All five of the competitors in Saturday’s La Jolla Handicap (G2) at Del Mar competed in one of the two divisions of the turfy Oceanside Stakes, run locally on July 18.
The second division was stronger on paper, and it was won in a slightly faster time. Race victor My Best Brother returns for the La Jolla with a three-race win streak intact. He set an honest pace in the Oceanside, and dug in quite gamely when challenged. Old Time Hockey was a willing third.
A game second in the first division of the Oceanside, Chips All In pressed the pace, took over at the top of the stretch, and then gave way grudgingly late to Midnight Crooner. He spied slightly softer fractions than the ones set by My Best Brother, but the second quarter of that race was quicker. He cannot be discounted here.
A willing fourth behind Midnight Crooner was Blingo. Well drawn on the rail Saturday, he may be the most likely late kicker to take advantage if the early fractions are hot. Beaten less than three lengths, Facoltoso was a close sixth of seven in that division, but he didn’t punch home with the needed authority.
The outside post in a field of five should allow My Best Brother’s partner, jockey Martin Garcia, to clock the others in the race. If allowed, he can take the lead in hand into the turn, or sit just off any ambitious foes, with Chips All In the most likely to push for a forward position. Either way, speedy AND game is a dangerous combination, so My Best Brother receives my endorsement here.
My Best Brother
Chips All In
Old Time Hockey
$150,000 La Jolla Handicap (G2)
Del Mar, Race 8, Post 5:30 p.m. EDT
3-year-olds, 1 1/16 Miles on the turf
Post, Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Blingo, M E Smith, 118, J A Shirreffs
2. Old Time Hockey, J Talamo, 117, T F Proctor
3. Facoltoso, R Bejarano, 117, S Callagahan
4. Chips All In, G K Gomez, 120, J Mullins
5. My Best Brother, M Garcia, 121, J C Canani