Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Thursday, July 19

Preview: Trainers Doug O’Neill and Jerry Hollendorfer, who were mediocre in 2017, dominated on opening day, winning the first seven races between them. Give their horses an extra look, especially O’Neill, who gets hot and then cools off.

Trainers to watch
PHIL D’AMATO: Tied for the Del Mar training title last summer with 18 wins and his stable has only gotten stronger since then. He is a monster on the turf with 12 wins and 11 seconds from 66 starters. This summer look for improved numbers on the dirt and with younger horses.

RICHARD BALTAS: He tied D’Amato for the crown a year ago. Surprisingly, he beat D’Amato on the grass, leading all trainer with 13 winners on the green. One area of weakness is first-time starters so stay away from them.

PETER MILLER: Last summer wasn’t the best for the Carlsbad resident who annually starts a ton of horses at the seaside oval. He had more than twice has many seconds and thirds (24 and 16) as wins (15). No doubt he wants to turn those numbers around. Don’t be afraid of horses showing San Luis Rey Downs works because he has a portion of his stable there. Miller was second in dirt wins and victories by 2-year-olds. He does a lot of damage with claimers and maiden claimers, but you often don’t get a square price.

MARK GLATT: He had a really good summer under the radar last year, finishing tied for third in the standings with Miller (15 wins) from far less starters (68). He also is sneaky on the grass with eight wins from 37 starts. Betting on all of Glatt’s starters would have produced a flat-bet profit, according to Jim Mazur’s The Del Mar Handicapper 2018.

DOUG O’NEILL: It will be a race to see who starts more horses this meet: Miller or O’Neill. The O’Neill barn gets a lot of horses from J. Paul Reddam and a lot sired by Square Eddie so watch for that combination. O’Neill was tied for third in dirt wins (nine) and grass can be a weakness. However, look at turf sprints because in 2016 O’Neill did well in that category.

OTHERS: Bob Baffert has his second Triple Crown winner in four years but like American Pharoah, Justify won’t run at Del Mar. Baffert led all trainers with 12 dirt wins, with half of them coming from 2-year-olds. He is also usually strong in the sprint and handicap divisions. The best betting option is “the other Baffert.” When he has two horses in the same race, bet the one with the higher odds plus bet an exacta box of his two horses. … Jerry Hollendorfer had just five winners a year ago but he got hot during Santa Anita and might be back to his old self. Watch out for his 2-year-olds, especially the fillies, one of which (Brill) is running on opening day. … Michael McCarthy, the former Todd Pletcher assistant, is starting to get better stock after finishing last summer for third in dirt wins (nine). According to Mazur’s book, McCarthy produced a huge $73 flat-bet profit. … Simon Callaghan is another younger trainer to watch after he had seven 2-year-old winners in 2017. … Steve Miyadi is also good with 2-year-olds (four wins) and first-time starters (three of 11). … Jim Cassidy, the life-long New York Yankees fan, is 7-for-13 in turf sprints the last three years with a profit of $137, according Mazur’s book. … Tom Proctor, who trains mainly for Glen Hill Farm, is a whiz on the turf and he went 6-for-15 at 2017 meet for a flat-bet profit, but don’t expect any large prices because his horses get bet.

FIRST RACE: 1. Watch Me Burn, 2. Jellybeankristine, 3. No Thanks Erik. LONG SHOT: Lakerzwin.

SECOND RACE: 1. Gutsy Effort, 2. Welldidyougetit, 3. Latitude. LONG SHOT: June Two Four.

THIRD RACE: 1. PASTIME (best bet), 2. G Q Covergirl, 3. Painting Corners. LONG SHOT: Invested Prospect.
Let me just say this up front there is no way we are getting the 12-1 morning line on No. 8 Pastime in today’s third race. Trainer Victoria Oliver brings a small string to Del Mar almost every year from Kentucky and always seem to win at a good price, but the word is already out on social media. That being said Oliver is 4-for-11 at Del Mar with horses off a 31- to 60-day layoff like this filly and the average winning price is $20, according to Jim Mazur’s The Del Mar Handicapper 2018.

FOURTH RACE: 1. Robin’s Love, 2. Cylinders, 3. Lil Bit Dangerous. LONG SHOT: Go Smiley Go.

FIFTH RACE: 1. Memorable Election, 2. Rockaway, 3. Ivy Mike. LONG SHOT: Master Ruler.

SIXTH RACE: 1. Magic Musketier, 2. Andesh, 3. Inscom. LONG SHOT: Soltero.

SEVENTH RACE: 1. Secret Spice, 2. Moonshine Memories, 3. Show It N Moe It. LONG SHOT: Treasuring.

EIGHTH RACE: 1. Majorie E, 2. Venue, 3. Oh Pretty Woman. LONG SHOT: Unusual Gold.

WEDNESDAY’S RESULTS

Top choice winners: 2 (Shivermetimbers $4.60, sixth race; Brill $3.40, seventh)

Second choice winners: 1 (Super Duper Cooper $6.40, ninth)

Third choice winners: 3 (Eighty Three $10.60, third; Dichotomy $5.40, fourth; Ann Arbor Eddie $20, fifth)

Long shot winners: 1 (Jimmy Chila $7, second)

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Friday, Oct. 27

Preview: Watch out for the Doug O’Neill barn. Not the best year but won three races on Thursday and might be rounding into form at the right time of the year.

FIRST RACE: #1 Pitching (4-1)
This Glen Hill Farm homebred ran into some trouble last race and it might have cost him a better placing. Trainer Tom Proctor is 22% second time off a 45 to 180-day layoff and barn rider Drayden Van Dyke is aboard.

SIXTH RACE: #7 Tea for Tam (15-1)
This a tough race with a couple of second-time starters for Jerry Hollendorfer (20%) and a pair of first-time starters for Bob Baffert (25%), but I’m going to take a shot with this Malibu Moon firster. The sire gets 14% winners first time out and John Shirreffs hasn’t forgotten how to train since Zenyatta retired.

SEVENTH RACE: #6 Dadtaughtmewell (6-1)
We had this one last time he race, but he finished fourth, beaten by 1 1/2 lengths. Flavien Prat rides back for Dean Pederson and that combination was 4-for-4 before that race. There is a good work showing since that race and he might be sitting on a good one.

EIGHTH RACE: #4 Langham (10-1)
This 4-year-old comes out of one of the most powerful key races during the Del Mar meet. Four horses have come back to win out of that maiden race and another finished second from nine next out starters. Trainer John Sadler had this one gelded since that race when he pressed the early pace and then faltered. This one is bred to love the grass and cuts back in distance. Sadler is 19% with horses off a 46 to 90-day layoff. Good work showing so maybe ready to run best since being gelded.

Good luck

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Thursday, March 16

Race 2 – SA
#8 Smuggler Union (4-1) TURF ONLY ****
Our Eyes: Gelding moves up in class and runs on turf for the first time. The sire Kantharos gets 18% winners first time on the turf. Trainer Howard Zucker is 33% second off the layoff.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 5 – SA
#3 Sahara Storm (7-2) TURF ONLY ****
Our Eyes: Trainer Keith Desormeaux struck with on of these 3-year-olds last week that ran back East last year and has been moved West this winter. This colt showed speed at Saratoga and now drops into a maiden claimer for the first time.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 7 – SA
#7 Longstocking (9-2) TURF ONLY ****
Our Eyes: Jockey Flavien Prat jumps on this mare which has been idle since December. She ran well off the layoff last time. She has some early lick so look for Prat to get over to the rail.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 8 – SA
#7 Menace the Dennis (3-1) ****
Our Eyes: Gelding drops into a maiden claimer for the first time and tries two turns for first time. He is bred to go this far and Prat jumps on and he’s 23% with Doug O’Neill, who is 24% dropping from MSW to a maiden claimer.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Saturday, Feb. 4

Preview: Some rain on Friday, but only one race was taken off the turf which is a good sign for today’s card. At the start of the race week, Jerry Hollendorfer, Peter Miller and Richard Baltas led the way on the dirt with eight wins each. Doug O’Neill was right behind with seven winners. On the other end, Steven Knapp was 0-for-10 followed by Mike Harrington (1-18) and Sal Gonzalez (1-14), all of whom were having trouble winning races.

Race 4: #9 Amer Sista (6-1): Took money in her debut, but was off slow and then in right. Trainer Phil D’Amato puts blinkers on (22% move) and top turf rider Flavien Prat stays on and he’s 24% with D’Amato.

Race 6: #8 Fabozzi (6-1): This gelding is 3-2-0-1 at the distance. The 4-year-old is moving up in class but trainer Mark Glatt is 30% with horses that won their last race and that man Prat rides again on the turf. Prat is 27% with Glatt.

Race 8: #5 Mor Spirit (3-1): Pure and simple that try in the Malibu was a prep for this race by trainer Bob Baffert. This 4-year-old tries older horses for the first time, but Baffert is 27% going sprint to route and jockey Mike Smith stays aboard.

Race 9: #8 Perfectly Majestic (10-1): This gelding has beaten some of these before and has a record of 18-4-5-6 on the grass. Kent Desormeaux gets back on and he has had success with this 5-year-old in the past.

Good luck

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Thursday, Feb. 2

Preview: There is a strong chance of rain on Friday so this might be the last day of turf racing for the week. Phil D’Amato and Peter Miller lead the training corps with three wins each. Surprisingly, Richard Baltas is 1 for 20 and Doug O’Neill is 1 for 15 on the green stuff.

Race 1 – SA
#1 A. P. Zona (3-1) ****
Our Eyes: This 3-year-old drops into maiden claimer for the first time. Trainer Molly Pearson is 42% with that move and the colt comes out of a key race that has produced three next out winners.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 3 – SA
#6 David’s Memory (4-1) ****
Our Eyes: Huge jock switch here from Fernando Perez to Rafael Bejarano and this 5-year-old comes out of a key race with three next out winners.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 4 – SA
#9 Metrocity (4-1) ****
Our Eyes: This gelding drops into a maiden claimer for the first time. He has been running at Golden Gate and now is in Vladimir Cerin’s barn. Has good early speed which is always good at this level. Plus is also coming out of a key race, also with three next out winners.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 8 – SA
#7 Queen Blossom (4-1) ****
Our Eyes: Trainer Graham Motion sent her out here for the American Oaks at Santa Anita and she finished ninth. He keeps her out here and she is bred to run all day. Victor Espinoza takes the mount.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Del Mar, Delta Downs, Horse racing

Del Mar picks for Saturday, November 19 (plus Delta Downs)

Preview: Jockey Norberto Arroyo Jr. missed Thursday’s card due to personal reasons but was due back Friday and will ride this weekend. Flavien Prat, Kent Desormeaux and Martin Pedroza are all riding elsewhere today. The rails on the turf course will be at 24 feet which could mean speed will dominate on the green.

Race 1: 2. #6 Black Tie ‘n Tails (6-1), 2. Junior Gilliam, 3. El Super. LONG SHOT: Dano’s Dream.
Trainer Peter Miller claimed this gelding and he must have had a planned for this as this 4-year-old goes first time on the turf. Miller is 32% first off the claim and he gets apprentice Austin Solis to ride which tells me they are going to try and go to the front.

Race 2: 1. Finallygotabentley, 2. Quorum of Joy, 3. Senator Bob. LONG SHOT: Captain Akers.

Race 3: 1. #6 Big Hit (6-1) BEST BET, 2. Fielder, 3. Law Abidin Citizen. LONG SHOT: Little Juanito.
Trainer Phil D’Amato is 47% when have a horse go sprint-route-sprint like this 2-year-old. The colt should be plenty fit for this elongated sprint. Santiago Gonzalez picks up the mount for the injured Rafael Bejarano.

Race 4: 1. #1 Sergio (5-1), 2. Avalanche, 3. Irap. LONG SHOT: Odyssey Explorer.
Big jockey switch to Gary Stevens, who rode two turf winners opening weekend. This colt’s best race came on the grass so why he was switch to the dirt for his last is a mystery.

Race 5: 1. Mastery, 2. California Diamond, 3. Bernin Sensation. LONG SHOT: Opper Wallah.

Race 6: 1. #1 Gangster (12-1), 2. Liam the Charmer, 3. Fritz Johansen. LONG SHOT: Sawyer’s Hill.
In his second race back off a long layoff, trainer Doug O’Neill puts this 4-year-old on the turf for the first time and his sire Street Boss gets 18% winners first time on the green. Good grass rider Drayden Van Dyke takes the mount. O’Neill is also 23% second off the layoff.

Race 7: 1. Match Play, 2. Honor and Courage, 3. Bobby Abu Dhabi. LONG SHOT: Adorned.

Race 8: 1. Wanstead Gardens, 2. Play Hard to Get, 3. Perfectly Majestic. LONG SHOT: Little Curlin.

Race 9: 1. Aloha Spirit, 2. Warren’s Honey Bee, 3. Motutapu. LONF SHOT: Turf Club Queen.

Plus here are some picks on the big 2-year-old races at Delta Downs.

DELTA DOWNS
Race 6 (Delta Downs Princess): 1. Flatter Up, 2. Golden Mischief, 3. Shane’s Girlfriend, 4. Jilly.
Race 7 (Delta Downs Jackpot): 1. Thirstforlife, 2. Gunnevera, 3. Baladeen, 4. Hot Sean.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Friday, Nov. 18

Preview: Just a so-so weekday card. Jockey Flavien Prat has started the meet on top in the jockey standings with four wins, but shockingly all of his wins are on the dirt. Prat came into the week 0-for-10 on the grass and that won’t last long. Norberto Arroyo is due to return to riding today after missing Thursday due to a personal issue. Three winners on Thursday, including the early daily double and second race trifecta cold. I really like Alsatian in the last race, but that horse was scratched on Thursday so I will be watching the entries closely.

Race 1: 1. Nanybelle, 2. Princess Tiznow, 3. Santa Nella. LONG SHOT: Chuchotti.

Race 2: 1. Chicago Angle, 2. Joan of Arch, 3. Frandontjudge. LONG SHOT: Papaslilprincess.

Race 3: 1. Southern Drawl, 2. My Aunt Tillie, 3. Sweet Judy. LONG SHOT: Correlation.

Race 4: 1. #7 Limited Response (5-1) BEST BET, 2. Madelyn’s Wild Max, 3. Nextdoorneighbor. LONG SHOT: Accelerant.
Trainer Doug O’Neill claimed this gelding last time out and immediately drops him. However, a win and claim here he’s out on the horse. O’Neill is 20% first off the claim and this 6-year-old has a pair of wins at this 7-furlong distance, something I like to see at these elongated sprint distances.

Race 5: 1. Marchtothemusic, 2. True Appeal, 3. Squared Squared. LONG SHOT: Tiz Indy.

Race 6: 1. Jimmy Bouncer, 2. Bottle Rocket, 3. Stormy Rocit. LONG SHOT: Secreto Primero.

Race 7: 1. Princess Karen, 2. Auntjenn, 3. Fact of Life. LONG SHOT: Carrie.

Race 8: 1. Jet Ski, 2. Burnt Cognac, 3. Calli Way. LONG SHOT: Marckie’s Water.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on twitter

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