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 Sunday, Oct. 15

Preview: Battleground State finally gave us a winner on Saturday. I was a little worried Flavien Prat was too wide, but he knew he had the horse and held on through the lane.
Two more weeks left in Arcadia and then it’s time for Del Mar and the Breeders’ Cup.

FIRST RACE: #4 Camino Del Paraiso (4-1)
Trainer OJ Jauregui ships this gelding down from Northern California and he doesn’t do that much so there is a purpose here. Despite the class hike going to the better circuit, jockey Kent Desormeaux jumps on. Desormeaux is a masterful turf rider and when he gets on a horse for the first time that horse usually shows improvement, which will be needed here. Jauregui is 3-for-7 with horses in the allowance ranks.

SIXTH RACE: #4 Hay Dude (8-1)
This gelding has won at Santa Anita on the grass four times and he has won two of five times down the hill. The only time he ran down the hill this year he won. He’s taking a slight class raise but I think he still has a big shot.

EIGHTH RACE: #7 South Texas Lingo (5-1)
Trainer Dallas Keen has stayed in SoCal after Del Mar and drops this gelding to the bottom. Keen is 41% when dropping a horse more than two class levels. Jockey Tyler Baze takes over.

NINTH RACE: #7 Sasini (4-1)
This filly is making her first start in the States and trainer Simon Callaghan is 27% with that kind. Callaghan puts blinkers on and adds Lasix. Prat jumps aboard and he is 30% with Callaghan. This filly is bred to go this far or longer.

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 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 Thursday, July 20

PREVIEW: Day 2 of the meet. Rafael Bejarano won four times and Flavien Prat won three times on opening day and trainer Vladimir Cerin took the first two races of the meet so watch out his barn appears ready. On the opposite end, trainer Peter Miller went 0-for-10 on opening day after extolling his virtues first out the meet. Ouch.

FIRST RACE: 1. #2 Frac Candy, 2. #4 Oh Newman, 3. #6 Finallygotabentley. LONG SHOT: #5 Royal F J.

SECOND RACE: 1. #6 Sassy Ashley, 2. #4 Ocean Dream, 3. #5 Yavrig. LONG SHOT: #3 Honor Maker.

THIRD RACE: 1. #10 Battleground State, 2. #5 Jabber Now, 3. #6 Easy Song. LONG SHOT: #11 Halo Ahead.

FOURTH RACE: 1. #5 CLIFTON BEACH (BEST BET), 2. #8 Shadow Op, 3. #1 Orejas. LONG SHOT: #7 Ruff House.
Clifton Beach has the top Brisnet Prime and Class ratings which means the 5-2 morning-line won’t be close look for 8-5 or less. This colt has speed and shorten ups for John Sadler.

FIFTH RACE: 1. #9 Buymeabond, 2. #3 Hero Ten All, 3. #6 Awesome Return. LONG SHOT: #2 Moving.

SIXTH RACE: 1. #5 Hold That Smile, 2. #8 Whatyoucuswhatuget, 3. #6 Sharona Sunset. LONG SHOT; #2 Miss Pretty.

SEVENTH RACE: 1. #1 Lajatico, 2. #4 Everqueen, 3. #6 Tapped. LONG SHOT: #9 Snow Cloud.
Trainer Doug O’Neill isn’t know for his prowess on the turf, but he seems to do well in Del Mar turf sprints so we are with his horses in the first two slots. Long shot Snow Cloud is from the Jim Cassidy barn and he did very well last year going short on the grass, but why no Jamie Theriot?

EIGHTH RACE: 1. #6 Acharnement, 2. #4 Factorize, 3. #1 Midnight Summer. LONG SHOT: #10 Ginger Street.
It isn’t often that you jockey Gary Stevens stick around for the last race and a maiden claimer at that. Trainer Eddie Truman is 29% with horses the first time they drop into a maiden claimer for the first time. Trainer Peter Miller has both the second and third horses and is live whenever he runs first time at the meet.

Good luck

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Saturday, March 18

Race 4 – SA
#4 Kenjisstorm (4-1) ****
Our Eyes: Second start off the layoff for trainer Richard Baltas, who is 24% with horses the second time in his barn. Flavien Prat jumps on and he should have this horse in a good spot.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 4 – SA
#4 Trappe the Moment (10-1) ****
Our Eyes: This colt hasn’t been seen since the American Anthem maiden race at Del Mar, which has produced four next out winners. Drops into a claimer for the first time. Worth a shot.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 10 – SA
#4 Catfish Hunter (3-1) TURF ONLY ****
Our Eyes: Moving up in class to a MSW but that’s OK because this is his first turf try. The sire Grazen gets 23% first time winners on the grass. Tyler Baze keeps the mount.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show. EXBX 4-1-5.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Friday, March 17

Race 2 – SA
#6 Chuchotti (2-1) ****
Our Eyes: In case you haven’t figured out, I’m a big believer in the key race theory and this filly is coming out of a Del Mar race that has produced four winners from five starters. That’s enough for a single in all wagers for me.
Jeff’s Playbook: 5 units to win, 10 units to place.

Race 5 – SA
#7 Lauren’s Ladd (9-2) TURF ONLY ****
Our Eyes: Jockey Tyler Baze was on fire Thursday and hoping he stays hot here. This colt broke his maiden going down the hill and he finished second last time over a “good” surface. Maybe firm ground will suit him better. Trainer Ron Ellis is 33$ second off the claim.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 8 – SA
#3 Irish Dame (4-1) ****
Our Eyes: This filly has been running on the turf but trainer Vann Belvoir gives that up and goes to the dirt as he drops her into a maiden claimer for the first time. He gets leading rider Falvien Prat and they are 24% together.
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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