Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Wednesday, July 18 (Opening day)

Preview: Going to the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club can be a lot of fun, but let’s be honest, everyone wants to win money. Jockeys and trainers all have their strengths and weaknesses. If you know those, it can point you to the winner’s circle and away from throwing your tickets away.

Jockeys
FLAVIEN PRAT:
Without a doubt, the best rider not named Mike Smith on the circuit, and he rides a lot more than Smith. Prat began his career in France and thus he was put on a lot of grass horses early in career, but he has become a very good all-around jockey. He won the Del Mar title last summer by winning 23 races on the dirt (25 percent) and 12 races (from 80 starters) on the grass. He was also second in races won with 2-year-olds (six) and that number could improve as he has made some inroads into the Bob Baffert barn. Prat loves to get to the rail on the turf, save ground and swing out at the head of the home stretch. He sometimes gets caught in traffic with this move, but he knows what he’s doing most of the time.

RAFAEL BEJARANO: The once king of Del Mar has slowed in the last year. He did finish tied for second in the standings, tied with Evin Roman, and tied for third on the dirt. He also tied Prat and Kent Desormeaux with 12 victories on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course. If you are looking for a horse to finish down the lane, don’t bet against Bejarano because he will carry it there with his strength. The one weakness in Bejarano’s game is his work out of the gate. He registered just three wins on 2-year-olds during the 2017 meet because trainers want a jockey pushing a horse out of the gate. A lot of 2-year-old races are won by speed horses, which isn’t Bejarano’s strong suit.

KENT DESORMEAUX: There’s the good Kent and the bad Kent. If Desormeaux is in a good mood, he can be the best rider in the room, but if he’s not feeling it that day, don’t bet on him. Desormeaux, who rides a lot for his brother and trainer Keith, was fourth in the standings a year ago. He had 14 wins on the dirt and 12 wins on the grass. He is an exceptional grass rider.

JOE TALAMO: There was a time that “Talamo on the turf” made you big bucks every meet, but he has lost some of that magic in the last few years. He was fifth in the riding standings last summer (23 wins), but tied for third on the dirt with 17 winners. On the grass, he slipped to just six winners. He had a like number of victories with 2-year-olds, to tie for second in the colony. He was also second with first-time starters with three wins.

APPRENTICES: Roman, who won the Eclipse Award as the top apprentice in the country, lost his bug and is a journeyman now. Who will replace those 29 wins because you know how trainers like those 7- and 5-pound weight allowances? Fans should especially watch Heriberto Figueroa and Asa Espinoza, who just tied for the Los Alamitos riding title. Two others to watch are Edgar Payeras and Franklin Ceballos.

OTHERS: Mike “Money” Smith will ride in a lot of stakes races and 2-year-old events. If he rides in another race, take note. … Tyler Baze wins the hard-luck award from 2017 with 18 seconds and 17 thirds with just nine wins. He’s a good all-around rider. … Drayden Van Dyke scored 11 wins on the turf a year ago, one behind the leaders, and he has a great clock in his head. Watch out for him with Baffert, too. He has also made in-roads in that stable and Baffert won’t be afraid to put him up on a good 2-year-old. … Journeyman Edwin Maldonado is a rider to watch, especially on the grass as he registered seven wins on the green in 2017. He’s underrated. … Corey Nakatani maybe getting older but last summer he proved he’s still good with 2-year-olds (Bolt d’Oro) and he’s also a master on the grass.

FIRST RACE: 1. Carville, 2. Out of Patience, 3. General Ike. LONG SHOT: Above Board.
Tough race take as many as you can in the Pick 5.

SECOND RACE: 1. Upo, 2. Kylemore, 3. Ayacara. LONG SHOT: Jimmy Chila.
If this Pick 5 doesn’t pay boxcars, I’ll be stunned. This card is tough.

THIRD RACE: 1. Ketos, 2. Junior Gilliam, 3. Eighty Three. LONG SHOT: Gentrified.

FOURTH RACE: 1. Blueberry Princess, 2. Flying to the Line, 3. Dicotomy. LONG SHOT: Opus Won.
Blueberry Princess comes out of a race that has already produced two next out winners from four starters.

FIFTH RACE: 1. Bird Is the Word, 2. Ritzy A. P., 3. Ann Arbor Eddie. LONG SHOT: Castle.

SIXTH RACE: 1. Shivermetimbers, 2. Divisor, 3. Regulate. LONG SHOT: Show Me Da Lute.

SEVENTH RACE: 1. Brill (BEST BET), 2. Angel Alessandra, 3. Bizwhacks. LONG SHOT: Barbadolla.
We all know how good trainer Jerry Hollendorfer is with young fillies and this $1 million purchase BRILL looks like the real deal. She has three big works coming into the race and Hollendorfer is 17 percent with first-timers. We will never get the 5-2 morning-line, but that’s life. Looks like a single to me.

EIGHTH RACE (Oceanside Stakes): 1. Texas Wedge, 2. Desert Stone, 3. Artie B Good. LONG SHOT: More Honor.
Believe it or not, trainer Peter Miller didn’t win a stakes race at the Del Mar summer meet so you can bet (and he will) that he wants to end that right here and now.

NINTH RACE: 1. Blame Joe, 2. Super Duper Cooper, 3. Aurora d’Oro. LONG SHOT: Impression.

10TH RACE: 1. Sellwood, 2. Henry County, 3. Zipman. LONG SHOT: Starting Bloc.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Friday, Oct. 6

Preview: Plenty of big prices on Thursday means a huge Pick 6 carryover into the program Friday. Evin Roman won times, two of them at big prices, and trainer Peter Miller had a couple of nice scores so his barn might be worth watching because when it gets hot, it gets HOT.

FIRST RACE: #2 Forthenineteen (8-1)
This filly has a 7-1-1-1 record over this track. Trainer Genaro Vallejo is 3-for-5 on the year. I try to look for prices in the these lower priced claiming races. If the favorite wins, I lose. It’s that simple.

THIRD RACE: #5 Christy Jackson (4-1)
Blinkers go on and trainer Kenny Black drops her to the bottom of the maiden claiming ranks for the first time. Tyler Baze has ridden her the last three times and needs to get a better start out of the gate.

FIFTH RACE: #1 Candy Boss (8-1)
This filly has had two sprint preps and goes long for the first time, a move trainer John Sadler is 23% with. She will likely show speed from the inside, the key will be for jockey Joe Talamo to ration that speed going around two turns.

EIGHTH RACE: #1 Ava Forty Seven (12-1)
It’s possible this is a prep race for going two turns for trainer Phil D’Amato, but he is 22% off a layoff of this length, 22% going from route to sprint and 20% on the turf. He puts Jamie Theriot aboard and they are 21% together, but an even better 29% at Santa Anita. Good works at San Luis Rey Downs in Bonsall. This is also the “other” D’Amato so be suggest an exacta box of Ava and #3 Be Mine (5-2).

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Thursday, March 30

Race 1 – SA
#2 Vibe (4-1) ****
Our Eyes: This 3-year-old has been gelded by trainer Keith Desormeeaux since his last race and has been given 3 months off to grow up. Look for an improve effort.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win. Back wheel exacta all with 2.

Race 4 – SA
#2 Icona (10-1) ****
Our Eyes: This filly is going two turns for the first time and she is bred for it on the bottom side. She is coming out of a key race that has produced two winners so far and trainer Phil D’Amato is 20% going from sprint to route..
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win. Back wheel exacta all with 2.

Race 5 – SA
#2 Image of Joplin (3-1) ****
Our Eyes: Trainer Bill Spawr has had a big meet so far (34%). He’s 24% first off the claim and he’s 23% with jockey Martin Pedroza.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 8 – SA
#1 Felina (12-1) ***
Our Eyes: Big jock switch here to Joe Talamo and this filly has been away since October. She has been working well for her return.
Jeff’s Playbook: 3 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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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

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Wednesday, Aug. 3

Preview: So-so card. Some jockeys off to slow starts are Joe Talamo 2-for- 45, Martin Garcia 2-36, Martin Pedroza 2-35 and Edwin Maldonado 1-36. Maldonado has reportedly changed agents.

Race 1: 1. #3 Senza Fina (8-1), 2. Flexible Ethics, 3. L.A. Magic. LONG SHOT: Smil’n From Above.
Trainer Mark Glatt, who is off to a fast start, held a fire sale on this mare last time and she finished second. Glatt is 24% with beaten favorites and in a good sign, he moves her up in class. Glatt is 22% with jockey Fernando Perez.

Race 2: 1. Gloryzapper, 3. Minster’sadventure. LONG SHOT: Meta Mu.

Race 3: 1. Huevos Rancheros, 3. Zen Deputy. LONG SHOT: Grass and Cactus.

Race 4: 1. Pay or Play, 2. Stormy Endeavor, 3. Start to Finish. LONG SHOT: Cougar Creek.

Race 5: 1. #6 Souper Knight (5-1), 2. Schillairess, 3. Gutsy Ruler. LONG SHOT: Well Maybe.
Trainer Gary Stute doesn’t start many but he claimed this gelding last time and Stute is 44% first off the claim. Jockey Victor Espinoza jumps on.

Race 6: 1. #3 Nusret (6-1) BEST BET, 2. Ain’t Misbehavin, 3. Matriculate. LONG SHOT: Storm Comin Thru.
Trainer Ron Ellis doesn’t claim very often so when he does you have to take notice. Ellis is 22% first off the claim and he stretches this gelding out off many sprints.

Race 7: 1. Milton Freewater, 2. Green With Eddie, 3. California Diamond. LONG SHOT: Exotic Ghost.

Race 8: 1. Magik Pepper, 2. Silent Movies, 3. Gabo’s Macondo. LONG SHOT: Latest Craze.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Friday, July 29 (4 p.m. first post)

Preview: The turf rails come back in to 12 feet today which will allow closers to have a better shot in the stretch. Yesterday we talked about jockeys who have done well so far during the meet on the grass. Here are a couple of jockeys who have been struggling on the green (stats through Tuesday): Tyler Baze (1-for-18), Santiago Gonzalez (1-15) and Stewart Elliott (0-9).

Race 1: 1. #4 Mrs. Guty (7-2) BEST BET, 2. Spindle, 3. Generous Pour. LONG SHOT: La Galy
This filly finished third as the 6-5 favorite in her debut. She showed a lot of speed that day and tired so should be fitter for this race. Trainer Michael McCarthy is 23% with horses off a 46 to 90-day layoff. The filly also takes a drop in class.

Race 2: 1. Cioppino Pasadino, 2. My California, 3. I’ll Be Around. LONG SHOT: Love a Honeybadger.

Race 3: 1. Katy Drama, 2. Sizzling Bel, 3. B K Miss. LONG SHOT: Chicago Angel.

Race 4: 1. #5 Ciao Bella Rosa (12-1), 2. Simmy’s Temple, 3. You Missed It. LONG SHOT: Gio’s Lady.
This filly cost $125K at auction and is sire by Kitten’s Joy, who gets 17% first out winners on the grass. This 2-year-old is prep to love the green and go a distance of ground. Trainer Peter Miller likes to win at Del Mar and at a price is even better.

Race 5: 1. Jonny’s Choice, 2. Minister Vivendi, 3. Nahem. LONG SHOT: Misdeed.

Race 6: 1. #5 Doubelievenmagic (7-2), 2. Out Ofthe Ordinary. LONG SHOT: Queen Scheherazade.
This filly finished second on the grass for trainer Todd Pletcher at Gulfstream Park 2 months ago and now ends up here to try and cash in on the “Ship N Win” program. Trainer David Hofmans is 35% going from sprint to route, 18% with first-time routers and 27% with jockey Joe Talamo at Del Mar.

Race 7: 1. Elwood J, 2. Caiifornia Clone, 3. Amodei. LONG SHOT: Midnight Reveler.

Race 8: 1. With a Twist, 2. Swiss Skimmer, 3. Intoxicaing Move. LONG SHOT: Lady’s Lunar Luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Thursday, June 30

Preview: This meet can’t end soon enough for horsemen and bettors as the average field is brutal. Since the remainder of the meet will be run on the dirt main track the jockeys to pay attention to are Rafael Bejarano (27 for 97 on the dirt), Tyler Baze 21-104) and Edwin Maldonado (18-94).

Race 3 – SA
#2 Peacenik (3-1): Trainer Bill Spawr is 36% with horses first off the claim. This gelding has past success over this strip with a 16-5-3-4 mark. Jockey Joe Talamo is 20% with Spawr.

Race 7 – SA
#3 Anytime Anyplace (6-1): Trainer Paddy Gallagher is 25% second off the layoff and leading jockey Rafael Bejarano sees fit to ride back. Bejarano is 36% with Gallagher.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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