The Grade I, 300,000 Clement L. Hirsch is the feature race at Del Mar this Sunday. A field of five has assembled for this 1 1/16th-mile test over the main course. Multiple stakes winner VALE DORI will attempt to avenge her loss in the Beholder Mile to STELLAR WIND, the defending Hirsch champion. Post time for the Clement L. Hirsch, the eighth of nine races scheduled for Sunday, is 8:40 p.m. EST. Be sure to take part in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!
#3 STELLAR WIND (6-5, morning-line favorite) gets the call to repeat in the Clement L. Hirsch under Victor Espinoza. The $2 million earner is 2-for-2 this year and beat VALE DORI fair and square when these two met in the Beholder Mile last time out.
The Hirsch sets up well for STELLAR WIND, as she’ll be able to run right alongside VALE DORI early before pouncing late. She won last year’s edition with stalking tactics over Beholder.
#2 VALE DORI (7-5) switches back to Mike Smith as she attempts to turn the tables on STELLAR WIND. She’d won six straight races for Bob Baffert prior to her defeat in the Beholder Mile. VALE DORI lost by only a neck, so there’s reason to believe she can win this.
#6 FAITHFULLY (4-1) is far behind the top two in the class department but belongs here on the strength of her latest effort, a win in the Santa Lucia Stakes. She beat a next-out winner in Street Surrender in that heat. She’s also trained by Baffert and will have Rafael Bejarano aboard.
The play: $6 trifecta 3/2/6, $4 trifecta 2/3/6 ($10)
DFJ analysis: Mike Smith has just three mounts on Sunday but rides the favorite in the Fleet Treat Stakes (Miss Sunset) and the second-choice in the Hirsch (VALE DORI). He is a good bet to deliver some crucial stakes points.
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