Selections for $85,000 Harry F. Brubaker

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By Frank R. Scatoni, editor of The HorsePlayer Magazine.

THE RACE $85,000 Harry F. Brubaker Del Mar Thoroughbred Club Race 4 (Saturday, September 1, 2012: post time: 6:30 p.m./ET; 3:30 p.m./PT) 1-mile on the main Polytrack (3-year-olds & upward) One might call this the “poor man’s Pacific Classic (G1)” since several of the runners are exiting the San Diego Handicap (G2)—which is a traditional prep for Del Mar’s signature event—but let me tell you that there are no slouches in this field. You’ve got a near-millionaire, a Grade One winner, and several runners with big races over this track. So who’s going to win this one-mile Polytrack affair? #1 TRES BORRACHOS failed to threaten in this year’s San Diego Handicap (G2), but he did win that race last year, and his third-place finish in the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) shows that he can fire big at today’s distance. He could very well be the “forgotten horse,” and he has every chance to win. #2 KETTLE CORN was running some nice races against Game On Dude, who just ran second in the Pacific Classic (G1), before he was bested by today’s foe JOHN SCOTT in the San Diego (G2). In his defense, that foe set a glacial pace, yet KETTLE CORN kept inching toward him in the lane. With an honest pace, he could easily turn the tables today. #3 MIDNIGHT INTERLUDE is a Grade One winner that has shown his versatility by winning on the dirt and the turf. He now tries the Del Mar main track for the first time after a decent fourth-place performance in the Wickerr Stakes at one-mile on the turf. He’s making the second start of his form cycle, so a step forward is likely, and if he handles the surface, he should be right around the wire. #4 HOLLADAY ROAD was claimed for $25K here at Del Mar last July. Since then, he’s been a force, winning four races, including a Cal-bred stakes race. His fourth-place finish in the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) shows he can run with the big dogs, but my biggest concern is that he’s a deep closer, so that means he’s at the mercy of the pace and traffic. #5 SPUD SPIVENS is a very honest horse that tries every time, but he often comes up too short against the best foes. If he runs back to his 102 Beyer from Betfair Hollywood Park in May, he could definitely have a say, but that race is an anomaly and sticks out like a sore thumb, and I think he’s a cut below the top few in here. #6 JOHN SCOTT set a glacial pace in the 8.5-furlong San Diego (G2) but was beaten by the classy Rail Trip, who was breathing down his neck the whole time. He was game in defeat, and I think the cut back from 8.5-furlongs to today’s mile should help him out. I also like that he doesn’t need the lead, so he can either set the pace if no one goes, or he can stalk and pounce. He looks good to me. #7 POSITIVE RESPONSE ran one of the worst races of his life over this surface against allowance foes, and now he’s being asked to run against stakes company. He did cross the wire first but was disqualified up north in the Berkley Handicap (G3), and he does own several synthetic wins, but if his last race is any indication of how he stacks up against Southern California competition, he’s in too deep. SELECTIONS 1. #6 JOHN SCOTT – Should get a dream trip. 2. #2 KETTLE CORN – Will be tough if he gets a pace. 3. #1 TRES BORRACHOS – Could easily reverse form. LONG SHOT VALUE PLAY: #4 HOLLADAY ROAD – He might be too far back, but he’ll be rolling late for a slice. WAGERING STRATEGY There are definitely some good horses in this race, but I really like my top-two choices of #2 KETTLE CORN and #6 JOHN SCOTT. Let’s box them in an exacta ($25 exacta box: 2,6) and also use them in a trifecta to run first and third ($2 trifecta: 2,6 with ALL with 2,6). BANKROLL PLAY $25 win/place #6 JOHN SCOTT (Bankroll at +$573.25 after Week Forty-Five Based on $50 Wagers)

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