Breeders' Cup, Churchill Downs, Horse racing

Breeders’ Cup Saturday opinions for Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs

THIRD RACE (Filly and Mare Sprint)
1. #11 Finley’sluckycharm, 2. #5 Golden Mischief, 3. #13 Marley’s Freedom, 4. #8 Mia Mischief. LONG SHOT: #6 Chalon.

FOURTH RACE (Turf Sprint)
1. #6 Rainbow Heir, 2. #9 Stormy Liberal, 3. #8 Chanteline, 4. #14 Conquest Tsunami. LONG SHOT: #12 Richard’s Boy.

FIFTH RACE (Dirt Mile)
1. #1 City of Light, 2. #7 Firenze Fire, 3. #10 Catalina Cruiser, 4. #6 Seeking the Soul. LONG SHOT: #4 Seven Trumpets.

SIXTH RACE (Filly and Mare Turf)
1. #14 Eziyra, 2. #3 Wild Illusion, 3. #10 Magic Wand, 4. #13 Athena. LONG SHOT: #7 Smart Choice.

SEVENTH RACE (Sprint)
1. #8 Limousine Liberal, 2. #9 Roy H, 3. #2 Promises Fulfilled, 4. #1 Whitmore. LONG SHOT: #3 B Squared.

EIGHTH RACE (Mile)
1. #13 Gustav Klimt, 2. #7 Expert Eye, 3. #8 I Can Fly, 4. #1 One Master. LONG SHOT: #2 Next Shares.

NINTH RACE (Distaff)
1. #2 Abel Tasman (BEST BET), 2. #7 Midnight Bisou, 3. #5 Wonder Gadot, 4. #11 Monomoy Girl. LONG SHOT: #8 Vale Dori.

10TH RACE (Turf)
1. #12 Waldgeist, 2. #2 Enable, 3. #5 Magical, 4. #4 Robert Bruce. LONG SHOT: #3 Channel Maker.

11TH RACE (Classic)
1. #7 West Coast, 2. #8 Pavel, 3. #10 Yoshida, 4. #6 McKinzie. LONG SHOT: #4 Gunnevera.

Good luck.

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Breeders' Cup, Churchill Downs, Horse racing

Breeders’ Cup Friday opinions for Friday, Nov. 2 at Churchill Downs

OVERVIEW: On these big days you need to have a key horse or two and stick to it. That key for me today is Summering (15-1) in the Juvenile Fillies Turf. She did nothing wrong in two wins at Del Mar but then she got trapped at Santa Anita and had nowhere to go in the Surfer Girl, finishing third. I think she’s worth a shot. The main question today, like with all of the races on the grass, is the condition of the turf course. It has been raining for the last two days and the course won’t be firm. So whether she takes to the course will be a key as much as anything. Will the Euros have a bigger shot today on the turf? There are two schools of thought: 1) they have run on softer before; 2) they might have been sent to the States to run on firmer ground. We’ll see.

FIFTH RACE (Juvenile Turf Sprint): 1. #11 Queen of Bermuda, 2. #2 Soldier’s Call, 3. #6 Moonlight Romance, 4. #5 Bulletin. LONG SHOT: #4 Stillwater Cove.
This race was added by the Breeders’ Cup this year and it certainly came up tough with American and Euros plus males and females entered. There are six fillies in the body of the race. I went with QUEEN OF BERMUDA because jockey Flavien Prat should have some insight to the Euros and she looks like she can track the pace from the outside.

SIXTH RACE (Juvenile Fillies Turf): 1. #12 SUMMERING (Best bet), 2. #2 The Mackem Bullet, 3. #6 Newspaperofrecord, 4. #5 La Pelosa. LONG SHOT: #11 Lady Prancealot.
I’ve already made my case for SUMMERING. NEWSPAPEROFRECORD seems to be a lot of handicappers selection and I get, but I don’t like picking or betting favorites.

SEVENTH RACE (Juvenile Fillies): 1. #1 Reflect, 2. #10 Bellafina, 3. #2 Serengeti Empress, 4. #4 Restless Rider. LONG SHOT: #3 Vibrance.
I wanted to pick BELLAFINA but in looking at the workout times since her last race, I wasn’t impressed. Maybe she has topped out but I hope not for Southern California trainer Simon Callaghan. VIBRANCE is an interesting long shot as she finished second to Bellafina at Santa Anita.

EIGHTH RACE (Juvenile Turf): 1. #6 Henley’s Joy, 2. #5 Line of Duty, 3. #2 Uncle Benny, 4. #14 Anthony Van Dyck. LONG SHOT: #13 Marie’s Diamond.
OK, in the interest of honesty, Jeff Bloom, who owns Henley’s Joy, and I are friends, but I really like this 2-year-old. He tries every time and again the condition of the course will be the key. Internet reports are that he looks good and has trained good. LINE OF DUTY seems to be the wise guy horse and ANTHONY VAN DYCK seems to be the top hope from Europe, but he drew the No. 14 post. Ouch.

NINTH RACE (Juvenile): 1. #9 Game Winner, 2. #6 Complexity, 3. #11 Code of Honor, 4. #13 Topper T. LONG SHOT: #4 Tight Ten.
This race seems pretty straight forward, but that’s when chaos happens. If the favorites don’t show up take a look at TOPPER T, TIGHT TEN and KNICKS GO.

Good luck.

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Breeders' Cup, Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Saturday, Nov. 4 (Breeders’ Cup Day 2)

Preview: Four down and nine to go as the Breeders’ Cup action continues today at Del Mar. One thing we learned Friday is that the Euro jockeys better learn how to ride the Del Mar turf course or they could get embarrassed like Ryan Moore, who had no clue on Happily in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf. Bad ride, man. But he learned and won the BC Juvenile Turf.

FIRST RACE: 1, Goldy Espony, 2. Hillhouse High, 3. On Leave, 4. Aljazzi. LONG SHOT: Sassy Little Lila.

SECOND RACE: 1. Bookies Luck, 2. Schulace, 3. Smokem, 4. Night At the Opera. LONG SHOT: Lucky Romano.
THIRD RACE: 1. McErin, 2. March X Press, 3. Sounde And Silence, 4. El Duce. LONG SHOT: Count Alexander.

FOURTH RACE (BREEDERS’ CUP JUVENILE FILLIES)

1. Gio Game, 2. Heavenly Love, 3. Moonshine Memories, 4. Separationofpowers. Long shot: Wonder Gadot.

The 2-year-old fillies start the BC action and trainer Mark Casse has this race surrounded with three entries. I’ll go with the longer price here with GIO GAME. She just broke her maiden at Keeneland like a good thing and has been working well at Churchill Downs.

FIFTH RACE: (BC TURF SPRINT)

1. Pure Sensation, 2. Disco Partner, 3. Richard’s Boy, 4. Lady Aurelia. Long shot: Holding Gold.

A lot of people think a closer is the way to go on this turf course as the speed kills itself off, so I’m hoping PURE SENSATION runs the same kind of race he did last time at Parx where he came from off the pace. LADY AURELIA will be tough to beat, but I’m taking a shot.

SIXTH RACE (BC FILLY AND MARE SPRINT)

1. Finley’sluckycharm, 2. Skye Diamonds, 3. Unique Bella, 4. Highway Star. Long shot: Ami’s Mesa.

Once again I hope press box friends Jon Lindo and Jeff Bloom get all the money here on SKYE DIAMONDS, but I like FINLEY’SLUCKYCHARM, who is coming in from Kentucky off a big win, and she is 8-for-10 on the dirt. UNIQUE BELLA will be a single on a lot of exotic tickets, but I think she is beatable.

SEVENTH RACE: (BC FILLY AND MARE TURF)

1. Wuheida, 2. Lady Eli, 3. Queen’s Trust, 4. Cambodia. Long shot: Zipessa.

LADY ELI is a feel-good story and a worthy favorite, but I’m going with the Euro on top. WUHEIDA is from the Charles Appleby barn and he isn’t here for the weather. In her one race in Europe on a firm turf course, she won. Good sign. William Buick has ridden her before and let’s hope he knows how to ride this turf course.

EIGHTH RACE (BC SPRINT)

1. DREFONG (best bet), 2. Imperial Hint, 3. Roy H, 4. American Pastime. Long shot: Calculator.

There’s nothing like California speed, and Drefong is the defending champ of this race. After that disaster in the Bing Crosby, he went back East to beat them all at Saratoga in the Forego. Don’t be afraid to play a Peter Miller exacta box (ROY H and CALCULATOR). Calculator will be closing and might be a good one to back wheel underneath.

NINTH RACE (BC MILE)

1. Zelzal, 2. Ballagh Rocks, 3. Suedois, 4. Midnight Storm. Long shot: Lancaster Bomber

This race is on the turf and anyone from post 10 and out will have a tough task. ZELZAL has done well on firm courses in France and he’s adding Lasix for the first time. Looking for a big upset here.

10TH RACE (BC JUVENILE)

1. The Tabulator, 2. Bolt d’Oro, 3. Solimini, 4. U S Navy Flag. Long shot: Firenze Fire.

Yes, I am going against the likely biggest favorite of the day in BOLT D’ORO, the really local horse owned and trained by Mick Ruis. He is the most probable winner of the day, but THE TABULATOR is also a perfect 3-for-3 in the Midwest for trainer Larry Rivelli. Again looking for a big upset. I suggest exactas with Bolt d’Oro on top of The Tabulaor, SOLIMINI and U S NAVY FLAG might pay well.

11TH RACE: (BC TURF)

1. Highland Reel, 2. Talismanic, 3. Beach Patrol. 4. Decorated Knight. Long shot: Hunt.

This race is usually owned by the Europeans and I don’t see a reason to change that thinking. ULYSSES was scratched late Friday night. HIGHLAND REEL won this race a year ago at Santa Anita. TALISMANIC is trained by the great Andre Fabre. HUNT is an interesting long shot after winning two stakes races on the Del Mar green this summer.

12TH RACE: (BC CLASSIC)

1. Arrogate, 2. Mubtaahij, 3. Gunnevera, 4. Gun Runner. Long shot: West Coast.

The final race, and it’s only worth $6 million. I agonized over this selection after ARROGATE’s two losses at Del Mar this summer because I believe those who said he doesn’t have the same action over the surface as he does others. However, I think the Dubai trip took more out of him than Bob Baffert knew and now the trainer has him ready to go out a winner in his final race before going off to stud duty. MUBTAAHIJ finished fourth to Arrogate in Dubai and his recent win at Santa Anita was impressive. WEST COAST is Baffert’s 3-year-old upsetter and if COLLECTED wins from the No. 11 post, he deserves Horse of the Year.

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Breeders' Cup, Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar picks for Friday, Nov. 3 (Breeders’ Cup, Day 1)

Preview: The Breeders’ Cup is finally here with four races Friday and nine more on Saturday. The main track has played to speed sp far so keep that in mind. Of course, that can change overnight, but cooler weather usually means a tighter, faster track. The turf course will have the rails set to zero finally so closers should have a fair shot.

FIRST RACE: 1. Good Bye Greg, 2. Mr. Hinx, 3. Kobe’s Back. LONG SHOT: Leading Score.

SECOND RACE: 1. Soglio, 2. Cheekaboomboom, 3. Record Highs. LONG SHOT: Ritzy A.P.

THIRD RACE: 1. Mesa Sky, 2. Donworth, 3. Dabster. LONG SHOT: Prime Issue.

FOURTH RACE: 1. Family Girl, 2. Ismelucky, 2. Spiced Perfection. LONG SHOT: Smiling Tigress.

FIFTH RACE: 1. Hard Aces, 2. Destin, 3. Archanova. LONG SHOT: Estrechade.

SIXTH RACE (BREEDERS’ CUP JUVENILE FILLIES): 1. Happily, 2. Rushing Fall, 3. Fatale Bere, 4. Significant Form. LONG SHOT: Capla Temptress.
I leaned heavily to the Europeans in this race and don’t be afraid to play a few long shots. Horses on the outside are going to have a real hard time in this race so beware. HAPPILY draws the No. 2 post and is super Euro trainer Aidan O’Brien’s barn.RUSHING FALL looks like the best American, but will go from post No. 11.

SEVENTH RACE (BC DIRT MILE): 1. Sharp Azteca, 2. Cupid, 3. Mor Spirit, 4. Iron Fist. LONG SHOT” Battle of Midway.
This is one of best bets on the card in SHARP AZTECA, which comes from the Jorge Navarro barn. Paco Lopez rides and he’s 41% with Navarro. CUPID and MOR SPIRIT come from the Bob Baffert barn. Cupid finished fourth in the Awesome Again at Santa Anita and this will be his third off the layoff. I have no idea what to do with Mor Spirit. Baffert said this summer he was training so poorly at Del Mar that he stopped on him and waited for the Santa Anita track to open up so he hasn’t been in a race since his sensational Met Mile win at Belmont Park.

EIGHTH RACE (BC JUVENILE TURF): 1. Masar, 2. Mendelssohn, 3. Beckford, 4. Snapper Sinclair. LONG SHOT: Sand of Mail.
Selfishly I’d like to see the Jeff Bloom-owned SNAPPER SINCLAIR, but I just don’t know if he’s good enough to beat the Euros. MASAR is from the Charles Appleby barn and he wouldn’t ship from Europe unless he thought he had a good shot at winning. MENDELSSOHN is from the O’Brien camp so enough said there. BECKFORD is from Europe, too, and might appreciate the firmer turf.

NINTH RACE: (BC DISTAFF): 1. ELATE (best bet), 2. Stellar Wind, 3. Forever Unbridled, 4. Paradise Woods. LONG SHOT: Champagne Room.
This is the 3-year-old fillies vs. the older fillies/mares. Elate, a 3-year-old, came into her own last time in winning the Beldame at Belmont Park against older. Trainer Bill Mott has stated that she appears to love the Del Mar surface in the morning. That’s good enough for me. Stellar Wind’s trainer, John Sadler, is 0-for-39 in the Breeders Cup. I hope he breaks through, but just not sure off a long layoff. I’d rather go with the now horse.

10TH RACE: 1. Belvoir Bay, 2. Firsthand Report, 3. So Sweetitiz. LONG SHOT: Instant Reflex.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Friday, Sept. 29

Preview: Well it’s a good thing I took Los Alamitos off since I was sick most of the last three weeks with some kind of infection that they never figured out what it was, but thank God for antibiotics.
The next two weekends will be big at the Great Race Place with preps for next month’s Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar on tap. This Saturday card is good to say the least.
I look for trainer Peter Miller to rebound off his poor Del Mar (for him) and it will be interesting to see of apprentice Byran Pena keeps up his momentum from LRC.
Here are a few to look at for Friday:

FIRST RACE #3 Kinematico (4-1)
Gets a huge jock change from Elliott to Flavien Prat. Trainer Mike Puype didn’t have a good Del Mar meet and is looking to rebound. He is 24% when dropping horses from MSW to maiden claimers, but these MC $50,000 have been playing like a MSW this year.

SECOND RACE: #1 Over Achiever (5-2)
Trainer Bill Morey having a good year, winning at 22 percent. This gelding is dropping off the claim and has won 2 of 3 over this track. Morey is 20% second time off the layoff and he’s 7-for-14 with jockey Rafael Bejarano.

FIFTH RACE: #4 American Currency (4-1)
Had a troubled first start and takes a drop in class. Interesting jockey change from apprentice Roman to Hall of Famer Gary Stevens, who is 25% with trainer Eddie Truman. Watch Salsa King (10-1) and Haulin’ Frieght (10-1), who are coming out of a key Del Mar 2-year-old race.

SEVENTH RACE: #1 OkDoll (9-2)
This filly has a 5-2-1-1 record over the Santa Anita green. Jockey Rafael Bejarano is 24% wih trainer Richard Baltas, who is 22% third off the layoff. Be careful because Baltas also has Lucy De (5-1) in here. Exacta box?

EIGHTH RACE: #5 Jungle Warfare (2-1)
This is a tough race and I hate going with chalk but this 2-year-old is coming out of that aforementioned Del Mar key race. Also big jock switch to Mike Smith from Roman.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Saturday, July 29

Preview: Favorites continue to take it on the chin eight days into the meet, but you know at some time the ride will turn, especially at Del Mar. Last Saturday, there was a rally wide bias after the racing from Friday night so watch the first race carefully.

FIRST RACE: 1. Jungle Warfare, 2. Ayacara, 3. Tatters to Riches. LONG SHOT: Blended Citizen.
Tatters to Riches is a $1 million baby trained by Jeff Mullins. The son Union Rags had been training lights out, but anything can happened the first time. Mullins is also just one for his last 15 with first-time starters. Jungle Warfare costs $300,000 and finished third in his debut. He has been working well and improvement should come today with apprentice Evil Roman in the irons.

SECOND RACE: 1. Mama’s Sugar, 2. Tiz Delightful, 3. Fabulous Lady. LONG SHOT: Zanab.

THIRD RACE: 1. G.G. Ryder, 2. He Will, 3. Incredible Luck. LONG SHOT: My Italian Babbo.
Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer would see to hold all the cards in this Cal-bred stakes with the top two horses. Can you say exacta box?

For the reminder of my picks go to:
http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sports/sd-sp-jeff-nahills-delmar-selections-saturday-july-29-story.html

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Sunday, Nov. 6

Preview: The meet comes to an end today with mandatory payouts and they won’t return to Arcadia until Dec. 26. The circuit goes to Del Mar starting Friday for four weeks and then Los Alamitos for a few weeks. With the time change, post time is noon on the West Coast and 3 p.m. in the East.

Race 2 – SA
#7 Jami Racer (8-1) (turf only)
This filly came running down the hill last time to finish fourth. She now gets the services of jockey Javier Castellano, who is sticking around for a day after the Breeders’ Cup. Trainer Bob Hess Jr. is 23% when putting on blinkers.

Race 5 – SA
#3 Black Tie ‘n Tails (4-1)
Just had all kinds of issues at the start in his last race and now drops into a claimer. Jockey Flavien Prat takes over and this horse can come from off of it or be on the pace.

Race 6 – SA
#5 Zindaya (2-1) (turf only)
This is the reason jockey Javier Castellano sticks around as he rides for trainer Chad Brown here. This mare has been improving all year long and should be forwardly placed.

Race 9 – SA
#8 Trojan Nation (4-1)
This 3-year-old ran in the Kentucky Derby and Belmont as a maiden. He then went to the grass at Del Mar and won. Next he ran in the rodeo named the Del Mar Derby where there was trouble for every horse but the winner. Jockey Drayden Van Dyke sticks and he’s good on the grass.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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