Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Wednesday, Dec. 26 (Opening day)

Preview: Remember jockey Joel Rosario is coming West to ride until the spring so look for him to get plenty of live mounts. Also, a lot of out-of-town jockeys are in Arcadia today for the stakes-filled card. These guys can ride and you will get some great prices on great jockeys. If you like one of them, bet them. I’m not sure how the turf course will play after rain on Tuesday night so make sure you check changes.

FIRST RACE: 1. Twentytwentyvision, 2. Orchestral, 3. Taelyns Prince. LONG SHOT: Comes the Dream.

SECOND RACE: 1. Naughty Sophie, 2. Chatty, 3. Come On Kat. LONG SHOT: Easter Dream.

THIRD RACE: 1. I Am the Danger, 2. According to Buddy, 3. Shane Zain. LONG SHOT: Lil Milo.

FOURTH RACE: 1. Ms Bad Behavior, 2. Amandine, 3. Love and Peace. LONG SHOT: X S Gold.

FIFTH RACE: 1. Jumpin Thru Hoops, 2. Scalper, 3. All Good. LONG SHOT: Mo Mississippi.

SIXTH RACE (Grade I La Brea): 1. Emboldened, 2. Dream Tree, 3. Happy Like a Fool. LONG SHOT: Hot Autumn.
DREAM TREE is the rightful 8-5 morning-line favorite and is the most likely winner of this race for trainer Bob Baffert, but I have to go with the “other Baffert.” EMBOLDENED has never been worse than third over this track and has been training well for her comeback. I’m a big believer that horses either like or hate 7-furlong races and both of these Bafferts have won in their only tries at this elongated sprint distance.

SEVENTH RACE (Grade II Mathis Brothers Mile) 1. Choo Choo, 2. River Boyne, 3. Sejo. LONG SHOT: Desert Stone.
Again RIVER BOYNE is the deserving 8-5 morning-line favorite and will be tough to beat as jockey Flavien Prat stays on the 3-year-old rather than ride my choice, CHOO CHOO. This son of English Channel just missed at Del Mar and Joel Rosario takes over. SEJO is an import from France and gets Irad Ortiz Jr. in the saddle for trainer John Sadler, who got shut out at Del Mar.

EIGHTH RACE (Grade II San Antonio): 1. Gift Box, 2. Battle of Midway, 3. Dabster. LONG SHOT: Tatter to Riches.
The older horses finally take to the track and the thought is that BATTLE OF MIDWAY will be singled in a lot of wagers. Not here. GIFT BOX has been purchased privately by Hronis Racing LLC for Sadler. The 5-year-old comes out of the Chad Brown barn and has a couple of great works over the track. He has never been worse than second in three tries at the distance and that man Rosario rides back. One to watch is TATTER TO RICHES for trainer Jeff Mullins. The 3-year-old will be facing older and Mullins puts blinkers on. Plus Gift Box is coming out of a key race that has produced two winners already.

NINTH RACE (Grade I Malibu): 1. Ax Man (best bet), 2. Seven Trumpets, 3. McKinzie. LONG SHOT: Copper Bullet.
The big race of the day and it drew a field of 16 (only 14 can run). Baffert has five 3-year-olds in this race and at least one (or more) will scratch. AX MAN has been seen since July, but has been gelded since that race. He has been training lights out and Baffert’s layoff stats are huge. SEVEN TRUMPETS ships in from the East Coast for trainer Dale Romans. Throw out that eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. He’s back with has own age group and finished second at this distance in the Jerkens at Saratoga.

10TH RACE: 1. Souter, 2. Avalance, 3. Cupid’s Claws. LONG SHOT: Trojan Spirit.

Good luck.

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Horse racing

Churchill Downs opinions for Wednesday, Nov. 23

Preview: There is a rollover of $139,275 in the Single Six wager and there is also rain in the forecast so don’t expect the turf races to stay on the green.

Race 6: #8 Teenertown Prince (6-1)
This 3-year-old drops to his lowest level ever and comes out of a key race that has produced three next out winners. Trainer Forest Kaelin is 29% with horses off a 46- to 90-day layoff and he gets Calvin Borel to ride. The sire Speightstown gets 21% winners on a wet track.

Race 9: #12 Takeittotheedge (8-1)
Our Eyes: This 3-year-old is making his second race start off the layoff and look who he lost to in some of his past races: Cupid, Forevamo and Nyquist. Trainer Dale Romans is 23% with beaten favorites. Faces several he lost to in return and could like the mud as sire Broken Vow is 18% on off-tracks.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Churchill Downs, Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Thursday, April 30

Race 4: #1 Simplicityizegnius (6-1)

This 3-year-old turned in a even effort in debut at 6 ½ furlongs. Trainer Phil D’Amato now goes long second time out (26%) and puts blinkers on (35%). There’s a good blow out work showing from earlier in the week and Joe Talamo stays aboard .

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Race 8: #8 Sir Irish Danny (8-1)

Trainer John Sadler loves to claim young horses and then turn them around. Here he has a $50K claim by Unusual Heat making his first turf start (12%) and Sadler is 24% first off the claim.

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Bonus Churchill Downs pick

Race 8: #3 Nileator (4-1)

This 3-year-old must beat an even-money favorite in this spot, but he comes out of a Gulfstream Park race that has produced four next out winners . Trainer Dale Romans is 21% turf to dirt and all-world jockey Javier Castellano takes the mount.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

DEL MAR

The news never seems to end at seaside oval.

+ Jockey Garrett Gomez held a 90-minute meeting with track stewards Sunday morning in hopes of getting permission to begin exercising horses on Wednesday.

That isn’t going to happen.

Gomez, who admitted to falling off the wagon and drinking again, had his follow up meeting with the Del Mar stewards moved from Wednesday morning to Friday afternoon.

Did Gomez fail his drug/alcohol test? Only time will tell.

Will the stewards play hard ball with Gomez because he failed to show up on opening day and honor his commitments (also for Thursday and Friday)?

The bigger issue might be that Gomez made no attempt to contact the stewards when two weeks ago when he was asked to do so. If Gomez had called to say, he fell off the wagon and was in a rehab a program, the stewards might have a different view of the situation.

As things stand now, the earliest Gomez will be able to get on a horse would be next Saturday and the first possible mounts he might be able to accept would be a week from Wednesday.

We’ll find out on Friday, what the latest chapter is.

+ Further news on the jockey front, trainer Bob Baffert announced Joel Rosario will ride Game On Dude in the Pacific Classic.

Regular rider Mike Smith will be at Saratoga that day to ride Royal delta for trainer Bill Mott, which means Rosario and Smith will pass each other in the air somewhere in the middle of the country.

The news also means defending Pacific Classic champion Dullahan will have a new jockey. Rosario rode him to victory last year.

However, Ron Anderson, Rosario’s agent, told Del Mar media officials “Game On Dude may be the best horse in the country and I would think he’d be a huge favorite (for the Classic).”

The move brought a classic response Dale Romans, Dullahan’s trainer.

“No one monkey stops my show,” said Romans.

+ The Grade I Bing Crosby was interesting on several levels.

Trainer Tim Yakteen scored his first Grade I victory with Points Offthebench ($8.80), who edged Goldencents by a head.

Funny after the race, TVG personality Greg Wolfe interviewed winning jockey Smith. It just so happens Yakteen is married to HRTV handicapper Millie Ball.

Also in the Bing Crosby, the plunger showed up for the second time this weekend and for the second time lost a $200,000 show wager made at Santa Anita.

On Saturday, the loss came in the Fleet Treat Stakes. On Sunday, the wager was on Comma to the Top, who finished fifth.

The show payoffs weren’t as large as the Fleet Treat, but they were nothing to sneeze at: $8.40, $6.60 and $7.20.

+ The Del Mar jockey colony had better be ware of Julien Leparoux when he goes to the lead on the turf course.

Twice on Sunday, Leparoux went wire-to-wire scoring with Pontchatrain ($9.40) and Horizontalyspeakin ($15) in the 10th race.

Leparoux normally rides from behind on the grass, but he was loaded on both horses and nobody pressured him.

Points Offthebench and jockey Mike Smith, right, hold off Goldencents (Kevin Krigger), left, to win the Grade I, $300,000 Bing Crosby Stakes, Sunday, July 28, 2013 at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Del Mar CA. BENIOT PHOTO

Points Offthebench and jockey Mike Smith, right, hold off Goldencents (Kevin Krigger), left, to win the Grade I, $300,000 Bing Crosby Stakes, Sunday, July 28, 2013 at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Del Mar CA.
BENIOT PHOTO

Del Mar, Horse racing

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