Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar late selections for Thursday, Aug. 25

Preview: Plenty of variety on this card so should be interesting. The trainer’s race is coming down to the usual suspects. Heading into the week Phil D’Amato led with 16 winners followed by Richard Baltas and Bob Baffert at 12 wins each and Peter Miller with 10. Disappointing meet for the Doug O’Neill barn so maybe that barn will get hot in the last two weeks.

Sorry late again.

Race 1: 1. Tryst, 2. Pearl de Vere, 3. Cuyathy. LONG SHOT: Spicy Blonde.

Race 2: 1. #4 Handsome Hank (5-2), 2. Unbridled Rocket, 3. Suavemente. LONG SHOT: Proud Zoning.
Trainer Art Sherman does claim many but he must have seen some here. Maybe it’s the 5-2-1-2 record at this distance or 2-1-0-1 record on the dirt. This colt is bred to run all day and has the best Brisnet Late Pace Rating.

Race 3: 1. Lil Miss Sapphire, 2. Woot Woot, 3. Goseecal. LONG SHOT: My Mel Mar.

Race 4: 1. #3 Patron (6-1) BEST BET, 2. Silent Movies, 3. What’s Up Gus. LONG SHOT: Magik Pepper.
This is strictly a breeding play as trainer Bob Baffert is 4% with first-time turfers. This colt was training good enough going into debut but that was on the dirt. This 3-year-old is bred to run on the turf (13% first time grass) and bred to run all day (7.5 average furlongs for sire and 9.4 for the broodmare sire). This colt is also coming out of a key race. Baffert is 32% with jockey Stewart Elliott. I’m all in.

Race 5: 1. Enduring Erin, 2. Mrs. Norris, 3. Dis Smart Cat. LONG SHOT: Stylish in Black.

Race 6: 1. #8 Vibe (6-1), 2. Plum Dandy, 3. Term of Act. LONG SHOT: Thirty Pepperonis.
Think this colt’s debut was just a training race as the Desormeaux brothers team up here on this son of Astrology. Trainer Keith Desormeaux is 17% with horses the first time they go a route of ground.

Race 7: 1. #5 Instant Drama (15-1), 2. Easy Grader, 3. Madame Mousse. LONG SHOT: Cover Song.
This filly tries turf for the first time as she returns from a short freshening. The sire Big Drama gets 10% winners first time turf. Trainer Gary Mandella is 2-for-8 in turf sprints and this 3-year-old has a couple of big works coming into the race.

Race 8: 1. Clude, 2. Big Discovery, 3. Motoring Around. LONG SHOT: Tough Emblem.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Friday, July 22 (First post 4 p.m.)

Preview: Speed again was king on the main track on Wednesday and winners continue to come off the rail from the two slot on in the stretch and then just pull away. Keep it in mind. Eight races on Wednesday and eight different jockeys won so no one is hot right now.

Race 1: 1. #5 Cherokee in Me(5-1), 2. Summer Veil, 3. Amberella. LONG SHOT: Midnight Lady.
Trainer Armando Lage brings a string down from Northern California, including this filly, who is 2-for-2 in dirt races. The 4-year-old has the top Brisnet Prime and Late Pace Ratings. Also jockey Abel Cedillo is 53% with Lage.

Race 2: 1. Blue Chat, 2. Too Much Drama, 3. Ask Me I Might. LONG SHOT: Jeoffie.

Race 3: 1. Tough Emblem, 2. Radio Silent, 3. All Star parade. LONG SHOT: Armored Car.

Race 4: 1. #9 Trust Ur Intuition (8-1), 2. Sharaun, 3. Silver Mojave. LONG SHOT: Run Like the Boss.
This Cal-bred has been running in claimers at Gulfstream Park and trainer Kristin Mulhall ships her back to face state breds. Mulhall is 20% with shippers and 20% off 31-60-day layoffs. Good gate jockey Martin Pedroza rides and is 18% with Mulhall.

Race 5: 1. Pray Hard, 2. Too Fast to Pass, 3. Distinctive B. LONG SHOT: Dadtaughtmewell.

Race 6: 1. El Super, 2. Little Scotty, 3. Willing to Travel. LONG SHOT: Malko.

Race 7: Enola Gray, 2. Allsquare, 3. Fantasy of Luck. LONG SHOT: Roo’s Valentine.

Race 8: 1. #1 Gio Mio (8-1), 2. The Big Train, 3. Lord of Chaos. LONG SHOT: Admiral’s Club.
Looks like this gelding’s last race was a prep for this spot. If you look over this 3-year-olds PPs you”ll notice his best career race was over this turf course for jockey Victor Espinoza. Trainer Art Sherman has the same conditions here and he’s 25% with Espinoza. The sire Gio Ponti gets 10% turf winners.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Thursday’s top choice winners: 2 (Gunslinger $4.80, first race; Warm Endowment $8.60, fifth)

Thursday’s second choice winners: 2 (Pico Chick $6.20, second; Five Star Jack $13.40, eighth)

Thursday’s third choice winners: 2 (Freddies Dream $26, third; Plastered $4, sixth)

Thursday’s long shot winners: 0

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Friday, Feb. 26

Preview: If it only takes 15 pages to print out the card, that means there aren’t a lot of entries and there aren’t. In looking at the main track, trainers Doug O’Neill (13-87) leads the way followed by Bob Baffert (12-62) and Jerry Hollendorfer (10-70). On the other end, trainers to avoid might be Jim Cassidy (1-26), Art Sherman (1-20), Mike Machowsky (1-19) and Javier Sierra (1-19).


Race 3

#6 Desert Madam (6-1) 

Trainer Robertino Diodoro, who is 22% first off the claim, claimed this mare off two sub-par efforts. If she returns to form, she’s worth the price. The mare has three wins over the Santa Anita surface in her four lifetime dirt wins.


Race 4 

#3 Cimpl Man (turf only) (3-1) 

Trainer Gary Mandella is 30% when a horse is making his third race off a layoff and this colt stretches out. Jockey Mike Smith and let’s hope he gets more speed out of this colt because the rails are set at 30 feet and speed will be important.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Saturday, July 25

FIRST RACE: 1. Lucky Reality, 2. Stormin Trick, 3. Brimstoned. LONG SHOT: Sibernation.

SECOND RACE: 1. Ransom Canyon, 2. Becker’s Galaxy, 3. Hittheroadrunning. LONG SHOT: Warren’s Joe T.
THIRD RACE: 1. SHEER PLEASURE (best bet), 2. Ashley’s Sassy, 3. Big Book. LONG SHOT: Kiss At Midnight.
FOURTH RACE: 1. Bandido Too, 2. Fight Thru, 3. Ike Walker. LONG SHOT: Henry’s Holiday.
FIFTH RACE: 1. Somethings Unusual, 2. It Is Living Water, 3. Unusual Taste. LONG SHOT: Luckbox Sam.
SIXTH RACE: 1. #7 Exaggerator (6-1), 2. American League, 3. Path of David. LONG SHOT: Nuke Laloosh.

Trainer Keith Desormeaux likes to have his 2-year-olds come from off the pace and this son of Curlin should like this extra furlong. Jockey Kent Desormeaux takes over and look for big improvement the colt’s second race.


SEVENTH RACE: 1. #10 Show Stealer, 2. Chaulk O Lattey, 3. Zanbo. LONG SHOT: Taylor Lane.

Trainer Art Sherman and jockey Gary Stevens just scored with a long shot on the turf that owner George Krikorian acquired and they try again in this spot. This filly has been training well and Sherman is 20% in route races.


EIGHTH RACE: 1. Hoppertunity, 2. Catch a Flight, 3. Bayern. LONG SHOT: Majestic City.
NINTH RACE: 1. Airfoil, 2. Micks Miracle, 3. Chasintheaces. LONG SHOT: K Thirty Eight.
10TH RACE: 1. Perdona, 2. Place des Vosges, 3. Scandal. LONG SHOT: Half Past Midnight.

Jockey Rafael Bejarano rides this 3-year-old filly for the third straight time, but first time going long on the turf. Bejarano is 26% with trainer Peter Eurton. This daughter of Blame should enjoy two turns and being out of a Storm Cat mare (18% first time turf) should help.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Friday’s top choice winners: 2 (Family Code $9.20, third race; Matter of Luck $16.20, eighth)

Friday’s second choice winners: 0

Friday’s third choice winners: 2 (Missing Groom $9, second; Tribal Tribute $6.40, fourth)

Friday’s long shot winners: 2 (Big John B $8.40, sixth; Terrys Tom Cat $23.20, seventh)



Belmont Park, Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions (plus one from Belmont) for Friday, May 29

Race 1: #4 Where Is My Mind (7-2) 

Trainer A C Avila returned from a recent suspension and looks to get back in the win column. He is 57% with horses coming off a 61-180-day layoff like this 3-year-old filly.


Race 3: #6 Baby Bea Scattin (7-2)

It’s possible this daughter of Scat Daddy wants further, but the sire has a 14% win percentage first time out and the dam’s sire is also 14% (Unbridled’s Song). Think maybe Art Sherman has a live one here.


BELMONT PARK                  

Race 8: #11 Silver Ride (6-1)

This colt turned in a clunker in his 2015 debut at Keeneland, but three horses have come out of that race to win. On top of that trainer Brian Lynch wanted to put this 3-year-old on the grass in his debut but it got rained off. Now they try turf today.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita selections for Thursday, Jan. 29

FIRST RACE: 1. Bad Ju Ju, 2. Easter Fever, 3. Exfanofsixties. LONG SHOT: Racing for Chasen.


SECOND RACE: 1. Congrats Seattle, 2. Whiskey Wild, 3. Fabber. LONG SHOT: Whenudon’t Know.


THIRD RACE: 1. Rattataptap, 2. All Star Bub, 3. Tall and Sweet. LONG SHOT: Twister Ginger.


FOURTH RACE: 1. Spring Action, 2. Crane Lodge, 3. Couldashouldadid. LONG SHOT: Beach Fever.


FIFTH RACE: 1. Queen’s Balladier, 2. Scatfish, 3. Taylor Lane. LONG SHOT: Humoristica.


SIXTH RACE: 1. When We Met, 2. Relentless Heat, 3. Dress Code. LONG SHOT: Juniper Pass.


SEVENTH RACE: 1. Warren’s Nicholas, 2. Wicked Heat, 3. Silver Torch. LONG SHOT: Shackleford Banks.

WARREN’S NICHOLAS (9-2), a 6-year-old gelding, is making his second start off a nearly 2-year layoff. He got his legs back under him in a sprint and now trainer Jorge Gutierrez sends him long on the grass, where he broke his maiden. Jockey Joe Talamo had his choice of a few others in here and stays with this one.


EIGHTH RACE: 1. Starzilla (best bet), 2. Dench, 3. Silent Ruler. LONG SHOT: Deep Digger.

Jockey Joe Talamo goes for the late daily double by sticking with STARZILLA (7-2), a son of Rock Hard Ten. The 5-year-old has been facing some toughies in the MSW ranks and drops into a maiden claimer for the first time for trainer Art Sherman. Plus STARZILLA is coming out of a key race.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Friday, Jan. 9

Sorry just too many things on the plate to do full selections today. Be back at it tomorrow. I wasn’t real enthused about the card. There is a carryover in the Pick 6, but believe it will be hit.

Race 3: #3 Perfect Set (4-1)

This 5-year-old gelding was favored at this level one race back at Del Mar. This son of Pleasantly Perfect hasn’t run much on dirt, but his sire liked it. Trainer Art Sherman is 26% on dirt and 24% with horses off a 31-60-day layoff. Jockey Alex Solis stays aboard.


Race 8: #3 Kiss At Midnight (7-2)

Trainer Peter Miller is 27% with debuting maiden claimers and Decarchy is a good first out sire. Jockey Elvis Trujillo is 25% with Miller and have to believe this one is live.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Thursday’s top choice winners: 2 (Forest Chatter $3.60, fifth race; Bow Tie Belle $3.60, sixth)

Thursday’s second choice winners: 1 (Broadway $11, fourth)

Thursday’s third choice winners: 2 (Test Ride $6.20, first; Power Foot $6, second)

Thursday’s long shot winners: 2 (Puttybadhsark $11, third; Undrgroundrailroad $8.40, eighth)

Horse racing, Los Alamitos

Los Alamitos RC opinions for Friday, Sept. 19

Race 2: #10 Z Z Thunder (6-1)

This 3-year-old makes his second start off the layoff and first start in the maiden claiming ranks. If you look at whom he faced in his first two career races (Chitu, The Admiral and Bayern) then he would seem to hold a real class edge on the drop. He pressed the pace in his last before tiring and should be in better shape for trainer David Hofmans and Hall of Fame jockey Alex Solis.


Race 6: #10 Stood Up (7-2)

Trainer Art Sherman will be busy with some horse named California Chrome in Philadelphia, but the barn has this runner ready for her debut. The filly is owned by Ed Allred, who just happens to own Los Alamitos. You don’t think the “house” horse was pointed for this spot on purpose?.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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:

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)

Del Mar, Horse racing, Kentucky Derby, Santa Anita, Triple Crown

California Chrome’s connections fine with No. 5 draw in Derby

Jockey Victor Espinoza was more than happy when Kentucky Derby morning-line favorite California Chrome (5-2), who trains at Los Alamitos Race Course in Orange County, drew the No. 5 post for Saturday’s Run for the Roses in Louisville, Ky.

“It’s my lucky number,” said Espinoza.

Espinoza won the Kentucky Derby aboard War Emblem from post No. 5 for trainer Bob Baffert in 2002.

California Chrome also won the Santa Anita Derby from post five in his last start and the 3-year-old, trained by Art Sherman, will be looking for his fifth straight victory on the track.

With California Chrome’s tactical speed, the No. 5 post should not prove a problem as Espinoza should be able to get out quickly and place him where he wants.

“He’s an amazing horse to ride,” said Espinoza. “I let him do his own thing. I think that’s why he’s running so great.”

Sherman obviously didn’t want to draw the No. 1 hole like Louisiana Derby winner Vicars In Trouble (30-1) did or the outside post in the 20-horse field like Wood Memorial winner Wicked Strong (8-1).

“I like it fine,” said Sherman after the draw. “Victor says he likes it. I’m happy and I feel no pressure.”

California Chrome has been a step slow in two of his last five starts, but Sherman isn’t worried.

“We’re going to school (from the gate Thursday),” said Sherman. “(In a race) he’ll be standing there perfect and just before he gets anxious. When he puts those blinkers on he gets anxious because he knows it’s a whole new ballgame (race day).”

Arkansas Derby winner Danza (10-1) drew just inside California Chrome in the No. 4 post.

Other California horses drew toward the outside in Hoppertunity (6-1) at No. 11, Dance With Fate (20-1) at No. 12, Chitu (20-1) at No. 13 and Candy Boy (20-1) at No. 18 for trainer John Sadler and jockey Gary Stevens.

Hoppertunity, who finished second to California Chrome in the Santa Anita Derby, was made the second choice on the morning line after Wicked Strong drew the outside post.

However, four of the last six Derby winners have come from the auxiliary gate (post No. 15 and out) and the last three in a row have come from there.

Baffert trains both Hoppertunity and Chitu. He was fine with the draw for both.

“I’m happy with the way the horses are training and that’s more important,” he said. “The only disadvantage is that Hoppertunity is going to have to wait in the gate for a long time, but I’d rather wait in the 11-hole than wait in the one-hole. I think he’s second choice because he’s gotten the closest to California Chrome this year.”

Chitu is expected to be part of the speed in the 1¼-mile race.

“You don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Baffert. “The speed horses, you don’t know who’s going to break, who’s going to go, what if the pace isn’t fast? What if it’s a War Emblem pace and they keep going? I think nobody knows. We’re all assuming a lot of stuff but, this Derby, aside from that California Chrome has proven he’s a really good horse, there’s a lot of horses in there that are pretty close. There’s a lot of parity in this field so that’s why we have 20 horses, because everybody might have a chance. He’s fast. (Jockey) Martin Garcia thinks he can do it so he’s real confident about the horse.”

Trainer Peter Eurton didn’t have a problem with Blue Grass winner Dancer With Fate’s draw.

“I am thrilled with it,” he said. “There is a lot of speed to the inside of us rather than outside and that should give us a good chance to pick a spot.”

Sadler said he doesn’t worry about post draws.

“It’s OK,” Sadler said. “I’d rather be outside than in. And I don’t put a lot of energy into things I can’t control. We’ll figure out a strategy and go from there. I think we’ll be fine.”

Stevens said he was already planning a strategy as the draw progressed, but he wasn’t giving away any trade secrets.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter