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.

Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selecttions for Friday, Aug. 19 (First post 4 p.m.)

Preview: The main track has played different on different days of the week. The track usually gets dug up after training hours on Fridays for the later post time so beware. So trainers having a tough meet on the dirt are Cesar Dominguez 0-for-14, invader Chris Hartman 1-for 12, Keith Desormeaux 1-17 and Kristin Mulhall 1-15.

Race 1: 1. Top of the Game, French General.2. Magical Mystery, 3. Bollywood. LONG SHOT: Student Body Left.

Race 2: 1. Dutt Bart, 2. Cioppino Pasadino, 3. Ninety Nine Proof. LONG SHOT:

Race 3: 1. #3 With a Twist (9-2), 2. Molly’s Honour, 3. Swiss Skimmer. LONG SHOT: General Ann.
This mare’s last race was the first time she has lost on this turf course in four tries. That didn’t stop trainer Jeff Mullins from claiming her and moving her up in class. Mullins puts apprentice Chad Lindsay aboard and I think he wants to go to the front with the rails at 30 feet.

Race 4: 1. #2 Shanghai Beauty (6-1), 2. Vow Me Over, 3. Nazareth. LONG SHOT: Mint Julep Taffy.
Trainer Bill Spawr is a master at the claiming game, winning 34% first off the claim. This filly is actually taking a class drop from an open claiming to a non-winners of two. The 3-year-old bobbled at the start and now Martin Pedroza gets aboardh.

Race 5: 1. #6 Aeon (3-1) BEST BET, 2. Fin de Semaine, 3. Moose Skowron. LONG SHOT: Broken Up.
This gelding showed improvement first time on the turf and gets a key jockey switch to master grass rider Flavien Prat. Trainer Eddie Truman is 32% third time off the layoff and the 3-year-old has that key element of speed on this turf course.

Race 6: 1. Informant, 2. Broken Marriage, 3. Gemini Journey. LONG SHOT: Hellacious Hadlee.

Race 7: 1. Fanticola, 2. Annulment, 3. Generosidade. LONG SHOT: Energia Fribby.

Race 8: 1. Alltheleavesrbrown, 2. Where’s the Moon, 3. Thesheetsguy. LONG SHOT: Valentine Boy.

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Wednesday, July 27

Preview: For those that haven’t noticed, the main track has been playing to speed. If you get the lead, you win and if you have the lead at the head of the stretch you are long gone. The track was be dug up on Monday after training hours so what that means this week is anyone’s guess. By my count, only three or four closers have won the dirt. Maybe that will change today so be sure to watch the early races.

Race 1: 1. Ipray, 2. Kristinite, 3. Toppers Sunshine. LONG SHOT: Wahine Warrior.

Rac 2: Downside Up, 2. Westmont, 3. Amazing Love. LONG SHOT: Ninety Nine Proof.

Race 3: 1. #6 Ultimate Holiday (6-1), 2. Bendable, 3. Luminance. LONG SHOT: Diabolical Dame.
This race came up tough for a non-winners of two allowance test. This filly has been training lights out as the pair of bullet works prove for trainer Richard Baltas, who is 21% with horses off a layoff of 61 to 180 days.Look for this filly to make one run for jockey Tyler Baze

Race 4: 1. #1 Sirocco Strike (5-1), 2. All Indians, 3. Louden’s Gray. LONG SHOT: Go Vo.
This gelding has been away from the races for more than 18 months, but he has done well at Del Mar before. There is a nice work for trainer Jeff Mullins last week and Mullins is 21% with horses in for a tag for the first time. On top of that, turf wizard Flavien Prat is aboard.

Race 5: 1. She’s a Warrior, 2. Summertimemischier, 3. Leveler. LONG SHOT: Sid the Squid.

Race 6: 1. Kennedie Sky, 2. Brookes All Mine, 3. Do the Dance. LONG SHOT: Watch the Cat.

Race 7: 1. #2 Smokey Image (7-2), 2. Mrazek, 3. Tribal Fighter. LONG SHOT: Taman Guard.
Trainer Carla Gaines got a bad case of Kentucky Derby fever with this 3-year-old and his performances suffered. Now he is back with his friends (Cal breds), where he is 3-for-3 against, including two wins at Del Mar last summer. This race is full of speed so jockey Martin Garcia must exercise patience. Absolutely the toughest race on the card.

Race 8: 1. #3 Mooney Makin Mike (8-1), 2. Alston, 3. Candy Cowboy. LONG SHOT: Ring Collector.
This colt was claimed out of his last race from trainer Doug O’Neill by trainer Steve Knapp. This is the only situation we will play Knapp as he is 47% first off his last 15 claims. This 3-year-old likes to be near the front, which is good on this track and red-hot jockey Santiago Gonzalez takes over.

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Sunday’s top choice winners: 4 (Back beauty $4.40, first race; Hard Caes $2.80, fourth; Coyote Fly $18.20, sixth; Dream Team $3.40, seventh)

Sunday’s second choice winners: 1 (Zinvor $14.80, 10th)

Sunday’s third choice winners: 0

Sunday’s long shot winners: 2 (Avenge $21.20, second; Midnight Pleasure $43,80, ninth)

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Friday, May 27

Preview: The fields aren’t full and the card isn’t great. Hopefully we have better racing on the weekend.

Race 6 – SA
#2 Hennythelovepenny (5-2): This filly showed plenty of speed at Los Alamitos and now trainer Peter Miller cuts her back around one turn. Miller is 22% when going from a sprint to a route. Jockey Edwin Maldonado sticks around.

Race 8 – SA
#2 Spark Plug Katie (3-1): This filly drops into a maiden claimer for the first time and trainer Jeff Mullins is 35% with that move. Apprentice jockey Brayan Pena stays aboard.

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Sunday, Feb. 7

Preview: Early first post and only eight races on the biggest football day of the year. Keep an eye on apprentice jockey David Lopez, who has been riding lights out lately and the bigger outfits are finally starting to take notice. Give his horses extra consideration.


Race 1: #5 Tinderette (turf only) (12-1) 

Trainer Jeff Mullins is 26% with horses running for the first time on the grass. This filly showed a little speed in her debut and now tries going long, Mullins takes the blinkers off and jockey Tyler Baze stays on. The sire More Than Ready is 13% first time turf.


Race 2: #2 Moments Notiz (5-2) 

It took a while but East Coast-based trainer David Jacobson finally hit the winner’s circle this week. He brought this gelding West and drops him to his lowest leverl and gets Rafael Bejarano to ride. Jacobson is 22% second off the layoff and this 8-year-old is 21-10-3-4 at 6 furlongs.


Race 8: #8 Back Street Cat (12-1)

This filly has improved with each outing and at these bottom level maiden claiming races wacky things can happen. Trainer Felix Gonzalez is 23% third off the layoff.

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Wednesday, July 22

To say it was a tough week on the handicapping front during the first week of Del Mar is an understatement. Five top choice winners isn’t acceptable, but with the weather and surface changes what are you going to do? I had second choice winners score but they weren’t on top.

As for track itself, newcomer Flavien Prat leads the jockey race with six winners, five of them on the dirt. Prat is in his first full season in Southern California after riding mainly on the grass in his native France. Prat is tied for the lead on the dirt with Joe Talamo (5-for-16). Santiago Gonzalez follows with four wins, all in the mud on Sunday. There is an old handicapping angle that says bet South American-sired horses in the mud. I guess that now carries over to the jockeys, too.

On the flip side on the dirt, Edwin Maldonado is 0-for-10, James Graham is 0-9 and Fernando Perez is 1-13. Graham, a newcomer from the Midwest is off to a rough 0-for-12 start overall.

On the grass, Mike Smith, Rafael Bejarano and Drayden Van Dyke all have two wins. Tyler Baze is 0-for-7 on the grass and Triple Crown riding jockey Victor Espinoza is 0-for-6. In fact, Espinoza is 0-for-13 overall. Can you say TC hangover?

On the training front, Jeff Mullins (4-for-7) and Peter Miller (4-for-24) lead the race. Jerry Hollendorfer is 3-for-8 on the dirt while Doug O’Neill is 0-for-9 on the dirt and 0-for-13 overall.


FIRST RACE: 1. Silvertron, 2. Comanche Ruler, 3. Domingo Cat. LONG SHOT: Crazy Al.


SECOND RACE: 1. #5 Venetian Mask (4-1), 2. Sir Macho, 3. Whiskey Wild. LONG SHOT: Karma King.

Trainer Jerry Holldendorfer drops this 4-year-old into a claimer for the first time and gelded the son of Pulpit. Hollendorfer is 25% turf to dirt and he puts jockey Martin Garcia aboard.


THIRD RACE: 1. Forest Chatter, 2. Marchman, 3. Head South. LONG SHOT: Giant Ego.
FOURTH RACE: 1. Gypsy’s Rule, 2. Grape Fizz, 3. Lady Wedge. LONG SHOT: She’s too Wild.
FIFTH RACE: 1. Merle, 2. Gigantis, 3. Diablo Caballero. LONG SHOT: Heat.
SIXTH RACE: 1. Savings Account, 2. All Star Bub, 3. Front Range. LONG SHOT: Sky Mega.
SEVENTH RACE: 1. Kulik Lodge, 2. Footstepsinbronze, 3. Winning Prize. LONG SHOT: Zuri Chop.
EIGHTH RACE: 1. #1 DIXIE TWEET (5-2) BEST BET, 2. Mucho Blessings, 3. Luvuryan. LONG SHOT: Katsfashion.

Trainer Mark Glatt drops this filly to the bottom of the maiden claiming ranks. Glatt is 36% dropping a horse two or more class levels. This daughter of Dixie Chatter showed high speed on the turf and jockey Rafael Bejarano takes over and he is 27% with Glatt.

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Sunday’s top choice winners: 1 (War Destiny $5, fourth race)

Sunday’s second choice winners: 2 (Codacious $16.20, second; Pretty N Cool $4, sixth)

Sunday’s third choice winners: 2 (Toomanytomatoes $11.40, third; Husband’s Folly $7.80, fifth)

Sunday’s long shot winners: 1 (Sweet Profit $4.60, first)


Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Sunday, Feb. 1

Race 5: #9 Curlin’s Fox (5-2)

Trainer Carla Gaines doesn’t have great numbers with first-time starters, but she knows how to get one ready. This daughter of Curlin has been tearing up the track in the mornings and Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith jumps on.


Race 7: #8 Empty Headed (6-1)

This hard-knocking 7-year-old went back East for one winning race last September, was claimed and now is in the barn of Jeff Mullins. Gary Stevens has been riding great and he takes the mount.

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Horse racing, Los Alamitos

Los Alamitos Race Course for Thursday, Dec. 11

Race 4: #8 Logan’s Moon (3-1)

Has been away from the races for more than 2 years, but look who he lost to in his debut — Vyjack. That Aqueduct race has produced five next out winners and this gelding has been working well enough for new trainer Peter Eurton to be live with jockey Rafael Bejarano aboard.


Race 5: #3 To B a Noitted (7-2)

Trainer Quinn Howey only ships to SoCal when he has a live one. He calimed this 4-year-old filly for $8,000 at Golden Gate and moves her up. She has been working well in NoCal and looks to have a closing kick that might be good in this long stretch.


Race 8: #4 Go Goldie Go (5-2)

Love offspring of Cindago because they are bred to sprint and this one debuts for trainer Jeff Mullins at 6 furlongs. Has a couple of decent works at Santa Anita and Mullins wins 25% of the time with debuting maiden claimers.

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Horse racing, Los Alamitos

Los Alamitos Race Course opinions Sunday, Dec. 7

Race 4: #9 Runaway Wildcat (6-1)

This 6-year-old gelding has been out of the money once in seven tries at this disatnce and has been running on this track in his last four races. Trainer Lorenzo Ruiz is 31% on the year and 4-for-6 with 61-180 days between races.


Race 5: #4 Hero Ten All (8-5)

There are no secrets here as this 2-year-old colt finished second to the Bob Baffert-trained Dortmund, who came back to boat-race an allowance field at Churchill Downs last weekend. The son of Rock Hard Ten had trouble at the gate and should be closer this time under jockey Tyler Baze for trainer Jeff Mullins.


Race 9: #4 Nothing to Hide (6-1)

This 3-year-old filly was claimed two back with a run here probably on the schedule. She has two wins, both on dirt, and one of them over this track. Trainer Dan Blacker is 29% on dirt and a perfect 1-for-1 with jockey Elvis Trujillo over the surface.

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita selections for Sunday, June 8

FIRST RACE: 1. No Maybe Baby, 2. Wackett, 3. Don’t Tell Abbey. LONG SHOT: Myrna Lou.


SECOND RACE: 1. Tebowing, 2. Elegant, 3. Love Tale. LONG SHOT: Magic Number.


THIRD RACE: 1. Magna Warrior, 2. Aleander, 3. Gold Chaser. LONG SHOT: Juliet’s Tizzy.

Apprentice jockey Drayden Van Dyke had his choice of three horses in here and takes this gelding MAGNA WARRIOR for trainer Jeff Mullins. The son of Magna Graduate is dropping from a maiden special weight and finished second at this level in January.


FOURTH RACE: 1. Jade With Envy, 2. Natalie Paige, 3. Prayer Be Mine. LONG SHOT: Sunset Skies.


FIFTH RACE: 1. Babe’s Journey, 2. Next Book, 3. Beach Fever. LONG SHOT: Watch It Buster.


SIXTH RACE: 1. Soi Phet (best bet), 2. Toledo Eddie, 3. Husband’s Folly. LONG SHOT: Bobby Flay.

SOI PHET, a 6-year-old gelding, drops from five straight stakes races into a starter handicap. He has been facing way better and now gets jockey Kent Desormeaux to ride.


SEVENTH RACE: 1. Happy Idea, 2. Red N Black Attack, 3. This Cat’s Awesome. LONG SHOT: Cousin Ricky.


EIGHTH RACE: 1. Ethnic Dance, 2. Unusual Heatwave, 3. Mega Heat. LONG SHOT: Stoney Fleece.


NINTH RACE: 1. Galway Bay, 2. Nothing to Hide, 3. Fair Praise. LONG SHOT: She’smorethanalady.

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Saturday’s top choice winners: 2 (Alpha Bullet $8, eighth race; Can the Man $5.80, ninth)

Saturday’s second choice winners: 1 (Holiday Camp $3.80, second)

Saturday’s third choice winners: 0

Saturday’s long shot winners: 2 (I’msoulflattering $6.60, first; Rocked Twice $10.60, seventh)