$150,000 Pat O’Brien (G2)

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$150,000 Pat O’Brien (G2) at Del Mar on Race 10 (Saturday, August 29, 2020: 9:30 p.m./ET; 6:30 p.m./PT) 7 furlongs on the main track (Three-year-olds and upward.)

The feature race at Del Mar this Saturday, the Pat O’Brien (G2) at seven furlongs, is a ‘Win and You’re In’ race for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1). So not only is the field assembled eager to earn the $90,000 share of the winner’s purse, but they also eye that lucrative free berth into the Breeders’ Cup:

#1 LAW ABIDIN CITIZEN was part of a five-way, lightning fast early speed duel in the Bing Crosby (G1) last time out and stuck around for third, out finishing his four other speed rivals in a much better than looked effort. The last time he competed at this distance, he finished about three lengths behind #4 FLAGSTAFF in the San Carlos (G2).

#2 P R RADIO STAR beat #8 BLAMEITONTHELAW in a second level allowance race over this track in July and has since won once more against an easier field. This is the stakes debut for a five-year-old gelding who likes to win races (10-for-30 lifetime).

#3 MANHATTAN UP hasn’t been seen since a fifth-place finish in the San Carlos (G2) on March 7. His lone in-the-money finish against graded stakes company came in 2019 when finishing second to Grade I winner MUCHO GUSTO in the Laz Barrera (G3) at this distance. But he races as a first-time gelding in this spot and sports a number of fast drills leading up to this run.

#4 FLAGSTAFF ran a disappointing fourth in the Triple Bend (G2) in June. That said, there’s plenty to like about this guy if trainer John Sadler can get him back to his best form. Half-brother to GAME WINNER is a Grade 2 winner himself, having won the San Carlos (G2) in March. He ran third in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1) behind OMAHA BEACH and SHANCELOT last fall and also finished second to top notch sprinter WHITMORE in the Count Fleet (G3) at Oaklawn in April. Class of the race.

#5 C Z ROCKET has won all three starts (with an improving Beyer Speed Figure pattern) since being claimed by Peter Miller for $40,000 in April. After a $50,000 claiming win in his first start off the purchase, this son of CITY ZIP won a second level allowance race and followed that up with an allowance victory at Keeneland against a stakes quality field. Miller and Flavien Prat team up and they win at a 27% clip together.

#6 VERTICAL THREAT is the only three-year-old in the field, who was also supplemented to the race. Son of TAPITURE broke his maiden by open lengths at Los Alamitos and returned to win the Smiling Tiger Stakes against three-year-olds over this track on July 25. Another runner with an improving Beyer Speed Figure pattern.  

#7 GIANT EXPECTATIONS makes his 2020 debut for trainer Peter Eurton, who scores at a strong 26% with his trainees making their first start off a layoff over 180 days. Son of FROST GIANT lost by a head to the talented CATALINA CRUISER in this race last year. Hot-riding Umberto Rispoli is aboard for the first time, which can only be seen as a positive.

#8 BLAMEITONTHELAW was no match for #1 LAW ABIDIN CITIZEN and #2 P R RADIO STAR in his last two starts and will need to run a lot faster to win. Exotics placing may be his ceiling.

SELECTIONS

1. #5 C Z ROCKET - Going in the right direction.

2. #4 FLAGSTAFF - The one to beat.

3. #7 GIANT EXPECTATIONS - Should be taken seriously.

LONGSHOT VALUE PLAY - #6 VERTICAL THREAT - Three-year-old is rapidly improving.


WAGERING STRATEGY

I’ll make a win bet on my top pick and key him and #4 FLAGSTAFF over my other two selections plus #1 LAW ABIDIN CITIZEN in a trifecta.

BANKROLL PLAY ($50 Budget)

$26 Win: #5 C Z ROCKET

$1 Trifecta: #4 FLAGSTAFF and #5 C Z ROCKET over #1 LAW ABIDIN CITIZEN and #6 VERTICAL THREAT and #7 GIANT EXPECTATIONS ($24).

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