Saratoga isn’t the only racetrack with major competition taking place on Saturday. Del Mar on the west coast in California is hosting a nice card with stakes races and Kentucky Derby contenders. There are three stakes races at Del Mar for a total of $450,000 available between the three events. A total of $809,000 will be on offer in 11 races.
It’s not so much about the prize money at Del Mar today. I’m more interested in who is racing today. The Shared Belief Stakes is worth just $100,000, but 50 points goes to the winner to put towards entry to the Kentucky Derby. The horses running in the Shared Belief Stakes might make it the most entertaining race of the day.
There are three serious Kentucky Derby contenders racing in the Shared Belief Stakes. Cezanne, Honor A. P., and Uncle Chuck all boast legitimate claims to go the winner’s circle at Churchill Downs. I’d put Honor A. P. and Uncle Chuck in a bit higher standing than Bob Baffert’s Cezanne. However, Cezanne isn’t out of discussions going into August. The Shared Belief Stakes is Race 2, so be sure not to miss out on the early card. Head below for our free Del Mar picks and Shared Beliefs Stakes pick for August 1, 2020.
Race 2 – Shared Belief Stakes
Post Time: 2:30p.m. PST
Distance: 1 1/16 Miles
For such a small race prize money wise, the Shared Belief Stakes sure comes with some heavyweights. The most talented race in the country might be in Race 2 at Del Mar on Saturday. Cezanne and Honor A.P. will both be strong runners that can’t be ignored. Cezanne was an expensive investment and is expected to win at this level.
With a purchase price at auction of $3,650,000 there are expectations for Cezanne. This is his stakes debut after winning in his debut by 2 ¼ lengths in a $50,000 maiden event on June 6, and a $45,000 allowance win by 1 ¾ lengths over Mongolian Legend on July 2. Solid wins to open his career, though I think Baffert was expecting more out of Cezanne.
Cezanne wasn’t up against the stingiest of opponents in those two events. However, Cezanne still had to fight and battle hard for a win on both occasions. He was clear by 3 lengths at the top of the stretch in his most recent outing on July 2 at Los Alamitos. Mongolian Legend made things a little interesting to get within 1 ¼ lengths of Cezanne at the wire.
With that said, it’s certainly plausible that the best is yet to come for Cezanne. He’s open to improvement and is capable of running with one of the most highly regarded horses in the country right now, Honor A. P.. Cezanne is currently 20/1 to win the Kentucky Derby in a month. With time running out on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, a win might be necessary here to earn enough points to get in.
Honor A. P. is 2 for 4 in his career and garnered the attention of the public after winning the $400,000 (Gr .1) Santa Anita Derby on June 6. Beating Baffert’s Authentic like he did was awfully impressive. Prior to that event, Honor A. P. finished 2nd behind Authentic in the San Felipe Stakes on March 7. That was a revent spot for Honor A. P. and he followed through with improved form. We have three very good horses in this race. I was so impressed by Honor A. P. in the Santa Anita Derby that he’s hard to ignore here in the Shared Belief Stakes.
Note that Baffert is pointing Uncle Chuck to the $1,000,000 Travers Stakes next weekend so he will not be participating.
Race 8 – California Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Stakes
Post Time: 5:30 p.m. PST
Distance:5 ½ Furlongs
The California Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Stakes is another $100,000 event at Del Mar on Saturday. Race 10 is 5 ½ furlongs on the dirt with six horses scheduled to race. Love Wins isn’t registered as of Friday night. I’m So Anna and Big Andy are expected to be contenders. Big Andy will start on the inside rail from the No. 1 post position. This will be the third outing of her career, having finished 4th and 2nd on June 13 and July 10.
The good news for Big Andy is that she has been in good form and would have had a win if it wasn’t for a disqualification. She finished 4th because of a DQ, but was the first to cross the wire. As a result of interference at the mid-way point of the race, Big Andy was pushed back to 4th. Without the DQ, Big Andy would have won the race over Reign of Fire by a half length. She came close in her next outing to place 2nd on July 10.
Big Andy came a half length away from beating Righteously, but was denied at the wire after showing nice kick at the top of the stretch. Big Andy made an outing in the morning on July 25. She completed 4 furlongs in 50.80 seconds in preparation for Saturday. The biggest threat of hers has to be I’m So Anna. She is 1 for 2 in her career after finishing 3rd as a first-time runner on May 23 at Golden Gate Fields.
I’m So Anna was 3 lengths back of the leader at Golden Gate. She was the betting favorite, so it was a disappointing effort. I’m So Anna came back in much better form on July 2 at Los Alamitos. She won by 4 lengths over Mamba Queen in a $40,000 maiden event. After her less than ideal debut, I’m So Anna wasn’t regarded as a favorite, but showed up and reached her full potential earliest this month. She is coming off a 49 second workout over 4 furlongs on July 24. I’m So Anna should be able to get it done in the California Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Stakes.
Race 10 – Bill Crosby Stakes
Post Time: 6:30 p.m. PST
Distance:1 Mile 70 Yards
The Bing Crosby Stakes is the feature race of the day at Del Mar on Saturday. It will cover a mile and 70 yards on the main strack. Bob Baffert’s McKinzie will not race and is getting scratched. He was going to be the favorite, but with McKinzie out, the field is wide open now without him in the event. Law Abidin Citizen and Collusion Illusion have made it to my shortlist for Race 10. Law Abidin Citizen isn’t getting much respect with a morning-line of 8/1, but I’d say that his true odds to win are probably better than that.
He is 7 for 26 in his career with two graded wins in the Longacres Mile Handicap (Gr. 3) on August 11, 2019 and San Simeon Stakes (Gr. 3) on March 31, 2019. Since the win in the San Simeon Stakes, Law Abidin Citizen has finished 4th in the San Carlos Stakes (Gr. 2) on March 7, and 2nd and 1st in a couple of allowance races. Law Abidin Citizen won in his last performance on June 14 at Santa Anita Derby. He beat Fight On by 1 ¾ lengths for a nice run in a $53,000 event.
This race might prove to be a bit too difficult for Law Abidin Citizen, but expect to see him mentioned in the stretch. Collusion Illusion is getting disrespected on the morning-line as well. He is a winner in 4 of 5 races, with his only defeat a DNF in the American Pharoah Stakes (Gr. 1) on September 27, 2019. Besides that, Collusion Illusion is a winner of the Best Pal Stakes (Gr. 2) and most recently the Lazaro Barrera Stakes (Gr. 3) on June 20. He also has a maiden and allowance win on his resume.
Collusion Illusion defeated Ragtime Blues in the $100,000 Lazaro Barrera Stakes by 3 ¼ lengths. It was an easy win for the favorite, which prompted a jump in class to the Bing Crosby Stakes. He is coming off workouts in the morning with recorded times of 49.40 at 4 furlongs, 1:00.20 at 5 furlongs, and 36 seconds at 3 furlongs. With McKinzie out of the race, the door appears to be wide open for Collusion Illusion to steal a win.