Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Tuesday, Aug. 20

In the saddle

Victor Espinoza led all jockeys last week with six wins. He was followed by Joe Talamo and Rafael Bejarano, who had five wins each.
Flavien Prat still leads the standings with 27 winners and an argument could be made for the fact that he had the best week despite a 2 for 22 effort. Prat won the $1 million Pacific Classic aboard Higher Power for John Sadler.
Drayden Van Dyke (3 for 22) is still second in the standings but only one win ahead of Bejarano, 20-19.
Abel Cedillo was 4 for 13 during Week 5 on the dirt and is now the leading rider on the main track with 14 victories. Ruben Fuentes is second with 13 and Prat is third with 12.
Prat had a brutal week on the grass with an 0 for 12 effort, but he shouldn’t feel bad as New York jockey John Velazquez came in over the weekend to pilfer three victories on the turf. Plus, Saratoga-based jockey Florent Geroux added another turf victory in addition to a win he scored on main track. So that was five total wins for the out-of-towners.
Fuentes scored his first win on the green but he is still only 1 for 42 on the surface. Martin Garcia is 1 for 27, Norberto Arroyo Jr. is 1 or 29, Jorge Velez 1 for 23 and Aaron Gryder 1 for 22 on the grass while Tiago Periera is 0 for 32. Ouch.

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Belmont Park, Churchill Downs, Horse racing

Churchill Downs opinions for Saturday, June 8 (Updated)

PREVIEW: Several jockeys are at Belmont Park today so jockey Florent Geroux has picked up a lot of mounts, especially for trainer Steve Asmussen, so Geroux could have a very big day. Don’t sleep on him.

NOTE: They are sloppy and off the turf in races 5 and 8. So take these picks with a grain of salt. Look for wet track pedigree.

FIRST: 1. Zyramid, 2. Nucky, 3. Halfmoon Reef. LONG SHOT: Cheeseburger.

SECOND: 1. Lunar Approach, 2.Ransomed, 3. Day by Day. LONG SHOT: Game Time Decision.

THIRD: 1. Magical, 2. Pretty Greeley, 3. Maybe Wicked. LONG SHOT: Special Relativity.

FOURTH: 1. Don’teatmycookies, 2. (Entry) Dilly Dally Darby and Estrela Cadente, 3. Indicating. LONG SHOT: Pinotage.

FIFTH: 1. Confessing (best bet), 2. Our Bay B Ruth, 3. Silver Kitten. LONG SHOT: Lady Rosalie. OFF THE TURF IGNORE PICKS

SIXTH: 1. Better Charge It, 2. Light of the World, 3. On d;Oro. LONG SHOT: Kansas City Zip.

SEVENTH: 1. Make Noise, 2. Paddock Pick, 3. Mine My Time. LONG SHOT: Brush Country.

EIGHTH: 1. Cosmic Code, 2. Be Nimble, 3. Bella Laura. LONG SHOT: Talbeya. OFF THE TURF IGNORE PICKS

NINTH: 1. Combatant, 2. Matrooh, 3. Solomini. LONG SHOT: Kershaw.

10TH: 1. Mom’s On Strike, 2. Limari, 3. Stave. LONG SHOT: Smart Emma.

11TH: 1. Ready and Rich, 2. New Frontier, 3. Admiral Brown. LONG SHOT: Not Very Gentle.

Good luck.

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Saturday, July 23 (updated)

Preview: Can any card with California Chrome and Dortmund on it, be bad? Doubt it. Soi Phet and Hard Aces have scratched out of the San Diego, leaving just five horses for Chrome and Dortmund. Jockey Edwin Maldonado is off all mounts today attending his grandmother’s funeral.

In case you haven’t heard three horses were injured this morning at Del Mar during workouts, with at least one fatality. Trainer Richard Mandella decided not to work Beholder due to the condition of the track and said he hopes to work on Sunday morning.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has scratched a top 2-year-old filly from a maiden race today. I don’t know if the track has anything to do with it.

I had one Del Mar executive tell me after the first three days of racing last weekend that he didn’t like the way the main track was playing. Food for thought.

Race 1: 1. Ketos, 2. Feldini, 3. Patron. LONG SHOT: Westwood’s Wizard.

Don’t know what to do with Bob Baffert’s Patron. She is working well, but she is bred for the grass and to run long. She will get bet. She may win, but not with my money.

Race 2: 1. Dutchessa, 2. Q’ Viva, 3. Foxy Lover. LONG SHOT: Avicii.

Race 3: 1. #6 Paiasolo (9-2), 2. Hobbits Hero, 3. Free Rose. LONG SHOT: Banze No Oeste.
This colt almost broke through at this condition last time but came up a length short. Trainer Richard Mandella is 21% with beaten favorites and 31% in allowance races. Jockey Flavien Prat rides and he is 18% with Mandella.

Race 4: 1. #4 Light of the Moon (3-1) SCRATCHED, 2. Adorable, 3. Princess Coco. LONG SHOT: Feel Freely.
This filly didn’t get off to the best start in her debut, but she took plenty of money so the clockers must have liked what they saw. She must make up 5 lengths on Adorable in this race, but trainer Jerry Hollendorfer is 30% with second-time starters. Jockey Mike Smith stays aboard and he’s 47% with Hollendorfer the last two years at Del Mar.

Race 5: 1. #1 Metaboss (5-1), 2. Calculator, 3. Perfectly Majestic. LONG SHOT: Texas Two Step.
After running his last three races in Maryland for trainer Michael Dickinson, this 4-year-old ends up in the Phil D’Amato barn, which is 18% with horse first time in their barn. Jockey Rafael Bejarano jumps on and he’s 31% with D’Amato.

Race 6: 1. Sorryaboutnothing, 2. Classico, 3. Swiss Minister. LONG SHOT: Blanket of Ice.

Race 7: 1. #1 Belvoir Bay (4-1), 2. Mokat, 3. Be Mine. LONG SHOT: Jade Princess.
Jockey Florent Geroux comes west to ride this filly for owners Team Valor and Gary Barber. Last the 3-year-old was seen, she destroyed the competition in the Blue Northern stakes at Santa Anita. Trainer Peter Miller has been her ready at San Luis Rey Downs. Look for her to use her speed from the inside and roll from there.

Race 8: 1. Princess Kendra, 2. Katy Drama, 3. Tooluckysupermoon. LONG SHOT: Ish.

Race 9: 1. California Chrome, 2. Dortmund, 3. Win the Space. LONG SHOT: Follow Me Crev.

Pace 10: 1. Sassy Ashley, 2. Lethal Legacy, 3. Whistle Pretty. LONG SHOT: Georgia Blue.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Friday’s top choice winners: 3 (Pray Hard $6.20, fifth race; Little Scotty $7.60, sixth; Enola Gray $2.20, seventh)

Friday’s second choice winners: 0

Friday’s third choice winners: 3 (Ask Me I Might $8, second; All Star Parade $6, third; Lord of Chaos $5.40, eighth)

Friday’s long shot winners: 0

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Churchill Downs, Horse racing, Kentucky Derby, Triple Crown

Churchill Downs opinions for Saturday, May 2

Race 3: #5 Gandono (15-1)

This son of Lemon Drop Kid, a 14% turf sired, got rained off the turf in his last but showed marked improvement. Trainer David Carroll puts blinkers on today and jockey F. Geroux (a 20% turf rider) takes over.

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Race 8: #11 Water Hole (12-1)

Trainer Chad Brown puts this 4-year-old filly in a graded stakes for her U.S. debut, which says a lot. Jockey Gary Stevens (22% turf rider) and should have her in the right position turning for home.

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Race 13: #5 Imslopokerodriguez (15-1)

Certainly New York-based trained Rudy Rodriguez could have found a spot at Belmont to run this son of Tae of the Cat (16% sire first time out), but he decides to run here and puts in a huge work over the track to boot. NY’s Irad Ortiz rides and is 24% with Rodriguez.

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Jeff Nahill’s Kentucky Derby top four

 #10 Firing Line

#18 American Pharoah

#8 Dortmund

#15 Frosted

 LONG SHOTS: International Star and Mubtaahij

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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