Belmont Park, Horse racing, Triple Crown

Belmont Park opinions for Saturday, June 9 (Belmont Stakes Day)

Stakes races only

SECOND RACE (Easy Goer): 1. Breaking the Rules, 2. Mask, 3. Prince Lucky, 4. Dark Vader. LONG SHOT: Soutache.

THIRD RACE (Grade I Ogden Phipps): 1. Abel Tasman, 2. Unbridled Mo, 3. Pacific Wind, 4. Ivy Bell. LONG SHOT: Berned.

FOURTH RACE (Grade I Acorn): 1. Talk Veuve to Me, 2. Monomoy Girl, 3. Gio Game, 4. Caledonia Road. LONG SHOT: Starcloud.

FIFTH RACE (Grade II Brooklyn Invitational): 1. Hoppertunity, 2. War Story, 3. Hard Study, 4. Outplay. LONG SHOT: Take Your Guns.

SIXTH RACE (Grade Ii Jaipur Invitational): 1. Pocket Change, 2. Stormy Liberal, 3. Pure Sensation, 4. Blind Ambition. LONG SHOT: Holding Gold.

SEVENTH RACE (Grade II Woody Stephens): 1. Engage, 2. The Tabulaor, 3. World of Trouble, 4. Kanthaka. LONG SHOT: Strike Power.

EIGHTH RACE (Grade I Just A Game): 1. Cambodia, 2. Lull, 3. On Leave, 4. Off Limits. LONG SHOT: Dream Dancing.

NINTH RACE (Grade I Met Mile): 1. Bolt d’Oro, 2. Bee Jersey, 3. McCracken, 4. Mind Your Biscuits. LONG SHOT: Awesome Slew.

10TH RACE (Grade I Manhattan): 1. Channel Maker, 2. Beach Patrl, 3. Robert Bruce, 4. Fashion Business. LONG SHOT: Alexis Komnenos.

11TH RACE (Grade I Belmont Stakes): 1. Justify, 2. Tenfold, 3. Vino Rosso, 4. Hofburg. LONG SHOT: Gronkowski.

I haven’t picked Justify to win the first two legs of the Triple Crown, but that’s because I hate picking favorites. There’s no doubt he’s the best of this crop and I expect him to win the race today by going to the front and never looking back. Tenfold was closing like a freight train in the Preakness while Vino Rosso and Hofburg have the pedigrees plus connections to win or at least do well in this 1 1/2-mile test. The real interesting horse is Gronkowski. He was suppose to run in the Derby but got sick. Now, he’s in the Chad Brown barn. He could be any kind.

Good luck.

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Churchill Downs, Horse racing, Kentucky, Kentucky Derby

Churchill Downs opinions for Friday, May 4 (Kentucky Oaks Day)

Preview: Check the track conditions because rain is forecast for Friday and Derby Day on Saturday. Races might come off the turf so check the changes. I handicapped just the stakes races. For the other you are on your own but check out West Coast jockeys who get mounts in other races.

FIFTH RACE (Eight Belles, Grade II): 1. Mia Mischief, 2. Gas Station Sushi, 3. Amy’s Challenge, 4. Salt Bae. LONG SHOT: Talk Veuve to Me.

SIXTH RACE (La Troienne, Grade I): 1. Abel Tasman, 2. Salty, 3. Martini Glass, 4. Apologynotaccepted. LONG SHOT: Streamline.

SEVENTH RACE (Turf Sprint, Grade III): 1. Vision Perfect, 2. Bucchero, 3. Will Call, 4. Delectation. LONG SHOT: Latent Revenge.

EIGHTH RACE (Alysheba, Grade II): 1. Good Samaritan, 2. Always Dreaming, 3. Backyard Heaven, 4. Hoppertunity. LONG SHOT: Awesome Slew.

10TH RACE (Edgewood, Grade III): 1. Altea, 2. Rushing Fall, 3. Beyond Blame, 4. Daddy Is a Legend. LONG SHOT: Figarella’s Queen.
Rushing Fall (4-5) is a monster and should win but I’ll go with the longer price of the uncoupled Chad Brown entry. Rushing Fall is entered against the boys on Saturday in case it comes down in buckets Friday, but I think she’ll run here.

11TH RACE (Kentucky Oaks, Grade I): 1. Midnight Bisou, 2. Rayya, 3. Classy Act, 4. Monomoy Girl. LONG SHOT: Wonder Gadot.
This is a tough race for me because Midnight Bisou (5-2) is owned in part by Oceanside’s Jeff Bloom, one of my best friends in the sport and I guarantee a lot of people in the industry are pulling for Jeff and his group. And with good reason, the 3-year-old filly is two noses away from being undefeated. She lost twice to the Bob Baffert-trained Dream Tree, who is injured and out of this race. Midnight Bisou’s last race was visually impressive as jockey Mike Smith let her loop the field on the turn. She didn’t beat much but it was the way she did it. Look for a similar style in this race and if it rains, she has a victory on a wet/fast track at Santa Anita. Rayya, at 12-1 on the morning-line, is the filly to watch. She just finished second to Mendlessohn, who is one of the favorites in the Derby, in the UAE Derby. She came from off the pace on a speed-favoring track. She is in the Bob Baffert barn and is adding Lasix for the first time, a move Baffert is 30 percent with. Classy Act (15-1) has a second over this track and horses coming from the Fair Grounds have been tearing it up across the country since the end of that meet. Monomoy Girl (2-1) is favored, but that post (No. 14) is horrible.

Good luck.

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Monday,May 30

Preview: Not the greatest card, but it’s a holiday so let’s have a good time. A few numbers to ponder: the leading rider of the main track is Edwin Maldonado with 15 wins from 51 mounts followed by Tyler Baze (10-47) and Rafael Bejarano (9-43). On the other end, Stewart Elliott 1-for-29, Agapito Delgadillo (0-21) and Abel Lezcano (0-18).

Race 1 – SA
#7 Mai Tai (5-2) LIKELY TO SCRATCH
This filly ran into a buzzsaw named Enola Gray first time out and lost by more than 16 lengths, despite finishing second. Enola came back to win a Cal-bred stakes Saturday so that’s good for this 3-year-old.

Race 5 – SA
#3 Little Bit Lovely (6-1): This 4-year-old could prove to be a great claim by trainer Jack Carava. She won her only race down the hill and comes back on the same layout with the same jockey, Flavien Prat, who is leading the meet in winners on the grass. The fill also has the top Brisnet Prime and Class Ratings.

Race 8 – SA
#8 Illuminant (5-1): This filly finished third to the monster female Tepin in the Grade I Jenny Wiley. She is the only speed I see in this race and think Falvien Prat will go to the front with her again. She must make up a length on Wekeela, who is shipping in for trainer Chad Brown but I think she can do with a patient ride.

Race 10 – SA
#9 El Super (6-1): The Richard Mandella-trainee gave just an even effort in his first race in more than a year last time. Good turf jockey Flavien Prat takes over and he is 17% with Mandella.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Saturday, May 14

Race 1: #3 Scuderia (3-1) (turf only): This gelding was in Chad Brown’s hands at Gulfstream Park and had a tough debut. Now shows up for Michael McCarthy with a pair of good works coming in. McCarthy is 26% with horses off a 46-90-day layoff and this son of Gio Ponti should love the turf. McCarthy is 56% with jockey Rafael Bejarano.
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Race 5: #1 My Special Image (15-1): This gelding drops into a maiden claimer for the first time, move trainer Paddy Gallagher is 31% with. Jockey Drayden Van Dyke jumps back off as he rode him in his career debut.

Race 7: #4 Airfoil (3-1): Trainer Peter Miller claimed this gelding last time a drops him, a move he is 53% with. Jockey Tyler Baze jumps aboard and he’s 20% with Miller. This 6-year-old has a 20-4-5-6 record on the Santa Anita dirt.

Race 9: #10 Glacken Too (9-2): Trainer Phil D’Amato has been hitting at a 22% in 2016 and has three wins here opening week. This horse is looking for his first win over the surface, but D’Amato is 28% with beaten favorites and he goes to jockey Edwin Maldonado and they are a 41% combination at Santa Anita.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Friday, March 4

: There doesn’t appear to be much value on the card early so look to the end of the card.

                                

Race 6 – SA        

#4 Devils Informer (8-1) 

Broke his maiden at Del Mar at first asking, but hasn’t been seen since. Has been moved from trainer Mike Puype to Phil D’Amato, who is 28% with horses off a 180-plus-day layoff. Jockey Edwin Maldonado jumps on and he is 45% with D’Amato at Santa Anita.

                   

Race 7 – SA

#1 Chocolatier (5-1) (turf only)

Was last seen on the East Coast for trainer Chad Brown. Now has been moved to trainer Blaine Wright, who is 20% with horses off a 61-180-day layoff. This mare has speed, which has done very well on this turf course. Jockey Tyler Baze is 2-for-4 with Wright at Santa Anita.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Breeders' Cup, Horse racing, Keeneland, Keeneland Race Course, Kentucky, Lexington

Breeders’ Cup selections for Friday, Oct. 30

In case you don’t know it, Beholder has been scratched from Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Classic due to bleeding in her lungs after a gallop on Thursday.

It’s a shame because I really wanted to see her face American Pharoah, but the show much go on so here are my thoughts for Friday.

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Sixth Race: JUVENILE TURF

7-Ray’s The Bar

2-Azar

11-Hollywood Don

4-Shogun

If we get this morning-line, I’ll be stunned as trainer Chad Brown and jockey Javier Castellano just don’t go off at 20-1. RAY’S THE BAR had traffic trouble in U.S. debut so here’s hoping for a clean trip.

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Race 7: DIRT MILE

5-Lea

3-Liam’s Map

1-Red Vine

7-War Envoy

LIAM’S MAP will be everyone’s single here. Not me. This Bill Mot runner LEA is a perfect 3-for-3 at the distance and finished third in the Dubai World Cup. Mott put a good work into over the track recently signaling all systems are go.

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Race 8: JUVENILE FILLIES TURF

3-Alice Springs

10-Illuminate

14-Last Waltz

8-Harmonize

Sticking with the Euros in this race. They just seem to do well here. The condition of the turf course will be a concern to some after rain most of the week but reports are that the inside is harder than the inside so you might see horses all over the place depending on what type of turf they prefer.

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Race 9: DISTAFF

1-I’m a Chatterbox

14-Sheer Drama

7-Wedding Toast

6-My Sweet Addiction

Boy, if Beholder was healthy and running in this race she would be 1-9. She’s not so let’s go with an up and coming 3-year-old filly facing older for the first time in I’M A CHATTERBOX. Larry Jones is a great trainer and will have her ready.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Belmont Park, Churchill Downs, Gulfstream Park, Horse racing

Belmont, Churchill, Gulfstream opinions for Thursday, June 4

GULFSTREAM PARK  

Race 1: #10 Famous Sting (9-2)

Trainer Marcial Navarro is 29% first off the claim and has been out at this meet, winning his last three race without a loss. This 4-year-old filly just broke her maiden and should fit at this level.

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BELMONT PARK        

Race 1: #7 Groupthink (8-1)

Trainer Chad Brown is a spectacular 46% going from a route race to a sprint like this 4-year-old gelding. The horse has been first or second eight times in 13 races.

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Race 8: #11 Robe (8-1)

Trainer Bill Mott has better numbers with second-time starters and comes out of a Gulfstream Park race that has produced three next out winners.

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CHURCHILL DOWNS                  

Race 7: #5 Vancouver (7-2)

Our Eyes:  This 3-year-old colt drops into a claimer for the first time for trainer Wayne Catalano and comes out of a Oaklawn Park MSW race that has produced three next out winners. Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan is 26% with Catalano.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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