Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Wednesday, July 18 (Opening day)

Preview: Going to the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club can be a lot of fun, but let’s be honest, everyone wants to win money. Jockeys and trainers all have their strengths and weaknesses. If you know those, it can point you to the winner’s circle and away from throwing your tickets away.

Jockeys
FLAVIEN PRAT:
Without a doubt, the best rider not named Mike Smith on the circuit, and he rides a lot more than Smith. Prat began his career in France and thus he was put on a lot of grass horses early in career, but he has become a very good all-around jockey. He won the Del Mar title last summer by winning 23 races on the dirt (25 percent) and 12 races (from 80 starters) on the grass. He was also second in races won with 2-year-olds (six) and that number could improve as he has made some inroads into the Bob Baffert barn. Prat loves to get to the rail on the turf, save ground and swing out at the head of the home stretch. He sometimes gets caught in traffic with this move, but he knows what he’s doing most of the time.

RAFAEL BEJARANO: The once king of Del Mar has slowed in the last year. He did finish tied for second in the standings, tied with Evin Roman, and tied for third on the dirt. He also tied Prat and Kent Desormeaux with 12 victories on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course. If you are looking for a horse to finish down the lane, don’t bet against Bejarano because he will carry it there with his strength. The one weakness in Bejarano’s game is his work out of the gate. He registered just three wins on 2-year-olds during the 2017 meet because trainers want a jockey pushing a horse out of the gate. A lot of 2-year-old races are won by speed horses, which isn’t Bejarano’s strong suit.

KENT DESORMEAUX: There’s the good Kent and the bad Kent. If Desormeaux is in a good mood, he can be the best rider in the room, but if he’s not feeling it that day, don’t bet on him. Desormeaux, who rides a lot for his brother and trainer Keith, was fourth in the standings a year ago. He had 14 wins on the dirt and 12 wins on the grass. He is an exceptional grass rider.

JOE TALAMO: There was a time that “Talamo on the turf” made you big bucks every meet, but he has lost some of that magic in the last few years. He was fifth in the riding standings last summer (23 wins), but tied for third on the dirt with 17 winners. On the grass, he slipped to just six winners. He had a like number of victories with 2-year-olds, to tie for second in the colony. He was also second with first-time starters with three wins.

APPRENTICES: Roman, who won the Eclipse Award as the top apprentice in the country, lost his bug and is a journeyman now. Who will replace those 29 wins because you know how trainers like those 7- and 5-pound weight allowances? Fans should especially watch Heriberto Figueroa and Asa Espinoza, who just tied for the Los Alamitos riding title. Two others to watch are Edgar Payeras and Franklin Ceballos.

OTHERS: Mike “Money” Smith will ride in a lot of stakes races and 2-year-old events. If he rides in another race, take note. … Tyler Baze wins the hard-luck award from 2017 with 18 seconds and 17 thirds with just nine wins. He’s a good all-around rider. … Drayden Van Dyke scored 11 wins on the turf a year ago, one behind the leaders, and he has a great clock in his head. Watch out for him with Baffert, too. He has also made in-roads in that stable and Baffert won’t be afraid to put him up on a good 2-year-old. … Journeyman Edwin Maldonado is a rider to watch, especially on the grass as he registered seven wins on the green in 2017. He’s underrated. … Corey Nakatani maybe getting older but last summer he proved he’s still good with 2-year-olds (Bolt d’Oro) and he’s also a master on the grass.

FIRST RACE: 1. Carville, 2. Out of Patience, 3. General Ike. LONG SHOT: Above Board.
Tough race take as many as you can in the Pick 5.

SECOND RACE: 1. Upo, 2. Kylemore, 3. Ayacara. LONG SHOT: Jimmy Chila.
If this Pick 5 doesn’t pay boxcars, I’ll be stunned. This card is tough.

THIRD RACE: 1. Ketos, 2. Junior Gilliam, 3. Eighty Three. LONG SHOT: Gentrified.

FOURTH RACE: 1. Blueberry Princess, 2. Flying to the Line, 3. Dicotomy. LONG SHOT: Opus Won.
Blueberry Princess comes out of a race that has already produced two next out winners from four starters.

FIFTH RACE: 1. Bird Is the Word, 2. Ritzy A. P., 3. Ann Arbor Eddie. LONG SHOT: Castle.

SIXTH RACE: 1. Shivermetimbers, 2. Divisor, 3. Regulate. LONG SHOT: Show Me Da Lute.

SEVENTH RACE: 1. Brill (BEST BET), 2. Angel Alessandra, 3. Bizwhacks. LONG SHOT: Barbadolla.
We all know how good trainer Jerry Hollendorfer is with young fillies and this $1 million purchase BRILL looks like the real deal. She has three big works coming into the race and Hollendorfer is 17 percent with first-timers. We will never get the 5-2 morning-line, but that’s life. Looks like a single to me.

EIGHTH RACE (Oceanside Stakes): 1. Texas Wedge, 2. Desert Stone, 3. Artie B Good. LONG SHOT: More Honor.
Believe it or not, trainer Peter Miller didn’t win a stakes race at the Del Mar summer meet so you can bet (and he will) that he wants to end that right here and now.

NINTH RACE: 1. Blame Joe, 2. Super Duper Cooper, 3. Aurora d’Oro. LONG SHOT: Impression.

10TH RACE: 1. Sellwood, 2. Henry County, 3. Zipman. LONG SHOT: Starting Bloc.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Saturday, Aug. 26

PREVIEW: Tough week handicapping. Horses I picked second come in to win and if you know me by now I don’t pick a lot of favorites. But have to keep on, keeping on.

FIRST RACE: 1. Real Big Deal, 2. Dream Police, 3. Que Chistoso. LONG SHOT: Sir Matador.
Apprentice Laura Werner didn’t go from the inside last time on Dream Police so it will be interesting to see what she does from the outside this time. Real Big Deal has apprentice Evin Roman aboard and he leads all Del Mar jockeys in wins on the dirt.

SECOND RACE: 1. It’s Not So Easy, 2. Mama’s Sugar, 3. Magical Lucy. LONG SHOT: Lady Cloud.

THIRD RACE: 1. G Q Covergirl, 2. Sheza Chattykat, 3. Late ‘n Left. LONG SHOT: Cash Prize.
Trainer Phil D’Amato leads the meet with 11 wins on the grass and really like both entries today (Newsman in the sixth is the other one).

FOURTH RACE: 1. True Royalty, 2. High Drama, 3. Saint Tropez. LONG SHOT: Curlin’s Journey.

FIFTH RACE: 1. Time for Cioppino, 2. Royal Bar, 3. Lucky Romano. LONG SHOT: Oh Man.

SIXTH RACE: 1. Newsman, 2. Oregon, 3. Conquest Typhoon. LONG SHOT: County Lineman.
Like I said before, I liked both of D’Amato’s horses today. This one like to finish second but this will be the third off the layoff abd good grass jockey Corey Nakatani keeps the mount.

SEVENTH RACE: 1. Battle of Midway, 2. Klimt, 3. Gormley. LONG SHOT: Gato Del Oro.

EIGHTH RACE: 1. Kona Dreams, 2. Irish Goodbye, 3. Popyhowuspelcupcak. LONG SHOT: Tyler’s Tek.
This one got caught up in a speed duel last time and spit the bit in the stretch. Here’s hoping the jockey switch to Tiago Pereira does the trick. Tiago is 60 percent over the last year with trainer Bill Spawr.

NINTH RACE: 1. Calculator, 2. Silent Bird, 3. Kobe’s Back. LONG SHOT: Giant Expectations.
This running of the 7-furlong of the Pat O’Brien lost some of its lust when Danzing Candy suffered a fractured leg Friday morning and has been retired. Losing the 8-5 morning-line favorite means this race is wide open. I wouldn’t talk anyone off any horse in here.

10TH RACE: 1. BOLD PAPA (best bet), 2. Tatar, 3. Chidamac. LONG SHOT: Brahms Forest.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Nakatani to return to riding with son as agent

Jockey Corey Naktani, who hasn’t ridden since April while contemplating retirement, is returning to ride, presumably before the end of the Del Mar Bing Crosby Season meet on Dec. 4.

Nakatani’s son, Matt, said Wednesday on Twitter that his father start will start taking mounts and that he would be his agent.

Corey Nakatani, 46, who has won 10 Breeders’ Cup races and nearly $228 million in purses lifetime, has been seen working horses in the mornings at Del Mar.

This year Nakatani had 27 winners — all at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., last winter — from 158 mounts and $1.4 million in earnings, but was frustrated by his lack of quality mounts and stepped away from the sport.

Nakatani has not been named on any mounts yet. Del Mar has drawn entries through Saturday.

The Thoroughbred Daily News first wrote the story of Nakatani’s return.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Sunday, Nov. 29 (closing day)

FIRST RACE: 1. Diablo Caballero, 2. Cool Green, 3. Sundar Drums. LONG SHOT: Otto’s Echo.

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SECOND RACE: 1. #8 Intoxicating Move (4-1), 2. Vanlose Stairway, 3. With a Twist. LONG SHOT: Artistic Charm.

Tough to explain the last race by this mare, but it would appear she likes going around two turns better with three lifetime wins. She takes a drop in class for trainer for trainer Jack Carava and he goes with good turf rider Corey Nakatani.

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THIRD RACE: 1. Wise Tale, 2. Start a Runnin, 3. Purrin’ Proud. LONG SHOT: Fin de Semaine.
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FOURTH RACE: 1. It Is Living Water, 2. Thanksgiving Day, 3. Nahem. LONG SHOT: Bird E House.
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FIFTH RACE: 1. Perfect Set, 2. Ike Walker, 3. Crucero. LONG SHOT: Gold Treasure.
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SIXTH RACE: 1. #9 Rare Candy (15-1), 2. Dressed in Hermes, 3. Imperious One. LONG SHOT: Ninety One Assault.

This colt comes out of the Front Runner at Santa Anita. All he did was finish fouth behind the 1-2 finishers in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Nyquist and Swipe). It appears this 2-year-old likes grass better and Joe Talamo knows how to ride on the turf.

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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Lord Walton, 2. Hard Gale, 3. Hoffenheim. LONG SHOT: My Patate.
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EIGHTH RACE: 1. Olorda, 2. Filimbi, 3. Stellar Path. LONG SHOT: Curlin’s Fox.
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NINITH: 1. #6 RIM NICK (6-1) BEST BET, 2. Miner’s Light, 3. Agronomy. LONG SHOT: Trump Diesel.

It would be right to close out the meet with the leading jockey (Rafael Bejarano) and leading trainer (Doug O’Neill). This first-time starter is sired by J P’s Gusto, who gets 18% first-time winners. Plus this one seems to be training good over the track.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Saturday’s top choice winners: 4 (Roper $5.40, first race; Tulira Castle $3, second; Tribal Jewel $15, sixth; Dortmund $3.20, eighth)

Saturday’s second choice winners: 1 (Path of David $7.60, third)

Saturday’s third choice winners: 0

Saturday’s long shot winners: 0

 

   

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Friday, Nov. 27

FIRST RACE: 1. Family Code, 2. Viviendo El Sueno, 3. Turn Your Eyes. LONG SHOT: Record Highs.

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SECOND RACE: 1. #3 Adriatic Son (20-1), 2. Second Proposal, 3. Oil. LONG SHOT: Too Fast to Pass.

Hasn’t raced in more than a year, but showed plenty of speed as a 3-year-old. There is a good work showing. Trainer Vann Belvoir is 3-for-8 in turf sprints and 21% with shippers. On top of that, jockey Corey Nakatani takes off another horse to ride this one.

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THIRD RACE: 1. #4 SECRET CHORDS (4-1) BEST BET, 2. Flowinwiththebreez, 3. Hayyouwaitforme. LONG SHOT: Bolt Up.

This 3-year-old filly drops into a maiden claimer for the first time after showing sheep in her first two races. If jockey Mario Gutierrez employs the same tactics here, he might be gone on this speed-favoring track.

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FOURTH RACE: 1. Belle Et Bete, 2. Holograeme, 3. Moon Over Paris. LONG SHOT: Dreamologist.
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FIFTH RACE: 1. Scatchmeifyoucan, 2. Ambrella, 3. Sayitright Kat. LONG SHOT: Flexible Ethics.
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SIXTH RACE: 1. Miss Boom Boom, 2. Illuminant, 3. Barbara Beatrice. LONG SHOT: Dakota Kid.
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SEVENTH RACE: 1. She’s a Warrior, 2. Old Hollywood, 3. Lunar Empress. LONG SHOT: Candy Boss.
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EIGHTH RACE: 1. Seek Again, 2. Bal a Bali, 3. Avanzare. LONG SHOT: Alert Bay.
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NINTH RACE: 1.  Ten Dollar Note, 2. Two Steps of Glory, 3. Knightwithputnam. LONG SHOT: Passionate Emotion.

Our Eyes: This 2-year-old finished second at 45-1 in her debut. She takes a drop in class and would appear to have the early pace advantage for trainer Felipe Souza and jockey Tiago Pereira.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Thursday’s top choice winners: 2 (Smooth Talker $5.20, fourth race; The Pizza Man $4.20, seventh)

Thursday’s second choice winners: 1 (Patriotic Diamond $3.40, sixth)

Thursday’s third choice winners: 3 (Mended $9.80, first; Tiz a Classy Lass $6.40, fifth; Redneck Crazy $12, eighth)

Thursday’s long show winners: 1 (Gift of a Star $8.20, third)

 

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Del Mar, Gulfstream Park West, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Sunday, Nov. 22 (Plus Gulfstream Park West) UPDATED

FIRST RACE: 1. Sunday Rules, 2. My Year Is a Day, 3. Home Journey. LONG SHOT: Velvet Mesquite.

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SECOND RACE: 1. #2 Formally Wild (6-1), 2. Ultimate Luck, 3. Monument. LONG SHOT: Half Dome Dude.

Doug O’Neill has been the hottest trainer on the grounds the last week and he drops this gelding down to the $8K level. O’Neill is 35% when he moves a horse down two or more class levels. This 4-year-old was favored last time out but encountered all kinds of trouble coming out of the gate.

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THIRD RACE: 1. Can Can Babe, 2. Golds Venice, 3. Chia Love. LONG SHOT: Ms. K J.
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FOURTH RACE: 1. Unforgettable U, 2. Not too Shiny, 3. Minks Aprise. LONG SHOT: More Complexity.
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FIFTH RACE: 1. #1 Mountain Hero (5-1), 2. Classico, 3. Bullish On Steve. LONG SHOT: Gone With It.

This 2-year-old showed speed against tougher in his debut at Santa Anita. Trainer Mike Puype puts blinkers on and the gelding has been working well likely with the new equipment. On top of that Puype is 71% when dropping a horse two or more levels.

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SIXTH RACE: 1. West Coast Storm, 2. Handfull, 3. Kristinite. LONG SHOT: Individual Design.
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SEVENTH RACE: 1. #8 Stormy Liberal (8-1), 2. Hobbits Hero, 3. Perfectly Majestic. LONG SHOT: Drover Crazy.

Here’s that man again, trainer Doug O’Neill. This gelding won last time going down the hill at Santa Anita and he finished second on this turf course last year in a graded stakes. O’Neill is 23% second off a layoff of 180 days or more and he gets a top turf jockey in Corey Nakatani to ride.

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EIGHTH RACE: 1. BIG MACHER (best bet), 2. Red Outlaw SCRATCHED, 3. Avanti Bello SCRATCHED. LONG SHOT: Forest Chatter. New picks: 1. BIG MACHER (BEST BET), 2. Richard’s Boy, 3. Forest Chatter. LONG SHOT: Raised a Secret.
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NINTH RACE: 1. Nikki’s Fine Time, 2. Taffeta, 3. Lottie. LONG SHOT: Nodiac.

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Gulfstream Park West

Race 5 : #11 Takeoff Your Hat (6-1)

Trainer Phil Serpe ships this filly down from New Jersey off a two-race winning streak. She comes out of a key race and Serpe is 50% (4-for-8) with horses looking to repeat a claiming victory.

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Race 7: #10 Havermeyer Street (4-1)

Trainer Michael Petro is 20% on the turf and this 3-year-old just missed last time out and that race has proven to be a key race. Jockey Edgard Zayas takes over and he’s 32% with Petro.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

 

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Friday, Nov. 20

 

FIRST RACE: 1. Semper Fortis, 2. Weirdhaircut Seth, 3. Five Star Jack. LONG SHOT: Media Melee.

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SECOND RACE: 1. #6 Gotta Get Paid (6-1), 2. Classic Gent, 3. Bandido Too. LONG SHOT: Silvertron.

Trainer Robertino Diodoro ships this 3-year-old in from Canterbury and drops him in class. Diodoro is 26% with shippers and 28% with horses on the dirt. Tyler Baze jumps on and he is 25% with Diodoro.

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THIRD RACE: 1. #4 JOHN’S SUCCESS (4-1) BEST BET, 2. Lovenseek, 3. Trifecta. LONG SHOT: I’ll Play My Hand.

This 3-year-old must find a way to beat Lovenseek, but jockey Corey Nakatani will find a way like he does on this course. Trainer Doug O’Neill is 20% third off the layoff and the barn is hot right now.

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FOURTH RACE: 1. A Colt Following, 2. Ain’t Misbehavin, 3. Tiz Jolie. LONG SHOT: Ladies Man.
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FIFTH RACE: 1. Fishel, 2. Dynamite Ride, 3. Gunslinger. LONG SHOT: Day in the Sun.
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SIXTH RACE: 1. Frac Candy, 2. Go Long, 3. Derby Chatter. LONG SHOT:  Always Macho.
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SEVENTH RACE: 1. #9 No Comparison (4-1), 2. Sharaun, 3. Easter Fever. LONG SHOT: Cin City Lady.

Tough to explain the failure last time as the 3-5 favorite. Jockey Alonso Quinonez must know this filly wants to be up on the pace, unlike last time. Trainer Kenny Black is 26% with sprinters.

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EIGHTH RACE: 1. A Lucky Carry, 2. Allsquare, 3. Casino Fever. LONG SHOT: Hurricaine Callie.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

 

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