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.

Hollywood Park, Horse racing

What a maddening game horse racing is

Arethusa_cb1_200 (1) 

Darley Stable’s Arethusa and Corey Nakatani win the $100,000 Sharp Cat Stakes Saturday, Nov.16, at Betfair Hollywood Park. BENOIT PHOTO

I’ve told many people that I would describe myself as a good handicapper and a bad bettor. I just haven’t mastered that part of the game like my Del Mar boothmate, syndicated handicapper Bob Ike.

This past weekend proved my point again. A lot of it is my own fault for being too much of a football fan (and bettor) watching games and playing tracks in New York and Kentucky.

Then all of a sudden it’s 12:30 p.m. and Hollywood Park is going off and I don’t have a wager put in for the Players Pick 5 which costs 50 cents per combination. On Saturday, that mistake cost me $4,367.40.

The first three races were taken by my second choices in my handicapping on this blog. The last two races were won by my top pick. So for a paltry $4, I could have won a lot of coin and when you have COBRA payments every month, that’s a lot of green.

Of course, the kicker was the key race was the third when maiden Arethusa, trained by Eoin Harty, won a stakes race as a maiden, paying $23. I gave out that horse earlier in the meet here and on Horse Player Now, but did I bet her on Saturday? Nope.

Even after doing well in the Pick 5, I didn’t bet my long shot, Tebowing ($24.40), in the sixth. No, I made one bet, in the ninth on Magic Number ($9). Sure I won but not a satisfying day from a betting standpoint.

So on Sunday, I didn’t have a real good feeling, and I was right, at least early on the card. I was horrible in the first five races, but as the late Pick 5 approached, I thought my luck and handicapping had to change.

Again I was watching the Chargers and Red Zone (love Red Zone) plus a friend’s mother needed a ride to the ER so off I went.

When I got back I found my long shots Casey’s Clem ($40.60) and Empty Headed ($8.40) won the sixth and seventh races, respectively. My second choice Global Hottie ($3.40) took the eighth —- here’s a hint in following my picks, I rarely put an even-money shot on top —- and finally my third choice, Warren’s Judy ($20.80), won the last race. The payoff on the Pick 4 was $942.40 and I had none of it.

So a good weekend of handicapping and another weekend of bad betting or non-betting, whatever the case. So frustrating, but I’m sure everyone has stories like this. I just needed to vent.

Now onto handicapping this week’s cards.


Sunday’s top choice winners: 0

Sunday’s second choice winners: 3 (Tama County $11.40, second race; Holy Candy $6.60, fifth; Global Hottie $3.40, eighth)

Sunday’s third choice winners: 1 (Warren’s Judy $20.80, ninth)

Sunday’s long shot winners: 2 (Casey’s Clem $40.60, sixth; Empty Headed $8.40, seventh)

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter