Top Horse Racing Picks for Saturday, July 23, 2022

| July 22, 2022 11:44 am PDT

We’re visiting two of the top tracks in the country for my Saturday horse racing picks — Del Mar Racing and Monmouth Park.

Between the two we have a plethora of stakes-level competitions, including the San Clemente Stakes (Grade II) at Del Mar and the Haskell Stakes (Grade I) at Monmouth.

In addition to my free horse racing picks here, don’t forget to check out the full race-cards at both tracks at one of our best horse racing betting sites.

Good luck!

My Saturday Horse Racing Picks for Del Mar Racing

We’re on the turf and the dirt track for Del Mars top three featured races. With the competition Del Mar has lined up for the three races I’m assessing, it’s both a pleasure and a challenge to make my horse racing picks.

Race nine — Osunitas Stakes

This is a $100,000 purse, one mile race on the turf course for fillies and mares three years old and upward. The race looks like an easy lay-up for the 3/1 favorite, Avenue de France, ridden by top jockey Juan J. Hernandez.

The five-year-old British import has the most experience at the stakes level, and her record speaks for itself: 12 money finishes in 19 career starts, six of those wins. Her two most recent wins were the Miss America Stakes (Black Type) last December and the Golden Poppy Stakes (Black Type) in April—both at Golden Gate Fields.

Twenty-year horse racing veteran Leonard Powell trains Avenue de France for owners Benowitz Family Trust, Convergence Stables LLC, Madaket Stables LLC, Wonder Stables, and Mathilde Powell.

Race ten — allowance optional claiming race

This is 6-1/2 furlong run on the dirt track for three-year-olds and upward. My money is on the 8/1 deep sleeper, Desmond Doss, piloted by veteran jockey Drayden Van Dyke.

This six-year-old gray roan moneyed 11 of his 19 career starts, winning seven.

Those wins included his two most recent—the Thor’s Echo Stakes (Black Type) at Santa Anita in May and the Bertrando Stakes (Black Type) at Los Alamitos in June. He’s got this.

Regularly ranked among the top 100 for wins since 2005, Steven Miyadi trains Desmond Doss for owner-breeder Nicholas B. Alexander.

Race eleven — San Clemente Stakes (Grade II)

This is a $200,000 purse, one mile turf run for three-year-old fillies. I like one of the third-favored entries (there ae two fillies at 6/1 in this race)—Tezzaray, with Ramon A. Vazquez in the irons.

This chestnut filly from the UK aced her first maiden attempt in the states (she moneyed her two maiden attempts in GB), then less than three weeks later won a very tightly contested Jimmy Durante Stakes (Grade III) by a bob. Both of her Stateside races have been at Del Mar.

Peter Miller trains Tezzaray for owners Slam Dunk Racing and Roger H. Newman.

Saturday’s Horse Racing Picks for Monmouth Park

Monmouth brings us six stakes races, including two of the most competitive of the year—the Haskell Stakes (a “Win and You’re In” Challenge Race for the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Classic) and the turf war that is the United Nations Stakes.

Race three — Wolf Hill Stakes

This is a $100,000 purse, 5-1/2 furlong run on the turf course for three-year-olds and upward. I’m not happy about this, but I have to bet on the 2/1 morning-line favorite, The Critical Way, with Angel A. Rodriguez aboard.

This eight-year-old dark bay gelding doesn’t have a particularly impressive record—until you compare him to the rest of this eight-horse field. He’s finished in the money for 18 of his 30 career starts, winning ten. His two most recent wins include the Parx Dash Stakes (Grade III) at Parx Racing last July and the Get Serious Stakes (Black Type) in May here at Monmouth.

It helps that jockey Rodriguez is having a very good year—his best year ever, in fact. Magic 8-Ball says he and The Critical Way will see the winner’s circle with this one.

Jose H. Delgado trains The Critical Way for Monster Racing Stables.

Race eight — Monmouth Cup Stakes (Grade III)

This is a $400,000 purse, 1-1/8 mile dirt track run for three-year-olds and upward. He may have finished mid-pack in last year’s Kentucky Derby, but I’m still betting on Highly Motivated, with Flavien Prat in the irons.

At 6/5 odds, this four-year-old colt is the favorite to win, and his history stands up well against his competition in this race. For the record, Highly Motivated moneyed six of his eight career starts, winning three.

In 2021, the colt notably finished third in the Gotham Stakes (Grade III) at Aqueduct and second in the Blue Grass Stakes (Grade II) at Keeneland.

Highly Motivated has posted triple-digit speed figures in five of his last six starts. With regular jockey Prat aboard the pair is sure to succeed.

Longtime horse racing  veteran Chad C. Brown trains Highly Motivated for owner-breeder Klaravich Stables, Inc.

Race nine —Matchmaker Stakes (Grade III)

This is a $200,000 purse, 1-1/8 miles turf run for filies and mares three years old and upward. I’m betting my two dollars on the third-favored (at 7/2) Vigilantes Way, ridden by top jockey Paco Lopez.

This five-year-old bay mare moneyed 14 of her 17 career starts, winning six.

Vigilantes Way most notably won the Eatontown Stakes (Grade III) last year here at Monmouth—and she finished second in this year’s running of that same race. Incidentally, this race’s favorite, Fluffy Socks, ran fourth in that race.

Hall of Famer Claude R. McGaughey III trains Vigilantes Way for owner-breeder Phipps Stable.

Race ten — Molly Pitcher Stakes (Grade III)

This is a $400,000 purse, 1-1/16 miles race on the dirt track for fillies and mares three years old and upward. I agree with the morning line here: Bet the 3/2 favorite, Search Results, piloted by Flavien Prat.

This four-year-old dark bay filly moneyed all nine of her career starts, winning five. Those wins include the Gazelle Stakes (Grade III) a year ago last April at Aqueduct, as well as the Acorn Stakes (Grade I) in June 2021 at Belmont Park and the Ruffian Stakes (Grade II) two months ago, also at Belmont.

In this tightly matched seven-horse field, Search Results is still clearly the right choice.

Chad C. Brown trains Search Results for Klaravich Stables, Inc.

Race eleven — United Nations Stakes (Grade I)

This is a $600,000 purse, 1-3/8 miles turf race for three-year-olds and upward.

If horses held grudges, this would be a grudge match.

The winner of last year’s edition of the United Nations Stakes—Tribhuvan—is the favorite to win this year’s as well—but I like the third-favored horse in this run: Gufo, ridden by top jockey Joel Rosario.

The five-year-old Gufo moneyed 16 of his 17 career starts, winning eight of them. Sure, he finished third to Tribhuvan’s first in Grade I Manhattan Stakes last month, but Gufo’s stats say he’s still on the rise in his search for his best, while Tribhuvan appears to be on the downside of that arc.

During their careers, the two have competed in a number of graded stakes matches, and both have won their share.

Breeders’ Cup veteran Christophe Clement trains Gufo for Otter Bend Stables, LLC.

Race twelve — Haskell Stakes (Grade I)

This is a $1,000,000 purse, 1-1/8 miles dirt track run for three-year-olds. Because this race is one of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In Challenge Races,” the nominated winner of the Haskell Stakes will be entitled to automatic entry into the 2022 running of the Breeders’ Cup Classic Championship race with pre-entry and entries fees waived.

The three-year-old colt Taiba was a bit of a wunderkind when he entered the starting gate for this year’s Kentucky Derby, and his 12th place finish in that race was a major disappointment. Still, he’s the 7/5 favorite for this running of the Haskell Stakes.

That said, my money is on the second-favored (at 3/2) Jack Christopher, with Jose L. Ortiz in the irons.

This three-year-old chestnut colt won all four of his career starts, from his initial maiden attempt at Saratoga last August, to the Champagne Stakes (Grade I) at Belmont last October, the Pat Day Mile Stakes (Grade II) at Churchill Downs in May and the Woody Stephens Stakes (Grade I) at Belmont Park last month.

Chad C. Brown trains Jack Christopher for Jim Bakke, Gerald Isbister, Coolmore Stud, and Peter M. Brant.

More Betting Predictions

J.W. Paine
J.W. Paine

J.W. Paine is one of the most experienced writers at He's written for television and the printed media, and is a published novelist (as Tom Elliott).

Paine loves writing about Las Vegas nearly as much he loves living here. An experienced gambler, he's especially familiar with thoroughbred horseracing, poker, blackjack, and slots.

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