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2018 Pat O’Brien Stakes
||D. Van Dyke
||Ransom the Moon
||St. Joe Bay
||Battle of Midway
What do we make of Catalina Cruiser? The horse has looked great in winning all three starts, including a win in the San Diego. The question is whether or not the horse has beaten any decent horses in winning those three races. May people thought trainer John Sadler would point this horse to the Breeders’ Cup Classic, but that is not the case, as the horse would be ticketed to the Dirt Mile with a win on Saturday.
It is hard not to like Ransom the Moon who loves Del Mar. He is coming off a win in the Bing Crosby and he is always competitive. You can make a case that Ransom the Moon should be the favorite.
Roy H won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint last year but has been inconsistent in 2018. The horse won the Grade 2 Palos Verdes Stakes and finished third in the Group 1 Golden Shaheen in Dubai. The horse finished second to Ransom the Moon last time out in the Bing Crosby.
The other main contender is Battle of Midway who was thought to be done racing. The horse is trained by Jerry Hollendorfer and it was thought the horse would be done at the track. The horse won the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile last year and then went to stand stud in Kentucky. That didn’t go well and the horse was returned to training. Hollendorfer could have chosen an easier spot, but he chose this race. “We’re not in there to play around,” Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward said Wednesday morning. “It was either that or don’t run (for a long time) and we’re ready to run.But what a field.”
It should be noted that leading jockey Flavien Prat, the previous jockey for Battle of Midway, chose to stay aboard Ransom the Moon for this race. Mario Gutierrez will ride Battle of Midway.
If St. Joe Bay can repeat his last effort when he finished second in the San Carlos Stakes he might be a factor. It is still hard to get too excited about taking a 6-year old horse. Horse Greedy is coming off a third in the San Carlos but looks to be in over his head here. Vorticity returned off a long layoff to finish fourth last time out. Threefiveindia makes his California debut and would be a major surprise.
Pat O’Brien Stakes Predictions
Many people are calling Catalina Cruiser a super horse, but I need to see more. The horse got it his own way in the San Diego and I don’t know that it will be that easy in this race. I can’t take Roy H as he couldn’t handle Ransom the Moon last time out and I don’t think anything has changed. Ransom the Moon loves Del Mar and almost always runs a great race. I see no reason he won’t run another big race on Saturday and we get him at odds of 5-2 instead of the 8-5 on Catalina Cruiser. The wildcard in this race is Battle of Midway. If he decides he wants to run he has the talent to win this race, but we simply don’t know. I will take Ransom the Moon to win this race and play an exacta box with Catalina Cruiser.
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