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 selections for Saturday, Nov. 18

FIRST RACE: 1. Little Juanito, 2. Cats Blame, 3. Uncle Billy. LONG SHOT: New Dancer.
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SECOND RACE: 1. Pundy, 2. Burn Me Twice, 3. Red Carpet Cat. LONG SHOT: Big League.
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THIRD RACE: 1. Lucky Stash, 2. Artistic Ministry, 3. Helen’s Tiger. LONG SHOT: Kiss of Dahpespe.
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FOURTH RACE: 1. Infuriated Gary, 2. Dos Palos, 3. Hardboot. LONG SHOT: Minister’s Glory.
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FIFTH RACE: 1. Ms Bad Behavior, 2. Midnight Bisou, 3. Dream Tree. LONG SHOT: Secret Spice.
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SIXTH RACE: 1. Bowie, 2. Painting Corners, 3. Zero Zee. LONG SHOT: Little Voice.
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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Go On Mary, 2. Christy Jackson, 3. Little Nati. LONG SHOT: Reckless Charm.
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EIGHTH RACE: 1. South Americain, 2. Hootie, 3. Radio Silence. LONG SHOT: Buckys Pick.
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NINTH RACE: 1. BRADDOCK (best bet), 2. Make It a Triple, 3. Gentrified. LONG SHOT: My Man Chuckles.

Good luck.

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Friday, Nov. 17

Preview: I really don’t like this card that much which probably means there will be a ton of bombs. Better cards over the weekend.

FIRST RACE: 1. Little Scotty, 2. Kristi’s Copilot, 3. Cafe Flavor. LONG SHOT: Lucky J Lane.
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SECOND RACE: 1. Glamsquad, 2. Forbidden Command, 3. Optimistic Outcome. LONG SHOT: Veronica Bay.
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THIRD RACE: 1. Mercer Island, 2. It’s The Ice, 3. Bill Big. LONG SHOT: Bow and Arrow.
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FOURTH: 1. Gem of a Marina, 2. Get Yourself Home, 3. Hailey Rachele. LONG SHOT: Topaz Time.
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FIFTH RACE: 1. Candy Swirls, 2. Tink’s Twirl, 3. Midnight Swinger. LONG SHOT: Lady Ninja.
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SIXTH RACE: 1. Davka, 2. On the Right, 3. Powerful Thirst. LONG SHOT: Touchdown U S C
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SEVENTH RACE: 1. BEAU SQUARE (best bet), 2. Desert Madam, 3. Batiquitos. LONG SHOT: Candy Ruler.
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EIGHTH RACE: 1. Captain Walker, 2. Beloved Holiday, 3. Taste’s Legend. LONG SHOT: Eighty and Sunny.

Good luck.

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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

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Monday, Sept. 4 (closing day)

FIRST RACE: 1. Jump the Tracks, 2. General Interest, 3. Campaigner. LONG SHOT: Unbridled Ethos.
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SECOND RACE: 1. Ucanthankmelater, 2. Freddies Dream, 3. Awesome Return. LONG SHOT: Accelerant.
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THIRD RACE: 1. Papa Papa Papa, 2. Unreal Deal, 3. Rocket Heat. LONG SHOT: Batti Man.
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FOURTH RACE: 1. Hopefully, 2. Meiji, 3. Pretty Owl. LONG SHOT: So I Sang.
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FIFTH RACE: 1. Fantastic Chloe, 2. Retro, 3. Super Good. LONG SHOT: Encinitas.
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SIXTH RACE: 1. Vai, 2. Noted and Quoted, 3. Miss Sunset. LONG SHOT: Bitzka.
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SEVENTH RACE: 1. JEREMY’S LEGACY (best bet), 2. How Unusual, 3. Starlite Style. LONG SHOT: Kathy’s Song.

Jockey Gary Stevens rode four different horses that are entered in this race and he chooses Jeremy’s Legacy. That says a lot to me so I will stick with the Hall of Famer.
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EIGHTH RACE: 1. Fleetwood, 2. Tatters to Riches, 3. Run Away. LONG SHOT: Master Ruler.
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NINTH RACE: 1. Dawn Traveller, 2. Camino Song, 3. Klosters. LONG SHOT: Multiplayer.
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10TH RACE: 1. Big League, 2. Prime Issue, 3. Touching Rainbows.

Just a note: I will be taking Los Alamitos off. So have fun.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Sunday, Sept. 3

FIRST RACE: 1. KAFISTER (best bet), 2. Logan’s Moon, 3. Best Two Minutes. LONG SHOT: Kaabraaj.
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SECOND RACE: 1. Highly Acclaimed, 2. Jet Set Man, 3. Chief Hosa. LONG SHOT: Rim Ditch.
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THIRD RACE: 1. Mac McLovin, 2. Come On In, 3. Royal Trump. LONG SHOT: Mr. Fullerton.

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FOURTH RACE: 1. Next Speaker, 2. Native Treasure, 3. Cherubim. LONG SHOT: Fueled by Bourbon.
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FIFTH RACE: 1. Linburgh’s Kitten, 2. Armour Plate, 3. Take the One O One. LONG SHOT: Big Buzz.
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SIXTH RACE: 1. Thirteen Squared, 2. She’s Funny, 3. Ms Bad Behavior. LONG SHOT: Alluring Star.
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SEVENTH RACE: 1. It’s The Ice, 2. Senator Robert, 3. Got Even. LONG SHOT: The Lieutenant.
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EIGHTH RACE: 1. Big Score, 2. Bowies Hero, 3. Sharp Samurai. LONG SHOT: Fashion Business.
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NINTH RACE: 1. Excavtion, 2. Dukes Up, 3. Desert General. LONG SHOT: Go Ghetto.
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10TH RACE: 1. Bitter Ring Home, 2. Pali High, 3. Kylemore. LONG SHOT: Dignitaire.

Good luck

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Friday, Aug. 25 (First post 3:30 p.m.)

FIRST RACE: 1. SLY HUMOR (BEST BET), 2. She’sluckythatway, 3. Irish Dame. LONG SHOT: Glorious Venezuela.

SECOND RACE: 1. Tiz Adore, 2. Miss Boom Boom, 3. Space Cadet. LONG SHOT: Mint Julep Taffy.

THIRD RACE: 1. Bank Walker, 2. Ayacara, 3. Longden. LONG SHOT: Taranis.

FOURTH RACE: 1. Rye Patch, 2. Burger and Fries, 3. Indygo Bo. LONG SHOT: Malko.

FIFTH RACE: 1. Camino de Estrella, 2. Borg, 3. Thorpe d’Oro. LONG SHOT: Union Rebel.

SIXTH RACE: 1. Cafe Flavor, 2. Il Segreto, 3. Unapologetic. LONG SHOT: Uber Star.

SEVENTH RACE: 1. Faithfully, 2. Chalon, 3. Motown Lady. LONG SHOT: Mended.

EIGHTH RACE: 1. Fly as a Falcon, 2. Boss Move, 3. Dream of Eagles. LONG SHOT: West Princess.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Sunday, Aug. 20

Preview: Well, the Pacific Classic is over. Bring on the Breeders’ Cup. It’s obvious Arrogate doesn’t like the Del Mar surface but he ran a gutsy race and jockey Mike Smith had him finishing at the end. The deal here is that the Del Mar surface is softer this year due to the rash of fatalities last year. Also the track sped up this week. Coincidence? I’ll let others debate. The real issue is what will it be like in November. It seems to me with cooler weather the track will be tighter. I enjoy all the Gun Runner lovers saying Arrogate is ripe for the taking. The bigger question is will Gun Runner like the Del Mar track? We know Collected does. He’s 7 for 7 on dry dirt tracks. Let that sink in for a minute. It will be interesting in November.

FIRST RACE: 1. Bona Fide Image, 2. Flower Heart Deer, 3. Justice Rules. LONG SHOT: Sea Code.

SECOND RACE: 1. Burn Me Twice, 2. Aristocratic, 3. One I’m Running To. LONG SHOT: Regal Born.

THIRD RACE: 1. Tommy Grossman, 2. Caray, 3. Hawks Peak. LONG SHOT: Spend It.
Tommy Grossman gets a huge jock switch to Evin Roman and trainer Mike Chambers is 30 percent third off the layoff. Caray was claimed by Gary Stute, who is 26% first time off the claim.

FOURTH RACE: 1. Literary Critic, 2. Scandal, 3. Eternal Endeavour. LONG SHOT: Miz Tianjin.

FIFTH RACE: 1. All of a Sudden, 2. Dreamy Gal, 3. Candy Ruler. LONG SHOT: Papercoversrock.

SIXTH RACE: 1. My Man Chuckles, 2. Kenzou’s Rhythm, 3. Van Cortlandt. LONG SHOT: Sutton Impact.

SEVENTH RACE: 1. Pleasant as Pie, 2. Classy Tune, 3. Plane Lucky. LONG SHOT: Sandy’s Surprise.

EIGHTH RACE: 1. Vyjack, 2. Om, 3. Midnight Storm. LONG SHOT: Le Ken.

NINTH RACE: 1. Jungle Warfare, 2. St Patrick’s Day, 3. Zatter. LONG SHOT: Salsa King.

10TH RACE: 1. BROOKS HOUSE (BEST BET), 2. Arethusa, 3. Bombilate. LONG SHOT: La Force.
Trainer Victoria Oliver, who is based in Kentucky, finally shows up in the Del Mar entries. When she comes West, she is usually loaded. In the last three years, Oliver has started 23 horses at Del Mar with six wins, averaging $19 per winner. In the 10th race, Brooks House (15-1) comes in. She finished second over this course in the past and this is too good a price to pass up with excellent turf jockey Drayden Van Dyke in the irons.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Sunday, July 30

FIRST RACE: 1. Summertimemischief, 2. Mining Diamonds, 3. Empress Deelites. LONG SHOT: Amy Jean.
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SECOND RACE: 1. Miss Loujean, 2.Painting Corners, 3. Joe’sgoldenholiday. LONG SHOT: Little Bit Lovely.
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THIRD RACE: 1. Argumentative, 2. Blissful Rose, 3. Bona Fide Image. LONG SHOT: Majestic Diva.
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FOURTH RACE: 1. Miss Sunset, 2. Dreamy Gal, 3. Isa Firecracker. LONG SHOT: Lady Espionage.
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FIFTH RACE: 1. PITCHING (best bet), 2. Encumbered, 3. Honeymoonz Over. LONG SHOT: My Boy Jack.
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SIXTH RACE: 1. Katherine, 2. Taylor and Burton, 3. Poetic. LONG SHOT: Condi.
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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Newsman, 2. Force, 3. Doc Curlin. LONG SHOT: Burger and Fries.
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EIGHTH RACE: 1. Vale Dori, 2. Stellar Wind, 3. Motown Lady. LONG SHOT: Faithfully.
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NINTH RACE> 1. Guggenheim, 2. Rye Patch, 3. Malko. LONG SHOT: Hay Dude.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on the Twitter

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Friday, July 28 (First post 4 p.m.) UPDATED

PREVIEW: Speed has always done well on these twilight programs as the moisture stays in the main track making it tighter. Keep that in mind.The rails on the turf course are moved out to 30 feet and that usually means frontrunners have the edge as it’s tough to pass in the stretch. However, on Wednesday, closers ruled the day coming from way back

FIRST RACE: 1. Terra Lago, 2. Fly as a Falcon, 3. Mis Viola. LONG SHOT: Trust Fund Kitty.

SECOND RACE: 1. Excavation, 2. El Super, 3. Country Road. LONG SHOT: Pampers n’ Boots.

THIRD RACE: 1. May B, 2. Stormy Rocit, 3. No Silent. LONG SHOT: Zuri Chop.
The only time this gelding was on the turf, he finished sixth. Trainer Mark Glatt decides to give it another go with this speed demon. Look for apprentice Evin Roman to go front to the front and hope to hang on.

FOURTH RACE: 1. Freedom Journey, 2. Candy Ruler, 3. Dangerously Close. LONG SHOT: Paschalitsa.
FIFTH RACE: 1. Bold Papa, 2. Ashley’s Song, 3. Kings River King. LONG SHOT: Lovely Anzi.
SIXTH RACE: 1. ANN ARBOR EDDIE (Best bet), 2. Fly to Mars, 3. Elwood J. LONG SHOT: Edwards Going Left.
Ann Arbor Eddie just beat older horses and now returns to the 3-year-old Cal-bred ranks. Good spot to pick up a nice check. He is a perfect 3-for-3 against Cal-breds.
SEVENTH RACE: 1. Offshore, 2. Fritz Johansen, 3. Trifecta. LONG SHOT: Special Season.
EIGHTH RACE: 1. Mr. Brightside, 2. Indium, 3. Rick’s Dream. LONG SHOT: Hoppitty

Good luck,

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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