Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Wednesday, Aug. 21 (UPDATED)

Barns heating up

Trainers Richard Baltas and Phil D’Amato finally jump-started their meets during Pacific Classic week.
Baltas was 6 for 20, including four wins on the Pacific Classic card (two with John Velazquez), now trails Doug O’Neill, 20-17.
O’Neill seems to on an every other week binge as he went 1 for 11 the last five racing days which might mean he’s due for another warm streak this coming week.
D’Amato went 4 for 11 and is now tied for fourth in the standings (10 wins) with John Sadler, who went 3 for 6 and leads the meet in money won with more than $1.5 million.
Peter Miller is third in the standings with 13 wins after a 2 for 12 week.
Mark Glatt (8-2-2-3) and Bob Hess Jr. (5-2-2-1) also had big weeks.
Sadler and Miller are tied for the lead with eight wins each on the main track while Bob Baffert and O’Neill have seven each.
O’Neill still leads in grass victories with 10 despite an 0 for 7 week. Baltas has nine wins on turf and D’Amato has eight while leading in money won with nearly $820,000.

WEDNESDAY’S SELECTIONS

FIRST RACE: 1. Lakaya, 2. Nina En Fuego, 3. Warren’s Showtime. LONG SHOT: Sassyserb.
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SECOND RACE: 1. Beyond Pleasure, 2. Atina (SCRATCHED) new horse: Whirling, 3. Cimarron. LONG SHOT: Fracas.
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THIRD RACE: 1. Secret Square, 2. Mind Out, 3. Nu Pi Lambda. LONG SHOT: Beautiful Thunder.
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FOURTH RACE: 1. Go For a Ride, 2. Caribbean, 3. Noble Pursuit. LONG SHOT: Mongolian Hero.
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FIFTH RACE: 1. VERY VERY STELLA (best bet), 2. Unusually Green, 3. Murad Khan. LONG SHOT: Terrys Tom Cat.
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SIXTH RACE: 1. Isotherm, 2. Dr. Dorr, 3. Line Judge. LONG SHOT: Two Thirty Five.
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SEVENTH RACE: 1. No Bang No Boom (SCRATCHED), 2. Oil Can Knight (SCRATCHED), 3. Prodigal Son. LONG SHOT: Hartel. New picks: 1. Prodigal Son, 2. Hartel, 3. Boa Nova. LONG SHOT: Order and Law.
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EIGHTH RACE: 1. Nucky, 2. Bamboozler, 3. Railsplitter. LONG SHOT: Prince Ricky.

Good luck.

SUNDAY’S RESULTS

Top choice winners: 1 (Vintage Hollywood $4.80, third race)

Second choice winners: 3 (Stellar Sound $5, first; Todos Santos $5.80, second; Flagstaff $3.60, fourth)

Third choice winners: 1 (Midcourt $31, eighth)

Long shot winners: 3 (Twirling Tiger $9, fifth; It’s Fitting $37.60, sixth; She’s Our Charm $18, ninth)

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Tuesday, Aug. 13

Hot and cold
Mark Glatt led all Del Mar trainers last week with an 11-4-0-3 record and is now tied for fourth place in the standings with seven wins for the meet.
Doug O’Neill followed up his monster nine-victory week with a solid 16-3-4-2 mark and leads Peter Miller (11-1-3-4 for the week) by five wins for the meet, 16-11.
John Sadler followed up an 0 for 12 effort in Week 3 with a 10-2-2-0 mark in Week 4 and should be a trainer to watch this week. Sadler likes to win stakes races and there are plenty of those week, headed by the Pacific Classic on Saturday.
The Peter Eurton barn is starting to thaw from its icy start as he was 3-2-1-0 during the week.
Some barns are still struggling. Keith Desormeaux (1 for 22), Michael McCarthy (1-18), Steve Knapp (1-17), Tim McCanna (1-13), John Sherriffs (0-14), George Papaprodromous (0-17), Jim Cassidy (0-14) and Jack Carava (0-14) must be looked at as throw outs in handicapping until they show signs of life.
Miller and O’Neill lead the pack with six winners each on the main track followed by Sadler and Bob Baffert with five wins each. Neil Drysdale, who is known mainly for prowess on the turf, is 2 for 2 on the dirt.
It is pretty amazing O’Neill leads all trainers with 10 victories on the grass. from 42 starts. It wasn’t too many years ago that O’Neill went through a streak of 1 for 76 on the turf, but times have changed.
On the other end, Vladimir Cerin is 1 for 14 on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course while McCarthy if 0 for 17 with just two third place finishes and Patrick Gallagher is 0 for 12.

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Thursday, Aug. 8

After going 2 for 8 on last week, Flavien Prat has made the race for the jockey title interesting again entering Wednesday action.
Prat was tied at the top with Drayden Van Dyke as both riders have 17 winners entering Week 4.
In all fairness to Prat, he missed three racing days last week, two by suspension and one while riding Bellafina in the Test at Saratoga. He was in the money with all eight of his mounts.
Van Dyke made up ground by going 5 for 21 on the week and that wasn’t even the most wins for the five days of racing.
Rafael Bejarano and Abel Cedillo both had six victories and also had a hand in Doug O’Neill’s big week.
Journeyman Ruben Fuentes rebounded from a winless Week 2 to score four wins from 19 mounts.
Aaron Gryder (1 for 33) and apprentice J.C. Diaz Jr (1-33) are struggling as is Alonzo Quinonez (0 for 14).
Fuentes took over on the top while riding on the main track as he has nine victories, but he is 0 for 26 on the grass and should be avoided.
Prat and Van Dyke lead the colony with 10 grass victories each.
Victor Espinoza (1-22), Norberto Arroyo (1-29), Martin Garcia (1-16), Tiago Pereira (0-19), apprentice Jorge Velez (0-18) and Gryder (0-16) have been less than stellar on the turf course.

FIRST RACE: 1. Miss Megan, 2. Remember to Smile, 3. Takethediamondlane. LONG SHOT: Jan Jan Can.
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SECOND RACE: 1. Moonshone Annie, 2. Tig Tog, 3. Playa Chica. LONG SHOT: Divine Dharma.
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THIRD RACE: 1. Best Two Minutes, 2. Weast Hill, 3. Fast Cotton. LONG SHOT: Monydontspenitself.
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FOURTH RACE: 1. MASTER RYAN (best bet), 2. Fredikstad, 3. Cunning Munnings. LONG SHOT: Tribals Last Reign.
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FIFTH RACE: 1. Aced, 2. Emtech, 3. Vintage Hollywood. LONG SHOT: Sea’s Journey.
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SIXTH RACE: 1. Zestful, 2. Builder, 3. Play Hard to Get. LONG SHOT: Zeke.
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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Solar Nova, 2. Senora Power, 3. Lady Sunset. LONG SHOT: Kuda Huraa.

Good luck.

Good luck.

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Wednesday, Aug. 7 (updated)

NOTE: To say trainer Doug O’Neill had a good Week 3 at Del Mar is just wrong. He had a great week.
The venerable trainer, who tied his own track record last Wednesday with five winners in a single day, climbed into the meet lead with nine victories from 20 entries. He also added four runner-up finishes and a third.
O’Neill jumped over several trainers and now leads the meet with 13 victories.
Peter Miller is second with 10 wins after a 2 for 10 week while Bob Hess Jr. grabbed third place (seven wins) with a 3 for 7 week.
John Sadler, the meet’s leading money earner with $738,875, had a week to forget with an 0 for 12 effort.
On the dirt, O’Neill and Miller lead the way with six wins each. However, more shocking is the fact that O’Neill leads everyone on the turf with seven victories.
Overall, a few trainers continue to struggle at the meet like Keith Desormeaux (1 for 17), Peter Eurton (1-18), Michael McCarthy (1-19) and Val Brinkerhoff (1-13).

FIRST RACE: 1. Chasin Mummy, 2. Temple Bar, 3. K P Indy. LONG SHOT: Whispering Flame.
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SECOND RACE: 1. D’s Lovely Sophia, 2. Miss Lady Ann, 3. Interesting Times. LONG SHOT: Coilette.
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THIRD RACE: 1. WAR CHEST (best bet), 2. He’s Like Violence, 3. Passionate Reward. LONG SHOT: Aussie Fox.
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FOURTH RACE: 1. Ma Bella, 2. Rattle, 3. Appolina (SCRATCHED) New pick: Tell It again. LONG SHOT: Aleda Lutz.
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FIFTH RACE: 1. Toinette, 2. Youngest Daughter, 3. Quebec. LONG SHOT: Just a Smidge.
It was all I could do not to pick YOUNGEST DAUGHTER in this spot. She is 15-1 on the morning-line and trainer Vicki Oliver has won me a lot of money over the years shipping into Del Mar with grass horses from Kentucky. This is a tough spot and TOINETTE looks like a slam duck. I promise you one thing, I will have a couple bucks on YD and will back her up in the exactas. I just couldn’t put her on top.
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SIXTH RACE: 1. Crown the Kitten, 2. For Him, 3. Avanti Bello. LONG SHOT: Gran Fiesta (SCRATCHED) New pick: Tiz Love.
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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Play Money, 2. Fravel, 3. Jamming Eddy. LONG SHOT: Asaro.

Good luck.

SUNDAY’S RESULTS

Top choice winners: 3 (Dr. Wysong $4.60, third race; Offshore $7.20, fourth; Passing $8, eighth)

Second choice winners: 1 (Eight Rings $3.20, fifth)

Third choice winners: 0

Long shot winners: 1 (Kingly $18.60, seventh)

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Wednesday, July 31

NOTES: Adam Kitchingman is one of three trainers who are perfect (1 for 1) at the Del Mar meet so far. David Randall and Tim Yakteen are the others.
Week 2 proved to be big for Peter Miller, who took over the training lead even though he shipped a lot of horses East during the spring ills of Santa Anita. Miller had five wins out of 11 starters last week and now has eight winners for the 10-day-old meet.
Miller leads John Sadler and Richard Baltas by three wins.
Sadler was 3 for 7 for the week and all five of his victories have been in stakes events. Sadler’s barn has earned $684,291, which is tops by more than $275,000.
Baltas had a tough second week, going 2 for 16, and Doug O’Neill had a tougher week, winning just once in 19 starters. O’Neill did have two runner-up placings and six third-place finishers.
The Bob Baffert barn finally started to heat up with three wins, one second and two thirds from six starters.
Bob Hess Jr. also had three wins for the week, also from seven starters.
Jeff Mullins is quietly having a good meet. He had two wins and two seconds from five starters. He now has four wins overall and has been in the money 77 percent of the time.
At the other end of the spectrum, Michael McCarthy (0 for 15), Valdimir Cerin (0-12) and Jonathan Wong (0-11) are all looking for their first wins of the meet.
Phil D’Amato is 1 for 25 but at least that one win was in a stakes race. Keith Desormeaux (1-16) and Peter Eurton (1-12) are also struggling.

FIRST RACE: 1. Vangogo, 2. Bellazano, 3. Grey Lady. LONG SHOT: So Much Happy.
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SECOND RACE: 1. STREET CLASS (best bet), 2. C Falls, 3. Commanding Chief. LONG SHOT: Mica Bay.
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THIRD RACE: 1. Baby Gronk, 2. The White Shadow, 3. Call You Tomorrow. LONG SHOT: Big Barrel.
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FOURTH RACE: 1. Smiling to Excess, 2. Twentyseventrouts, 3. Traffic Stopper. LONG SHOT: Bayonce.
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FIFTH RACE: 1. Wind Tartare, 2. My Aunt Tillie, 3. Lady Phyllis. LONG SHOT: Convince.
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SIXTH RACE: 1. Cholula Lips, 2. Bulletproof One, 3. None of Your Biz. LONG SHOT: Bella Renella.
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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Honos Man, 2. Chosen Vessel, 3. River God. LONG SHOT: Tequila Blanco.

Good luck.

SUNDAY’S RESULTS

Top choice winners: 4 (Immediate Impact $2.80, first race; Wound Tight $5.80, second; Spokane Eagle $4.40, fourth; Desert Oasis $8.80, eighth)

Second choice winners: 0

Third choice winners: 1 (Reedley $4.60, fifth)

Long shot winners: 1 (Ollie’s Candy $10, seventh)

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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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