Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Sunday, June 12

Preview: Not a whole lot of quality on this card, but maybe it will make up for it with prices. Trainer Phil D’Amato continues to lead in wins on the turf course with seven followed by Richard Mandella and Jim Cassidy, who both have four. Trainers to think twice about on the grass are Richard Baltas (1-17), Peter Miller (1-15), Mark Glatt (1-15), Doug O’Neill (1-14) and John Shirreffs (0-10).

Race 6 – SA
#6 Street Moxie (2-1): Trainer Phil D’Amato claimed this gelding at Keeneland and ships West. He ran at a similar level there, finishing second. He likes to come from off the pace. D’Amato is 21% first off the claim and 23% with first routers. Jockey Tyler Baze is 27% with D’Amato.

Race 8 – SA
#5 Exuberante (15-1): This maiden is running in a stakes race, but the key here is the distance of 1 1/2 miles on the turf. This filly is bred to go more than 10 furlongs on both the top and bottom. Jockey Brice Blanc rides back for Paulo Lobo.

Race 9 – SA
#9 C W Road (4-1): Trainer Peter Eurton drops this filly down to the bottom of the maiden claiming ranks for the first time. Eurton is 25% when dropping a horse more than two levels. Key jockey switch to Flavien Prat, who is 13% with Eurton.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Thursday, March 17

Preview: The weather looks good for the week so we won’t have any issues with the track like we did last week. There’s a HUGE Pick Six carryover on the Thursday card and that’s all you need to say in Southern California.

 Race 3: #1 Oh Great Idea (9-5)

This 3-year-old drops into a claimer for the first time and gets a huge jockey switch from Eikleberry to apprentice David Lopez. Trainer Peter Miller takes blinkers off (22%) and he’s 22% in maiden claimers. Look for a send job from the rail


Race 4: #7 Algorrhythmic (3-1)

Just throw out that last race on the dirt and go back to that first race down the hill. If this filly does that she will win for jockey Brice Blanc, who jumps back on.


Race 8: #3 Turf Club Queen (4-1)

This mare ran a pretty good race off a more than three-year layoff. She should be tighter for this race and trainer Lloyd Wicker, who is 26% with maiden claimers, switches from an apprentice (Pena) to a journeyman jockey (Hernandez).

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Del Mar, Horse racing, Tampa Bay Downs

Del Mar selections for Saturday, Nov. 28 (Plus Tampa Bay Downs)

FIRST RACE: 1. Roper, 2. Financial, 3. Spirit World. LONG SHOT: Adair.

SECOND RACE: 1, Tulira Castle, 2. Alex Rossi, 3. Airfoil. LONG SHOT: I’ll Wrap It Up.
THIRD RACE: 1. #4 UNDENIABLE U (9-2) (BEST BET), 2. Path of David, 3. Archaeo. LONG SHOT: Silent Movies.

Trainer Bob Baffert isn’t known as a turf trainer, but he is 31% with horses making their second route race. Jockey Victor Espinoza just missed last time with the well-regarded Canada.


FOURTH RACE: 1. Etailer, 2. Eddie Haskell, 3. Lymebyrd. LONG SHOT: Demonslayer.
FIFTH RACE: 1. Mokat, 2. Optimism And Hope, 3. Wake the Dawn. LONG SHOT: Jeremy’s Legacy.
SIXTH RACE: 1. #7 Tribal Jewel (8-1), 2. Storm Comin Thru, 3. True Ten. LONG SHOT: Roman Tizzy.

Trainer Peter Miller claimed this gelding last time and runs him back in the same spot. Miller is 24% first off the claim and has put a couple of big works into him. Jockey Brice Blanc jumps on and he is 2-for-4 with Miller.


SEVENTH RACE: 1. Royal Albert Hall, 2. March, 3. Om. LONG SHOT: Closing Bell.
EIGHTH RACE: 1. Dortmund, 2. Big Cazanova, 3. Imperative. LONG SHOT: Majestic City.
NINTH RACE: 1. #6 Hunt (7-2), 2. Roy H, 3. Unusual Fleet. LONG SHOT: Follow Me Crev.

This 3-year-old finished fourth in the Twilight Derby and many he faced will be running earlier on the card in the Hollywood Derby so we should have a good handle on whether that is a key race. Jockey Mike Smith stays aboard for trainer Phil D’Amato and they are a 26% combination.


Tampa Bay Downs for Saturday, Nov. 28

Race 3: #2 Horn Buckle (5-1) 

This gelding reeled off three wins at this track last winter and trainer Victor Carrasco Jr. looks to strike on the first day of the new meet. Carrasco is 30% with horses moving down two of more classes.


Race 6: #9 Ishaq (7-2)

Trainer Efren Loza Jr. is 44% with first-time starters like this son of Harlan’s Holiday and he employs jockey Pedro Cotto Jr., who has won 5-of-11 races for Loza this year. There are decent works showing and we think this one is ready to run.


Race 9 : #2 Fascinante (7-2) 

Efren Loza Jr. is a high-percentage trainer in a lot of areas, including 35% with shippers like this 5-year-old mare, who is a perfect 2-for-2 over this turf course. Pedro Cotto Jr. rides another Loza.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter


Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Thursday, July 23

FIRST RACE: 1. Wish I Understood, 2. Don’t Tell Jackie, 3. Vronsky’s Devka. LONG SHOT: Sooner Time.


SECOND RACE: 1. #2 SMOOTH TALKER (6-1) best bet, 2. Good Stats, 3. Where Is My Mind. LONG SHOT: Norastone.

Trainer Doug O’Neill has gotten off to a slow start at the meet, but he’s bound to heat up at some point and did so on Wednesday when he won two races on the turf, of all surfaces. O’Neil is 36% with horses moving down two or more classes like this 5-year-old mare. Drayden Van Dyke is re-united with the mare.


THIRD RACE: 1. #9 Holiday Camp (12-1), 2. Roy H, 3. Incline Village. LONG SHOT: Rule He Will.

Trainer Bob Baffert is searching for a winning spot for the this $700,000 purchase last year. The turf might be the answer as the sire Street Boss is 20% with first-time turfers and Baffert is 24% with jockey Martiin Garcia.


FOURTH RACE: 1. Gravity Force, 2. Blue Ratio, 3. Out of Mischief. LONG SHOT: I’m Zonin.

FIFTH RACE: 1. #2 Lily Kai (12-1), 2. Almost Reality, 3. Ticaboo. LONG SHOT: Just Got Lucky.

This daughter of Unusual Heat is bred to love the grass and to go long. She showed improvement in her second start and now trainer Mike Machowsky sends her around two turns for the first time after two sprints, a move he is 23% with. Good turf jockey Brice Blanc is aboard.


SIXTH RACE: 1. Midnight Transfer, 2. Buckleberry Grey, 3. Barrel Knot. LONG SHOT: Ain’t No Other.
SEVENTH RACE: 1. Lady’s Plan, 2. Freethinker, 3. Kadesha. LONG SHOT: Halljoy.
EIGHTH RACE: 1. Emerald Green, 2. West Coast Storm, 3. I Heart You. LONG SHOT: Quick Navigator.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Wednesday’s top choice winners: 2 (Gypsy’s Rule $17.20, fourth race; Savings Account $4.20, sixth)

Wednesday’s second choice winners: 1 (Luvuryan $7.40, eighth)

Wednesday’s third choice winner: 0

Wednesday’s long shot winners: 1 (Karma King $17.80, second)

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita selections for Friday, Feb. 27

FIRST RACE: 1. Casual Attire, 2. Matzoh Ball Magic, 3. Hidden Zensation. LONG SHOT: Rusty Road.


SECOND RACE: 1. Light Striker, 2. Sheza Eyeopener, 3. Toomanytomatoes. LONG SHOT: Rosewhitenblue.


THIRD RACE: 1. Deputy Striker, 2. Which Market, 3. Horizontalyspeakin. LONG SHOT: Tribal Tribute.

This 6-year-old DEPUTY STRIKER (6-1) makes his turf debut and should love it along with going around two turns. He has been working well good for trainer Brian Koriner, who is 4-for-10 with layoffs of 61-180 days.


FOURTH RACE: 1. Dixie Dame, 2. Gold Locket, 3. Coded Message. LONG SHOT: Tamke.


FIFTH RACE: 1. Papa Z (turf only) (BEST BET), 2. McHeat, 3. Prohibition Repeal. LONG SHOT: Ace Deuce.

PAPA Z (6-1), a 4-year-old, got off to a slow start in his turf debut, but made up some ground in the stretch. Trainer Marty Jones has put a good work into him and good turf rider Brice Blanc returns.


SIXTH RACE: 1. Harmonic, 2. Eckersley, 3. Cyrus Alexander. LONG SHOT: Verraco.


SEVENTH RACE: 1. Big Kick, 2. Joes Blazing Aaron, 3. Awesome Return. LONG SHOT: Diamond Bachelor.


EIGHTH RACE: 1. Oil, 2. Win Wish, 3. Spectacularjourney. LONG SHOT: Arctic Code.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Thursday’s top choice winners: 1 (Kyankes $3.20, fourth race)

Thursday’s second choice winners: 2 (Fantastic Style $3, seventh; Price of Glory $4.80, eighth)

Thursday’s third choice winners: 2 (Thesheetsguy $5.40, second; My Jealous $5.80, sixth)

Thursday’s long shot winners: 1 (I’m Popeye $14.80, first)

Horse racing, Los Alamitos

Los Alamitos Race Course opinions for Saturday, Dec. 13

Race 3 – LRC

#2 Mon Mousse (8-1)

Our Eyes: This 3-year-old gelding when wire-to-wire on the dirt at Sacramento and we think that is what trainer Quinn Howey will have in mind in this spot for jockey Brice Blanc.


Race 8 – LRC

#3 Danette (10-1)

Our Eyes: This daughter of Curlin finished fifth in the Bredders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies after a tough start. She has proven to love going long and will try to turn the tables on Take Charge Brandi and Feathered, both of whom finished ahead of her in that race.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Horse racing, Santa Anita, Triple Crown

Weak that was: very, very weird

Usually when the big money is on the line, you can count on the top trainers at Santa Anita to be in the winner’s circle.

Such wasn’t the case last week, which was highlighted by California Chrome’s win in the Santa Anita Derby.

The top five trainers in the overall standings were a staggering 1-for-61 last week in Arcadia. That’s right one win out of 61 starters.

Here are the ugly numbers:

Jerry Hollendorfer 0-for-13

Bob Baffert 0-for-7

John Sadler 0-for-11

Peter Miller 0-for-11

Doug O’Neill 1-for-19

Now add in the likes of Tom Proctor (1-for-4) and Mike Puype (1-for-10) for a truly stunning week.

The stars of the week were Javier Sierra, who won three races, and Jim Cassidy (despite his New York Yankees loving ways), who won two races on Sunday.

Miller is in a prolonged slump and hasn’t won a race in at least a month. Better wait until he gets a win or two to start betting him again.

On the jockey’s side, victories were pretty well spread out.

As usual Rafael Bejarano led the way with five wins from 28 mounts. However, I’d bet most people couldn’t come up with the jockey who had the second most victories on the week … that’s right, journeyman Brice Blanc had four wins from 16 mounts. Blanc is more known for winning on the grass, but he won on the dirt, too.

Otherwise, three was the magic number as Joe Talamo rebounded from a winless week to go 3-for-26 followed by Tyler Baze (28 mounts), Victor Espinoza (13), Mike Smith (14), Edwin Maldonado (18) and Gary Stevens (seven) all had three victories.

Speaking of Stevens, he announced on Twitter Tuesday that he wouldn’t be tweeting again until June and the tweet featured a photo of Bayern, who is trained by Baffert and will run in this Saturday’s Arkansas Derby. I’m not sure what that’s about because Stevens has been active on Twitter, but it sounds like he’ll stop corresponding until after the Triple Crown.

Of course, Baffert did Stevens one better as he completely deleted his Twitter account (@midnightlute) apparently on Monday. The only rumor I heard was Baffert had a horse breakdown on Sunday and might have received at least one unkind comment.

But it also appears Bob’s wife, Jill, who has never been shy on social media either has disappeared on Twitter, too. At least, I couldn’t find her handle (@jillbaffert) on Tuesday afternoon.