$150k John C. Mabee (G2)

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By Tom Quigley

$150,000 John C. Mabee (G2) at Del Mar

Race 10 (Saturday, September 5, 2020: 8:30 p.m./ET; 5:30 p.m./PT)
Mile and an eighth on turf (fillies and mares, three-years-old and up)

Closing weekend of the Summer meet at Del Mar features four graded stakes races, including the John C. Mabee (G2), named after one of the people who helped make Del Mar the magical place that we love and cherish today. Let’s try to find the winner:

#1 CATCH THE EYE wheels back in three weeks after a three-quarter length loss at 42/1 in the CTT and TOC Stakes at a mile-and-three-eighths. She must turn the tables on #7 QUICK, who finished ahead of her that day. Is two-for-two at this distance, but has failed to win in four starts over this turf course.

#2 LADY PRANCELOT (IRE) suffered traffic issues in upper stretch of the Yellow Ribbon (G2) and only lost by a length-and three-quarters. Last year, she won the American Oaks (G1), making her the only Grade I winner in this race. Hot-riding jockey Umbeto Rispoli picks up the mount, which is a major point of appeal. Definitely a legit contender.

#3 DON’T BLAME JUDY is another who exits the CTT and TOC Stakes. That afternoon, she failed to fire while traveling a much farther distance than what she’ll race at today. Note she hits the board a lot more often than she wins, with two first place finishes and 11 other in-the-money finishes. A notch or two below the best signed on.

#4 PULPIT RIDER sat off the pace and rallied late to win the Solana Beach Stakes for Cal-breds on August 15, earning a 91 Beyer Speed Figure, a number good enough to be competitive against the main contenders in this race. Fits with this group on her best day.

#5 ZEE DROP suffered a no excuse trip when finishing a length behind stablemate #8 RAYMUNDO’S SECRET in a second level allowance race on August 14. She appears to be rounding into her best form, having earned a career best Beyer Speed Figure last time and is now making her third start in the form cycle. That said, on paper it looks like she isn’t quite as classy as others.

#6 MEAL TICKET finished fifth in the CTT and TOC Stakes and has failed to hit the board in three consecutive races. You have to go back to August of 2019 to find her last win, which came in a second level allowance race over this turf course going this distance. Had better form last year.

#7 QUICK (GB) went to the front in the CTT and TOC Stakes and was there until the final few strides when MAXIM RATE caught her late. A huge effort, yes, and this gal was entering stakes company after a first level allowance win, so the class hike she was taking was significant. While the bounce theory may be in play here, this filly has hit the board in her last seven starts and is clearly ultra-consistent. 

#8 RAYMUNDO’S SECRET makes her second start off a nine-and-a-half-month layoff for trainer Phil D’Amato, who wins at a strong 25% with his trainees making their second start off a layoff over 180 days. Top Southern California jockey Flavien Prat rides. Dangerous.


1. #8 RAYMUNDO’S SECRET – Should be even better with a race into her this year.

2. #2 LADY PRANCELOT – New jockey is a magician on turf.

3. #4 PULPIT RIDER – Cal-bred has an improving Beyer Speed figure pattern.

LONGSHOT VALUE PLAY - #3 DON’T BLAME JUDY - An exotics possibility at a price.


I’m ‘all in’ on my top pick.

BANKROLL PLAY ($50 Budget)


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