Horse racing, Los Alamitos

Los Alamitos RC opinions for Friday, April 29

Preview: Surprisingly this might be the largest number of horses running on a card so a carryover is possible in the Pick Six. Jockeys Brayan Pena (1-for-16) and Alonso Quinonez (0-10) have had a hard time so far so keep it in mind.

 

Race 6 – LRC

#1 Berlusconi (6-1): This gelding is making his second start off a long layoff and trainer Kristin Mulhall sends him around two turns and she’s 22% going route to sprint. The 7-year-old has a third over the track in the past.

 

Race 7 – LRC

#4 Take It Easyplease (9-2): This filly likes to finish second a lot and has two runner-up efforts over this track, but trainer Richard Baltas takes the blinkers off (22% move) and puts jockey Rafael Bejarano aboard (29% combination).

 

Race 8 – LRC

#2 Patience Lady (6-1): This filly broke her maiden over this track and was disqualified. She had two disappointing efforts and has been away since February, but trainer Jaime Gomez brings her back here off a couple of good works.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Saturday, Feb. 13

Preview: Good card with a nice stakes. Wish there were a few more entries in a few races. Tough to handicap some races where trainers have two entries because you don’t know which one is live.

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Race 4: #5 Conquest Flatterme (3-1) 

This filly finished second in her West Coast debut for trainer Vladimir Cerin, who is 24% with horses returning off a 31- to 60-day layoff. Cerin puts apprentice David Lopez aboard and they are 57% together.

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Race 8: #3 Birdatthewire (5-2)

Looks to me like Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith had his choice of three horses in this race and chose this 4-year-old filly. She has a 5-2-2-0 record at this distance and should be ready to go here.

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Race 9: #2 Macalla (20-1) 

I like the Australian sire Lonhro, who wins with 13% of his turf horses. This filly may like the firm turf here instead of the good turf last time. Big jock switch in my mind from Alonso Quinonez to Victor Espinoza.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Monday, Jan. 18

Preview: Sorry forgot to post Sunday’s thoughts. Had just one winner: Dressed to a T and it went off at 2-1 so I guess no great loss. Again five-day weeks aren’t good for the circuit right now. The turf trainers haven’t gotten into a rhythm yet due to the weather so these numbers hopefully will improve but trainers to give a second thought to right now on grass: Doug O’Neill is 1-for-16, Jerry Hollendorfer is 0-9, John Sadler 0-8, Mike Puype 0-7 and Neil Drysdale 0-7.

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Race 2: #2 Drum Roll Please (turf only) (6-1)

This gelding almost scored at Del Mar at 33-1. He has had two months off and jockey Alonso Quinonez takes over. A similar effort with the cozy inside draw might mean a trip to the winner’s circle.

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Race 7: #1 Monsieur Power (6-1)

After 20 combined races on all-weather or grass tracks, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer decides to put this 5-year-old on dirt after claiming him two back. Hollendorfer is 30% in a horse’s second start off the layoff and Flavien Prat rides.

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Race 9: #10 Blix Curve (15-1) 

Trainer Justin Clark was 29% last year. He is 41% with horses moving up one class and 35% in sprint races. Jockey Alonso Quinonez grabs the mount.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Friday, Nov. 20

 

FIRST RACE: 1. Semper Fortis, 2. Weirdhaircut Seth, 3. Five Star Jack. LONG SHOT: Media Melee.

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SECOND RACE: 1. #6 Gotta Get Paid (6-1), 2. Classic Gent, 3. Bandido Too. LONG SHOT: Silvertron.

Trainer Robertino Diodoro ships this 3-year-old in from Canterbury and drops him in class. Diodoro is 26% with shippers and 28% with horses on the dirt. Tyler Baze jumps on and he is 25% with Diodoro.

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THIRD RACE: 1. #4 JOHN’S SUCCESS (4-1) BEST BET, 2. Lovenseek, 3. Trifecta. LONG SHOT: I’ll Play My Hand.

This 3-year-old must find a way to beat Lovenseek, but jockey Corey Nakatani will find a way like he does on this course. Trainer Doug O’Neill is 20% third off the layoff and the barn is hot right now.

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FOURTH RACE: 1. A Colt Following, 2. Ain’t Misbehavin, 3. Tiz Jolie. LONG SHOT: Ladies Man.
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FIFTH RACE: 1. Fishel, 2. Dynamite Ride, 3. Gunslinger. LONG SHOT: Day in the Sun.
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SIXTH RACE: 1. Frac Candy, 2. Go Long, 3. Derby Chatter. LONG SHOT:  Always Macho.
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SEVENTH RACE: 1. #9 No Comparison (4-1), 2. Sharaun, 3. Easter Fever. LONG SHOT: Cin City Lady.

Tough to explain the failure last time as the 3-5 favorite. Jockey Alonso Quinonez must know this filly wants to be up on the pace, unlike last time. Trainer Kenny Black is 26% with sprinters.

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EIGHTH RACE: 1. A Lucky Carry, 2. Allsquare, 3. Casino Fever. LONG SHOT: Hurricaine Callie.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

 

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Horse racing, Los Alamitos

Los Alamitos thoroughbred picks for Thursday, July 3

Well a new adventure with the start of the Los Alamitos Race Course thoroughbred meet on Thursday. I would say thread lightly until you get a feel for the new layout.

FIRST RACE: 1. Kid Rollins, 2. I’m No Patsy, 3. Fiesta Express. LONG SHOT: Mon Petite.

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SECOND RACE: 1. Desert Third, 2. Sweet Mz. Poppet, 3. Take Back Spring. LONG SHOT: Fortune’s Daughter.

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THIRD RACE: 1. Citizenship, 2. Here’s Bella, 3. Twenty Six Acts. LONG SHOT: Doodetta.

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FOURTH RACE: 1. Regally Soul (best bet), 2. Star Rocker, 3. Dewrag. LONG SHOT: Magic Beam.

Jockey Fernando Perez appears to have had his choice of a couple of horses in this race and chooses this 4-year-old gelding, REGALLY SOUL (15-1). The new Los Alamitos thoroughbred layout will feature a long home stretch, which might be right up this horse’s alley. Trainer Walther Solis has had a tough year, winning just five times from 58 starters, but his horses have been training at Los Al so it might prove to be an advantage.

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FIFTH RACE: 1. Storm the Heavens, 2. Chattering Class, 3. Voluntary. LONG SHOT: Angel Charge.

STORM THE HEAVENS (8-1), a 3-year-old returns, after a nine-month layoff, but comes out of a key race that has seen four horses win their next races. Drops to the bottom of the maiden claiming ranks and it won’t take a world beater to take this. Jockey Alonso Quinonez takes the ride for trainer Peter Eurton, who is 11% with horses coming off a layoff of more than 180 days. Trainer Peter Miller’s CHATTERING CLASS will be tough to beat here, but the odds should be worth it on STORM THE HEAVENS.

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SIXTH RACE: 1. Cinco de Mario, 2. Time for a Hug, 3. Shining Son. LONG SHOT: Backstreet Boss.

Looks like trainer Doug O’Neill might want to win the first Los Al training title as he drops CINCO DE MARIO from $22,500 to $8,000 claiming ranks and changes jockeys to Elvis Trujillo. TIME FOR A HUG beat CALIFORNIA CHROME in their maiden debuts on April 26, 2013. Yes, the colt beat the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner by a length. However, he has been away from the races for more than a year and returns at this low level. Either trainer Walther Solis is playing poker or this one still has some serious issues.

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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Rousing Sermon, 2. Full Dancer, 3. Storm Fighter. LONG SHOT: Rock Me Baby.

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EIGHTH RACE: 1. Bea’s Bench, 2. Itsherprerogative, 3. Sheza Eyeopener. LONG SHOT: Sweet Silica.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

The grass is always greener

The Santa Anita turf course is considered one of the best in the business. Now, we’ll see what happens later this spring when the meet extends into May and June with the extinction of Hollywood Park.

So far this meet, the rain has been confined to one week. Unfortunately, rain is in the forecast for this week so this probably isn’t the best time to talk about the best turf riders and trainers, but such is life.

When handicapping I always give horses ridden by Joe Talamo (16-for-121), Corey Nakatani (16-99), Gary Stevens (11-49) and Mike Smith (12-71) extra credit. I guess I need to start looking at more Rafael Bejarano, even if he is the track’s leading rider already. Bejarano has won 31-of-130 turf starts, according to Equibase stats. The price might be great, but winners are winners.

On the flip side. jockeys to stay away from on the grass are Martin Garcia (1-54), Alonso Quinonez (1-26), Fernando Perez (1-22), Aaron Gryder (0-20) and Orlando Mojica (0-19). Garcia’s stats surprise me a little bit, but he does ride No. 1 for the Bob Baffert barn, which is 1-for-12 on the grass this meet.

The top turf trainer is Tom Proctor (14-47), especially with all those Glen Hill Farm horses he has and Stevens rides most of those.

The trainer that surprised me was Marty Jones, who has won 10 of 26 grass starts. He’s followed by Jerry Hollendorfer (9-43), John Sadler (8-59) and Doug O’Neill (8-87). O’Neill has usually been a throw out for me on turf at Del Mar, but he’s starting to get a lot of horses from Europe lately.

Surprisingly, trainer Barry Abrams is a horrible 1-for-26 on the grass this year despite most of his horses being by the sire Unusual Heat, who has excelled on the surface in the past. Others to ignore are Richard Baltas (1-17), Eoin Harty (1-16), Jack Carava (1-17) and Jorge Gutierrez (1-18).

As for last week, Baltas had three wins in one day while at least four other trainers (Jones, Hollendorfer, O’Neill and Ron Ellis) had two wins. Peter Miller continued his cold spell with an 0-for-8 week and Baffert’s barn was 0-for-3.

On the jockeys’ side, Bejarano had three wins from just nine mounts as he had to sit out a suspension. He was joined with three wins by Talamo (3-24), Tyler Baze (3-22), Smith (3-8) and apprentice Drayden Van Dyke (3-16). Nakatani was just 1-for-13 while Victor Espinoza was 1-for-10.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Sunday’s top choice winners: 2 (Musical Arts $7.40, seventh race; Hobbits Hero $31.80, eighth)

Sunday’s second choice winners: 3 (Halo Dolly $7.60, third; Tizmetizyou $18, fourth; Fast Moka Too $3.40, ninth)

Sunday’s third choice winners: 0

Sunday’s long shot winners: 1 (Arkenstone $35.80, first)

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Horse racing, Kentucky Derby, Santa Anita, Triple Crown

Will Chrome get rusty if he skips Santa Anita Derby?

From Ed Golden of the Santa Anita publicity department:

ARCADIA — The pressure is off Art Sherman. By earning 50 qualifying points to the Kentucky Derby with California Chrome’s dazzling victory in Saturday’s San Felipe Stakes, the door to Louisville and the Run for the Roses on May 3 was opened wide.

All the 77-year-old trainer has to do now is keep the colt healthy and pick and choose the best way to get to Churchill Downs for the 140thrunning of the world’s most famous horse race.

“He came out of the race good; he looked good this morning,” Sherman said by phone early Sunday from his Los Alamitos headquarters. “I was here really early to make sure. You get a little nervous thinking about it.

“I’m not making any plans (for his next race), you know what I mean? I’m in the Derby now; I’ve got enough points. That took a lot of pressure off me. I’m just going to play it by ear. There is a chance we might go to the Santa Anita Derby (Grade I, $1 million, April 5).

“The horse has to let me know. He came out of the race good, he ate up last night. I was happy. He’s a cool horse. I just don’t want to do too much with him. We’re on the Derby trail and I know it’s tough. I’ve been there before as a kid with other people’s horses, but I know how grueling it is getting up to that point.”

As a teenage “kid,” Sherman went to work for Rex Ellsworth and accompanied the mighty California-bred Swaps to the Derby in 1955 and later to Chicago for his match race against the vaunted Nashua.

Now California Chrome will seek to become the first Cal-bred to win the Derby since Decidedly in 1962.

“He’s Derby-bound,” the Brooklyn-born Sherman said after Saturday’s romp. “He looked like Swaps turning down the lane. I was amazed. You think a horse might win by a length or two. I’m not used to seeing him draw off by five or six.

“He’s peaking at the right time. The horse has been super, he’s putting on weight, he looked excellent in the paddock. I said, ‘My, he looks like a race horse today.’”

Sherman, a former jockey who enjoyed his best year as a trainer in 2007 when he won 207 races and gleaned $4,023,669 in purse money, isn’t about to be counting his roses before they bloom.

“I still have to go to Kentucky and try the big boys,” he said. “So far, all this has been great, not only for me and the horse, but for (owners/breeders) Steve (Coburn) and Perry (Martin). We’re just a mom and pop operation.”

If luck holds, the family will be growing.

Added Victor Espinoza, who rode California Chrome to a 7 ¼-length victory, the largest winning margin in the San Felipe at the distance of 1 1/16 miles since Premier Pegasus posted a 7 ¾-length romp under Alonso Quinonez for Myung Kwon Cho in 2005:

“Yesterday was his most impressive race since I’ve been riding him, but I believe he still has more left. I just took it easy with him yesterday. I think he’ll be even better at a mile and a quarter. We’ll find out how good he is as we go along, but he’s an amazing horse right now.”

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Sunday’s top choice winners: 2 (Prince of Paris $8, second race; Judy the Beauty $3, seventh)

Sunday’s second choice winners: 1 (Fit to Rule $22.40, fifth)

Sunday’s third choice winners: 3 (Keyboard Courage $5.60, first; Sagebrush Queen $7.40, third; Fort Wagner $30.60, fourth)

Sunday’s long shot winners: 0

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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