Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Wednesday, July 18 (Opening day)

Preview: Going to the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club can be a lot of fun, but let’s be honest, everyone wants to win money. Jockeys and trainers all have their strengths and weaknesses. If you know those, it can point you to the winner’s circle and away from throwing your tickets away.

Jockeys
FLAVIEN PRAT:
Without a doubt, the best rider not named Mike Smith on the circuit, and he rides a lot more than Smith. Prat began his career in France and thus he was put on a lot of grass horses early in career, but he has become a very good all-around jockey. He won the Del Mar title last summer by winning 23 races on the dirt (25 percent) and 12 races (from 80 starters) on the grass. He was also second in races won with 2-year-olds (six) and that number could improve as he has made some inroads into the Bob Baffert barn. Prat loves to get to the rail on the turf, save ground and swing out at the head of the home stretch. He sometimes gets caught in traffic with this move, but he knows what he’s doing most of the time.

RAFAEL BEJARANO: The once king of Del Mar has slowed in the last year. He did finish tied for second in the standings, tied with Evin Roman, and tied for third on the dirt. He also tied Prat and Kent Desormeaux with 12 victories on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course. If you are looking for a horse to finish down the lane, don’t bet against Bejarano because he will carry it there with his strength. The one weakness in Bejarano’s game is his work out of the gate. He registered just three wins on 2-year-olds during the 2017 meet because trainers want a jockey pushing a horse out of the gate. A lot of 2-year-old races are won by speed horses, which isn’t Bejarano’s strong suit.

KENT DESORMEAUX: There’s the good Kent and the bad Kent. If Desormeaux is in a good mood, he can be the best rider in the room, but if he’s not feeling it that day, don’t bet on him. Desormeaux, who rides a lot for his brother and trainer Keith, was fourth in the standings a year ago. He had 14 wins on the dirt and 12 wins on the grass. He is an exceptional grass rider.

JOE TALAMO: There was a time that “Talamo on the turf” made you big bucks every meet, but he has lost some of that magic in the last few years. He was fifth in the riding standings last summer (23 wins), but tied for third on the dirt with 17 winners. On the grass, he slipped to just six winners. He had a like number of victories with 2-year-olds, to tie for second in the colony. He was also second with first-time starters with three wins.

APPRENTICES: Roman, who won the Eclipse Award as the top apprentice in the country, lost his bug and is a journeyman now. Who will replace those 29 wins because you know how trainers like those 7- and 5-pound weight allowances? Fans should especially watch Heriberto Figueroa and Asa Espinoza, who just tied for the Los Alamitos riding title. Two others to watch are Edgar Payeras and Franklin Ceballos.

OTHERS: Mike “Money” Smith will ride in a lot of stakes races and 2-year-old events. If he rides in another race, take note. … Tyler Baze wins the hard-luck award from 2017 with 18 seconds and 17 thirds with just nine wins. He’s a good all-around rider. … Drayden Van Dyke scored 11 wins on the turf a year ago, one behind the leaders, and he has a great clock in his head. Watch out for him with Baffert, too. He has also made in-roads in that stable and Baffert won’t be afraid to put him up on a good 2-year-old. … Journeyman Edwin Maldonado is a rider to watch, especially on the grass as he registered seven wins on the green in 2017. He’s underrated. … Corey Nakatani maybe getting older but last summer he proved he’s still good with 2-year-olds (Bolt d’Oro) and he’s also a master on the grass.

FIRST RACE: 1. Carville, 2. Out of Patience, 3. General Ike. LONG SHOT: Above Board.
Tough race take as many as you can in the Pick 5.

SECOND RACE: 1. Upo, 2. Kylemore, 3. Ayacara. LONG SHOT: Jimmy Chila.
If this Pick 5 doesn’t pay boxcars, I’ll be stunned. This card is tough.

THIRD RACE: 1. Ketos, 2. Junior Gilliam, 3. Eighty Three. LONG SHOT: Gentrified.

FOURTH RACE: 1. Blueberry Princess, 2. Flying to the Line, 3. Dicotomy. LONG SHOT: Opus Won.
Blueberry Princess comes out of a race that has already produced two next out winners from four starters.

FIFTH RACE: 1. Bird Is the Word, 2. Ritzy A. P., 3. Ann Arbor Eddie. LONG SHOT: Castle.

SIXTH RACE: 1. Shivermetimbers, 2. Divisor, 3. Regulate. LONG SHOT: Show Me Da Lute.

SEVENTH RACE: 1. Brill (BEST BET), 2. Angel Alessandra, 3. Bizwhacks. LONG SHOT: Barbadolla.
We all know how good trainer Jerry Hollendorfer is with young fillies and this $1 million purchase BRILL looks like the real deal. She has three big works coming into the race and Hollendorfer is 17 percent with first-timers. We will never get the 5-2 morning-line, but that’s life. Looks like a single to me.

EIGHTH RACE (Oceanside Stakes): 1. Texas Wedge, 2. Desert Stone, 3. Artie B Good. LONG SHOT: More Honor.
Believe it or not, trainer Peter Miller didn’t win a stakes race at the Del Mar summer meet so you can bet (and he will) that he wants to end that right here and now.

NINTH RACE: 1. Blame Joe, 2. Super Duper Cooper, 3. Aurora d’Oro. LONG SHOT: Impression.

10TH RACE: 1. Sellwood, 2. Henry County, 3. Zipman. LONG SHOT: Starting Bloc.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita results, June 24

SUNDAY’S RESULTS

Top choice winners: 3 (Haylord $3.20, second race; Flagstaff $4.80, third; Desert Law $9.60, 10th)

Second choice winners: 2 (Ladybug $6, fifth; Vasilika $3.40, seventh)

Third choice winners: 2 (Honcho $10, first; Tina’s Exchange $4.80, third)

Long shot winners: 1 (Storm the Hill $21, ninth)

Note: Remember I’m not handicapping the next two weeks for Los Alamitos. See you on opening day at Del Mar.

Good luck

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Sunday, June 23

FIRST RACE: 1. Nice Haircut, 2. Zip’s Secret, 3. Honcho. LONG SHOT: Baby Frankie.

SECOND RACE: 1. Haylord, 2. Captain N. Barron, 3. Thefourfortyfourth. LONG SHOT: Royal Sekker.

THIRD RACE: 1. Radio Silence, 2. Vending Machine, 3. Tins’a Exchange. LONG SHOT: Skelton Pass.

FOURTH RACE: 1. Flagstaff, 2. Deputy Bernardini, 3. Calabasas. LONG SHOT: Lord Guinness.

FIFTH RACE: 1. Untouched Elegance, 2. Ladybug, 3. Strengthinnumbers. LONG SHOT: Storming Lady.

SIXTH RACE: 1. Devil’s Beauty, 2. Herunbridledpower, 3. Princess Ashlyn. LONG SHOT: Todos Santos.

SEVENTH RACE: 1. Quebec, 2. Vasilika, 3. Beautiful Becca. LONG SHOT: Lob City.

EIGHTH RACE: 1. Whoa Nessie, 2. Coco Kisses, 3. Chasin Lucas. LONG SHOT: Sunrise Royale.

NINTH RACE: 1. Sassy Little Lila, 2. Ancient Secret, 3. Miss Julia Star. LONG SHOT: Storm the Hill.

10TH RACE: 1. Desert Law, 2. River Echo, 3. Best Two Minutes. LONG SHOT: Adens Dream.

11TH RACE: 1. Acker, 2. Ann Arbor Eddie, 3. Ya Gotta Wanna. LONG SHOT: Play Hard to Get.

THURSDAY’S RESULTS

Top choice winners: 2 (Classy Atlantic $5.60, first race; Studly Perfection $3.60, second)

Second choice winners: 1 (Naughty Sophie $6, eighth)

Third choice winners: 0

Long shot winners: 0

Good luck.

Note: Going to take Los Alamitos off to gear up for Del Mar. See you on opening day where the turf meets the surf.

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Thursday, June 21

FIRST RACE: 1. Classy Atlantic, 2. An Eddie Surprise, 3. Mongolian Window. LONG SHOT: Tapitha Bonita.

SECOND RACE: 1. Studly Perfection, 2. Kaleidoscope Kid, 3. On the Rocks. LONG SHOT: Dare to Enter.

THIRD RACE: 1. True Validity, 2. Bizwhacks, 3. Courteous. LONG SHOT: She Rocks the Look.

FOURTH RACE: 1. Heloise, 2. Tengs Rhythm, 3. Bad and Bougie. LONG SHOT: Quizlet.

FIFTH RACE: 1. Hit the Seam, 2. Jet Set Ruler, 3. Clyde’s Pride. LONG SHOT: Jonas.

SIXTH RACE: 1. Duranga, 2. Party Hostess, 3. Just Be Held. LONG SHOT: Princess Lela.

SEVENTH RACE: 1. Hachi, 2. Achia, 3. Cheekaboo. LONG SHOT: Causeway Carolyn.

EIGHTH RACE: 1. True Testament, 2. Tapalita, 3. Naughty Sophie. LONG SHOT: Purdue.

Good luck.

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Thursday, June 14

Note: Still have illness issues and no time to handicap. Sorry

SATURDAY’S BELMONT PARK RESULTS

Top choice winners: 3 (Abel Tasman $4, third race; Hoppertunity $9.10, fifth; Justify $3.60, 11th)

Second choice winners: 2 (Monomoy Girl $3.20, fourth; Bee Jersey $8.50, ninth)

Third choice winners: 1 (Prince Lucky $30, second)

Long shot winners: 0

SATURDAY’S SANTA ANITA RESULTS

Top choice winners: 1 (Soltero $15, fourth race)

Second choice winners: 4 (Kristi’s Copilot $6.60, first; Satori $27.20, second; There and Back $4.80, seventh; Tule $7, 11th)

Third choice winners: 1 (Sparky Ville $5.20; third)

Long shot winners: 1 (Paved $5.80, eighth)

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Saturday, June 9

FIRST RACE: 1. Calvert Street, 2. Kristi’s Copilot, 3. Leroy. LONG SHOT: Preacher Roe.

SECOND RACE: 1. Blaze of Glory, 2. Satori, 3. Rak City. LONG SHOT: Herkimer Storm.

THIRD RACE: 1. Parsimony, 2. Sythesis, 3. Sparky Ville. LONG SHOT: Two Fifty Coup.

FOURTH RACE: 1. Soltero, 2. Cajun Treasure, 3. Bartlett Hall. LONG SHOT: Zipman.

FIFTH RACE: 1. Broome, 2. Summer Down Now, 3. Mongolian Humor. LONG SHOT: Lucky Val.

SIXTH RACE: 1. Friendly Outthedor, 2. Tequila Blanco, 3. Malibu Magic. LONG SHOT: Dignitaire.

SEVENTH RACE: 1. He’s Stylish, 2. There and Back, 3. Bahamian. LONG SHOT: Belden Avenue.

EIGHTH RACE: 1. Fatale Bere, 2. Ms Peintour, 3. Miss Sienna. LONG SHOT: Paved.

NINTH RACE: 1. McKale, 2. Ride to the Wire, 3. Talent Scout. LONG SHOT: Divisor.

10TH RACE: 1. Cow Dog, 2. Yellow Bonnet, 3. Complete Discreet. LONG SHOT: Tenthousandreasons.

11TH RACE: 1. Oiseau de Guerre, 2. Tule Fog, 3. Epical. LONG SHOT: Avalanche.

Good luck.

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Belmont Park, Horse racing, Triple Crown

Belmont Park opinions for Saturday, June 9 (Belmont Stakes Day)

Stakes races only

SECOND RACE (Easy Goer): 1. Breaking the Rules, 2. Mask, 3. Prince Lucky, 4. Dark Vader. LONG SHOT: Soutache.

THIRD RACE (Grade I Ogden Phipps): 1. Abel Tasman, 2. Unbridled Mo, 3. Pacific Wind, 4. Ivy Bell. LONG SHOT: Berned.

FOURTH RACE (Grade I Acorn): 1. Talk Veuve to Me, 2. Monomoy Girl, 3. Gio Game, 4. Caledonia Road. LONG SHOT: Starcloud.

FIFTH RACE (Grade II Brooklyn Invitational): 1. Hoppertunity, 2. War Story, 3. Hard Study, 4. Outplay. LONG SHOT: Take Your Guns.

SIXTH RACE (Grade Ii Jaipur Invitational): 1. Pocket Change, 2. Stormy Liberal, 3. Pure Sensation, 4. Blind Ambition. LONG SHOT: Holding Gold.

SEVENTH RACE (Grade II Woody Stephens): 1. Engage, 2. The Tabulaor, 3. World of Trouble, 4. Kanthaka. LONG SHOT: Strike Power.

EIGHTH RACE (Grade I Just A Game): 1. Cambodia, 2. Lull, 3. On Leave, 4. Off Limits. LONG SHOT: Dream Dancing.

NINTH RACE (Grade I Met Mile): 1. Bolt d’Oro, 2. Bee Jersey, 3. McCracken, 4. Mind Your Biscuits. LONG SHOT: Awesome Slew.

10TH RACE (Grade I Manhattan): 1. Channel Maker, 2. Beach Patrl, 3. Robert Bruce, 4. Fashion Business. LONG SHOT: Alexis Komnenos.

11TH RACE (Grade I Belmont Stakes): 1. Justify, 2. Tenfold, 3. Vino Rosso, 4. Hofburg. LONG SHOT: Gronkowski.

I haven’t picked Justify to win the first two legs of the Triple Crown, but that’s because I hate picking favorites. There’s no doubt he’s the best of this crop and I expect him to win the race today by going to the front and never looking back. Tenfold was closing like a freight train in the Preakness while Vino Rosso and Hofburg have the pedigrees plus connections to win or at least do well in this 1 1/2-mile test. The real interesting horse is Gronkowski. He was suppose to run in the Derby but got sick. Now, he’s in the Chad Brown barn. He could be any kind.

Good luck.

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