July 16, 2024

Grade 1 talent runs deep in Seabiscuit

Beyond Brilliant holds on from Santin in the Hollywood Derby at Del Mar (© Benoit Photo)

Saturday’s $250,000 Seabiscuit H. (G2) at Del Mar shapes up as one of the leading features of Thanksgiving weekend and a far deeper race than its official Grade 2 ranking would imply.

There is plenty of classy pace signed on for the 1 1/16-mile turf affair. Beyond Brilliant, who won the Hollywood Derby (G1) over the course last year and the City of Hope Mile (G2) two back, aims to rebound from an eighth-place run in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) in which he didn’t make the lead.

Finishing one place behind Beyond Brilliant in the Mile was Smooth Like Strait, who did set the pace before weakening down the stretch. However, the Grade 1 veteran has developed a habit in recent campaigns of settling for minor awards, and might prove vulnerable again at a short price.

Invading from the east is Santin, who missed by a head to Beyond Brilliant in the Hollywood Derby last term. The Godolphin homebred has gone on to multiple Grade 1 glory this season, taking the Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic and Arlington Million at Churchill, though his ninth-place run in the Coolmore Turf Mile (G1) suggests he might find this distance also a bit on the short side.

Other possibilities include Hong Kong Harry, victorious in the Del Mar Mile (G2) and American (G3) this season, and Set Piece, a two-time graded stakes winner at Pimlico this campaign and a rallying fourth in the Coolmore Turf Mile (G1) most recently. Masteroffoxhounds shortens up after taking the 1 1/4-mile John Henry Turf Championship (G2) at Santa Anita last month.