I like to pick my spots early at Del Mar due to the uniqueness of the track. That means I'll be concentrating my plays on the turf course while I watch to see how the Polytrack plays.
Del Mar's opening day feature today is the (two division) Oceanside Stakes, for three-year-olds going one mile on the turf. Blingo, an Artie Schiller colt who is 2-for-2 on turf, is the 3-1 morning line favorite in the first division. Blingo is a sustained pace runner (aka a closer), and it looks like he will get plenty of pace up front to run at. I don't love anything in the first division at the expected odds.
In the second division, Holy Candy is listed as the 7-5 favorite. The son of Candy Ride (an excellent turf influence) will be making his first start on the surface. Similar to Blingo, Holy Candy is a sustained pace runner in a race with a lot of early speed.
Holy Candy finished second as the favorite in his first three caree races, then he broke through with a powerful 3 1/2-length maiden win going one mile on the Santa Anita dirt on March 23. For his first race against winners, Holy Candy shipped to Kentucky and finished 4th (of 13) in the Grade 1 Bluegrass Stakes on April 14.
Holy Candy returned in the Affirmed Handicap (G3) at Hollywood Park on June 3, when he finished a steady 3rd behind Nonios and Liaison. That was a pretty fast race, and Holy Candy could move forward second off the layoff and moving to grass.
An interesting longshot to pair with Holy Candy or play independently is Power Foot (12-1 ML Odds). This Powerscourt colt has moved forward with each subsequent race. Following a sixth-place debut sprinting, he stretched out to 1 1/16 miles and broke his maiden with a late rally between horses.
In his first race against winners, Power Foot made an early advance and then had to wait behind horses before going outside and rallying for third. These were excellent learning experiences, and I think Power Foot could continue to move forward. He is a threat to hit the board at a nice price.
As for the main track, I think horses need to learn how to race on Del Mar's Polytrack, and they need to be extremely fit. Morning works are not the same thing as competing with other horses under race conditions.
I'll try to give horses a race over this quirky, deep synthetic track before I bet on them to show their best. That approach includes forgiving a losing effort first-time on Polytrack if I like other things about the horse (pedigree, distance, trip), and if it comes back and works well. I've caught quite a few nice prices betting the second-time Polytrack angle at Keeneland and Arlington.