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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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Saturday, Oct. 7

Preview: Three stakes races on the card, but the first two don’t look like prices will be coming in. Other than that, a decent card.

FIRST RACE: #3 Cause for Pardon (9-2)
Drops to his lowest level ever in the maiden claiming ranks and gets a good jockey switch to Edwin Maldonado, who is good from the gate so look for a send job.

THIRD RACE: #1 Antioch (6-1)
This filly wasn’t bad last year as a 2-year-old, but obviously suffered an injury. Trainer Richard Mandella doesn’t bring them back until they are ready, hence he has a 26% strike rate with horses off a 180-day plus layoff. Regular barn rider Flavien Prat keeps the mount and the colt is coming out of a key race that has produced four winners from 10 starters.

FIFTH RACE: #6 Bunny Yogurt (10-1)
John Sadler has had this filly stashed at San Luis Rey Downs sans one Santa Anita work. Sadler is 20% with first time starters and I love the sire Scat Daddy on the turf. He gets 15% first time grass. Victor Espinoza is 21% with Sadler.

EIGHTH RACE: #3 Mrs McDougal (4-1)
This is it for this mare and I. Either win today or we’re done. LOL. She came from New York off a long layoff but just hasn’t shown the form she had last year. This is her third off the layoff for the team on Mandella and Prat. I suspect if she doesn’t win it will be off to the breeding shed. This mile distance appears to be her favorite with a 4-3-0-1 record.

NINTH RACE: #3 Dadtughtmewell (10-1)
Takes a drop in class off a long layoff. She is 2-for-3 at this distance. Prat and trainer Dean Pederson are 4-for-4 together the last two years.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on the Twitter

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Friday, Jan. 27

Preview: Four races on this card were to be run on the rained out card last Sunday. Jockeys having a tough time at the meet are apprentice Austin Solis (1-25), Brayan Pena (0-21) and Edwin Maldonado (1-19).

Race 1 – SA
#6 Paradise (4-1) ****
Our Eyes: Apprentice rider Ruben Fuentes, who started the week 2-for-7, gets aboard this maiden for trainer Mike Harrington. Look for them to gun from the gate.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 3 – SA
#4 Drover Crazy (2-1) ****
Our Eyes: Trainer Richard Baltas had this gelding for owner Jeff Bloom back in the day. He was claimed twice and Baltas decided to claim him back for new connections. The 7-year-old takes a drop in class, but jockey Brice Blanc stays aboard.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 8 – SA
#3 Budokan (7-2) ****
Our Eyes: Speaking of Bloom Racing, this gelding just missed last time out and now tries a little longer. Gets a huge jockey switch to Rafael Bejarano, who is 24% with Jerry Hollandorfer at Santa Anita. Hollendorfer is 29% in maiden claiming races.
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, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Friday, Aug. 5 (4 p.m. first post)

Preview: Just an OK card for a weekday. Phil D’Amato leads all trainers with 5 wins on the grass. Surprisingly a trio of trainers are struggling on the green: Doug O’Neill 0-12, Mike Puype 0-11 and Jerry Hollendorfer 0-11. Either they will get hot or continue the cold streak. You decide.

Race 1: 1. Feel Freely, 2. Red Apple, 3. Ravizzone. LONG SHOT: Miss Bula Bula.

Race 2: 1. Nueces, 2. Boone Docks, 3. Profound Visionary. LONG SHOT: What We Doing.

Race 3: 1. Trust Your Gut, 2. Unapologetic, 3. Chris and Dave. LONG SHOT: Start a Runnin.

Race 4: 1. Rockin Rudy, 2. Cammy’s Music, 3. Thirty Pepperonis. LONG SHOT: Dude’s Dude.

Race 5: #3 Temple Keys (6-1) BEST BET, 2. Tengas Ransom, 3. Lindante. LONG SHOT: Anatolian Heat.
Trainer Richard Baltas takes the blinkers off, a move he is 24% with, and he puts jockey Kent Desormeaux aboard and they are 2-for-10 together.

Race 6: 1. Brother Soldier, 2. Lucky Views, 3. Agent Di Nozzo. LONG SHOT: My Secret Affair.

Race 7: 1. #2 Late Spring (12-1), 2. Shrinking Violet, 3. So Sweetitiz. LONG SHOT: Swift Lady.
For the last few years trainer Victoria Oliver has shipped a few grass horses to Del Mar and they always seem to run good. This filly has a record of 9-3-3-1 at this distance on the grass and Drayden Van Dyke rides.

Race 8: 1. #4 Cyclone Betty (4-1), 2. Patience Lady, 3. Ultimate Game. LONG SHOT: Madera Jubilee.
Trainer Bruce Headley bred this 3-year-old filly and owns the sire Cyclotron, who gets winners at an 18% rate first time out. Headley puts good gate jockey Edwin Maldonado aboard and they are 29% together.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Wednesday, Aug. 3

Preview: So-so card. Some jockeys off to slow starts are Joe Talamo 2-for- 45, Martin Garcia 2-36, Martin Pedroza 2-35 and Edwin Maldonado 1-36. Maldonado has reportedly changed agents.

Race 1: 1. #3 Senza Fina (8-1), 2. Flexible Ethics, 3. L.A. Magic. LONG SHOT: Smil’n From Above.
Trainer Mark Glatt, who is off to a fast start, held a fire sale on this mare last time and she finished second. Glatt is 24% with beaten favorites and in a good sign, he moves her up in class. Glatt is 22% with jockey Fernando Perez.

Race 2: 1. Gloryzapper, 3. Minster’sadventure. LONG SHOT: Meta Mu.

Race 3: 1. Huevos Rancheros, 3. Zen Deputy. LONG SHOT: Grass and Cactus.

Race 4: 1. Pay or Play, 2. Stormy Endeavor, 3. Start to Finish. LONG SHOT: Cougar Creek.

Race 5: 1. #6 Souper Knight (5-1), 2. Schillairess, 3. Gutsy Ruler. LONG SHOT: Well Maybe.
Trainer Gary Stute doesn’t start many but he claimed this gelding last time and Stute is 44% first off the claim. Jockey Victor Espinoza jumps on.

Race 6: 1. #3 Nusret (6-1) BEST BET, 2. Ain’t Misbehavin, 3. Matriculate. LONG SHOT: Storm Comin Thru.
Trainer Ron Ellis doesn’t claim very often so when he does you have to take notice. Ellis is 22% first off the claim and he stretches this gelding out off many sprints.

Race 7: 1. Milton Freewater, 2. Green With Eddie, 3. California Diamond. LONG SHOT: Exotic Ghost.

Race 8: 1. Magik Pepper, 2. Silent Movies, 3. Gabo’s Macondo. LONG SHOT: Latest Craze.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Saturday, July 16

Preview: Opening day has come and gone, and now we get into the meat and potatoes of the meet. The first three days all have 10 races so that’s a good sign. Let’s hope it continues. Yesterday we discussed the best turf riders in the second half of the Santa Anita meet. Here are some riders maybe to ignore on the turf: Fernando Perez 0-for-45, Edwin Maldonado 0-for-25 and Alex Solis 1-for-19.

Race 1: 1. #4 Brother Soldier (4-1), 2. Stormin Trick, 3. Overcomer. LONG SHOT: Two Six Wins.
This gelding was claimed last time out by trainer Robertino Diodoro, who is 26% first off the claim.The 5-year-old is moving from an open $10K claiming to a nonwinners of three at the $16K level. There’s also a big jock switch to take notice of from E. Gomez to Tyler Baze.

Race 2: 1. Angel Lane, 2. Sunshine Laurie, 3. Passionate Emotion. LONG SHOT: Adios Princess.

Race 3: 1. Xoxo, 2. Moment Is Right, 3. Codacious. LONG SHOT: Cindys Secret.

Race 4: 1. Basinca, 2. Look Me in the Eye, 3. Spanish Hombre. LONG SHOT: Midnight Edition.

Race 5: 1. #3 Lieutenant Colonel (6-1), 2. Vyjack, 3. Toowindytohaulrox. LONG SHOT: A Red Tie Day.
This gelding is making the first start of his 10-race career on the grass. On the dirt he has faced the likes of El Kabeir, Frosted, Big John B and Melatonin. Not exactly slouches. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer is cutting him back hoping for a new career on the green.

Race 6: 1. Rinse and Repeat, 2. Rim Ditch, 3. Brandan. LONG SHOT: Close to Midnight.

Race 7: #3 I’malreadythere (6-1), 2. Lauren’s Ladd, 3. It’s the Ice. LONG SHOT: Horse Greedy.
Jockey Flavien Prat could have ridden for trainer Richard Mandella, but he opts for this gelding trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, who is 20% with horses off a 90-plus-day layoff. The outside post will be the main obstacle here.

Race 8: 1. Go Baby Run, 2. Noted and Quoted, 3. Morganite,. LONG SHOT: Tap On a Star.

Race 9: 1. #8 She’s Not Here (12-1), 2. Majestic Heat, 3. Nancy From Nairobi. LONG SHOT: Her Emmynency.
This mare is 0-for-3 since turning 5 years old, but those two wins over this course last year just stick out. Maybe she just loves the ocean air. Jockey Drayden Van Dyke jumps on her for the first time and here’s hoping he adopts the style she had last year when she made one run down the stretch.

Race 10: 1. Speed General, 2. Alaskan Cruise, 3. One for My Baby. LONG SHOT: Hoosier Road.

Good luck.

Friday’s top choice winners: 1 (Grazen Sky $14.20, seventh race)

Friday’s second choice winners: 2 (I’ll Be Around $10.60, second; Rye $12.40, third)

Friday’s third choice winners: 1 (Chief of Staff $12, ninth)

Friday’s long shot winners: 2 (Grandma’s Hands $4.60, fifth; Alaskan Son $9.40, 10th)

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Sunday, July 10

Preview: Final day of the meet. Thank God. The last three weeks have been torture. Still not sure why Santa Anita couldn’t have waited 10 days to re-sod the turf course. Thank God, on to Del Mar on Friday.

Race 3 – SA
#3 Tuscany Beauty (5-2): This filly just finished second over the track and trainer Bruce Headley is 63% with beaten favorites. Jockey Edwin Maldonado stays aboard and he’s 38% with Headley at Santa Anita.

Race 6 – SA
#6 Tell Me a Story (6-1): Trainer Peter Miller trains out of San Luis Rey Downs so you never know how fast these 2-year-olds really are but this colt has one bullet work and gets Lasix. The sire Telling is 17% with firsters and jockey Fernando Perez is 31% with Miller at Santa Anita.

Race 9 – SA
#1 Distinctive B (12-1): We go back to that man, Peter Miller, here in the finale. This gelding was claimed in April and hasn’t run since. There is a bullet showing in his last work at SLRD and Miller is 34% first off the claim. He puts blinkers on and this 5-year-old has the best Brisnet Late Pace Rating.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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