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

 

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

Santa Anita (plus a few others) opinions for June 26 (Friday)

Race 3: #8 Frac Candy (3-1)

This son of Twirling Candy is bred up and down to love two turns. Twirling Candy has already had one turf winner so that shouldn’t be an issue for the Desormeaux brothers (trainer Keith and jockey Kent).

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Race 4: #3 Lil Cheyenne (5-2)

This 5-year-old mare makes her second start off a long layoff. She comes out of a key race. Trainer Mark Glatt is 36% with moving a horse down two or more class levels and he puts top rider Rafael Bejarano (27% with Glatt) aboard.

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BELMONT PARK

Race 6: #3 Monster Mash (12-1)

Trainer Jeremiah Englehart is an amazing 37% when taking horses from turf to dirt. This 6-year-old is ITM 4-of-5 races he has run on a fast track and if it rains he’s a good mudder, too. Englehart is also 23% in the second race off the layoff and 24% in the allowance ranks. Jockey Rajiv Maragh takes over.

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CHURCHILL DOWNS

Race 9: #12 Ettaman (8-1)

Trainer George “Rusty” Arnold drops this 4-year-old colt off a third place effort to better. Arnold is 15% in the maiden claiming ranks and this son of Distorted Humor is coming out of a key race that has produced two winners so far.

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GULFSTREAM PARK

Race 4: #1 Right on Ready (4-1)

This gelding freaked last time winning his maiden claimer by nearly 8 lengths and trainer Oscar Gonzalez was right there to claim him. Gonzalez is 33% (5-for-15) first off the claim and even though this one is facing winners for the first time, he might be useful.

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Race 6: #2 Gukumatz (2-1)

This gelding is a stone-cold lock or it will run up the track in its first race in its first race in 15 months. Trainer Efren Loza Jr. had this son of Point Determined ready twice for his debut and off a layoff. We’re betting lock as Loza is 35% first time in a claiming race. This one certainly has the class edge.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Belmont Park, Bill Spawr, Candy Ride, Churchill Downs, David Fawkes, Gulfstream Park, Horse racing, Joe Talamo, Jose Ortiz, Los Alamitos, Michele Nevin, Oaklawn Park Majesticperfection, Ramon Guce, Santa Anita

Santa Anita (plus a few others) opinions for Friday, June 19

Race 5: #4 Crushin Candy (12-1)

This race is full of first-time starters so anything can happen. This 2-year-old colt by Candy Ride (14% first time out) has as good win-early pedigree as any other horse in here. She has been training well at Los Alamitos and trainer puts Los Al rider Ramon Guce aboard.

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Race 6: #10 Gab Power (7-2)

Trainer Bill Spawr has mediocre numbers with turf horses, but one area where he is strong is first off the claim (31%) and that’s what we get here with this 7-year-old gelding. Jockey Joe Talamo grabs the mount and he’s good on the turf.

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BELMONT PARK

Race 4: #7 Fear (3-1)

Trainer Michele Nevin is having a very good spring and just missed last time with this 3-year-old gelding. Jockey Jose Ortiz rides right back and should have him in the right spot to graduate.

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CHURCHILL DOWNS

Race 9: #8 Chanteline (5-1)

This 3-year-old filly makes her turf debut, coming out of an Oaklawn Park allowance race that has produced three next out winners. The sire Majesticperfection has done well with turfers so this may be a good spot.

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GULFSTREAM PARK

Race 6: #2 El Kracken (9-2)

This 3-year-old debut at Santa Anita, showing speed but fading in the end. He now shows up here for trainer David Fawkes, who is 22% with horses making their second career start. Should be an easier spot than SoCal.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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