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Kentucky Derby
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports
Bernier's Best

Weekend Stakes Previews for July 30

by Matt Bernier
Updated On: July 29, 2022, 2:38 pm ET

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Saturday's cards at both Saratoga and Del Mar are of the highest quality, with each featuring a Grade 1 sprint as well as two prep races for their meet's respective marquee events – the Grade 1 Pacific Classic and the Grade 1 Travers.

Below you will find selections from three of the four graded stakes races taking place at these two venues on Saturday: the G2 Jim Dandy from Saratoga along with the G1 Bing Crosby and G2 San Diego Handicap from Del Mar.

After twenty-eight weeks, here is the results tally (records reflective of $2 WIN / $2 WPS):

WIN: 14-82 (17.1%, -$53.40)
WPS: 45-82 (54.9%, -$108.90)




This year's Jim Dandy may be short on runners, but it certainly doesn't lack talent. Steve Asmussen sends out Epicenter, who went off favored in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness earlier this year, while Chad Brown sends out both Zandon and Early Voting. Unless Epicenter is aggressively ridden early, it looks as though EARLY VOTING (4) should have a comfortable trip on the front end beneath jockey Jose Ortiz. This year's Preakness winner continues to seemingly fly under the radar in the grand scheme of things, with many viewing his stablemate Zandon as the better of the two. I could not disagree more, as Early Voting will always have a tactical advantage between the two, running on or near the early lead. He may not be a massive price, but the presence of both Epicenter and Zandon should ensure that Early Voting goes off as a playable price on Saturday.

THE PLAY: 4) EARLY VOTING to win at odds of 6/5 or greater




The distance may be a hair sharp for him, but PRINCIPE CARLO (5) ran too well to lose in May's Triple Bend at Santa Anita, and a replica of that effort likely gets the job done at Del Mar on Saturday. Trained by Librado Barocio, the six-year-old son of Coil is in career form and merits consideration in this grade one event despite having never won a graded stakes event to date. The early foot that Principe Carlo possesses should allow him to stay within shouting distance of the lead throughout while also having the bottom necessary to finish strong on the turnback in distance. It is worth noting the Bing Crosby is a “Win and You're In” for the Breeders' Cup Sprint, however none of these runners represent likely players in that division.

THE PLAY: 5) PRINCIPE CARLO to win at odds of 4/1 or greater


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Considering the San Diego is nothing more than a prep race for the Pacific Classic at the end of the meet, the field for Saturday's G2 event is spectacular. Horses like the Dubai World Cup winner Country Grammer, the 2021 Kentucky Derby winner Mandaloun, and last year's Pacific Classic winner Tripoli are all entered in Saturday's race, illustrating just how competitive the event should be. While he's not as fast as some of the bigger names, PARNELLI (6) enters Saturday's race in raging form, pairing up career best Beyer Speed Figures of 93 in each of his last two starts. This often can be a sign that a forward move is imminent. Combined with his wonderful tactical speed, Parnelli could be ready to outrun his odds in the San Diego for trainer John Shirreffs.

THE PLAY: 6) PARNELLI to win at odds of 8/1 or greater




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Matt Bernier

Matt Bernier is a betting analyst for NBC Sports and host of "The Matt Bernier Show" podcast. His work has been showcased in the Daily Racing Form, on ESPN, as well as on TVG. Matt can be followed on Twitter @bernier_matt.