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 Friday, Oct. 6

Preview: Plenty of big prices on Thursday means a huge Pick 6 carryover into the program Friday. Evin Roman won times, two of them at big prices, and trainer Peter Miller had a couple of nice scores so his barn might be worth watching because when it gets hot, it gets HOT.

FIRST RACE: #2 Forthenineteen (8-1)
This filly has a 7-1-1-1 record over this track. Trainer Genaro Vallejo is 3-for-5 on the year. I try to look for prices in the these lower priced claiming races. If the favorite wins, I lose. It’s that simple.

THIRD RACE: #5 Christy Jackson (4-1)
Blinkers go on and trainer Kenny Black drops her to the bottom of the maiden claiming ranks for the first time. Tyler Baze has ridden her the last three times and needs to get a better start out of the gate.

FIFTH RACE: #1 Candy Boss (8-1)
This filly has had two sprint preps and goes long for the first time, a move trainer John Sadler is 23% with. She will likely show speed from the inside, the key will be for jockey Joe Talamo to ration that speed going around two turns.

EIGHTH RACE: #1 Ava Forty Seven (12-1)
It’s possible this is a prep race for going two turns for trainer Phil D’Amato, but he is 22% off a layoff of this length, 22% going from route to sprint and 20% on the turf. He puts Jamie Theriot aboard and they are 21% together, but an even better 29% at Santa Anita. Good works at San Luis Rey Downs in Bonsall. This is also the “other” D’Amato so be suggest an exacta box of Ava and #3 Be Mine (5-2).

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Thursday, Oct. 5

SECOND RACE: #5 Psycho Dar
This gelding broke his maiden at first asking at Del Mar. Has speed and jockey Evin Roman stays aboard for trainer Steve Miyadi and they are 25 percent together. Also comes out of a key race that has produced two winners so far.

FIFTH RACE: #9 Hawk’s Journey (10-1)
Trainer Ed Moger Jr. is having a good year and brings this filly down from NoCal. This is her first time in a claimer and hot jockey Drayden Van Dyke jumps on. In addition to a win bet I would back wheel her in the exacta.

SEVENTH RACE: #9 Cheekaboomboom (7-2)
This gelding is 2-1-1-0 on the dowhill turf course and jockey Flavien Prat stays aboard. Prat is 25% with trainer Peter Eurton. Play an exacta box with the speedy Mr Vargas (#6, 3-1).

EIGHTH RACE: #10 Decarchy Dawn (3-1)
Trainer Bob Hess Jr. is pulling out all the stop to get this 3-year-old to break his maiden. He is adding blinkers and gelded the horse since his last race. The son of Decarchy comes out of a key Del Mar race that has produced two winners so far and keeps jockey Kent Desormeaux aboard.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Saturday, Aug. 26

PREVIEW: Tough week handicapping. Horses I picked second come in to win and if you know me by now I don’t pick a lot of favorites. But have to keep on, keeping on.

FIRST RACE: 1. Real Big Deal, 2. Dream Police, 3. Que Chistoso. LONG SHOT: Sir Matador.
Apprentice Laura Werner didn’t go from the inside last time on Dream Police so it will be interesting to see what she does from the outside this time. Real Big Deal has apprentice Evin Roman aboard and he leads all Del Mar jockeys in wins on the dirt.

SECOND RACE: 1. It’s Not So Easy, 2. Mama’s Sugar, 3. Magical Lucy. LONG SHOT: Lady Cloud.

THIRD RACE: 1. G Q Covergirl, 2. Sheza Chattykat, 3. Late ‘n Left. LONG SHOT: Cash Prize.
Trainer Phil D’Amato leads the meet with 11 wins on the grass and really like both entries today (Newsman in the sixth is the other one).

FOURTH RACE: 1. True Royalty, 2. High Drama, 3. Saint Tropez. LONG SHOT: Curlin’s Journey.

FIFTH RACE: 1. Time for Cioppino, 2. Royal Bar, 3. Lucky Romano. LONG SHOT: Oh Man.

SIXTH RACE: 1. Newsman, 2. Oregon, 3. Conquest Typhoon. LONG SHOT: County Lineman.
Like I said before, I liked both of D’Amato’s horses today. This one like to finish second but this will be the third off the layoff abd good grass jockey Corey Nakatani keeps the mount.

SEVENTH RACE: 1. Battle of Midway, 2. Klimt, 3. Gormley. LONG SHOT: Gato Del Oro.

EIGHTH RACE: 1. Kona Dreams, 2. Irish Goodbye, 3. Popyhowuspelcupcak. LONG SHOT: Tyler’s Tek.
This one got caught up in a speed duel last time and spit the bit in the stretch. Here’s hoping the jockey switch to Tiago Pereira does the trick. Tiago is 60 percent over the last year with trainer Bill Spawr.

NINTH RACE: 1. Calculator, 2. Silent Bird, 3. Kobe’s Back. LONG SHOT: Giant Expectations.
This running of the 7-furlong of the Pat O’Brien lost some of its lust when Danzing Candy suffered a fractured leg Friday morning and has been retired. Losing the 8-5 morning-line favorite means this race is wide open. I wouldn’t talk anyone off any horse in here.

10TH RACE: 1. BOLD PAPA (best bet), 2. Tatar, 3. Chidamac. LONG SHOT: Brahms Forest.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Wednesday, Aug. 9

PREVIEW: In looking at the post position stats after the first three weeks, the inside has been the place to be in sprints, distance races and on the turf. The inside five posts have won 71% of the dirt sprints. In dirt two turn races, one weird stat is that post No. 6 has won nearly 25% of the races (14-of-57). On the turf, outside of post 6 is not the place to be.

FIRST RACE: 1. Bridal Arch, 2. Warrior Vixen, 3. Christmas Carol. LONG SHOT: Grace Hopper.

SECOND RACE: 1. Dream Police, 2. Radio Silent, 3. Monterey Shale. LONG SHOT: Seal Six.
Friend Jeff Bloom hopes gelding can get the job done after finishing a close up third last time. The 5-year-old is taking a sneaky class drop from open $16k claimer to $16k claimers that are nonwinners of three.

FIFTH RACE: 1. MR VARGAS (Best bet), 2. Zipman, 3. Tina’s Exchange. LONG SHOT: King Caymus.
Always like Florida speed in breeding and that’s what we have in the fifth race today with Mr Vargas. This appears to be a private purchase by Samantha Seigel (Jay Em Ess Stable) and she is looking for Del Mar’s Ship and Win money. The 3-year-old by Midshipman has been throwing nothing but bullets in morning workouts. Apprentice Evin Roman gets aboard and I look for him to go straight to the front.

For the rest of my picks, go to:
http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sports/sd-sp-delmar-handicapping-aug9-story.html

Good luck

@Jeff_Nahill on the Twitter

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Saturday, Aug. 5

Preview: Boy, is the Peter Miller barn cold or what? He’s is a little tough to bet right now as he hasn’t won a race since the first week of the meet. On top of that he has lost with 12 straight betting favorites. Ouch. Another person to watch is apprentice Evin Roman. Yes, he is tearing it up, but he’s only won twice on the grass in the first 13 days of the meet. Turf riding is an art and he still has a lot of learning to do. Until I see some positive signs, I’m staying away from him, especially in grass route races.

FIRST RACE: 1. Soul Sound, 2. Anchor Baby, 3. Privvy. LONG SHOT: I’m Sassy

SECOND RACE: 1. Roman Tizzy, 2. Private Prospect, 3. So Elite. LONG SHOT: Tisdale.

THIRD RACE: 1. WOOD MACHINE (best bet), 2. Chris and Dave, 3. Unusual Meeting. LONG SHOT: South Texas Lingo.
Trainer Mike Chambers cut his teeth in the Pacific Northwest and in Arizona. Jockey Gary Stevens got his start in Pacific Northwest, too. In today’s third race, Stevens rides Wood Machine (7-2) for Chambers. They scored at nearly 10-1 at Santa Anita with this gelding. Last time, the 5-year-old started from the packing lot (No. 10 of 11 horses). He draws inside here and has the best last win in terms of company lines (a $32,000 claimer). He drops in class and I think Stevens will have him rolling down the stretch.

For the rest of my selections, go to:
http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sports/sd-sp-nahill-delmar-handicapping-saturday-aug8-story.html

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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