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We'll spread our wings to the west coast in this Race of the Week space to give players more handicapping options. The Grade 2 $250,000 Pat O'Brien is Del Mar's premier race in the Breeders' Cup Sprint division and goes as Race 9 on the program.
The field of 10 boasts Grade 1 winners AMERICAN THEOREM, SPEAKER'S CORNER and GET HER NUMBER. Grade 2 winners add depth via RESTRAINEDVENGEANCE and PRINCIPE CARLO. Meanwhile, DEFUNDED is Grade 1-placed and 9 of these 10 have been graded-placed. SPEAKER'S CORNER has kept the strongest company lines of the bunch and ventures from New York.
Stablemates LAUREL RIVER and DEFUNDED are fast early, as is PRINCIPE CARLO and SPEAKER'S CORNER. There won't be many breathers in this 7-furlong test. If a closer fires his best shot, he'll be in with a chance.
AMERICAN THEOREM proved the west's best sprinter in the Bing Crosby over 6 furlongs to open the Del Mar meet. He may be better at this 7-furlong trip, owing to his previous route stamina. He's a finisher and a closer, but doesn't come from the clouds, and that makes him dangerous in most any pace scenario.
SPEAKER'S CORNER is here because Jackie's Warrior has domain over the Grade 1 Forego at Saratoga the same-day. You can't blame the road trip after facing national powerhouses Flightline and Life is Good in his last 2 starts. That he hooked up with that pair in the Met Mile and Nerud answers the age-old sprint question: Does he have California speed? The answer is yes. Of the front-runners in this O'Brien, he's most trusted.
CZ ROCKET won this race in 2020 and was runner-up as the favorite in 2021. We know he fits here on his best, and the 8-year-old got a nice allowance prep over the track in July to set the table. He's incredibly consistent and gets a good pace to chase into. This will be his third straight start from the rail draw.
Among the others are Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile third-place finisher RESTRAINEDVENGEANCE as well as the runners-up in the Bing Crosby (GET HER NUMBER) and Triple Bend (PRINCIPE CARLO). GET HER NUMBER is the most attractive of that group off recent form and likely pace set-up. Meanwhile, LAUREL RIVER makes the jump from back-to-back allowance wins at Del Mar a year apart to the stakes ranks for Bob Baffert and leading jockey Juan Hernandez.
Most Certain Exotics Contender:
SPREAKER'S CORNER is 6 for his last 7 in the exacta and has missed only 1 trifecta in 11 starts.
Best Longshot Exotics Contender:
GET HER NUMBER was 7-1 in the Bing Crosby and might go even a bit higher than that. He'll be running late.
Sending it in ($100 bankroll):
$80 exacta SPEAKER'S CORNER over AMERICAN THEOREM. $20 exacta AMERICAN THEOREM over SPEAKER'S CORNER.