2017 Cougar II Handicap Preview, Entries & Odds

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Dave Bond | OTB Writer

OffTrackBetting.com - Del Mar racetrack in Del Mar, California will be the scene of the G3 Cougar II Handicap on Wednesday, July 26. Horses three years old and upward will be featured when they line up on Del Mar's dirt track and race 1 1/2 miles for the winner's share of the $100,000 purse.

A field of seven have been confirmed for the Cougar II Handicap - race 7 on Del Mar's mid-week Wednesday card. Post time is 5:10 PM. Here s a peek into the past performances of all seven entries for this intriguing G3 stakes.

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2017 Cougar II Handicap Entries at Del Mar

Hard Aces 2-1

Defending gate-to-wire champion in this race, John Sadler trainee also won the 2015 G1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita in upset fashion. He followed up his win in this race with an eighth, 25 lengths back in the G1 Pacific Classic August 20 and has been up and down since. Last time out was an OK third in the G1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita May 27 after an upset win in the G3 Tokyo City Cup on that track April 2, a sixth in the G1 Santa Anita Handicap March 11, a fifth in the G2 San Antonio Stakes February 4, an OK third in the G3 Native Diver Stakes at Del Mar November 27, a second in the G2 Marathon Stakes November 4 and a fourth in the G1 Awesome Again Stakes in October. Other good results include a third in the 2016 Gold Cup at Santa, a respectable second in the 2016 G2 Californian Stakes and decent second with an impressive 101 Beyer Speed Figure in the G1 Santa Anita Handicap March 12 of that year. Hard Aces now has eight wins, six seconds and 10 third place finishes in 41 career starts and enters in decent form. Santiago Gonzalez gets the call on the morning line favorite and 124-pound highweight from gate 6.

Big John B 5-2

Won this race in 2015 for trainer Phil D'Amato during a streak of three straight wins that includes the G2 Del Mar Handicap as well (a race he won two straight years). He has been inconsistent since. Last time out was a sixth in the G1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita May 27 which followed an OK second in the G3 Tokyo City Cup at Santa Anita April 2, a non-threatening fifth in an Allowance Optional Claiming there March 9 and 11 months away. Before the layoff was a win in the 2016 Tokyo City Cup, a seventh in the G2 San Luis Rey Stakes at Santa Anita in March, 2016 and a third in the G3 John B. Connally Turf Cup at Sam Houston in January, 2016. He also recorded a tenth in the 2015 Breeders' Cup Turf and a respectable second to The Pizza Man in the 2015 G2 Hollywood Turf Cup. Big John B now has 43 career starts with 15 wins, seven seconds and five third place finishes but enters in typically inconsistent form. He tries to snap a three-race losing streak Wednesday when he leaves from post 3 with Rafael Bejarano in the reins of the second betting choice.

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French Getaway 3-1

Robert Hess trained Ringling has two wins, a second and two third place finishes in 10 career starts. He makes his stakes debut Wednesday off an Allowance Optional Claiming score at Santa Anita June 18, a third in an Allowance Optional Claiming there April 21 and three straight fourths in similar races on that track this past winter. French Getaway has improved lately but takes an enormous step up in competition - from gate 4 with Kent Desormeaux guiding the morning line third choice.

Curlin Road 6-1

Has just three wins, three seconds and three third place finishes in 23 career starts for trainer Doug O'Neill. He arrives off an Allowance Optional Claiming score at Los Alamitos July 16 which followed a fourth in a similar race at Santa Anita June 16 and consecutive thirds in Allowance Optional Claiming races on that track this past spring. His only graded stakes action resulted in a fifth in the G2 Los Alamitos Derby last September. Curlin Road has quietly placed in five of his last six starts overall against lesser company and hopes it finally translates in his latest step up. Flavien Prat has been tabbed to ride from gate 2.

Infobedad 8-1

Argentinean bred John Sadler trainee has six wins, two seconds and two third place finishes in 30 career starts - he was OK at home and has been OK in North America as well. He enters off a third in a Claiming race at Santa Anita June 9 which followed a fifth in the G3 Tokyo City Cup on that track April 2 and wins in two of his previous three starts - an Allowance Optional Claiming score at Santa Anita March 11 followed an eighth in the minor Super Bowl Starter Handicap February 5 and another Allowance score by a staggering 26 1/2 lengths January 1 - all results at Santa Anita. He failed to place in his previous nine starts. Infobedad has been decent lately and will be after a first stakes score from the rail Saturday with Tyler Baze aboard.

Noble Nick 15-1

Has 23 career starts for trainer Ari Herbertson with four wins, five seconds and three third place finishes. He steps into graded stakes company for the first time Wednesday off a second in an Allowance at Oak Tree at Pleasanton June 25, a Claiming score at Golden Gate June 4 and off-the-board finishes seven straight races including a tenth in the Super Bowl Starter Handicap in February. Noble Nick has been competitive in his last two starts but wasn't all that flattering prior to that. William Antongeorgo III will be in the irons from post 5.

Giant Influence 15-1

Lightly raced Jamie Theriot trained gelding has two wins and a third-place finish in his six career starts for trainer Peter Eurton - all at Santa Anita. He makes his stakes debut Wednesday off an Allowance Optional Claiming score June 18, a ninth and a fourth respectively in another pair of Allowance Optional Claiming races. He broke maiden before that February 26. Giant Influence has been just OK against lesser company so far and looks overmatched in this major step up in competition. Jamie Theriot rides from the outside post 7.

2017 Cougar II Handicap Odds & Entries

Race 7 on Del Mar's Wednesday card with a Post Time of 8:10 PM.

Entry Horse Jockey Trainer
1 Infobedad (ARG) Tyler Baze John Sadler
2 Curlin Road Flavien Prat Doug O'Neill
3 Big John B Rafael Bejarano Philip D'Amato
4 French Getaway Kent Desormeaux Robert Hess, Jr.
5 Noble Nick William Antongeorgi III Ari Herbertson
6 Hard Aces Santiago Gonzalez John Sadler
7 Giant Influence Jamie Theriot Peter Eurton

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