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 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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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Thursday, March 16

Race 2 – SA
#8 Smuggler Union (4-1) TURF ONLY ****
Our Eyes: Gelding moves up in class and runs on turf for the first time. The sire Kantharos gets 18% winners first time on the turf. Trainer Howard Zucker is 33% second off the layoff.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 5 – SA
#3 Sahara Storm (7-2) TURF ONLY ****
Our Eyes: Trainer Keith Desormeaux struck with on of these 3-year-olds last week that ran back East last year and has been moved West this winter. This colt showed speed at Saratoga and now drops into a maiden claimer for the first time.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 7 – SA
#7 Longstocking (9-2) TURF ONLY ****
Our Eyes: Jockey Flavien Prat jumps on this mare which has been idle since December. She ran well off the layoff last time. She has some early lick so look for Prat to get over to the rail.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 8 – SA
#7 Menace the Dennis (3-1) ****
Our Eyes: Gelding drops into a maiden claimer for the first time and tries two turns for first time. He is bred to go this far and Prat jumps on and he’s 23% with Doug O’Neill, who is 24% dropping from MSW to a maiden claimer.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 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 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

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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.

@Jeff_Nahill On Twitter

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Thursday, Aug. 4

Preview: The middle of the meet woes have hit as there are less than 60 horses entered on this card. Some trainers off to slow starts are Mike Puype 1-for-22, Kristin Mulhall 1-for-18 plus Keith Desormeaux and Bob Hess Jr., both 1-for-16.

Race 1: 1. Celebrity Status, 2. Ain’t No Other, 3. Senator Bob. LONG SHOT: Tripski.

Race 2: 1. Arrogate, 2. Five Palms, 3. Teniente Coronel. LONG SHOT: Mystery Train.

Race 3: 1. Moose Skowron, 2. Handsome Hank, 3. Quorum of Joy. LONG SHOT: Proud Zoning.

Race 4: 1. #5 Tattooed Kitty (4-1) BEST BET, 2. Lil Miss Sapphire, 3. Holy Mosey. LONG SHOT: Zensational Dancer.
Trainer Peter Miller has a penchant for scoring with first-timers from San Luis Rey Downs, like this filly. We love the sire Wildcat Heir (15% first time out) and Miller puts Brayan Pena aboard.

Race 5: 1. #3 Hell On Wheels (12-1), 2. Lamontagne, 3. Discatsonthesquare. LONG SHOT: Lemon de Oro.
It isn’t often you get double-digits on a horse trained Phil D’Amato but that’s what we are getting here. D’Amato is 24% with horses coming off a 90-plus day layoff and she has plenty of early foot in this turf sprint. The sire Speightstown gets 12% winners first time turf.

Race 6: 1. Prime Issue, 2. Eight Spokes, 3. Signature Cat. LONG SHOT: Pulla Train.

Race 7: 1. #1 Dame Street (9-2), 2. How Unusual, 3. Mo Knows. LONG SHOT: Lunar Empress.
It’s that man Phil D’Amato again as he gets this filly off 2-for-2 efforts on the grass at Tampa Bay Downs. Top grass jockey Flavien Prat takes the mount for this improving 3-year-old and he’s 28% with D’Amato.

Race 8: 1. Soap Box, 2. Triple Clown, 3. Jimmy the Juice. LONG SHOT: Accordance.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Sunday, July 24

Preview: After the first five days of the meet through Friday, the jockey’s race was very crowded. At the top was Flavien Prat with seven wins from 36 mounts followed by Santiago Gonzalez (6-33), Tyler Baze (5-33) and Kent Desormeaux (5-27).

The track was a paved highway on Saturday and there was a no passing lane up. It was amazing to see how dumb some jockeys were by not going to the front out of the gate. The reason there is a Pick 6 carryover is due to the main track and jockey Chad Lindsay, who went to the front and wasn’t caught at more than 20-1. Keep it in mind when handicapping.

Race 1: 1. Back Beauty, 2, Stir Fry, 3. Aiming Straight. LONG SHOT: Esmeralda Belle.

Race 2: 1. La Berma, 2. Fanticola, 3. Crowley’s Law. LONG SHOT: Avenge.

Race 3: 1. Storm the Shore, 2. Atypique, 3. Supervisor. LONG SHOT: Above Board.

Race 4: 1. Hard Aces, 2. Quick Casablanca, 3. Seve’s Road. LONG SHOT: Engeria Fribby.

Race 5: 1. #5 Super Echelon (4-1), 2. Bourque, 3. Three Eclipse. LONG SHOT: Irish Goodbye.
This is the first 2-year-old grass race of the year in Southern California and trainer Keith Desormeaux has two entered here. Therefore it only makes sense that he gave his brother, jockey Kent, his choice of mounts and Kent ends up here. This son of Gio Ponti got off to a slow start last time and Keith Desormeaux is 18% with first-timer routers.

Race 6: 1. Coyote Fly, 2. Senator Bob, 3. Ain’t No Other. LONG SHOT: Justonemorething.

Race 7: 1. Dream Team 2. 2. Indygo Bo, 3. Fly Lexis Fly. LONG SHOT: Midnight Destiny.

Race 8: 1. #7 Poshsky (5-1), 2. Alert Bay, 3. Avanti Bello. LONG SHOT: Boozer.
This gelding got up in time last time against Cal breds and he gets some extra ground here. The 6-year-old has a 5-2-1-1 record on the Del Mar turf. Jockey Fernando Perez is 28% with trainer Peter Miller, who always comes out firing at Del Mar.

Race 9: 1. Dangerfield, 2. Orejas, 3. Farley. LONG SHOT: Midnight Pleasure.

Race 10: 1. #5 Opsec (12-1), 2. Zinvor, 3. Unusual Taste. LONG SHOT: Macro Access.
This 5-year-old was claimed two races back by young trainer Shelbe Ruis, probably with Del Mar in mind. This horse is 2-0-1–1 at Del Mar and is 5-2-1-1 at this 1 mile distance on the turf. Has a couple of good works coming into the race and might be ready to pop at a price.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Saturday’s top choice winners: 2 (Metaboss $11, fifth race; California Chrome $3.60, ninth)

Saturday’s second choice winners: 1 (Mokat $16.40, seventh)

Saturday’s third choice winners: 1 (Tooluckysupermoon $25.40, eighth)

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