As the circuit moved to Del Mar, I expected the normal form reversals to be even more severe because of the new Polytrack surface. I half-kiddingly suggested there would be a six-day Pick Six carryover into the start of Week 2. That hasn’t been the case (after there was one winning ticket on Thursday and two winners on Saturday) but we finally have that elusive carryover ($206,000 plus) into Monday’s card. Favorites have held their own, winning at a 32% clip, but there also has been a sprinkling of bombers ($133.80, $133, $124). Personally I’m finding it difficult to pick winners, let alone winners that pay a decent price. My best pick so far has been KRIS’ SIS, who returned a fat $9.00 when turning the tables on DOUBLE TROUBLE in Saturday’s Osunitas Handicap.

Random thoughts after five days: Closers have dominated in nine two-turn races to date, with a number of winners coming from dead last. (The closest thing to a front-running winner was BLAKE’S PASSION on Thursday, who sat second early.) No matter how slow the early fractions, late-runners are able to make up ground and win (see SUN BOAT in San Diego ‘Cap).

On turf, that surface has been more fair but closers also have held an edge, although a couple winners have laid up close and won…AFTER MARKET was awesome again in winning the Eddie Read. His last three victories have been sensational—let’s make him the early favorite in the Arlington Million…in his first day as a journeyman rider, Joe Talamo rode three winners. I was told by some how his business would slow down after losing the bug. I told them they were crazy—this kid’s the real deal.

There have been a rash of inquiries and disqualifications. Nine DQ’s at last count, including a couple that seemed very ticky-tacky to me. The stewards are once again taking forever to make their decisions, which is never a good sign. The final race on Friday went at about 8:00 p.m. after inquiries in the final four races. If the foul is obvious, the decision shouldn’t take long. And if the incident is borderline or the angle not clear, leave the result alone. I can’t imagine looking at the video more than a few times to come to the right decision. I think I will buy them copies of the book “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking”. The author explores the power of the trained mind to make split second decisions. Or perhaps I should re-read it myself before starting on Wednesday’s handicap.

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