Churchill Downs, Horse racing, Kentucky, Kentucky Derby

Churchill Downs opinions for Saturday, May 5 (Kentucky Derby Day)

SIXTH RACE (Humana Distaff, Grade I): 1. Finley’sluckycharm, 2. American Gal, 3. Lewis Bay, 4. Ivy Bell. LONG SHOT: Skye Diamonds.

SEVENTH RACE (Distaff Turf Mile, Grade II): 1. Dream Awhile, 2. Madam Dancealot, 3. On Leave, 4. La Coronel. LONG SHOT: Thundering Sky.

EIGHTH RACE (Churchill Downs Stakes, Grade II): 1. Whitmore, 2. Imperial Hint, 3. Awesome Slew, 4. Limousine Liberal. LONG SHOT: Warrior’s Club.

NINTH RACE (American Turf, Grade II): 1. Threeandfourpence, 2. River Boyne, 3. Admiralty Pier, 4. Captivating Moon. LONG SHOT: Speed Franco.

10TH RACE (Pat Day Mile, Grade III): 1. Mask, 2. Greyvitos, 3. Restoring Hope, 4. Mississippi. LONG SHOT: Givemeaminit.

11TH RACE (Turf Classic, Grade I): 1. Beach Patrol, 2. Arklow, 3. Synchrony, 4. Deauville. LONG SHOT: Camelot Kitten.
Beach Patrol got beat in the last 100 yards of the BC Turf at Del Mar. That race has produced five next out winners from eight starters. Chad Brown will bring back a fit horse.

12TH RACE (Kentucky Derby, Grade I): 1. Mendelssohn, 2. My Boy Jack, 3. Justify, 4. Bolt d’Oro. LONG SHOT: Good Magic.
Does Europe get its first Derby winner? Mendelssohn is a superstar. He cost $3 million at auction and he’s up to $1.9 million earned. I know he’s coming out of the UAE Derby in Dubai on a track that might have had a speed bias, but he destroyed that field in his first try on the dirt. He also comes out of one of the most productive 2-year-old stakes races last year as a he won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf which has produced numerous winners.I think he’s the real deal. My pick after the Louisiana Derby would have been My Boy Jack, that move Kent Desormeaux mad was Azeri-like, but trainer Keith Desormeaux felt he had to win the Lexington to have enough points to get into this race so he ran and won. I think Desormeaux will make a similar wide sweeping turn here and it could be a moneymaker if My Boy Jack has something left. Justify and Bolt d’Oro are the best in the West. They will both be forwardly placed early in the race and question is do they want to go this far. As for any other horse, this seems like a deep crop and I wouldn’t talk people off of most any horse. BTW, Good Magic, the BC Juvenile winner at Del Mar, is listed at 12-1 on the morning-line. If he’s that high I might have rethink my wagering.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

FRIDAY’S RESULTS (Stakes races only)

Top choice winners: 1 (Mia Mischief $5, fifth race)

Second choice winners: 1 (Salty $10.40, sixth)

Third choice winners: 2 (Will Call $15.60, seventh; Backyard Heaven $6.40, eighth)

Fourth choice winners: 1 (Monomoy Girl $7.20, 11th)

Long shot winners: 0

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Churchill Downs, Horse racing, Kentucky, Kentucky Derby

Churchill Downs opinions for Friday, May 4 (Kentucky Oaks Day)

Preview: Check the track conditions because rain is forecast for Friday and Derby Day on Saturday. Races might come off the turf so check the changes. I handicapped just the stakes races. For the other you are on your own but check out West Coast jockeys who get mounts in other races.

FIFTH RACE (Eight Belles, Grade II): 1. Mia Mischief, 2. Gas Station Sushi, 3. Amy’s Challenge, 4. Salt Bae. LONG SHOT: Talk Veuve to Me.

SIXTH RACE (La Troienne, Grade I): 1. Abel Tasman, 2. Salty, 3. Martini Glass, 4. Apologynotaccepted. LONG SHOT: Streamline.

SEVENTH RACE (Turf Sprint, Grade III): 1. Vision Perfect, 2. Bucchero, 3. Will Call, 4. Delectation. LONG SHOT: Latent Revenge.

EIGHTH RACE (Alysheba, Grade II): 1. Good Samaritan, 2. Always Dreaming, 3. Backyard Heaven, 4. Hoppertunity. LONG SHOT: Awesome Slew.

10TH RACE (Edgewood, Grade III): 1. Altea, 2. Rushing Fall, 3. Beyond Blame, 4. Daddy Is a Legend. LONG SHOT: Figarella’s Queen.
Rushing Fall (4-5) is a monster and should win but I’ll go with the longer price of the uncoupled Chad Brown entry. Rushing Fall is entered against the boys on Saturday in case it comes down in buckets Friday, but I think she’ll run here.

11TH RACE (Kentucky Oaks, Grade I): 1. Midnight Bisou, 2. Rayya, 3. Classy Act, 4. Monomoy Girl. LONG SHOT: Wonder Gadot.
This is a tough race for me because Midnight Bisou (5-2) is owned in part by Oceanside’s Jeff Bloom, one of my best friends in the sport and I guarantee a lot of people in the industry are pulling for Jeff and his group. And with good reason, the 3-year-old filly is two noses away from being undefeated. She lost twice to the Bob Baffert-trained Dream Tree, who is injured and out of this race. Midnight Bisou’s last race was visually impressive as jockey Mike Smith let her loop the field on the turn. She didn’t beat much but it was the way she did it. Look for a similar style in this race and if it rains, she has a victory on a wet/fast track at Santa Anita. Rayya, at 12-1 on the morning-line, is the filly to watch. She just finished second to Mendlessohn, who is one of the favorites in the Derby, in the UAE Derby. She came from off the pace on a speed-favoring track. She is in the Bob Baffert barn and is adding Lasix for the first time, a move Baffert is 30 percent with. Classy Act (15-1) has a second over this track and horses coming from the Fair Grounds have been tearing it up across the country since the end of that meet. Monomoy Girl (2-1) is favored, but that post (No. 14) is horrible.

Good luck.

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Churchill Downs, Horse racing

RACE 6 (Grade I Humana Distaff): 1. #3 Mines and Magic (15-1), 2. #5 Finest City (8-5), 3. #6 Lightstream (5-1). Long shot: #1 Super Humor (20-1).

Mines and Magic is a perfect 3-for-3 on the surface, but has never run on a wet track. Finest City is coming off a loss to Vale Dori at Santa Anita.

Race 7 (Grade II Churchill Distaff Turf Mile): 1. #6 Roca Rojo (3-1), 2. #4 Believe in Bertie (6-1), 3. #2 Miss Temple City (9-5). Long shot: #8 Prize Exhibit (12-1).

Roca Rojo almost won the Matriarch at Del Mar but lose by a nose to Miss Temple City. Time to turn the tables.

Race 8 (Grade III Pat Day Mile): 1. #4 Uncontested (5-1), 2. #5 No Dozing (5-1), 3. #8 Wild Shot (4-1). Long shot: #11) Sonic Mule (10-1).

If there is a big race, I want jockey Mike Smith aboard and he rides this 3-year-old for the first time here.

Race 9 (Grade II American Turf): 1. #10 Good Samaritan (5-1), 2. #9 Made You Look (6-1), 3. #2 Big Score (6-1). Long shot: #6 Arklow (12-1).

How much of a bog will the turf course be by the time of this race? Good Samaritan finished third in the BC Juvenile Turf and four next out winners have been produced from that race.

Race 10 (Grade II Churchill Downs): 1. #8 El Kabeir (6-1), 2. #1 Awesome Slew (4-1), 3. #12 Denman’s Call (8-1). Long shot: #3 Schivarelli (20-1).

El Kabeir is coming out of a key race at Gulfstream where the first three runners have all come back to win.

Race 11 (Grade I Woodword Reserve Turf Classic): 1. #4 Conquest Panthera (8-1), 2. #6 Bal a Bali (6-1), 3. Divisidero (4-1). LONG SHOT: #3 Oscar Nominated (15-1).

RACE 12 (Grade I Kentucky Derby): 1. #12 Sonneteer (50-1), 2. #8 Hence (15-1), 3. #18 Gormley (15-1), 4. #19 Practical Joke (20-1). Long shot: #9 Irap (20-1).
The Derby preps this year have been confounding to say the least and what kind of track there will be today just adds another hard factor to handicap. So in a wide open year why not go with a long shot? Sonneteer is still a maiden, but maybe the richest maiden in the country. His two come-from-behind runs at Oaklawn Park just might set him up for today’s 1 1/4-mile race. I know this much Keith Desormeaux knows how to train and his horses love the mud. Jockey Kent Desormeaux will have to give a way better ride than he did last time in the Arkansas Derby. I thought he waited too long. Hence comes out of the Sunland Derby, which has proven to be a productive race. Florent Geroux can ride and I know Steve Asmussen can train. Gormley is the best in the West and Practical Joke maybe a “wise guy” horse.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

 

Churchill Downs opinions for Saturday, May 6 (Kentucky Derby Day)

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Churchill Downs, Horse racing

Churchill Downs opinions for Friday, May 5 (Oaks Day)

Preview: Check the track conditions because the rain is suppose to continue. It will be interesting if CDI takes the races off the turf. I hope not.

RACE 5 (Grade I La Troienne): 1. #1 Eskenformoney (8-1), 2. #8 Finest City (6-5), 3. #4 Paid Up Subscriber (2-1). LONG SHOT: #9 Go Maggie Go (8-1).
Yes, I know I’m trying to beat the SoCal in Finest City, but Eskenformoneydhould like a wet track and Javier Castellano should have cozy run from the inside. Long shot Go Maggie Go is coming out of a key race that has produced four winners for far.

RACE 6 (Grade II Alysheba): 1. #1 Bird Song (9-2), 2. #3 El Huerfano (15-1), 3. #9 American Freedom (3-1). LONG SHOT: #6 International Star.
Interesting race even if American Freedom, second to Arrogate in the Travers last year, will never be 3-1. Could be a big weekend for trainer Ian Wilkes and Bird Song is 2-for-3 on this track. Trainer Peter Miller ships from SoCal with El Huerfano and don’t think he is shipping for the heck of it.

RACE 7 (Grade III Twin Spires Turf Sprint): 1. #3 Holding Gold (4-1), 2. #4 Why Two (5-1), 3. #8 Pure Sensation (5-2). LONG SHOT: #5 Maniacal (12-1).
Hope this doesn’t come off the grass. A lot of these have never run of a soft course. Pure Sensation has with success. Why Two ships from SoCal for Mike Machsky, who is trying to find out how good this gelding for a try later in the year in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Del Mar, where he is 2-for-2 on the grass.

RACE 8 (Grade II The Eight Belles): 1. #3 Union Strike (3-1), 2. #9 Florida Fabulous (9-2), 3. #1 Benner Island (10-1). LONG SHOT: #7 Golden Mischief (12-1).
OK, let me say I’m not a big fan of “trainer” Mick Ruis and what he has done with his horses, but this filly is the real deal and we saw that last year when she won the Grade I Del Mar Debutante. I think she is a single in this spot with the track being the only question. Best bet of the day.

Race 10 (Grade III Edgewood): 1. #1A La Coronel (8-5), 2. #6 Stallion Heiress (6-1), 3. #11 Emphatically (15-1). LONG SHOT: #2 Bernadiva.
Another race I hope doesn’t come off. La Coronel is also entered on Saturday against the boys so it will be interesting to see what trainer Mark Casse does. Stallion Heiress is a perfect 3-for-3 on grass.

RACE 11 (Grade I Kentucky Oaks): 1. #7 Farrell (5-1), 2. #2 Lockdown (20-1), 3. #4 Paradise Woods (5-2), 4. #13 Abel Tasman (5-1). LONG SHOT: #11 Tequilita (20-1).
There is no doubt Paradise Woods, trained by Richard Mandella, was sensational in the Santa Anita Oaks, but will she regress off that effort and how will she take to the likely muddy track? Abel Tasman, trained by Bob Baffert, finished second to Paradise Woods and drew a brutal post here. I end up on Farrell, who has proven she loves the mud, and was sensational this winter at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans. Lockdown also would like an off track and she’s trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the draw is great and the price is right.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Churchill Downs, Horse racing

Churchill Downs opinions for Saturday, May 7

Kentucky Derby selections
#13. Nyquist
#11. Exaggerator
#9. Destin
#6. My Man Sam
It took me a while to warm up to the undefeated Nyquist, also trained by O’Neill and ridden by Mario Gutierrez. I tried to beat him in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile because of his poor post draw, but I did have him in my West Coast trifecta that finished 1-2-4. It was that race that turned me around. Once he got the lead, he won’t let you go past him. It’s been the same in his 2016 races. Go back and look at the replays. Exaggerator had dead aim on him in February and Nyquist wouldn’t let him by. Believe me, the Desormeaux brothers (trainer Keith and jockey Kent) were more than happy to see Nyquist go to the Florida Derby, where he beat the best in the East to collect a $1 million bonus. Meanwhile, Exaggerator stayed in Arcadia and turned in an impressive turn of foot in the sloppy Santa Anita Derby win. Destin is coming out of win in the Tampa Bay Derby, which has produced three next out winners, while My Man Sam has some closing ability. My real LONG SHOT is the maiden Trojan Nation. I don’t know if he can win, but I think he can shake up the exotics.

Race 3: #10 Jimbo Fallon (4-1): This colt is coming off a 13-month layoff, but word is that he has been the workout mate for Mor Spirit, who runs later on the card in the Derby, and by the looks of the works JF has been holding his own. Another positive is he’s a 4-year-old running against a lot of 3-year-olds.

Race 8: #9 Birdatthewire (5-1: Dale Romans is back training this filly and Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith is back in the saddle. Smith has won her before at 7 furlongs, just like today. Her wins all show one thing: a long sustained run from the back and we expect the same here.

Race 10: #2 Ralis (10-1): The colt hasn’t had the same success he had as a 2-year-old, but he has been working out with likely Derby favorite Nyquist in Kentucky. Trainer Doug O’Neill tries to get him to focus by adding blinkers and jockey Mario Gutierrez is reunited with him.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Churchill Downs, Horse racing

Churchill Downs opinions for Friday, May 6

Race 7 – CD
#2 Jade Princess (8-1): Simple philosophy: If you lost to undefeated Songbird, it’s no disgrace and play next time without her in the same race. This 3-year-old filly comes out of the Santa Ysabel that Songbird won and two fillies came out of the race to win, including Land Over Sea. Trainer Bob Baffert knows Churchill Downs well and gets Victor Espinoza to ride.

Race 10 – CD
#3 Nodiac (15-1) (turf only): Trainer Phil D’Amato has shipped a string from SoCal to Kentucky this spring and is spreading his wings. This filly finished third over a yielding course and now gets the services of jockey Flavien Prat, who is 32 with D’Amato and one of the top turf riders in SoCal.

Kentucky Oaks selections
1. #13 Land Over Sea
2. #6 Mokat
3. #3 Lewis Bay
4. #2 Weep No More
Like I said before if you lost to Songbird you go to the head of the class. LAND OVER SEA lost so many times Doug O’Neill decided to go to the Fair Grounds to win a race. MOKAT finished second to Songbird in the Santa Anita Oaks in the mud.

Race 13 – CD
#6 Kiss Limit (3-1): As we said trainer Phil D’Amato has come to the Blue Grass and he stepped up to claim this colt off Mike Maker for 50K. By virtue of a cheaper maiden claiming win, this 3-year-old gets to run in a starter allowance. D’Amato is 24% first off the claim and gets that man Flavien Prat (32%) to ride.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Belmont Park, Churchill Downs, Gulfstream Park, Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita (plus a few others) opinions for Saturday, June 27

Race 2: #7 Architop (5-2)

When trainer Richard Mandella drops a horse into the maiden claiming ranks for the first time, he means business to the tune of 39% like with this son of Arch. Jockey Flavien Prat showed speed with this one in the last two and if he does that here, he might go wire-to-wire.

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Race 8: #7 Fanticola (7-2)

This 5-year-old mare just missed going longer in the Grade I Gamely Handicap and now she gets to go shorter which means she will be able to go harder earlier. Trainer Phil D’Amato is 21% in graded stakes.

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Race 10: #6 Where Was Eddie (7-2)

This is a first-time starter by In Excess, who wins at an 18% rate first time out. This 3-year-old colt has been tearing up the track in the mornings.

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BELMONT PARK

Race 5: #5 Private Tale (8-1)

This 7-year-old won over the surface and now moves up in class and tries to go longer. Trainer Mike Maker is 38% with horses winning back-to-back in the claiming ranks plus top jockey Javier Castellano takes the mount.

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CHURCHILL DOWNS

Race 10: #10 Langdarma (15-1)

This 3-year-old has been ITM 6 of 9 career races and just missed last time. Maybe moving to the turf will do the trick for the son of Candy Ride, who is coming out of a key race that has produced two winners so far.

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GULFSTREAM PARK

Race 9: #3 Racetrack Romance (4-1)

Trainer Marcial Navarro did us right the other day so we’re going back to the well. Navarro is winning 43% of his races this year and is 8-for-13 at Gulfstream. This gelding just won at the condition but is now shortening up and being put up for a claiming price. Jockey Eddie Castro is 3-for-5 in the last 60 days with Navarro.

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