pace.”

From Super Screener: “He was hopefully out of touch in that last race…as they turned for home there was no room for him at midstretch, but he did finally find a seam to get up for third with a solid gallop out. This colt is begging for more ground and more pace and he gets both here.

“All signs are green and D’Amato assigns the mount to the Del Mar turf dominator of seasons past, Flavien Prat.”

Super Screener also tabs a pair of double-digit long shots in the Del Mar Handicap who can spice up the vertical exotics. The Del Mar Handicap analysis is just a portion of what you’ll receive in this week’s Super Screener. To purchase a copy and dive in, click here.

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