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Best Pal Stakes 2015 Post Positions & Picks

Best Pal Stakes 2015 Post Positions & Picks: Time for some more fun this weekend at sunny Del Mar as this Saturday, August 8, 2015, is the Best Pal Stakes, a race that was inaugurated in 1967 as the Balboa Stakes but changed in 1995 to honor Best Pal, a California-bred racehorse. The Best Pal Stake is for two-year-olds running on the dirt at a distance of 6½ furlongs for a purse of $200,000.

Best Pal Stakes 2015

The Best Pal Stake is for two-year-olds running on the dirt at a distance of 6½ furlongs for a purse of $200,000 on Saturday, August 8, 2015 at Del Mar.
Photo: @DelMarRacing

The race was originally run on the turf for horses three years old and up and has been run in different divisions at different distances. In 1972 it was listed for 2 year-olds only.

Best Pal was an unbelievable Hall of Fame racehorse who earned $5.6 million over his lifetime and was trained by Gary F. Jones. He was bred by John & Betty Mabee and was a descendent of Princequillo on both sides of his pedigree. Best Pal ran a swift second in the 1991 Kentucky Derby and then went on to win the first running of the Pacific Classic at Del Mar, the Hollywood Gold Cup, and the Santa Anita Handicap, nailing the hat trick of California’s top races. He won eighteen races, seventeen of which were stakes. He was retired in 1996, but, sadly, he had a massive heart attack en route to Golden Eagle Farm. He was buried there beneath a very nice, large plaque in his honor. He was voted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2010.

Not surprisingly, Bob Baffert has the most wins for a trainer in this race with seven (1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, and 2009), surprisingly he has no entries this year.  The speed record (at the current distance of 6.5 furlongs) is held by Officer, who set the time of 1:15.08 in 2001. Last year, this race was won by Canadian trainer Mark Casse with Skyway, who ran it in 1:16.67.

The 2015 Best Pal Stakes is the fifth race of the day on a card of ten and has a post time of 4:10 p.m. PST. It is one of two stakes races that day, the other being race 8, which is the John C. Mabee for fillies & mares going 1-1/8 miles on the grass.

Del Mar will also be having a free t-shirt giveaway with two versions available – a ladies-cut and a regular t-shirt in medium, large, and extra-large sizes. One t-shirt per person will be given to paid entrants while supplies last. So, come on down and enjoy the beautiful day at sunny Del Mar with a free t-shirt and great horse racing.

We have a small field of six lined up and ready to roll in the Best Pal, so let’s take a look at the field in post position order.

Leaving from post #1 is the undefeated Found Money by the red-hot SoCal sire Square Eddie. He’s a homebred by owner Reddam Racing and is trained by Doug O’Neill, whose barn is coming out with pistols firing. He’s undefeated in his two career starts, the last one being the Santa Anita Juvenile Stakes on June 21. He beat stablemate Mrazek, also a Square Eddie baby, who won the Graduation Stakes at Del Mar on Wednesday. His early speed running style should help as he’ll be sent from the rail.

A son of Tale of Ekati, a sire who is known for early-winning youngsters, Paynes Prarie is shipping in from the East Coast for trainer Michael Pender after previously being trained by Steve Asmussen. Paynes Prarie has three races under his belt, breaking his maiden last out at Belmont July 4 by 3½ lengths going five furlongs after an awkward break. He tends to stay up close to the pace but could also show some early speed sitting just outside of Found Money.

Trainer Ricky Agarie sends in Bistraya who is coming in as a maiden as he finished fifth on July 18 going five furlongs in his career debut (it should be noted that was over a sloppy track). Sire Haynesfield could also produce precocious progeny as he broke his juvenile maiden at second asking. His first winner Realm won in his first attempt at Belmont on July 25. However, Bistraya will have to step it up to compete with this field with poorer speed figures and still a maiden.

Leaving post #4 we have the Keith Desormeaux-trained Birdstone baby Swipe, who just broke his maiden in his third career race on July 12 at Los Alamitos in the Summer Juvenile Championship Stakes, beating out Mrazek at the wire. Again, Mrazek turned around Wednesday at Del Mar and won the Graduation Stakes by 3½ lengths. Swipe ran third prior in the Tremont Stakes at Belmont, two lengths behind second-place finisher Paynes Prarie. If he continues to improve, watch out.

Doug O’Neill is also running a son of Uncle Mo, Nyquist, who only has a maiden win to his name. In that race onJune 5, he dueled for the lead and won by a head over Annie’s Candy, who exits just outside of him in this race and earning him a 95 speed rating. Uncle Mo has been smoking up the track with early winners. Nyquist has been sitting out for two months, so we’ll see what he brings to the table. He’ll be fast and should want the front as well.

Leaving post #6 is the Peter Miller-trained Annie’s Candy, a son of Twirling Candy who is also a new sire that is turning out some hot prospects. Annie’s Candy broke his maiden at Los Alamitos on July 11 by 3-¾ lengths going gate-to-wire after two second-place finishes, one of which was to the above mentioned Nyquist, by a head, also getting a 95 speed figure in that race. Baze stays up, and that has been a red-hot trainer/jockey combo on the SoCal circuit.

Well, it sure looks like we have a lot of speed in here with Found Money, Nyquist, possibly Annie’s Candy and Paynes Prarie. So, if we have a pace collapse or speed duel, my #1 guy to win this will be Swipe. I’ve been on him since his second-place finish at Belmont and loved how he dug in there to win over Mrazek in his last race. I’m going to play a few rolling Pick 3s starting with this race. I will most likely use 3-4 of these colts in that leg.  This is a small but tough field where a few could go gate-to-wire. If there are one or two scratches, I’d suggest using the all button.  I’ll be posting my plays on Twitter, so you can check them out @horseflynawall. Best of luck to all and here’s to hoping for safe rides this weekend.

Best Pal Stakes 2015 Post Positions & Odds
Race 5 4:10 PM PT
1 Found Money 5-1 C.Nakatani/Doug F. O’Neill
2. Paynes Prairie 5-2 M.Pedrodoza/Michael Pender
3 Bistraya 20-1 G.Nicolas/R.Agarie
4 Swipe 2-1 K.Desormeaux/K.Desormeaux
5 Nyquist 3-1 M.Gutierrez/ D.O’Neill
6 Annie’s Candy 4-1 T.Baze/P.Miller