It’s a stakes day at Del Mar with one graded event on the schedule. The running of the Sorrento Stakes (Gr. 2) is set for Race 8 on Friday. A purse of $150,000 is available in the Sorrento Stakes. Tomorrow on Saturday there will be two $150,000 stakes races at Del Mar. As far as today is concerned, there are a total nine races on the docket, with a total of $418,000 available. Del Mar will have $735,000 up for grabs tomorrow, so the stakes are raised.
All eyes will be on Saratoga, though, so California will not be the focal point for most people. We’ll be focusing on Saratoga on Saturday as well. The Travers Stakes (Gr. 1) is a big time event that is left on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. Following the Travers, the running of the Ellis Park Derby and Pegasus Stakes are the final events on the schedule. The Travers is the only event left with a total of 170 points available in the race. Head below for our free Del Mar picks for August 7, 2020.
Post Time: 2:00 p.m. PST
Distance: 1 Mile
We will start at Del Mar with the first race of the day, which is a $41,000 event on the turf. Avalanche and Liberal are on my shortlist for Race 1. Liberal could be a surprise contender from the No. 6 post position. The Irish Liberal is coming off a win on May 16 at Santa Anita Park. It’s the second career of his career to go 2 for 7 heading into Friday. In the May win, Liberal beat Worthy Turk by a half length in a duel in the stretch. He won exactly a year before at Golden Gate Fields by 1 ½ lengths in a $30,000 event over Mo Reverse in his US debut.
Since that win, Liberal has finished 7th, 4th, 1st. He took a few practice workouts in July and was adequate, with times of 50.20 and 51.60 seconds at 4 furlongs, and a recent 5-furlong workout with a time of 1:02.40. I think he should be able to be competitive in this one, especially with Worthy Turk apparently sitting this one. Worthy Turk is currently listed as a non-runner from the No. 3 post position.
Avalanche drops in class for today after an appearance in the San Juan Capistrano Stakes (Gr. 3) on June 21. That was a $100,000 event where Avalanche finished 6th. Prior to that race, Avalanche finished 3rd at the $51,000 level on May 24 at Santa Anita. His last victory was on February 7 at Santa Anita with a half length win over The Hunted in a $57,000 race. He showcased tremendous kick in the stretch to go from 4th at the top of the stretch to the winner’s circle. This isn’t a field that should prove to be difficult for Avalanche.
Post Time: 5:09 p.m. PST
Race 8 is the lead in to the feature race of the day at Del Mar. This event features a ten-horse field for a $34,000 purse on the turf. I have Freedom Lass and Lavender running close in this one. Freedom Lass is 1 for 4 in her career. She has been involved in all four races in her career. Freedom Lass finished 8th as a first-time runner on October 10, 2019 and has since been running up front. She has finished 2nd, 3rd, 1st in her last three entries.
Freedom Lass is fresh off a win on May 9 at Tampa Bay Downs. She recorded the win by 6 lengths over Natoma in a $13,500 event. It was a wire-to-wire win for Freedom Lass against a fairly competent field. This will surely be tougher than that May outing, but the same kind of effort would put her right near the front again, though. She has completed 5 furlongs in 1:01.60, 1:01.60, 1:01.60. and 1:01.20. In her most recent morning exercise, Freedom Lass was clocked at 49.20 seconds in 4 furlongs.
Irish bred Lavender is 1 for 8 in her career and dropping in class today after finishing 5th, 6th, 5th in her previous three outings. Lavender ran well in her most recent race, but this was for a $51,000 purse, and all she could muster up was 5th. In the only win of her career, Lavender won on January 10 for the top prize out of a $55,000 purse. She is accustomed to race in higher classes than what is being presented to her on Friday at Del Mar. Expect Lavender to find this race much more manageable with a win within her sights.
Race 8 – Sorrento Stakes
Post Time: 5:39 p.m. PST
It’s feature time at Del Mar on Friday, as the running of the Sorrento Stakes will take place in Race 8. A purse of $150,000 is up for grabs here for 6 furlongs of racing on the dirt. September Secret and My Girl Red are interesting prospects in this event. September Secret is coming off a win in the second entry of her career.
She made her debut on July 2 and finished 9th at Los Alamitos in a $40,000 event. That was disappointing, as September Secret ran well below expectations. However, she responded with a terrific effort to win on July 24 in her first race at Del Mar.
September Secret won by 7 ¾ lengths in a no doubter. She was no worse than 2nd in that race, and exploded following the ⅜ pole to clear the field with ease. However, that was well down in class compared to her previous race. That was for $25,000. Her connections must feel that she is ready to compete at the stakes level, though.
And if she brings the same noise to the table as she did on July 24, expect September Secret to at least get into the top-3 to show. My Girl Red is 1 for 1 after winning as a first-time runner on June 14 at Santa Anita Park. She blew past the field and was clear by 3 lengths at the top of the stretch and then built on the lead for a 4 ¼ length win.
That was from 4 ½ furlongs, though the fact she was getting stronger deeper into the race is encouraging for the 6 furlongs she must navigate on Friday. My Girl Red has been operating well in the morning leading up to her stakes debut. She completed 4 furlongs in 48.20, 48.40, and 49 seconds, while she was recorded at 1:00.80 at 5 furlongs on July 25. I’m feeling good about My Girl Red here.