San Diego Handicap Odds & Betting Picks

The summer meet at Del Mar is a little piece of racing heaven and Saturday’s schedule includes the G2 San Diego Handicap, which gives west-coast ace Defunded an opportunity to continue his winning streak against last year’s winner Royal Ship and Breeders’ Cup third Slow Down Andy.

San Diego Handicap

G2, $300,000, 1m 1/16 dirt, 3yo+, 5.39pm PT

What a difference a year makes. The San Diego, the highlight of the undercard at Del Mar on Saturday, brings together the winner and seventh from the 2022 edition of the race, whose careers have gone in opposite directions during the intervening months.

Twelve months ago Royal Ship (6-1) sprang a mild upset when clearing away to win by two and a quarter lengths, with Defunded (8-5) a disappointing second-choice, dropping away to finish seventh after setting the pace past halfway. Since then Royal Ship has gone zero-for-five, drifting to the fringes, while Defunded has evolved into one of the west coast’s big names with a four-for-seven count and two G1 wins.

The versatile, mature Defunded can go from the front, as he did when wiring the 2023 G1 Hollywood Gold Cup over ten furlongs at Santa Anita with Senor Buscador (12-1) a no-show fifth, beaten six and a quarter lengths, or he can rate and come late. Those were his tactics on his previous start in the mile-eighth 2023 G2 Californian at the same track, when he blew Royal Ship away by three lengths.

The slight cutback is not seen as a negative and neither is the weight concession, because few of his rivals can match him in his current mood.

John Sadler has won this race a joint-record five times and loads both barrels, although Tripoli (15-1) has deteriorated markedly since winning the 2021 G1 Pacific Classic and is hard to like. There are, though, possibilities about barnmate Missed The Cut (5-1), a British import who won a ten-furlong stakes on a synthetic surface ‘over there’ and showed promise on his Stateside debut last month.

It took him too long to hit his stride in a mile allowance at Santa Anita, but he was clear second-best – beaten three and a quarter lengths – to American Admiral (6-1), who looks out of his depth in this company. That form is light years away from Defunded and Royal Ship, but the extra yardage will help Missed The Cut.

Slow Down Andy (5-1) is capable of fine form – he made all to win the 2022 G2 Del Mar Derby on the lawn, and was a game third behind Cody’s Wish in the 2022 G1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile – but is not to be relied on, although this is class relief after a string of G1 defeats. He may appeal to exotics players.

It is tough to imagine the prolific sprinter Brickyard Ride (6-1), who has never run well at this track, making any impact. He has won at a mile, in a state-bred stakes at Santa Anita, but this is a different league and he will struggle to carry his speed.

2023 San Diego Handicap Odds & Betting Pick

HorseJockeyHorse Racing Odds by Jazzsports
Slow Down AndyMario Gutierrez+500
Royal Ship (BRZ)Mike E. Smith+600
TripoliTiago Josue Pereira+1500
Missed the CutHector Isaac Berrios+500
American AdmiralRamon A. Vazquez+600
DefundedJuan J. Hernandez+160
Senor BuscadorGeovanni Franco+1200
TisquantumEdwin A. Maldonado+3000
Brickyard RideUmberto Rispoli+600

The slight cutback gives pause but dual G1 winner DEFUNDED is the clear choice, being in the form of his life against rivals who lack any recent spark.

Stay Tuned for the latest 2023 Breeders’ Cup Odds. Check out the Breeders Cup Win and you’re in & Breeders Cup World Championships Races and more!

Preview banner

Don’t forget to Sign-up and get up to a 10% horse rebate. Get the best horse betting Free Picks & promotions.

Follow us on Social Media for more San Diego Handicap updates!