Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar late selections for Thursday, Aug. 25

Preview: Plenty of variety on this card so should be interesting. The trainer’s race is coming down to the usual suspects. Heading into the week Phil D’Amato led with 16 winners followed by Richard Baltas and Bob Baffert at 12 wins each and Peter Miller with 10. Disappointing meet for the Doug O’Neill barn so maybe that barn will get hot in the last two weeks.

Sorry late again.

Race 1: 1. Tryst, 2. Pearl de Vere, 3. Cuyathy. LONG SHOT: Spicy Blonde.

Race 2: 1. #4 Handsome Hank (5-2), 2. Unbridled Rocket, 3. Suavemente. LONG SHOT: Proud Zoning.
Trainer Art Sherman does claim many but he must have seen some here. Maybe it’s the 5-2-1-2 record at this distance or 2-1-0-1 record on the dirt. This colt is bred to run all day and has the best Brisnet Late Pace Rating.

Race 3: 1. Lil Miss Sapphire, 2. Woot Woot, 3. Goseecal. LONG SHOT: My Mel Mar.

Race 4: 1. #3 Patron (6-1) BEST BET, 2. Silent Movies, 3. What’s Up Gus. LONG SHOT: Magik Pepper.
This is strictly a breeding play as trainer Bob Baffert is 4% with first-time turfers. This colt was training good enough going into debut but that was on the dirt. This 3-year-old is bred to run on the turf (13% first time grass) and bred to run all day (7.5 average furlongs for sire and 9.4 for the broodmare sire). This colt is also coming out of a key race. Baffert is 32% with jockey Stewart Elliott. I’m all in.

Race 5: 1. Enduring Erin, 2. Mrs. Norris, 3. Dis Smart Cat. LONG SHOT: Stylish in Black.

Race 6: 1. #8 Vibe (6-1), 2. Plum Dandy, 3. Term of Act. LONG SHOT: Thirty Pepperonis.
Think this colt’s debut was just a training race as the Desormeaux brothers team up here on this son of Astrology. Trainer Keith Desormeaux is 17% with horses the first time they go a route of ground.

Race 7: 1. #5 Instant Drama (15-1), 2. Easy Grader, 3. Madame Mousse. LONG SHOT: Cover Song.
This filly tries turf for the first time as she returns from a short freshening. The sire Big Drama gets 10% winners first time turf. Trainer Gary Mandella is 2-for-8 in turf sprints and this 3-year-old has a couple of big works coming into the race.

Race 8: 1. Clude, 2. Big Discovery, 3. Motoring Around. LONG SHOT: Tough Emblem.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Thursday, June 9

Preview: Not the best of cards. Remember no more downhill turf races due to renovation but they will go two turns on the grass. Speaking of the turf, Flavien Prat is lapping the jockeys with 16 wins on the green stuff from 46 mounts for 35% winning percentage and he’s in-the-money 59%. Next closest is Rafael Bejarano with 8 wins from 43 mounts and in the money 56% of the time.

Race 2 – SA
#7 Grand Prix (6-1): Trainer Gary Mandella gets wins 20% of the time from his first-time starters. This is a daughter of Tale of the Cat, who wins 16% of the time with his FTS. Good dirt jockey Martin Garcia rides.

Race 6 – SA
#5 Fast Magoo (4-1): Trainer Rosemary Trela doesn’t have many horses and she’s 0-for-6 this year, but she was injured earlier and is back in charge now. This mare has been smokin’ in workouts at San Luis Rey Downs and has a 9-2-2-2 record over the track. Trela is 26% on dirt, 25% in sprints and 38% in claimers.

Race 8 – SA
#6 Proud ‘n’ Ready (4-1): Trainer Peter Eurton drops this filly into a maiden claimer for the first time, a move he is 43% with. He also gets that turf maven Flavien Prat to ride so we’re looking for a huge effort in the 3-year-olds first time around two turns.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Friday, Feb. 26

Preview: If it only takes 15 pages to print out the card, that means there aren’t a lot of entries and there aren’t. In looking at the main track, trainers Doug O’Neill (13-87) leads the way followed by Bob Baffert (12-62) and Jerry Hollendorfer (10-70). On the other end, trainers to avoid might be Jim Cassidy (1-26), Art Sherman (1-20), Mike Machowsky (1-19) and Javier Sierra (1-19).


Race 3

#6 Desert Madam (6-1) 

Trainer Robertino Diodoro, who is 22% first off the claim, claimed this mare off two sub-par efforts. If she returns to form, she’s worth the price. The mare has three wins over the Santa Anita surface in her four lifetime dirt wins.


Race 4 

#3 Cimpl Man (turf only) (3-1) 

Trainer Gary Mandella is 30% when a horse is making his third race off a layoff and this colt stretches out. Jockey Mike Smith and let’s hope he gets more speed out of this colt because the rails are set at 30 feet and speed will be important.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Breeders' Cup, Horse racing, Keeneland, Keeneland Race Course

Breeders’ Cup selections for Saturday, Oct. 31



1-Land Over Sea

9-Rachel’s Valentina

2-Tap to It

I have thought all along SONGBIRD would be the most likely winner on this card, but then she drew outside post, No. 10. I still think she is the one to beat, but I think LAND OVER SEA needs a longer look after drawing No. 1 and finishing second to Songbird two times in a row.



1-Pure Sensation

9-No Silent

14-Mongolian Saturday

4-Bobby’s Kitten

I think this a wide open race. The only thing I think is I’m not betting favored LADY SHIPMAN. If she wins, I lose. I like the fact that PURE SENSATION draws the inside and he likes it hard or soft turf plus John Velazquez rides. I hope NO SILENT comes from off the pace for the Gary Mandella barn.



2-Dame Dorothy

11-Judy the Beauty

6-Super Majesty


This 4-year-old filly DAME DOROTHY is making her third start off the layoff for that powerful jack-trainer combination of Velazquez and Todd Pletcher. She will likely press the pace from the inside and she loves this 7-furlong distance with a 4-for-5 record.





9-Miss France

6-Queen’s Jewel

Once again I’m sticking with the Euros in this race. BAWINA gets the services of Oliver Pesleir back and they have won three races together. She is first time Lasix and had some trouble in her last race.


Race 7: SPRINT

8-Wild Dude


4-Limousine Liberal

2-Kobe’s Back

Of course there is a ton of speed in this race and I’m going with the horse I think is the best closer in WILD DUDE for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and jockey Rafael Bejarano.


Race 8: MILE



3-Make Believe


Again sticking with the foreign horses and KARAKONTIE is the defending champions of this race. Can you say back-to-back?







The West Coast horses have done pretty good around the country in the 2-year-old ranks and it will be no different here. Jockey Kent Desormeaux had his choice of horses entered by his brother, trainer Keith Desormeaux, and he settled on this son of Curlin, EXAGGERATOR.


Race 10: TURF


1-Golden Horn

10-The Pizza Man

4-Big John B

GOLDEN HORN will be a lot a single for a lot of people but just not convinced he has to win this race after already winning the Arc in France. I’m going with the 3-year-old filly FOUND, trained by Aiden O’Brien and ridden by Ryan Moore.


Race 10: CLASSIC

9-Honor Code

4-American Pharoah



Like I said before it’s a shame BEHOLDER isn’t in this race. AMERICAN PHAROAH is now the clear speed although others will likely take a shot at him. I’m going with the deep closer HONOR CODE, trained by Shug McGaughey. Honor Code was impressive at Saratoga and I look for a similar effort.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Belmont Park, Churchill Downs, Gulfstream Park, Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita (plus a few others) opinions for Saturday, June 13

Race 2: #6 Broke the Mold (4-1)

This 5-year-old showed speed against better and now drops to the bottom of the maiden claiming ranks. Trainer Carla Gaines is 40% when dropping a horse two of more class levels and she’s 24% going from a route to a sprint.


Race 4: #6 Frandontjudge (turf only) (8-1)

Our Eyes:  Trainer Victor Garcia claimed this filly and moves her up in class. Garcia is 37% from 19 starters first off the claim. Look three races back and this 4-year-old finished a close second at this exact level.


Race 9: #1 Unusual Storm (10-1)

She had a prep over the dirt, but this daughter of Unusual Heat (12% first time out on turf) belongs on the grass. Underrated jockey Flavien Prat rides for trainer Gary Mandella.



Race 8: #7 Missy Bay (turf only) (12-1)

Trainer Dominick Schettino has had a good meet so far and this one was in fine form before a layoff. She is moving up in class but Schettino was 21% with NY-breds in the past at this meet and 20% in turf sprints.



Race 2: #5 Muntij (8-1)

Our Eyes:  Trainer Daniel Pietz is 31% with horses running two sprints into their first route race and this son of Daaher is bred to love the added distance. Jockey Marcelino Pedroza has been hot lately with fours wins from his last 14 mounts.



Race 7: #5 Ima Tornado (10-1)

Trainer Monte Thomas is 21% with first-time starters and the sire Hello Broadway is 7% first time out. In a field with plenty of first-timers, she’s worth a shot with hot apprentice Harry Hernandez aboard.

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita selections for Saturday, April 25

FIRST RACE: 1. Pioneer Charlie, 2. Traweek, 3. No Contingency. LONG SHOT: Jonny’s Choice.


SECOND RACE: 1. War Academy, 2. Caminetto, 3. Kafister. LONG SHOT: Raised a Secret.


THIRD RACE: 1. Fast Moka Too, 2. Lust for Life, 3. Smooth Talker. LONG SHOT: Lucky Student.


FOURTH RACE: 1. Mythical Storm (best bet), 2. Hot Market, 3. Go First. LONG SHOT: Gutsy Ruler.

MYTHICAL STORM (4-1), a 4-year-old colt, almost won first time out after a long layoff and despite the fact that trainer Gary Mandella is 0-for-7 going turf-to-dirt and second off the layoff, we think this colt is ready to go for jockey Flavian Plat. The son of Fusaichi Pegasus broke his maiden over this downhill turf course.


FIFTH RACE: 1. Somethingaboutnick, 2. Hallucinator, 3. Preordained. LONG SHOT: Show and Tell.


SIXTH RACE: 1. Queen’s Balladier, 2. Sweet, 3. Ya Ya Girl. LONG SHOT: Danette

Bomb city! This 4-year-old filly QUEEN’S BALLADIER (20-1) pressed the pace in her return from a short layoff and then tired. With that under her belt, she returns to the grass and comes out of a key race. Jockey Joe Talamo must have seen something to keep the mount for trainer Howard Zucker.


SEVENTH RACE: 1. Rolo Tamaci, 2. Rule He Will, 3. Frensham. LONG SHOT: Big Swag.


EIGHTH RACE: 1. Big John B, 2. Abbey Vale, 3. Power Foot. LONG SHOT: Joes Blazing Aaron.

BIG JOHN B comes out of the Breeders’ Cup Turf, which has produced four next out winners and train Phil D’Amato can get them ready off a long layoff.


NINTH RACE: 1. Olympic Lady, 2. Filly On Fire, 3. Miss Star Maker. LONG SHOT: Big Move.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Friday’s top choice winners: 3 (Bentley’s Gone $4.40, first race; Tale of Papa Nick $14.40, fifth; Seek Safe Harbor $5.80, sixth)

Friday’s second choice winners: 1 (Prettypreciousheir $5.40, eighth)

Friday’s third choice winners: 2 (Democracy Rules, $10.80, fourth; Ransom Canyon $11.60, seventh)

Friday’s long shot winners: 1 (My Sweet Afleet ($13.80, second)

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita selections for Friday, June 27

FIRST RACE: 1. Tiz Midnight, 2. Iconic Spirit, 3. Little Miss S. LONG SHOT: Denotation.


SECOND RACE: 1. Thunder Rode, 2. Zimmer, 3. He’s a Dance Star. LONG SHOT: Great Friends Rule.


THIRD RACE: 1. Sweetrayofsunshine, 2. Melanistic, 3. Silver Hustler. LONG SHOT: Buckingham Bull.


FOURTH RACE: 1. Kenji’s Thunder, 2. Sky Preacher, 3. Nakamoto. LONG SHOT: Delaney’s Joy.

Don’t like the post, but do like the breeding on KENJI’S THUNDER (sire is Scat Daddy and is out of a Rahy mare) so this one should love the turf and going around two turns for the first time. Jockey Corey Nakatani stays aboard this 2-year-old, who made his debut just a week ago.


FIFTH RACE: 1. Zinvor, 2. Lucky Logan, 3. Peradventure. LONG SHOT: Naomi’s Gift.


SIXTH RACE: 1. Kakulka, 2. Market Quote, 3. Highly Rated. LONG SHOT: Sahha.


SEVENTH RACE: 1. Sensational Nikki, 2. Parada, 3. She’s Flush. LONG SHOT: Doctor Glynis.


EIGHTH RACE: 1. Clickjab (best bet), 2. Storm the Channel, 3. Pantera Rojo. LONG SHOT: Grachus the Hunter.

CLICKJAB finished a decent third in her debut as the 8-5 favorite while going down the hill. Here she gets two turns for the first time, which she figures to enjoy being out of Rock Hard Ten and a Gone West mare. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith stays aboard for trainer Gary Mandella.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Thursday’s top choice winners: 2 (Sunday Rules $3.80, sixth race; Happybirthdaybaby $6.80, seventh)

Thursday’s second choice winners: 2 (Yard Line $3.80, second; Charlie Em $11.40, third)

Thursday’s third choice winners: 2 (Two Is to Many $3.40, first; Midnight Roar $11.20, eighth)

Thursday’s long shot winners: 0