Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Thursday, July 23

FIRST RACE: 1. Wish I Understood, 2. Don’t Tell Jackie, 3. Vronsky’s Devka. LONG SHOT: Sooner Time.

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SECOND RACE: 1. #2 SMOOTH TALKER (6-1) best bet, 2. Good Stats, 3. Where Is My Mind. LONG SHOT: Norastone.

Trainer Doug O’Neill has gotten off to a slow start at the meet, but he’s bound to heat up at some point and did so on Wednesday when he won two races on the turf, of all surfaces. O’Neil is 36% with horses moving down two or more classes like this 5-year-old mare. Drayden Van Dyke is re-united with the mare.

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THIRD RACE: 1. #9 Holiday Camp (12-1), 2. Roy H, 3. Incline Village. LONG SHOT: Rule He Will.

Trainer Bob Baffert is searching for a winning spot for the this $700,000 purchase last year. The turf might be the answer as the sire Street Boss is 20% with first-time turfers and Baffert is 24% with jockey Martiin Garcia.

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FOURTH RACE: 1. Gravity Force, 2. Blue Ratio, 3. Out of Mischief. LONG SHOT: I’m Zonin.
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FIFTH RACE: 1. #2 Lily Kai (12-1), 2. Almost Reality, 3. Ticaboo. LONG SHOT: Just Got Lucky.

This daughter of Unusual Heat is bred to love the grass and to go long. She showed improvement in her second start and now trainer Mike Machowsky sends her around two turns for the first time after two sprints, a move he is 23% with. Good turf jockey Brice Blanc is aboard.

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SIXTH RACE: 1. Midnight Transfer, 2. Buckleberry Grey, 3. Barrel Knot. LONG SHOT: Ain’t No Other.
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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Lady’s Plan, 2. Freethinker, 3. Kadesha. LONG SHOT: Halljoy.
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EIGHTH RACE: 1. Emerald Green, 2. West Coast Storm, 3. I Heart You. LONG SHOT: Quick Navigator.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Wednesday’s top choice winners: 2 (Gypsy’s Rule $17.20, fourth race; Savings Account $4.20, sixth)

Wednesday’s second choice winners: 1 (Luvuryan $7.40, eighth)

Wednesday’s third choice winner: 0

Wednesday’s long shot winners: 1 (Karma King $17.80, second)

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Wednesday, July 22

To say it was a tough week on the handicapping front during the first week of Del Mar is an understatement. Five top choice winners isn’t acceptable, but with the weather and surface changes what are you going to do? I had second choice winners score but they weren’t on top.

As for track itself, newcomer Flavien Prat leads the jockey race with six winners, five of them on the dirt. Prat is in his first full season in Southern California after riding mainly on the grass in his native France. Prat is tied for the lead on the dirt with Joe Talamo (5-for-16). Santiago Gonzalez follows with four wins, all in the mud on Sunday. There is an old handicapping angle that says bet South American-sired horses in the mud. I guess that now carries over to the jockeys, too.

On the flip side on the dirt, Edwin Maldonado is 0-for-10, James Graham is 0-9 and Fernando Perez is 1-13. Graham, a newcomer from the Midwest is off to a rough 0-for-12 start overall.

On the grass, Mike Smith, Rafael Bejarano and Drayden Van Dyke all have two wins. Tyler Baze is 0-for-7 on the grass and Triple Crown riding jockey Victor Espinoza is 0-for-6. In fact, Espinoza is 0-for-13 overall. Can you say TC hangover?

On the training front, Jeff Mullins (4-for-7) and Peter Miller (4-for-24) lead the race. Jerry Hollendorfer is 3-for-8 on the dirt while Doug O’Neill is 0-for-9 on the dirt and 0-for-13 overall.

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FIRST RACE: 1. Silvertron, 2. Comanche Ruler, 3. Domingo Cat. LONG SHOT: Crazy Al.

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SECOND RACE: 1. #5 Venetian Mask (4-1), 2. Sir Macho, 3. Whiskey Wild. LONG SHOT: Karma King.

Trainer Jerry Holldendorfer drops this 4-year-old into a claimer for the first time and gelded the son of Pulpit. Hollendorfer is 25% turf to dirt and he puts jockey Martin Garcia aboard.

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THIRD RACE: 1. Forest Chatter, 2. Marchman, 3. Head South. LONG SHOT: Giant Ego.
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FOURTH RACE: 1. Gypsy’s Rule, 2. Grape Fizz, 3. Lady Wedge. LONG SHOT: She’s too Wild.
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FIFTH RACE: 1. Merle, 2. Gigantis, 3. Diablo Caballero. LONG SHOT: Heat.
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SIXTH RACE: 1. Savings Account, 2. All Star Bub, 3. Front Range. LONG SHOT: Sky Mega.
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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Kulik Lodge, 2. Footstepsinbronze, 3. Winning Prize. LONG SHOT: Zuri Chop.
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EIGHTH RACE: 1. #1 DIXIE TWEET (5-2) BEST BET, 2. Mucho Blessings, 3. Luvuryan. LONG SHOT: Katsfashion.

Trainer Mark Glatt drops this filly to the bottom of the maiden claiming ranks. Glatt is 36% dropping a horse two or more class levels. This daughter of Dixie Chatter showed high speed on the turf and jockey Rafael Bejarano takes over and he is 27% with Glatt.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Sunday’s top choice winners: 1 (War Destiny $5, fourth race)

Sunday’s second choice winners: 2 (Codacious $16.20, second; Pretty N Cool $4, sixth)

Sunday’s third choice winners: 2 (Toomanytomatoes $11.40, third; Husband’s Folly $7.80, fifth)

Sunday’s long shot winners: 1 (Sweet Profit $4.60, first)

 

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Belmont Park, Horse racing, Los Alamitos

Los Alamitos (and Belmont) opinions for Thursday, July 2

Race 1: #1 Zees Chris (10-1)

Our Eyes:  Jockey Drayden Van Dyke was the king of Los Alamitos last year, granted he had a 5-pound weight allowance, but he hasn’t forgotten how to ride. Van Dyke jumps on this long shot for trainer Mike Harrington and we’ll take a flyer. I’m kind of stunned Van Dyke only has three mounts on the card. Why would trainers put no name jockeys on their mounts instead of a jockey who dominated this track last year? Just plain stupid. 

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Race 3: #1 Warm Endowment (7-2)

Van Dyke jumps on this first-timer starter for trainer Dean Pederson, who is 23% with firsters. This daughter of Unusual Heat (9% with first timers) has been training well at Los Alamitos and should be ready to go.

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Race 7: #4 Magic Mark (15-1)

This gelding had a third over the track last year and now trainer Ron Ellis has him third off the layoff (31%). Van Dyke jumps on and he is 32% with Ellis.

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BELMONT PARK

Race 6: #3 Messi (4-1)

Trainer Graham Motion is 32% with horses making their U.S. debuts. This one was suppose to run last week, but it was rained off the turf. Motion adds Lasix and has gelded the horse since its last race.

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Race 8: #5 Can’thelpbelieving (8-1)

Trainer Graham Motion gave this colt a confidence builder with a win at Parx. Top jockey Javier Castellano takes the mount.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Horse racing, Pimlico, Triple Crown

Pimlico Race Course opinions for Saturday, May 16

The Pimlico is here and I’m not going to try to re-invent the wheel. I still think the West Coast horses are the best so here are my picks:

#8 Firing Line (4-1)

#1 American Pharoah (4-5)

#2 Dortmund (7-2)

#5 Tale of Verve (30-1)

Comment: I’m sticking with Firing Line and hope jockey Gary Stevens can get him to switch leads down the lane this time.

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Here are some other races on the card:

Race 1: #7 Mafia Muscle Man (turf only) (6-1)

Trainer Larry Rivelli is based in Chicago, yet he picks this spot for this 2-year-old to make his debut. He also owns the colt and the sire Lewis Michael is 15% with first-time turfers. Rivelli is 27% with first-timers and gets Javier Casellano to ride. Play an exacta box with #8 FINNEGAN (6-5), who is supposed to be trainer Wesley Ward’s next big Ascot thing.

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Race 3: #10 Chiropractor (7-2)

Trainer Tom Proctor is going to have a barn on the East Coast based near Pimlico and starts this Kitten’s Joy first-timer on the turf, where the sire is 17% first-time turf. One of Proctor’s West Coast jockeys, Drayden Van Dyke, rides, but they have been cold lately.

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Race 6: #2 Hooligan (4-1)

Trainer Wesley Ward is almost an automatic play in a 5-furlong turf sprint and here he gets jockey John Velazquez aboard (22% together).

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Race 9: #1 Bocaouva (8-1), #8 Watsdachances (6-1), #9 Token of Love (5-1).

One of the toughest races on the card, BOCAOUVA had a ton of trouble in her last race and drawing the No. 1 hole here is no bargain. Will use all three in all vertical bets.

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Race 10: #7 Gimme Da Lute (3-1)

Trainer Bob Baffert is an amazing 39% with horses going sprint-route-sprint and that’s what this 3-year-old does after finishing third to Competitive Edge in the Pat Day Mile on Derby Day.

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Race 12: #10 Manchurian High (turf only) (15-1)

Jockey Gary Stevens doesn’t need to ride every race so he must have gotten a good story on this gelding to ride for little-known trainer Lilli Kurtinecz. The 7-year-old has won twice over this Pimlico turf course and will be charging down the lane. He also comes out of a key race with three next out winners. This is one of tougher races on the card so go for a price.

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita Park selections for Sunday, Jan. 4

FIRST RACE: 1. When We Met, 2. Quality Plan, 3. Hadfunlastnight. LONG SHOT: Oligarch.

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SECOND RACE: 1. War Destiny, 2. Logan’s Moon, 3. Uptown Rythem. LONG SHOT: Twentytwentyvision.

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THIRD RACE: 1. Miss Mandate, 2. Devil’s Beauty, 3. All Star Bub. LONG SHOT: Taparri.

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FOURTH RACE: 1. Temple Keys, 2. Metaboss, 3. Air Nashoba. LONG SHOT: Stuffed Animal.

Temple City has proven to be a good sire with first-time grass horses and that’s what we have in this 3-year-old colt, TEMPLE KEYS (9-2), for trainer Tom Proctor and jockey Drayden Van Dyke.

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FIFTH RACE: 1. Kill Shot, 2. Willie B Awesome, 3. He’s On His Toes. LONG SHOT: Misty’sviewthegold.

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SIXTH RACE: 1. Doctor Glynis, 2. Faith Hope Love, 3. Mahalo Princess. LONG SHOT: Warren’s Gussie.

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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Rainbow North, 2. Cole Cole, 3. Ebony Gold. LONG SHOT: Unusual Lover.

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EIGHTH RACE: 1. Velvet Mesquite (best bet), 2. Shrinking Violet, 3. Wishing Gate. LONG SHOT: Sky Treasure.

VELVET MESQUITE (7-2), a 5-year-old mare, loves running down the hill at Santa Anita, where she is 5-for-6 on the course. The outside post is fine and jockey Mike Smith stays aboard for trainer Blake Heap.

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NINTH RACE: 1. Miz Graycee, 2. Honey Nugget, 3. Won’t Be Shaken. LONG SHOT: Lady Danger.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

 

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Horse racing, Los Alamitos

Los Alamitos Race Course opinions for Friday, Dec. 19

Race 4: #6 Patsy G and Me (2-1)

This 2-year-old made his debut in September at Golden Gate in a race that has produced two winners. Now he is in the Tim Yakteen barn, which is 38% with horses off a 61-180-day layoff. Apprentice Drayden Van Dyke is likely to gun from the gate.

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Race 6: #6 Maid Easy (5-1)

We liked this first-timer by Top Hit earlier in the meet, but she was scratched out of the No. 1 hole. She gets an outside draw here for the potent jockey/trainer combination of Kayle Stra and Kory Owens (38%). Owens is also 23% with 2-year-olds.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Horse racing, Los Alamitos

Los Alamitos Race Course opinions for Thursday, Dec. 18

Not a great card for Thursday as horsemen are waiting for Santa Anita Park to open the day after Christmas, Dec. 26.

One note: the inside four posts have won 19 of 22 route races (87%) at the meet so far.

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Race 1: Brackendale (4-1)

Interesting jockey move here. Feranando Perez usually rides for trainer Robertino Diodoro, who has Papa’s Paisley in here, but Perez chooses to stick with this son of Forest Grove here for trainer Robert Gilker.

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Race 6: #4 Tough Sunday (3-1)

This 2-year-old had all kinds of trouble at the start of his debut on Oct. 29 at Santa Anita, but still managed to finish third. That race has produced three next out winners and apprentice jockey Drayden Van Dyke keeps the mount for trainer Steve Miyadi.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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