Accomplished fillies and mares will take center stage in Saturday’s $400,000 Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar. Seven racehorses were entered for the 1 1/16-mile prize, including five graded stakes winners. The solid purse and Grade 1 status are obvious attractions, but the Hirsch also offers a “Win and You’re In” berth to the 2022 Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Keeneland.
Who will join the list of past Clement L. Hirsch winners led by champions Princess Rooney, Bayakoa, Paseana, Azeri, Zenyatta, and Beholder to name just a few? Perhaps it will be #6 Shedaresthedevil, though she wouldn’t exactly be joining the roster — she’s already on the roster, having won the Hirsch in 2021.
Indeed, Shedaresthedevil was much the best in last year’s edition of this race, employing pace-tracking tactics before pouncing to a 3 1/4-length victory. This was part of a highly productive campaign that also saw Shedaresthedevil take home the Grade 1 La Troienne Stakes presented by Twinspires.com, Grade 2 Azeri Stakes, and Grade 3 Locust Grove Stakes.
Shedaresthedevil was a bit slow to get going in 2022, finishing third in the Grade 2 Azeri and second in the Grade 1 La Troienne. But her third run of the season produced a turnaround as Shedaresthedevil switched from pacesetting to tracking tactics and promptly won the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis Stakes at Churchill Downs with an encouraging 101 Brisnet Speed rating.
Shedaresthedevil should be able to employ an identical strategy in the Hirsch. #6 Samurai Charm, runner-up in the Grade 2 Great Lady M Stakes sprinting at Los Alamitos last month, has set the pace in all four of her route races and figures to show speed from the start. #4 Private Mission should also race prominently, allowing Shedaresthedevil to take up a favorable stalking position. From there, Shedaresthedevil should have every chance to repeat in the Hirsch and pick up the fourth Grade 1 win of her accomplished career.
For second place, Private Mission is an obvious contender. As a 3-year-old in 2021, she trounced the Grade 3 Torrey Pines Stakes competition at Del Mar by 6 1/2 lengths, then took on older rivals in Santa Anita’s Grade 2 Zenyatta Stakes and won by 2 1/4 lengths.
Private Mission faded to last place after setting a blistering pace in the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Distaff and suffered two more defeats when sprinting during the winter at Santa Anita. But stretching out in distance for the June 18 Grade 2 Santa Maria Stakes proved most suitable as Private Mission tracked the early pace before holding off Grade 2 Santa Margarita Stakes winner #7 Blue Stripe to win the 1 1/16-mile race by three-quarters of a length.
Speaking of Blue Stripe, she’s a talented midfield closer with improving Brisnet Speed ratings. If the Hirsch pace winds up hot, the Argentine-bred mare is eligible to pick up the pieces and secure a top-three finish.
#3 Desert Dawn is a 3-year-old filly facing older rivals for the first time. She failed to factor after suffering a severe stumble at the start of the Grade 2 Summertime Oaks last time out, but she previously earned competitive Brisnet Speed ratings when posting an upset win in the Grade 2 Santa Anita Oaks and finishing third in the Grade 1 Longines Kentucky Oaks. She can’t be dismissed from consideration.
The wild card in the Hirsch field is #1 Soothsay. The 4-year-old Richard Mandella trainee hasn’t run since rallying to victory in the Grade 3 Indiana Oaks 13 months ago, but her 3-for-4 lifetime record is encouraging, and she’s posted fast workouts in preparation for her return. Don’t be surprised if Soothsay outruns expectations off the layoff.
Completing the field is #2 Lisette, who finished sixth behind Blue Stripe in the Santa Margarita. She was a comfortable winner of an allowance-optional claiming race at Santa Anita two months ago, but needs improvement from a speed-figure perspective if she’s going to challenge against tougher competition.
So how should we bet the Clement L. Hirsch? We’ll play Shedaresthedevil on top of trifecta and superfecta tickets. Underneath, we’ll emphasize Private Mission and Blue Stripe while throwing Desert Dawn and Soothsay into the mix for third and fourth place.
Wagering Strategy on a $16 Budget
$4 trifecta: 6 with 4,7 with 4,7 ($8)
What to say at the betting window: Del Mar, 9th race, $4 trifecta 6 with 4,7 with 4,7
$2 trifecta: 6 with 4,7 with 1,3 ($8)
What to say at the betting window: Del Mar, 9th race, $2 trifecta 6 with 4,7 with 1,3
Wagering Strategy on a $48 Budget
$8 trifecta: 6 with 4,7 with 4,7 ($16)
What to say at the betting window: Del Mar, 9th race, $8 trifecta 6 with 4,7 with 4,7
$4 trifecta: 6 with 4,7 with 1,3 ($16)
What to say at the betting window: Del Mar, 9th race, $4 trifecta 6 with 4,7 with 1,3
$2 superfecta: 6 with 4,7 with 4,7 with 1,3 ($8)
What to say at the betting window: Del Mar, 9th race, $2 superfecta 6 with 4,7 with 4,7 with 1,3
$2 superfecta: 6 with 4,7 with 1,3 with 4,7 ($8)
What to say at the betting window: Del Mar, 9th race, $2 superfecta 6 with 4,7 with 1,3 with 4,7
Good luck, and enjoy the race!