Breeders' Cup, Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Saturday, Nov. 4 (Breeders’ Cup Day 2)

Preview: Four down and nine to go as the Breeders’ Cup action continues today at Del Mar. One thing we learned Friday is that the Euro jockeys better learn how to ride the Del Mar turf course or they could get embarrassed like Ryan Moore, who had no clue on Happily in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf. Bad ride, man. But he learned and won the BC Juvenile Turf.

FIRST RACE: 1, Goldy Espony, 2. Hillhouse High, 3. On Leave, 4. Aljazzi. LONG SHOT: Sassy Little Lila.

SECOND RACE: 1. Bookies Luck, 2. Schulace, 3. Smokem, 4. Night At the Opera. LONG SHOT: Lucky Romano.
THIRD RACE: 1. McErin, 2. March X Press, 3. Sounde And Silence, 4. El Duce. LONG SHOT: Count Alexander.

FOURTH RACE (BREEDERS’ CUP JUVENILE FILLIES)

1. Gio Game, 2. Heavenly Love, 3. Moonshine Memories, 4. Separationofpowers. Long shot: Wonder Gadot.

The 2-year-old fillies start the BC action and trainer Mark Casse has this race surrounded with three entries. I’ll go with the longer price here with GIO GAME. She just broke her maiden at Keeneland like a good thing and has been working well at Churchill Downs.

FIFTH RACE: (BC TURF SPRINT)

1. Pure Sensation, 2. Disco Partner, 3. Richard’s Boy, 4. Lady Aurelia. Long shot: Holding Gold.

A lot of people think a closer is the way to go on this turf course as the speed kills itself off, so I’m hoping PURE SENSATION runs the same kind of race he did last time at Parx where he came from off the pace. LADY AURELIA will be tough to beat, but I’m taking a shot.

SIXTH RACE (BC FILLY AND MARE SPRINT)

1. Finley’sluckycharm, 2. Skye Diamonds, 3. Unique Bella, 4. Highway Star. Long shot: Ami’s Mesa.

Once again I hope press box friends Jon Lindo and Jeff Bloom get all the money here on SKYE DIAMONDS, but I like FINLEY’SLUCKYCHARM, who is coming in from Kentucky off a big win, and she is 8-for-10 on the dirt. UNIQUE BELLA will be a single on a lot of exotic tickets, but I think she is beatable.

SEVENTH RACE: (BC FILLY AND MARE TURF)

1. Wuheida, 2. Lady Eli, 3. Queen’s Trust, 4. Cambodia. Long shot: Zipessa.

LADY ELI is a feel-good story and a worthy favorite, but I’m going with the Euro on top. WUHEIDA is from the Charles Appleby barn and he isn’t here for the weather. In her one race in Europe on a firm turf course, she won. Good sign. William Buick has ridden her before and let’s hope he knows how to ride this turf course.

EIGHTH RACE (BC SPRINT)

1. DREFONG (best bet), 2. Imperial Hint, 3. Roy H, 4. American Pastime. Long shot: Calculator.

There’s nothing like California speed, and Drefong is the defending champ of this race. After that disaster in the Bing Crosby, he went back East to beat them all at Saratoga in the Forego. Don’t be afraid to play a Peter Miller exacta box (ROY H and CALCULATOR). Calculator will be closing and might be a good one to back wheel underneath.

NINTH RACE (BC MILE)

1. Zelzal, 2. Ballagh Rocks, 3. Suedois, 4. Midnight Storm. Long shot: Lancaster Bomber

This race is on the turf and anyone from post 10 and out will have a tough task. ZELZAL has done well on firm courses in France and he’s adding Lasix for the first time. Looking for a big upset here.

10TH RACE (BC JUVENILE)

1. The Tabulator, 2. Bolt d’Oro, 3. Solimini, 4. U S Navy Flag. Long shot: Firenze Fire.

Yes, I am going against the likely biggest favorite of the day in BOLT D’ORO, the really local horse owned and trained by Mick Ruis. He is the most probable winner of the day, but THE TABULATOR is also a perfect 3-for-3 in the Midwest for trainer Larry Rivelli. Again looking for a big upset. I suggest exactas with Bolt d’Oro on top of The Tabulaor, SOLIMINI and U S NAVY FLAG might pay well.

11TH RACE: (BC TURF)

1. Highland Reel, 2. Talismanic, 3. Beach Patrol. 4. Decorated Knight. Long shot: Hunt.

This race is usually owned by the Europeans and I don’t see a reason to change that thinking. ULYSSES was scratched late Friday night. HIGHLAND REEL won this race a year ago at Santa Anita. TALISMANIC is trained by the great Andre Fabre. HUNT is an interesting long shot after winning two stakes races on the Del Mar green this summer.

12TH RACE: (BC CLASSIC)

1. Arrogate, 2. Mubtaahij, 3. Gunnevera, 4. Gun Runner. Long shot: West Coast.

The final race, and it’s only worth $6 million. I agonized over this selection after ARROGATE’s two losses at Del Mar this summer because I believe those who said he doesn’t have the same action over the surface as he does others. However, I think the Dubai trip took more out of him than Bob Baffert knew and now the trainer has him ready to go out a winner in his final race before going off to stud duty. MUBTAAHIJ finished fourth to Arrogate in Dubai and his recent win at Santa Anita was impressive. WEST COAST is Baffert’s 3-year-old upsetter and if COLLECTED wins from the No. 11 post, he deserves Horse of the Year.

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Breeders' Cup, Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar picks for Friday, Nov. 3 (Breeders’ Cup, Day 1)

Preview: The Breeders’ Cup is finally here with four races Friday and nine more on Saturday. The main track has played to speed sp far so keep that in mind. Of course, that can change overnight, but cooler weather usually means a tighter, faster track. The turf course will have the rails set to zero finally so closers should have a fair shot.

FIRST RACE: 1. Good Bye Greg, 2. Mr. Hinx, 3. Kobe’s Back. LONG SHOT: Leading Score.

SECOND RACE: 1. Soglio, 2. Cheekaboomboom, 3. Record Highs. LONG SHOT: Ritzy A.P.

THIRD RACE: 1. Mesa Sky, 2. Donworth, 3. Dabster. LONG SHOT: Prime Issue.

FOURTH RACE: 1. Family Girl, 2. Ismelucky, 2. Spiced Perfection. LONG SHOT: Smiling Tigress.

FIFTH RACE: 1. Hard Aces, 2. Destin, 3. Archanova. LONG SHOT: Estrechade.

SIXTH RACE (BREEDERS’ CUP JUVENILE FILLIES): 1. Happily, 2. Rushing Fall, 3. Fatale Bere, 4. Significant Form. LONG SHOT: Capla Temptress.
I leaned heavily to the Europeans in this race and don’t be afraid to play a few long shots. Horses on the outside are going to have a real hard time in this race so beware. HAPPILY draws the No. 2 post and is super Euro trainer Aidan O’Brien’s barn.RUSHING FALL looks like the best American, but will go from post No. 11.

SEVENTH RACE (BC DIRT MILE): 1. Sharp Azteca, 2. Cupid, 3. Mor Spirit, 4. Iron Fist. LONG SHOT” Battle of Midway.
This is one of best bets on the card in SHARP AZTECA, which comes from the Jorge Navarro barn. Paco Lopez rides and he’s 41% with Navarro. CUPID and MOR SPIRIT come from the Bob Baffert barn. Cupid finished fourth in the Awesome Again at Santa Anita and this will be his third off the layoff. I have no idea what to do with Mor Spirit. Baffert said this summer he was training so poorly at Del Mar that he stopped on him and waited for the Santa Anita track to open up so he hasn’t been in a race since his sensational Met Mile win at Belmont Park.

EIGHTH RACE (BC JUVENILE TURF): 1. Masar, 2. Mendelssohn, 3. Beckford, 4. Snapper Sinclair. LONG SHOT: Sand of Mail.
Selfishly I’d like to see the Jeff Bloom-owned SNAPPER SINCLAIR, but I just don’t know if he’s good enough to beat the Euros. MASAR is from the Charles Appleby barn and he wouldn’t ship from Europe unless he thought he had a good shot at winning. MENDELSSOHN is from the O’Brien camp so enough said there. BECKFORD is from Europe, too, and might appreciate the firmer turf.

NINTH RACE: (BC DISTAFF): 1. ELATE (best bet), 2. Stellar Wind, 3. Forever Unbridled, 4. Paradise Woods. LONG SHOT: Champagne Room.
This is the 3-year-old fillies vs. the older fillies/mares. Elate, a 3-year-old, came into her own last time in winning the Beldame at Belmont Park against older. Trainer Bill Mott has stated that she appears to love the Del Mar surface in the morning. That’s good enough for me. Stellar Wind’s trainer, John Sadler, is 0-for-39 in the Breeders Cup. I hope he breaks through, but just not sure off a long layoff. I’d rather go with the now horse.

10TH RACE: 1. Belvoir Bay, 2. Firsthand Report, 3. So Sweetitiz. LONG SHOT: Instant Reflex.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Breeders' Cup, Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita picks for Breeders’ Cup Saturday, Nov. 5

Preview: The inside has been the place to be this meet on the dirt. The inside six spots in sprints and the inside four spots around two turns are where to concentrate. On the new turf course, post 1-2 have not been the place to down the hill in sprints. They are automatic throw outs for me. The inside on the grass going two turns is just just and when you have the best horses in the world you might have to make a few exceptions.

What an exceptional BC Distaff on Friday between Beholder and Songbird. New York horses won three races so the East Coast is ready this year. Came close to greatness if Jeff Bloom’s Diplodocus could have gotten up in the Twilight Derby, but such is life.

FIRST RACE: 1. #4 Harbour Master, 2. #12 Hootie (SCRATCHED), 3. #9 Red Lodge, 4. #3 Partyinthepaddock.

SECOND RACE: 1. #8 Milton Freewater, 2. #4 California Diamond, 3. #2 Sizzlin Square, 4. #5 Closing Time.

THIRD RACE: 1. #8 Mehronissa, 2. #4 Most Beautiful, 3. #2 Acapulco, #5 Juno.

FOURTH RACE (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies): 1. #11 Daddys Lil Darling, 2. #2 With Honors, 3. #10 Noted and Quoted, 4. #9 Union Strike.
Daddys Lil Darling was one of the most impressive horses I saw in the preps, finishing second after starting from post 14. She draws outside again, but jockey Corey Lanerie can’t get her there.

FIFTH RACE (BC Filly and Mare Turf): 1. #11 Queen’s Trust, 2. #8 Lady Eli, 3. #3 Seventh Heaven, 4. #4 Avenge.

SIXTH RACE (BC Sprint): 1.#2 Drefong, 2. #1 Mind Your Biscuits, 3. #5 A. P. Indian, 4. Masochistic.
This race lost some appeal when Lord Nelson scratched on Thursday due to an injury. Luckily trainer Bob Baffert has a good backup in Drefong.0

SEVENTH RACE (BC Turf Sprint): 1. #8 Washington D C, 2. #5 Karar, 3. #3 Mongolian Saturday, 4. #13 Holy Lute.
Obviously will be on the lead from the No. 2 post, but as I’ve stated not playing horses down the hill in No. 1 or No. 2. Instead, I’ll go with the Euros in the top two spots.

EIGHTH RACE (BC Juvenile): 1. #7 Gormley, 2. #1 Klimt, 3. #4 Theory, 4. #9 Practical Joke.
The West Coast horses have been the ones to beat when it comes to the Kentucky Derby the last few years and as far as I’m concerned the road to Churchill Downs starts here. That’s means #westisbest. This son of Malibu Moon freaked last time going two turns for the first time and put a whooping on Baffert’s Klimt, which returns here, too. Trainer John Shirreffs wouldn’t be running this 2-year-old unless he was mature beyond his years and he is. I look for Gormley and Klimt to dominate this race and will play accordingly.

NINTH RACE (BC Turf): 1. #4 Flintshire, 2. #10 Found, 3. #6 Mondialiste, 4. #12 Highland Reel.
Throw out Flintshire’s last race on a yielding course in New York. Found was ticket for the BC Classic but her connections decided to defend her title in this race. Not sure what to make of that.

10TH RACE (BC Filly and Mare Sprint): 1. #10 Wavell Avenue, 2. #8 Carina Mia, 3. #2 Haveyougoneaway, 4. #6 By the Moon.
Wavell Avenue is the defending champ in this race and she hasn’t had a great year but maybe ready for a big effort.

11TH RACE (BC Mile): 1. #8 Tepin, 2. #10 Limato, 3. #9 Ironicus, 4. #6 Photo Call.
Tepin is the defending champ here but hasn’t been the same since winning at Royal Ascot. I think she will defend here title. Limato is the top Euro and Photo Call just beat Tepin at Keeneland as Kent Desormeaux opened up a 10-length lead at one point. Tepin will be ready this time.

12TH RACE (BC Classic): 1. #4 California Chrome, 2. #9 Hoppertunity, 3. #10 Arrogate, 4. #4 Melatonin.
Did you really expect another selection? Chrome is the BEST horse in the world. I know Arrogate freaked at Saratoga in the Travers, but Chrome has two years of racing on him plus Victor Espinoza. Enough said.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Breeders' Cup, Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita picks for Breeders’ Cup Friday, Nov. 4

Preview: The main track this meet has played a little bit slower this meet than in the past but we all remember when the Breeders’ Cup was here and it was a paved highway so you need to look at Thursday’s charts for a few clues on how speed is doing. According to one source Wednesday night, Santa Anita added sand to the dirt course late in the day. The turf course conversely has played to speed but that may be due to the fact that the rails have been out for most of the races waiting for this weekend. I look for a fair course with closers having an equal opportunity.

FIRST RACE: 1. #10 Tough It Out, 2. #8 Distinctive B, 3. #6 Ten Blessings, 4. #14 Never Say Try.

SECOND RACE: 1. #4 Tryst, 2. #3 Watch This Cat, 3. #7 My Palmilla, 4. #12 Longstocking.

THIRD RACE: 1. #8 Hard Aces, 2. #2 Quick Casablanca, 3. #4 Melmich, 4. #1 Scuba.

FOURTH RACE: 1. #2 Kafister, 2. #3 Jazzy Times, 3. #8 Prospect Park, 4. #5 Silent Bird.

FIFTH RACE: 1. #8 Vai, 2. #9 My Pi Romancer, 3. #11 Ms Wakaya, 4. #4 Isa Firecracker

SIXTH RACE (BC Juvenile Turf): 1. #11 Good Samaritan, 2. #6 Big Score, 3. #12 Rodaini, 4. #9 Wellabled.
I couldn’t talk anyone for any horse. Wide open.

SEVENTH RACE (BC Dirt Mile); 1. #3 Dortmund, 2. #1 Vyjack, 3. #8 Tamarkuz, 4. #9 Gun Runner.
It’s tough to feel sorry for trainer Bob Baffert under any circumstances, but this 4-year-old has been the hard-luck thoroughbred of the last two years. He has five losses. All of them are to the last two Kentucky Derby winners, California Chrome and Americah Pharoah. Baffert has seen enough of Chrome and wants to get his picture in the winner’s circle with this horse and he should be a single in all exotics surrounding this race.

EIGHTH RACE (BC Juvenile Fillies Turf): 1. #4 Spain Burg, 2. #14 La Coronel, 3. #3 New Money Honey, 4. #6 La Force.
Another wide open race, but I’m taking the Euro invader Spain Burg. La Coronel was impressive at Keeneland, but she gets a bad draw here.

NINTH RACE (BC Distaff): 1. #5 Stellar Wind, 2. #8 Beholder, 3. #1 Songbird, 4. #6 Forever Unbridled.
This is the race everyone is waiting for with the top West Coast fillies going at it, but don’t forget there are a total of five Grade I winner in this race aside from the brilliant 3-year-old Songbird. I like the older Stellar Wind and Beholder. Watch out for Forever Unbridled. She is the only closer in the bunch and if there is a pace meltdown she might be worth a small wager or underneath exacta play.

10TH RACE (Twilight Derby). 1. #10 Diplodocus, 2. #4 Oscar Nominated, 3. #1 Free Rose, 4. #5 Monster Bea.
Diplodocus hasn’t received the best of races the last two times so maybe the change to an Ortiz brother will be the answer. Didn’t understand by Javier Castellano took Monster Bea to the lead last time in New York. The Oceanside Stakes winner likes to come from off the pace, Javie. Come on, man.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Breeders' Cup, Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Friday, Sept. 2 (3:30 p.m. first post)

Preview: Interesting that the featured Cal-bred stakes is moved out of the Pick 6 and run as race 2. I don’t see a big favorite so don’t know why. The trainers race could come down to the final day on Monday. Phil D’Amato started the week with 19 winners followed by Richard Baltas at 16 and Bob Baffert and Peter Miller with 15 each. You can bet all those barns will be firing over the final four days of the meet.

Race 1: 1. #8 Crown of Light (8-1), 2. Princess Tiznow, 3. She’s Got Style. LONG SHOT: Cyclone Betty.
Trainer Peter Eurton is 28% the second time puts a horse on the grass. The sire Popular gets 18% winners on grass and jockey Rafael Bejarano, who is 25% with Eurton, jumps on.

Race 2: 1. #1 Rinse and Repeat (6-1), 2. Elwood J, 3. California Diamond. LONG SHOT: Upstaging the Cast.
Trainer Doug O’Neill threw this 2-year-old to the big boys in the Best Pal stakes and finished fourth. He is now back with his friends in the Cal-bred ranks and look for him to be up on engine after a poor start in the last race.

Race 3: 1. Start a Runnin, 2. Trust Your Gut, 3. American League. LONG SHOT: Blanket of Ice.

Race 4: 1. Trump Diesel, 2. Blue Navy Blue, 3. Resistanceisfutile. LONG SHOT: Gotta Get Lucky.

Race 5: 1. Shysheisnot, 2. Lady’s Lunar Luck, 3. Midnight Candy. LONG SHOT: My Sweet Afleet.

Race 6: 1. Red Apple, 2. Start to Finish, 3. You’re the Reason. LONG SHOT: Lilac Street.

Race 7: 1. #9 Paquita Coqueta (5-1) BEST BET, 2.Long Hot Summer, 3. Pretty N Cool. LONG SHOT: Crowley’s Law.
Trainer Richard Mandella does well with imports as his 24% win rate with horses first time in North America would suggest. This mare from Chile won 8 of 10 at this sprint distance on the turf down there and she has been throwing bullets in the morning. Flavien Prat, who is 20% with Mandella, rides.

Race 8: 1. Vending Machine, 2. L.A. Tower, 3. Mt. Leinster. LONG SHOT: Two Thirty Five.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Breeders' Cup, Horse racing, Keeneland, Keeneland Race Course

Breeders’ Cup selections for Saturday, Oct. 31

Race 3: JUVENILE FILLIES

10-Songbird

1-Land Over Sea

9-Rachel’s Valentina

2-Tap to It

I have thought all along SONGBIRD would be the most likely winner on this card, but then she drew outside post, No. 10. I still think she is the one to beat, but I think LAND OVER SEA needs a longer look after drawing No. 1 and finishing second to Songbird two times in a row.

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Race 4: TURF SPRINT

1-Pure Sensation

9-No Silent

14-Mongolian Saturday

4-Bobby’s Kitten

I think this a wide open race. The only thing I think is I’m not betting favored LADY SHIPMAN. If she wins, I lose. I like the fact that PURE SENSATION draws the inside and he likes it hard or soft turf plus John Velazquez rides. I hope NO SILENT comes from off the pace for the Gary Mandella barn.

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Race 5: FILLY AND MARE SPRINT

2-Dame Dorothy

11-Judy the Beauty

6-Super Majesty

3-Taris

This 4-year-old filly DAME DOROTHY is making her third start off the layoff for that powerful jack-trainer combination of Velazquez and Todd Pletcher. She will likely press the pace from the inside and she loves this 7-furlong distance with a 4-for-5 record.

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Race 6: FILLY AND MARE TURF

10-Bawina

3-Legatissimo

9-Miss France

6-Queen’s Jewel

Once again I’m sticking with the Euros in this race. BAWINA gets the services of Oliver Pesleir back and they have won three races together. She is first time Lasix and had some trouble in her last race.

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Race 7: SPRINT

8-Wild Dude

5-Runhappy

4-Limousine Liberal

2-Kobe’s Back

Of course there is a ton of speed in this race and I’m going with the horse I think is the best closer in WILD DUDE for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and jockey Rafael Bejarano.

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Race 8: MILE

11-Karakontie

4-Mondialiste

3-Make Believe

9-Esoterique

Again sticking with the foreign horses and KARAKONTIE is the defending champions of this race. Can you say back-to-back?

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Race 9: JUVENILE

9-Exaggerator

12-Swipe

10-Ralis

13-Nyquist

The West Coast horses have done pretty good around the country in the 2-year-old ranks and it will be no different here. Jockey Kent Desormeaux had his choice of horses entered by his brother, trainer Keith Desormeaux, and he settled on this son of Curlin, EXAGGERATOR.

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Race 10: TURF

9-Found

1-Golden Horn

10-The Pizza Man

4-Big John B

GOLDEN HORN will be a lot a single for a lot of people but just not convinced he has to win this race after already winning the Arc in France. I’m going with the 3-year-old filly FOUND, trained by Aiden O’Brien and ridden by Ryan Moore.

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Race 10: CLASSIC

9-Honor Code

4-American Pharoah

10-Tonalist

3-Frosted

Like I said before it’s a shame BEHOLDER isn’t in this race. AMERICAN PHAROAH is now the clear speed although others will likely take a shot at him. I’m going with the deep closer HONOR CODE, trained by Shug McGaughey. Honor Code was impressive at Saratoga and I look for a similar effort.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Breeders' Cup, Horse racing, Keeneland, Keeneland Race Course, Kentucky, Lexington

Breeders’ Cup selections for Friday, Oct. 30

In case you don’t know it, Beholder has been scratched from Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Classic due to bleeding in her lungs after a gallop on Thursday.

It’s a shame because I really wanted to see her face American Pharoah, but the show much go on so here are my thoughts for Friday.

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Sixth Race: JUVENILE TURF

7-Ray’s The Bar

2-Azar

11-Hollywood Don

4-Shogun

If we get this morning-line, I’ll be stunned as trainer Chad Brown and jockey Javier Castellano just don’t go off at 20-1. RAY’S THE BAR had traffic trouble in U.S. debut so here’s hoping for a clean trip.

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Race 7: DIRT MILE

5-Lea

3-Liam’s Map

1-Red Vine

7-War Envoy

LIAM’S MAP will be everyone’s single here. Not me. This Bill Mot runner LEA is a perfect 3-for-3 at the distance and finished third in the Dubai World Cup. Mott put a good work into over the track recently signaling all systems are go.

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Race 8: JUVENILE FILLIES TURF

3-Alice Springs

10-Illuminate

14-Last Waltz

8-Harmonize

Sticking with the Euros in this race. They just seem to do well here. The condition of the turf course will be a concern to some after rain most of the week but reports are that the inside is harder than the inside so you might see horses all over the place depending on what type of turf they prefer.

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Race 9: DISTAFF

1-I’m a Chatterbox

14-Sheer Drama

7-Wedding Toast

6-My Sweet Addiction

Boy, if Beholder was healthy and running in this race she would be 1-9. She’s not so let’s go with an up and coming 3-year-old filly facing older for the first time in I’M A CHATTERBOX. Larry Jones is a great trainer and will have her ready.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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