Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Friday, Nov. 11

Preview: The fall meet returns to the seaside oval for the third year now. On opening day for some reason the Jimmy Durante Turf Course is at 12 feet instead of being zero. Don’t ask me why. As the rails come out, look for speed to prevail but for now here’s hoping it’s a fair grass course. .

Race 1: 1. #2 Perfect Set (6-1), 2. Out of Patience, 3. Rough Passage. LONG SHOT: Alex Rossi.
This gelding was claimed last time out by Anthony Saavedra no doubt with this meet in mind. The 7-year-old has a 7-2-1-2 record at Del Mar. This is his second race off the layoff and he should be tighter.

Race 2: 1. Desert Madam, 2. Ponder Lea, 3. Enduring Erin. LONG SHOT: Lookout Sister.

Race 3: 1. Celebrated Talent, 2. Tribal Jewel, 3. Forest Blue. LONG SHOT: City Steel.

Race 4. 1. Ciao Bella Rosa, 2. Tammy’s Window, 3. Go Argento. LONG SHOT: Mo Style.

Race 5: 1. #2 Dman Doughty (12-1), 2. Dixie Pistol, 3. Dynamic Ruler. LONG SHOT: Pumpkin Star.
Trainer Robertino Diodoro knows how to win with first-time starters (21%) and 2-year-olds (22%). This is a son of U S Ranger, who gets 9% winners first time out. Jockey Joe Talamo takes the mount.

Race 6: 1. Bird E House, 2. All Call, 3. Winning Causeway. LONG SHOT: Comes the Dream.

Race 7: 1. #2 Hot Rodin (9-2), 2. Admiral’s Club, 3. Salient. LONG SHOT: Country Road.
This gelding bobbled at the start in his last and still showed speed, like he has in all of his races. Speed can be dangerous on this track and the 3-year-old shortens up. Norberto Arroyo takes over for trainer Kristin Mulhall.

Race 8: 1. Keri Belle, 2. Sobradora, 3. Amboseli. LONG SHOT: Do the Dance.

Race 9: 1. Buzzer Beater, 2. Aiming Straight, 3. Wake the Dawn. LONG SHOT: Zanab.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Wednesday, Aug. 10

Preview: Half of the card will be on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course and the rails will be at 30 feet. Speed suddenly got good over the weekend on the grass so keep it in mind. Flavien Prat is the top grass jockey with 8 wins from 46 mounts followed by Kent Desormeaux 7-38 and Victor Espinoza 5-22.

Totally forgot to post all races. sorry.

Race 1: 1. Pay the Fine, 2. Rangi, 3. Chips All In. LONG SHOT: Arizona Moon.

Race 2: 1. #4 Time and Chance (3-1), 2. Ponder Lea, 3. Basie Boots. LONG SHOT: Reckless Charm.
Trainer Ron Ellis received this horse from Gulfstream Park, obviously looking for the Ship N Win bonus. The filly has speed and shown that in two works over the Del Mar surface. On top of that Ellis gets Rafael Bejarano to ride and he hasn’t used the perennial riding champ in the last two years.

Race 3: 1. Dixie Patrol, 2. Ky. Colonel, 3. Farley. LONG SHOT: Chase the Money.

Race 4: 1. #2 Bolitar (5-1), 2. Papa Papa Papa, 3. Basinca. LONG SHOT: Dreamy Martini.
This colt has been away since February but has been tearing up the track in the mornings at Los Alamitos. The Doug O’Neill barn has been in a slump but he is due to break out. O’Neill is 23% with beaten favorites and this 3-year-old takes a class drop.

Race 5: 1. Albeit, 2. Too Much Drama, 3. Tanager. LONG SHOT: Starring Role.

Race 6: 1. #9 Billy Big (3-1) BEST BET, 2. Lucky Whalen, 3. The All Button. LONG SHOT: Cedar Rapids.
This colt is making his first start in the U.S. for trainer Phil D’Amato and is crying out for two turns on the turf. The sire, Royal Applause, averages 7.4 furlongs with winners and the sire of the broodmare, Act One, averages 10.1 furlongs. D’Amato is 25% spring to turf and gets Kent Desormeaux to ride and they are 2-for-3 at Del Mar the last two years.

Race 7: 1. Anytime Anyplace, 3. Heiri of Storm. LONG SHOT: Songforjohnmichael.

Rcae 8: 1. La Premiere Etoile, 2. Southern Drawl, 3. Haute Style. LONG SHOT: Lethal Legacy.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Del Mar, Horse racing

The week that was at Del Mar

Well, opening week has come and gone at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.

The Polytrack was inside speed-favoring the first two days and then seemed to play fair over the weekend.

The new Jimmy Durante Turf Course also seemed to play fair despite the fact it looked more like it belongs on a golf course than a race track. Oh, yeah, it was developed by Greg Norman.

And finally if you’re a fan of trainer Gary Sherlock or a member of his barn, you got rich. It’s safe to say Sherlock’s wins with Passing Game on opening day at $62.80 and She’s Flush on Sunday at $108.60 will result in a positive ROI for a couple of years. There was no way I could come up with She’s Flush, even if it was a bad race. Passing Game, on the other hand, had a past win on the Polytrack. Horses that won on it before should be given extra consideration when handicapping.

Surprisingly, jockey Martin Garcia was the star the first week with six wins from 23 starts and only two of them were for his main guy, trainer Bob Baffert. Even more shocking was the fact that Garcia won twice on the turf, a surface he hasn’t excelled at a lot in the past.

Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith was a standout, as usual. When big money is on the line, you want Smith in your corner. Smith was 5-of-19 for the week and his horses earned $455,720.

Elvis Trujillo, the import from Florida who joined the Southern California circuit in May, had a very quiet 4-of-27 week.

Rafael Bejarano returned from injury and scored three victories, all of them on the turf. He seems to be getting more comfortable and stronger every day.

Corey Nakatani (15-1-4-5) and Stewart Elliott (7-1-4-0) bear watching because those seconds and thirds will turn into wins. Elliott, who is riding a lot for Canadian-based trainer Mark Casse, should be watched on the Polytrack, especially. He will notice a bias in a minute and take advantage of it.

On the not so good side, Victor Espinoza, California Chrome’s jockey, went 0-for-23 and Edwin Maldonado was 0-for-18 the first four days.

On the training side, Doug O’Neill leads after one week after going 4-for-21.He led with Polytrack victories with three.

Following O’Neill in the standings, John Sadler, Peter Miller and Jerry Hollendorfer all recorded three victories. Miller led the way with two wins on the turf.

It looks like Casse has brought a strong group from Canada and will be a force to watch at the meet.

I’m still trying to get a handle on Midwest trainer Michael Stidham. It’s looking to me like his turf horses are taking better to the Del Mar grass than his Polytrack horses are in going from Arlington Park to the seaside oval, but it could all change.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Sunday’s top choice winners: 1 (Luminance $3, eighth race)

Sunday’s second choice winners: 3 (Thermal Nermal $9.80, third; Tom’s Tribute $6.60, fifth; Poshsky $11.40, seventh)

Sunday’s third choice winners: 4 (Tigah $6.60, second; Tara’s Tango $4.60, fourth; Shysheisnot $5, sixth; Secret Command $19.60, 10th)

Sunday’s long shot winners: 0