The Grade III, $100,000 Native Diver Stakes will run as Race 2 on the Nov. 21 card at Del Mar.
The event for 3-year-olds and up will cover 1 1/8 miles and include names like Midcourt, Extra Hope, and Royal Ship among the small field of five.
Here is a look at the top runners set for the Native Diver Stakes.
Betting Preview: Midcourt, Extra Hope
The heavy favorite coming in with a morning line at 4/5 is C R K Stable’s Midcourt. The 5-year-old gelding from Midnight Lute is trained by John A. Shirreffs.
He has a career record of 5-2-4 from 14 starts and earnings of $546,695. In 2020, he has one win, one second, and three thirds from six outings.
Last time out, he finished third in the Sept. 26 Awesome Again Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita, where he registered a 112 Speed Figure. He also finished third in the Aug. 22 TVG Pacific Classic Stakes (G1) and second in the July 25 San Diego Handicap (G2) at Del Mar. His victory came in the Feb. 1 San Pasqual Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita.
Midcourt will break from Post 4 under jockey Victor Espinoza.
He will be up against the 3/1 Extra Hope, owned by Jay Em Ess Stable. The 4-year-old Shanghai Bobby colt is trained by Richard Mandella.
He is 3-2-3 from 13 career starts and has earnings of $234,831. His 2020 performances include one win from two outings.
That victory came last time out in a Sept. 26 allowance optional claiming race at Santa Anita, where the colt registered a 114 Speed Figure. His other run was a fifth-place finish in another allowance optional claiming race back on Aug. 22 at Del Mar, and he closed out his 2019 season with a runner-up effort in that year’s Native Diver Stakes.
Extra Hope will have to overcome the outside Post 5 under rider Juan Hernandez.
Betting Preview: Royal Ship
Another runner to look out for is Fox Hill Farms and Siena Farm’s Royal Ship, coming in at 4/1. The 4-year-old Midshipman colt is trained by Richard Mandella.
He is 5-1-2 from nine career starts and has earnings of $69,305. In 2020, he has one third-place finish from two outings.
His most recent performance was a sixth-place finish in the Oct. 3 City of Hope Mile Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita, which followed his third-place run in the Aug. 23 Del Mar Mile Handicap (G2) at Del Mar. The latter resulted in a 114 Speed Figure.
Royal Ship will break from Post 3 under Mike Smith.
The rest of the field (post, morning line) is set to include Combatant (Post 1, 8/1) and Stellar Sound (Post 2, 6/1).
Free Betting Pick
The Native Diver should be an easy take for the heavily-favored 4/5 Midcourt. He is undoubtedly the best runner among the field, and it will be hard for anyone to get ahead of him. His biggest challenge could come from Extra Hope, but the colt has the outside post.
Spooky Express Free Pick: Midcourt
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