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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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

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

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:

Good luck.


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

Breeders' Cup, Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita picks for Breeders’ Cup Saturday, Nov. 5

Preview: The inside has been the place to be this meet on the dirt. The inside six spots in sprints and the inside four spots around two turns are where to concentrate. On the new turf course, post 1-2 have not been the place to down the hill in sprints. They are automatic throw outs for me. The inside on the grass going two turns is just just and when you have the best horses in the world you might have to make a few exceptions.

What an exceptional BC Distaff on Friday between Beholder and Songbird. New York horses won three races so the East Coast is ready this year. Came close to greatness if Jeff Bloom’s Diplodocus could have gotten up in the Twilight Derby, but such is life.

FIRST RACE: 1. #4 Harbour Master, 2. #12 Hootie (SCRATCHED), 3. #9 Red Lodge, 4. #3 Partyinthepaddock.

SECOND RACE: 1. #8 Milton Freewater, 2. #4 California Diamond, 3. #2 Sizzlin Square, 4. #5 Closing Time.

THIRD RACE: 1. #8 Mehronissa, 2. #4 Most Beautiful, 3. #2 Acapulco, #5 Juno.

FOURTH RACE (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies): 1. #11 Daddys Lil Darling, 2. #2 With Honors, 3. #10 Noted and Quoted, 4. #9 Union Strike.
Daddys Lil Darling was one of the most impressive horses I saw in the preps, finishing second after starting from post 14. She draws outside again, but jockey Corey Lanerie can’t get her there.

FIFTH RACE (BC Filly and Mare Turf): 1. #11 Queen’s Trust, 2. #8 Lady Eli, 3. #3 Seventh Heaven, 4. #4 Avenge.

SIXTH RACE (BC Sprint): 1.#2 Drefong, 2. #1 Mind Your Biscuits, 3. #5 A. P. Indian, 4. Masochistic.
This race lost some appeal when Lord Nelson scratched on Thursday due to an injury. Luckily trainer Bob Baffert has a good backup in Drefong.0

SEVENTH RACE (BC Turf Sprint): 1. #8 Washington D C, 2. #5 Karar, 3. #3 Mongolian Saturday, 4. #13 Holy Lute.
Obviously will be on the lead from the No. 2 post, but as I’ve stated not playing horses down the hill in No. 1 or No. 2. Instead, I’ll go with the Euros in the top two spots.

EIGHTH RACE (BC Juvenile): 1. #7 Gormley, 2. #1 Klimt, 3. #4 Theory, 4. #9 Practical Joke.
The West Coast horses have been the ones to beat when it comes to the Kentucky Derby the last few years and as far as I’m concerned the road to Churchill Downs starts here. That’s means #westisbest. This son of Malibu Moon freaked last time going two turns for the first time and put a whooping on Baffert’s Klimt, which returns here, too. Trainer John Shirreffs wouldn’t be running this 2-year-old unless he was mature beyond his years and he is. I look for Gormley and Klimt to dominate this race and will play accordingly.

NINTH RACE (BC Turf): 1. #4 Flintshire, 2. #10 Found, 3. #6 Mondialiste, 4. #12 Highland Reel.
Throw out Flintshire’s last race on a yielding course in New York. Found was ticket for the BC Classic but her connections decided to defend her title in this race. Not sure what to make of that.

10TH RACE (BC Filly and Mare Sprint): 1. #10 Wavell Avenue, 2. #8 Carina Mia, 3. #2 Haveyougoneaway, 4. #6 By the Moon.
Wavell Avenue is the defending champ in this race and she hasn’t had a great year but maybe ready for a big effort.

11TH RACE (BC Mile): 1. #8 Tepin, 2. #10 Limato, 3. #9 Ironicus, 4. #6 Photo Call.
Tepin is the defending champ here but hasn’t been the same since winning at Royal Ascot. I think she will defend here title. Limato is the top Euro and Photo Call just beat Tepin at Keeneland as Kent Desormeaux opened up a 10-length lead at one point. Tepin will be ready this time.

12TH RACE (BC Classic): 1. #4 California Chrome, 2. #9 Hoppertunity, 3. #10 Arrogate, 4. #4 Melatonin.
Did you really expect another selection? Chrome is the BEST horse in the world. I know Arrogate freaked at Saratoga in the Travers, but Chrome has two years of racing on him plus Victor Espinoza. Enough said.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Breeders' Cup, Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita picks for Breeders’ Cup Friday, Nov. 4

Preview: The main track this meet has played a little bit slower this meet than in the past but we all remember when the Breeders’ Cup was here and it was a paved highway so you need to look at Thursday’s charts for a few clues on how speed is doing. According to one source Wednesday night, Santa Anita added sand to the dirt course late in the day. The turf course conversely has played to speed but that may be due to the fact that the rails have been out for most of the races waiting for this weekend. I look for a fair course with closers having an equal opportunity.

FIRST RACE: 1. #10 Tough It Out, 2. #8 Distinctive B, 3. #6 Ten Blessings, 4. #14 Never Say Try.

SECOND RACE: 1. #4 Tryst, 2. #3 Watch This Cat, 3. #7 My Palmilla, 4. #12 Longstocking.

THIRD RACE: 1. #8 Hard Aces, 2. #2 Quick Casablanca, 3. #4 Melmich, 4. #1 Scuba.

FOURTH RACE: 1. #2 Kafister, 2. #3 Jazzy Times, 3. #8 Prospect Park, 4. #5 Silent Bird.

FIFTH RACE: 1. #8 Vai, 2. #9 My Pi Romancer, 3. #11 Ms Wakaya, 4. #4 Isa Firecracker

SIXTH RACE (BC Juvenile Turf): 1. #11 Good Samaritan, 2. #6 Big Score, 3. #12 Rodaini, 4. #9 Wellabled.
I couldn’t talk anyone for any horse. Wide open.

SEVENTH RACE (BC Dirt Mile); 1. #3 Dortmund, 2. #1 Vyjack, 3. #8 Tamarkuz, 4. #9 Gun Runner.
It’s tough to feel sorry for trainer Bob Baffert under any circumstances, but this 4-year-old has been the hard-luck thoroughbred of the last two years. He has five losses. All of them are to the last two Kentucky Derby winners, California Chrome and Americah Pharoah. Baffert has seen enough of Chrome and wants to get his picture in the winner’s circle with this horse and he should be a single in all exotics surrounding this race.

EIGHTH RACE (BC Juvenile Fillies Turf): 1. #4 Spain Burg, 2. #14 La Coronel, 3. #3 New Money Honey, 4. #6 La Force.
Another wide open race, but I’m taking the Euro invader Spain Burg. La Coronel was impressive at Keeneland, but she gets a bad draw here.

NINTH RACE (BC Distaff): 1. #5 Stellar Wind, 2. #8 Beholder, 3. #1 Songbird, 4. #6 Forever Unbridled.
This is the race everyone is waiting for with the top West Coast fillies going at it, but don’t forget there are a total of five Grade I winner in this race aside from the brilliant 3-year-old Songbird. I like the older Stellar Wind and Beholder. Watch out for Forever Unbridled. She is the only closer in the bunch and if there is a pace meltdown she might be worth a small wager or underneath exacta play.

10TH RACE (Twilight Derby). 1. #10 Diplodocus, 2. #4 Oscar Nominated, 3. #1 Free Rose, 4. #5 Monster Bea.
Diplodocus hasn’t received the best of races the last two times so maybe the change to an Ortiz brother will be the answer. Didn’t understand by Javier Castellano took Monster Bea to the lead last time in New York. The Oceanside Stakes winner likes to come from off the pace, Javie. Come on, man.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter