Saturday is set for a big slate of racing in North America. Not really in the sense of big time stakes events, but there plenty of racecourses participating on Saturday. One that was supposed to be running was Golden Gate Fields. Don’t go looking for the Golden Gate Fields card, though. They are closed down right now because of a Covid-19 outbreak among employees until further notice.
Racing was only intended to stop for a week, but with new cases popping up has forced organizers to postpone things longer. With Golden Gate Fields out this weekend, we still have a packed field at BetOnline. The racebook at BetOnline has 14 racetracks in North America open for racing on Saturday.
We’ll get started at Del Mar on Saturday where they are racing on Saturday. There hasn’t been any Covid-19 outbreaks reported at Del Mar, so all indications are a go. Del Mar is putting on a nine-race card worth $428,000 on Saturday. There is one graded event with the running of the $100,000 Native Diver Stakes (Gr. 3). Head below for our free Del Mar Racing picks for November 21, 2020.
Race 2 – Native Diver Stakes
Post Time: 1:00 p.m. PST
Distance:1 ⅛ Miles
We’ll go straight to the Native Diver Stakes (Gr. 3) on Saturday afternoon at Del Mar. The $100,000 Grade 3 race will take a mile and ⅛ to complete. A small field of five horses are expected to participate. I’m looking at Extra Hope and Midcourt as my favorite horses in the event. Extra Hope appeared in this race a year ago and had a good run to place 2nd behind Midcourt by 5 ¾ lengths. Extra Hope has been seldom used since that November 23, 2019 outing.
Since that entry, he finished 5th on August 22 after a layoff in a $59,000 event. Extra Hope responded on September 26 with a ¾ length win over Express Train for a $59,000 purse. That was a nice response for Extra Hope and his first win since January 31, 2019. He went winless in five straight wins before breaking out of the funk and breaking through for a win. Extra Hope is coming off a productive workout on October 16 with a time of 48 seconds. Midcort and Extra Hope will meet in a rematch of the 2019 Native Diver Stakes.
Midcourt has done nothing but participate in graded events for the last eight straight races, four of which were Grade 1 entries, including his last two in the $500,000 Pacific Classic Stakes (Gr. 1) on August 22 and $300,000 Awesome Again Stakes (Gr. 1) most recently on September 26. He showed in both events, and has at least finished 3rd in seven of his eight graded outings. Note that Midcourt has been solid with 5 wins in 14 attempts in his career. His biggest win was in the $200,000 San Pasqual Stakes (Gr. 2) on February 1. This big class drop should result in a winning opportunity for Midcourt in the Native Diver Stakes.
Post Time: 1:59 p.m. PST
Race 4 is a mile long race on the main track for a $43,000 purse. Popular Kid and Kershaw are expected to be in the mix. Bold Endeavor certainly has a decent chance to hit paydirt as well. Popular Kid is 11 for 49 in his career and has found good form recently. Note that Popular Kid is a winner in two of his previous three performances.
He won on August 22 by a neck over Pinson by a neck in a $31,500 assignment. In his most recent showing, Popular Kid was 1st in a $59,000 assignment by a nose. You have to expect Popular Kid to run a close race on Saturday against this field. In his previous five races, Popular Kid has gone 10th, 9th, 1st, 5th, 1st. This should be a winnable outing for him.
Kershaw is 4 for 20 in his career and has finished in the top-3 in three straight outings. He has gone 3rd, 2nd, 3rd after finishing 8th in the San Juan Capistrano Stakes (Gr. 3) on June 21. Kershaw has been on a bit of a layoff since crossing the wire in 3rd on September 26. His work in the meantime has been excellent. Note that Kershaw completed 5 furlongs in 1:00.40 and 59.80 seconds in November in prep work for today. It should be close with Popular Kid, but I think Kershaw can edge out the field based on his recent form.
Post Time: 2:57 p.m. PST
Distance:6 ½ Furlongs
Race 6 will take 6 ½ furlongs to complete on the dirt for a $57,000 purse. Leai Marie and Exotic West are worth consideration in this one. Leia Marie is relatively a newcomer with four races in her career since August. She has finished 6th, 2nd, 3rd, 4th in her career, with her best finish placing 2nd on September 6 in a $72,000 event. Leai Marie placed 2nd behind Jane Grey by 1 ½ lengths. That was a really productive run by Leai Marie, but she was unable to do better after the fact.
Leia Marie followed up to show 3rd on September 26 in a $63,000 event, and then 4th for a $57,000 purse on November 1. That was disappointing at Del Mar. She is going to remain in the same class, though, and hope for the best on Saturday. A bounce back against this field is possible, but the $400,000 Leia Marie is going to have to show something soon or her connections are going to begin to get nervous. Her biggest threat should be Exotic West, who is making her debut for Bob Baffert today.
Exotic West is projected to have a really nice career under the guidance of Baffert. She has yet to take a race, but her presence is likely going to be felt right away. Exotic West has been picking up steam in workouts and certainly has the talent to open her career with a win. She is coming off a couple of exciting workouts, with times of 1:00.80 at 5 furlongs and 47 seconds at 4 furlongs. Look for her to run an impressive run in her debut. An opportunity for a win is well within reach as a rookie.