$200,000 GRADE 2 JOHN C. MABEE STAKES AT DEL MAR
It's closing weekend at Del Mar and Saratoga, but not before a bevy of major stakes races are held at both venues. It's Derby Day at Del Mar on Saturday, where the turf will also be in play for the tradition-rich Grade 2 John C. Mabee in the Filly & Mare Turf division. The Mabee goes as Race 9 and will be in all the late-day, multi-race exotics with the Race 11 Del Mar Derby.
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MAXIM RATE is a Grade 1 winner domestically, while FAST JET COURT was a Group 1 winner in Brazil. BODHICITTA has won at the Grade 2 level. GOING TO VEGAS is a Grade 3 winner and Grade 1-placed. DOGTAG is Grade 2-placed. Many of these have been battling one another in similar races, so there's not a wide swath in the class department.
QUIET SECRETARY is inside speed, and will be pushed by NASTY. Some tempo also could come from SHE'S OUR CHARM, TAP WATER and GOING TO VEGAS. Expect a solid early go.
The 2-3-4 finishers from the Grade 2 Yellow Ribbon earlier in the meet are re-matched in the Mabee. Trainer Mike Stidham sent Princess Grace west from his Fair Hill, MD base to win that one but won't be making the return trip. That DOGTAG, MAXIM RATE and BODHICITTA failed to deliver over the course at a sixteenth of a mile shorter does give some intrigue to look elsewhere. The race was fast early/slow late, so the additional ground may not be the boon the closers are looking for -- especially with a honest to fast pace projected Saturday.
Of the new faces, NASTY does her best work when able to make the lead and that's going to be tough to do easily in the Mabee. The 9-furlong trip looks a bit beyond her preferred distance as well. TAP WATER has been the beaten favorite in 3 straight and just can't find a niche, tried as a turf miler and marathoner. The 1-1/8 miles distance just may be the right compromise. GOING TO VEGAS, runner-up in last year's Grade 1 American Oaks at 3, got a confidence boosting victory in a local allowance last out over the Mabee trip. It's an old school prep that could serve her very well.
Most Certain Exotics Contender:
GOING TO VEGAS is 5-for-6 in the trifecta over the local lawn, should be forwardly placed without having to have the lead and is the pick.
Best Longshot Exotics Contender:
No strong feel for a big price shot here, but BODHICITTA rarely gets bet hard and can outrun her odds for a share.
Sending it in ($100 bankroll):
$100 win GOING TO VEGAS.