Delaware Park has racing on Thursday with a nine-race card on offer. There will be a total of $204,500 on the line at Delaware Park today. Saratoga will attract most of the attention on Thursday, as their summer meet is set to begin on Thursday. We have you covered at Saratoga with three picks today. While we have an Opening Day today at a marquee track, another is closing because of the coronavirus. Del Mar will close for a deep cleaning and new protocols will be implemented. The scheduled restart is for July 24, but like anything else in 2020, that is subject to change.
Del Mar closing wasn’t the biggest news of the day, though. Bob Baffert has been suspended for 15 days because of doping violations. Gamine and Charlatan both tested positive for lidocaine on May 2. The numbing agent was reportedly applied with patches. Gamine was nine times the legal limit, while Charlatan was found to have double in his blood. Guidelines stipulate that Charlatan and Gamine must forfeit their wins. That means purse money will have to be forfeited as well. Ouch. The Charlatan win was the Arkansas Derby (Gr. 1).
It was a $300,000 win out of a $500,000 purse for Charlatan’s connections. That’s on Baffert. Whether it was one of his employees slipping up or not, he has to know what’s going on with his trainees, especially two horses of that caliber. A lot will argue that a 15-day suspension is way too short for his offences. Baffert’s Authentic will run in the $1,000,000 Haskell Stakes on Saturday, so he could quickly put the bad news behind him this weekend. Be sure to check back for our Haskell Stakes pick later in the week. For now, head below for our Delaware Park free picks for July 16, 2020.
Post Time: 1:15 p.m. EST
Distance: 5 ½ Furlongs
This is the first race out of the gate on Thursday at Delaware Park. Race 1 is a 5 ½ furlong event on the dirt track. Odd Gal and Diamond News are both likely to put forth strong efforts this afternoon. Diamond News is 2 for 9 in her career, with eight straight finishes in the top-3. Since finishing 10th as a first-time runner on October 4, 2019, Diamond News has finished in the money in the rest of her races. It’s likely she will be able to do it again on Thursday. Diamond News is coming off a win on May 1 at Tampa Bay Downs.
Diamond News won over Charing Renee by a neck in that race in Tampa. She had to do a little bit of catching up in the stretch, but prevailed at the wire in a close call. Diamond News has largely been succeeding in races that were much smaller than this. This is a class hike for Diamond News on Thursday, so we’ll have to see if she makes it look just as easy. I expect Diamond News to be hanging around the front, but likely comes up just short. Odd Gal will present a sizable challenge for Diamond News in this one.
Odd Gal is 2 for 12 in her career and she’s coming off a win as well. Odd Gal was a winner on June 24 in a blowout. She made it look easy in the $20,000 event, as Odd Gal ran away and was clear of her competition by 10 ¾ lengths. There wasn’t any competition to speak of really. She was in a class of her own. Odd Gal’s most recent workout was an impressive bit of running. She completed 4 furlongs in 47.43 seconds and looks ready to race on Thursday. Odd Gal should prove to be a tough customer in Race 1 at Delaware Park.
Post Time: 2:45 p.m. EST
Our next stop at Delaware Park takes us to Race 4, a mile race on the dirt for a $18,000 purse. Princess Palomar and Vested Venture should get into an exciting duel in the stretch here. Vested Venture is 6 for 25 in her career, and is in search of her first win since December 10, 2019 today. She notched back-to-back wins on November 23, 2019 and then December before stumbling a bit after that.
Vested Venture finished 6th, 5th, 2nd in three races since, and then went on a layoff. In her most recent performance, Vested Venture didn’t look bad at all to place 2nd on February 18 to finish 4 ¼ lengths behind Robin’s Destiny. It wasn’t bad, but as the favorite in that race, more was expected out of Vested Venture.
Vested Venture has been working out at Delaware Park for the past few weeks. She has recorded times of 48.80 seconds at 4 furlongs, and 1:01.20 and 1:01.00 at 5 furlongs. Expect Vested Venture to take a good run at the top prize in Race 4. It may not be enough, but she is serious place material in this one. Princess Palomar will look to prevent a Vested Venture win on Thursday.
Princess Palomar is 8 for 33 in her career and in excellent form going into today. She is coming off a recent win on June 22 in a $18,000 event. Princess Palomar recorded the win over Rose of Dublin by 5 lengths. She was clear by the ¾ pole and held strongly. It was the third straight race that Princess Palomar finished in the top-3. Also note that Princess Palomar has been in the top-2 in 5 of her previous 6 outings. Another strong run appears very likely on Thursday at Delaware Park.
Post Time: 4:45 p.m. EST
Distance:5 ½ Furlongs
It’s time for Race 8 at Delaware Park. Race 8 features 5 ½ furlongs on the dirt for a $25,000 purse. Expect a lot out of Majestic Jazz and Lynchburg in this one. It could turn into a battle in the stretch between those two horses. Lynchburg is getting the third start of his career today. His first two events didn’t go over too well, with performances of 5th and 6th in December and January. This race is down in class. In his first race, Lynchburg was racing for $71,000 and looked out of his element and was beaten easily. He followed up to finish 6th in a $41,712 event in his next outing.
After a layoff, Lynchburg is ready to get back out on the track. Lynchburg has looked okay in the morning leading up to Thursday afternoon. He completed 5 furlongs with times of 1:01.60, 1:02.60, and 1:02.00. It would be a major disappointment for Lynchburg’s connections if nothing comes of this race on Thursday. He is getting a pretty big drop in class and should respond accordingly. Failing to compete for a win in the stretch would be frustrated after the break. Though, I expect him to battle hard here.
Majestic Jazz is getting dropped in class today as well. However, Majestic Jazz has proven to be competitive racing at that level. In a $85,000 event in February, Majestic Jazz finished 3rd at Oaklawn Park. He was in the top-3 in four straight races before a rough outing on March 21 for 7th in a $60,000 race. Majestic Jazz is looking for his first win seven races into his career. Since that race in march, Majestic Jazz has looked strong in the morning. He recently completed 4 furlongs with times of 48.80, 51.40, and 49 seconds.
This is going to be the easiest race of Majestic Jazz’s career thus far. He’s been assigned way tougher races than this, and has been near the front in the stretch in most of them. His most recent race was a letdown, but poor runs like that haven’t been the norm. After a few months off, expect Majestic Jazz to return in good form on Thursday at Delaware Park. I’d suggest looking at Majestic Jazz in Race 8.