Churchill Downs, Horse racing, Kentucky Derby, Tampa Bay Downs

Churchill Downs opinions for Saturday, May 4 (plus some Tampa Bay Downs)

Preview: Expect a wet track at some point today and a softer turf course. Rain is suppose to hit hardest around 1 p.m.

12TH RACE (Grade I Kentucky Derby: 1. Improbable, 2. Game Winner, 3. Roadster, 4. Vekoma. LONG SHOT: By My Standards.
If it’s Derby Day we must be in trainer Bob Baffert’s world and we’re just living in it. Baffert can pull off a race feat here by hitting the trifecta with all three of his entries. Improbable is my choice off his runner-up efforts to Omaha Beach, who had to scratch out of the race with a balky throat. All three of Baffert’s horses, including Game Winner and Roadster, are coming up to the race in fine form and a win by any of them wouldn’t surprise me.

Other Churchill Downs stakes

SIXTH RACE (Grade I Humana Distaff): 1. Talk Veuve to Me, 2. Marley’s Freedom, 3. Spiced Perfection, 4. Emboldened. LONG SHOT: Mia Mischief.

SEVENTH RACE )Grade II Churchill Distaff Turf Mile): 1. Beau Recall, 2. Daddy Is a Legend, 3. Precieuse, 4. Valedictorian. LONG SHOT: Environs.

EIGHTH RACE (Grade I Churchill Downs): 1. Do Share, 2. Mitole, 3. Uncontested, 4. Whitmore. LONG SHOT: Warrior’s Club.

NINTH RACE (Grade II American Turf): 1. Marquee Prince, 2. Seismic Wave, 3. Digital Age, 4. Social Paranoia. LONG SHOT: Henley’s Joy.

10TH RACE (Grade III Pat Day Mile): 1. Instagrand, 2. Durkin’s Call, 3. Mr Money Bags, 4. Last Judgment. LONG SHOT: Dunph.

11TH RACE (Grade I Turf Classic): 1. Brick and Mortar (best bet), 2. Multiplier, 3. Ticonderoga, 4. Next Shares. LONG SHOT: Synchrony.

TAMPA BAY DOWNS
FOURTH RACE: 1. Sir Higgins, 2. Market Swings, 3. No choice. LONG SHOT: Trap Music.
SEVENTH RACE: 1. Pure Luck, 2. Silver Shield, 3. Solid. LONG SHOT: Edelman’s Catch.
10TH RACE: 1. Sugar Cane Girl, 2. Crown of Joy, 3. Speeding Starlet. LONG SHOT: Patient Digna.
Good luck.
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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, Kentucky Derby, Triple Crown

Churchill Downs opinions for Saturday, May 2

Race 3: #5 Gandono (15-1)

This son of Lemon Drop Kid, a 14% turf sired, got rained off the turf in his last but showed marked improvement. Trainer David Carroll puts blinkers on today and jockey F. Geroux (a 20% turf rider) takes over.

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Race 8: #11 Water Hole (12-1)

Trainer Chad Brown puts this 4-year-old filly in a graded stakes for her U.S. debut, which says a lot. Jockey Gary Stevens (22% turf rider) and should have her in the right position turning for home.

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Race 13: #5 Imslopokerodriguez (15-1)

Certainly New York-based trained Rudy Rodriguez could have found a spot at Belmont to run this son of Tae of the Cat (16% sire first time out), but he decides to run here and puts in a huge work over the track to boot. NY’s Irad Ortiz rides and is 24% with Rodriguez.

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Jeff Nahill’s Kentucky Derby top four

 #10 Firing Line

#18 American Pharoah

#8 Dortmund

#15 Frosted

 LONG SHOTS: International Star and Mubtaahij

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Horse racing, Kentucky Derby, Santa Anita, Triple Crown

Santa Anita opinions (plus some Derby preps) for Saturday, April 4 (updated)

Race 2: #4 Calm the Sea (6-1)

The fact is this race runs through trainer Jerry Hollendorfer’s Never Ends, who has finished second in all three lifetime starts. Yet, Hollendorfer enters this 3-year-old filly and gets one of his main men from Northern California, J.J. Hernandez to ride. Interesting.

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Race 7: #3 Curlin’s Fox (4-1)

Trainer Carla Gaines tries the “Bolo route” here with this 3-year-old filly. After two wins on the turf, Gaines tries to find out if this daughter can run on the dirt like her daddy. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith will be looking for a hot pace up front for this closer.

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EIGHTH RACESANTA ANITA DERBY: 1. Dortmund, 2. One Lucky Dane, 3. Prospect Park, 4. Bolo. LONG SHOT: Cross the Line.

What can you say about Dortmund? He’s 5-for-5 and wins impressively every time. I would single. Like Dortmund, One Lucky Dane is from the Bob Baffert barn and he was impressive in his 2015 debut. People forget he finished sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Interesting that Baffert didn’t ship this one somewhere else, but if he finishes second, he’ll go to the Derby. Prospect Park ran a good second to Dortmund last time and could love the extra ground. I’m not sold on Bolo. I didn’t like the he tired in the stretch last time. We find out here if he’s a dirt or turf horse.

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10TH RACE: 1. Bad Ju Ju

I debated this race for 10 minutes the other night and decided not to add this filly to my selections for HorsePlayer Now. I wish I had after seeing the works on this daughter of Desert Code. Jokcey Kayla Stra will take this one straight to the front and see how far she can go. That’s go enough for me on a day the track could be “souped up.”

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WOOD MEMORIAL at New York’s Aqueduct Race Track: 1. Frosted, 2. Lieutenant Colonel, 3. Daredevil, 4. El Kabeir. LONG SHOT: Tiz Shea.

Let me say I haven’t been impressed with much this winter in New York and the one horse I was (Far From Over) is hurt now. El Kabeir just doesn’t do it for me and he may prove me wrong. Frosted comes from the speed-biased Gulfstream and receives a jockey change to Joel Rosario. The real interesting horse to me is Lieutenant Colonel, who is trained by Chad Brown. By Colonel John, he should love longer distances, although he didn’t like the mud in the Grade III Gotham. Hope for a dry track.

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BLUE GRASS at Lexington’s Keeneland Race Course: 1. Ocho Ocho Ocho, 2. Carpe Diem, 3. Frammento, 4. Unrivaled. LONG SHOT: Gorgeous Bird.

As much as I laud trainer Jim Cassidy for coming to this race, I think he made a mistake by running against Dortmund in the San Felipe in this 3-year-old’s first race back from a layoff. There had to be easier spots, but it’s time to move on and look to the future. It’s now or never for this late-blooming 2-year-old. Carpe Diem was the first horse to come out of the key Breeders’ Cup Juvenile to win around two turns in the Tampa Bay Derby. That said, who did he beat in that race. He’s quality and will be tested here. Unrivaled is the “X” factor having been purchased by Team Valor after a huge win at Parx. Should be interesting.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Horse racing, Kentucky Derby, Triple Crown

Coburn: Still a Dumb Ass (Partner)

Despite his “apology” Monday on ABC’s “Good Morning, America,” California Chrome co-owner Steve Coburn is still a Dumb Ass, just like his stable name (Dumb Ass Partners) says.

I love how a lot of people are lauding Coburn for finally stepping up to rectify the situation he created after Saturday’s Belmont Stakes loss when he basically called the owners of Tonalist and Commissioner “cheaters” for not running in the other two legs of the Triple Crown.

The man didn’t rectify anything.

Did you see the interview with Robin Roberts? The man was choking on every word he said. He had a hard time getting them out because he didn’t believe them. He was bullied into Monday’s apology. Check it out here:

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/california-chrome-owner-angry-rant-belmont-24053547

The time to apologize for Saturday’s rant on national television was Sunday morning. Instead, Coburn went back on national TV and compounded the situation by stating the situation was akin to him playing basketball against a child in a wheelchair. How does one defend that? That was so wrong, it’s unbelievable.

The Triple Crown is meant to be hard. That’s why we haven’t had a winner of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont in 36 years. A super horse hasn’t been born to do it. So be it.

In last week’s build up to the Belmont, I was still amazed Real Quiet lost his Belmont to Victory Gallop. I covered Real Quiet’s Preakness that year and for him to lose by a nose in New York still is unfathomable.

But back to the point at hand, even if Coburn and others associated with California Chrome were complaining about the Triple Crown system and dates of the races beforehand, you knew what you were getting into when you started the journey. Three wins in five weeks. I didn’t hear anyone complaining about all the new shooters in the Preakness.

Now after losing, Coburn is bitching and moaning.

I don’t feel sorry for Coburn one bit.

I feel sorry for the man’s wife, who tried to reel him in on Saturday, but was rebuffed. The woman must be a saint.

I feel sorry for others like trainer Art Sherman and his son, Steve, a trainer in his won right who stayed with Chrome on the East Coast for five weeks. I feel for the exercise rider and other barn personnel.

There is a long way to go this year, but if California Chrome ends up not winning the Eclipse Award for top 3-year-old, it might end being Coburn’s fault, and that’s just not right. I don’t have a vote, but I guarantee that if it comes down to coin flip, there will be voters who don’t vote for the horse due to Coburn’s ignorance.

One reporter tweeted on Saturday that after meeting Coburn earlier on the Triple Crown trail, he knew it was just a matter of time before the man blew up.

There’s no doubt, Steve Coburn has lived up to his barn’s name: Dumb Ass (Partners), and no apology is going to change that.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Sunday’s top choice winners: 3 (Magna Warrior $5.60, first race; Babe’s Journey $10.40, fifth; Soi Phet $7.40, sixth)

Sunday’s second choice winners: 5 (Elegant $6.40, second; Natalie Paige $6.40, fourth; Red N Black Attack $6, seventh; Unusual Heatwave $16.80, eighth; Nothing to Hide $4.40, ninth)

Sunday’s third choice winners: 0

Sunday’s long shot winners: 1 (Myrna Lou $8.80, first)

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Horse racing, Kentucky Derby, Santa Anita

Santa Anita selections for Saturday, May 3 (Derby Day)

Remember first post is 11:30 a.m. in Arcadia.

FIRST RACE: 1. Nueva Fortuna, 2. Real Bright Boots, 3. Truly Beautiful. LONG SHOT: Good Proof.

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SECOND RACE: 1. Gisele At Fonz’s, 2. Puttybadshark, 3. Mayie. LONG SHOT: Swiss Peak.

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THIRD RACE: 1. Fanny Brice, 2. More Stormyweather, 3. Grammy Times Six. LONG SHOT: My Monet.

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FOURTH RACE: 1. Home School, 2. Karma King, 3. Schoolofhardrocks. LONG SHOT: Royal Banker.

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FIFTH RACE: 1. Zackos My Man, 2. Myfundsarelo, 3. Wonderful Union. LONG SHOT: Closet E.

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SIXTH RACE: 1. Afleet Echo, 2. Private Marina, 3. Say’s Who. LONG SHOT: Bert’s Melody.

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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Showme Yourfriends, 2. Macias, 3. Star Rocker. LONG SHOT: Mel’s Game.

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EIGHTH RACE: 1. Saticoy, 2. Night Badger, 3. Whine for Wine. LONG SHOT: Bob Consultation.

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NINTH RACE: 1. Trelawny, 2. I’ll Wrap It Up, 3. Money Clip. LONG SHOT: Avare.

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10TH RACE: 1. Majestic City, 2. Fury Kapcori, 3. American Blend. LONG SHOT: Secretsatmidnight.

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11TH RACE: 1. Scene Queen, 2. Kissin Lucky Lips, 3. Soar Home. LONG SHOT: Susan B Good.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Friday’s top choice winners: 1 (Mahalo Princess $3.80, first race)

Friday’s second choice winners: 4 (Hobbits Hero $4.20, second; Rprettyboyfloyd $6.60, third; On the Backstreets $2.80, fourth; Clearly Confused $6, fifth)

Friday’s third choice winners: 1 (Van Fraassen $7.40, ninth)

Friday’s long shot winners: 1 (Quay Factor $24.60, sixth)

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