Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Wednesday, Dec. 26 (Opening day)

Preview: Remember jockey Joel Rosario is coming West to ride until the spring so look for him to get plenty of live mounts. Also, a lot of out-of-town jockeys are in Arcadia today for the stakes-filled card. These guys can ride and you will get some great prices on great jockeys. If you like one of them, bet them. I’m not sure how the turf course will play after rain on Tuesday night so make sure you check changes.

FIRST RACE: 1. Twentytwentyvision, 2. Orchestral, 3. Taelyns Prince. LONG SHOT: Comes the Dream.

SECOND RACE: 1. Naughty Sophie, 2. Chatty, 3. Come On Kat. LONG SHOT: Easter Dream.

THIRD RACE: 1. I Am the Danger, 2. According to Buddy, 3. Shane Zain. LONG SHOT: Lil Milo.

FOURTH RACE: 1. Ms Bad Behavior, 2. Amandine, 3. Love and Peace. LONG SHOT: X S Gold.

FIFTH RACE: 1. Jumpin Thru Hoops, 2. Scalper, 3. All Good. LONG SHOT: Mo Mississippi.

SIXTH RACE (Grade I La Brea): 1. Emboldened, 2. Dream Tree, 3. Happy Like a Fool. LONG SHOT: Hot Autumn.
DREAM TREE is the rightful 8-5 morning-line favorite and is the most likely winner of this race for trainer Bob Baffert, but I have to go with the “other Baffert.” EMBOLDENED has never been worse than third over this track and has been training well for her comeback. I’m a big believer that horses either like or hate 7-furlong races and both of these Bafferts have won in their only tries at this elongated sprint distance.

SEVENTH RACE (Grade II Mathis Brothers Mile) 1. Choo Choo, 2. River Boyne, 3. Sejo. LONG SHOT: Desert Stone.
Again RIVER BOYNE is the deserving 8-5 morning-line favorite and will be tough to beat as jockey Flavien Prat stays on the 3-year-old rather than ride my choice, CHOO CHOO. This son of English Channel just missed at Del Mar and Joel Rosario takes over. SEJO is an import from France and gets Irad Ortiz Jr. in the saddle for trainer John Sadler, who got shut out at Del Mar.

EIGHTH RACE (Grade II San Antonio): 1. Gift Box, 2. Battle of Midway, 3. Dabster. LONG SHOT: Tatter to Riches.
The older horses finally take to the track and the thought is that BATTLE OF MIDWAY will be singled in a lot of wagers. Not here. GIFT BOX has been purchased privately by Hronis Racing LLC for Sadler. The 5-year-old comes out of the Chad Brown barn and has a couple of great works over the track. He has never been worse than second in three tries at the distance and that man Rosario rides back. One to watch is TATTER TO RICHES for trainer Jeff Mullins. The 3-year-old will be facing older and Mullins puts blinkers on. Plus Gift Box is coming out of a key race that has produced two winners already.

NINTH RACE (Grade I Malibu): 1. Ax Man (best bet), 2. Seven Trumpets, 3. McKinzie. LONG SHOT: Copper Bullet.
The big race of the day and it drew a field of 16 (only 14 can run). Baffert has five 3-year-olds in this race and at least one (or more) will scratch. AX MAN has been seen since July, but has been gelded since that race. He has been training lights out and Baffert’s layoff stats are huge. SEVEN TRUMPETS ships in from the East Coast for trainer Dale Romans. Throw out that eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. He’s back with has own age group and finished second at this distance in the Jerkens at Saratoga.

10TH RACE: 1. Souter, 2. Avalance, 3. Cupid’s Claws. LONG SHOT: Trojan Spirit.

Good luck.

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Horse racing, Tampa Bay Downs

Tampa Bay Downs opinions for Saturday, March 12

Race 2: #4 Harp N Halo (4-1): This mare likes to win races and she’s 2-for-3 over this track in the past. Trainer John Terranova ships her in and Terranova is 20% with shippers. On top of that he gets Irad Ortiz Jr. to ride.

                              

Race 5: #4 Elusive Speed (9-2): Trainer Jamie Ness might be known for winning with claiming horses but he can win with first-time starters (24%), too. He also team up with Tampa riding champ Antonio Gallardo and they are a 34% proposition.

    

Race 8: #6 Family Meeting (8-1) (turf only): This 3-year-old filly was facing tougher in Southern California and won the Grade III Durante at Del Mar. Trainer Tom Proctor can get them ready off the layoff (21%).

                      

Race 11 (TAMPA BAY DERBY):  #3 Outwork (12-1): Trainer Todd Pletcher is playing catch up with this 3-year-old. This is only his third career race but he’s a perfect 2-for-2. Pletcher is 29% with a first-time router and he’s out of Uncle Mo and an Empire Maker mare. Plus jockey John Velazquez comes North for the ride.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Belmont Park, Horse racing, Triple Crown

Belmont Park opinions for Saturday, June 6

Jeff Nahill’s Belmont Stakes picks

#6 Frosted

#5 American Pharoah

#2 Tale of Verve

#8 Materiality

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Race 6: #10 Sky Kingdom (6-1)

This race is a trial for jockey Victor Espinoza and trainer Bob Baffert for the Belmont later in the day. This 6-year-old has never been worse than second at this distance and he has been training lights out at Santa Anita for this race.

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Race 7: #10 Light the City (12-1)

Tough to explain her last, but she has since been sent East to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who is 58% with horses the first time he runs them. She seems to be training well at Belmont and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., who is 34% with McLaughlin, takes over.

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Race 10: #8 Biz the Nurse (15-1)

Our Eyes:  This horse makes his third start in the U.S. and he was a good fourth last time out at Keeneland. He’s moving up in class but in Grade I company in Europe and could be ready to unlease a big effort with new rider Joel Rosario.

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Race 13: #8 Biz Looie (12-1) ***

Our Eyes:  Trainer Jorge Navarro has a horse in the Met Mile and brings this high-priced claimer along, too, and also lets jockey Martin Pedroza ride. This gelding is coming off a wire-to-wire win at Gulfstream, beating the morning-line favorite in this race, Social Inclusion.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Gulfstream Park, Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions (plus a couple at Gulfstream) for Monday, May 25

Race 5: #2 Nob Hill (6-1)

This son of Curlin was a good third at the end of February but went to the sidelines. Trainer Bob Baffert puts the blinkers back on (34%) and jockey Victor Espinoza, of American Pharoah fame, retains the mount.

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Race 8: #8 Danza Cavallo (4-1)

Trainer Chad Brown ships West looking for a graded stakes win for this 4-year-old filly. Brown is 28% with shippers and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. keeps the mount, choosing this filly over another shipper, Hard Not to Like.

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Race 9: #12 Ladies Man (4-1)

This gelding ran an OK fourth in his career debut and now trainer Mike Puype drops him two levels, a move he is 4-for-5 with (80%). There are two big works since that start and jockey Tyler Baze stays aboard.

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Gulfstream Park

Race 1: #5 Gone as Wind (9-2)

Trainer Efren Loza Jr. is 38% the first time he puts a horse in a claiming race. On top of that, this horse comes out of a key at Tampa Bay Downs that has produced three winners already.

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Race 4: #1 Don’t Tell Vanessa (5-1)

Shippers from Tampa Bay Downs have done well across the country since the closing of the meet and this filly comes out of a race that has produced three winners so far and she drops from MSW to a maiden claiming while getting hot apprentice rider Tyler Gaffalione.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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