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. 13

THIRD RACE: #6 Earring (2-1)
I don’t normally like betting favorites, but the way I look at this filly is that she can be a single in the Pick 5 and a single to start off your Pick 6. Trainer Tom Proctor is one of the best with turf horses. This 4-year-old finished third to better at Saratoga. Proctor is 21% with shippers and good turf jockey Drayden Van Dyke rides like he normally does for Glen Hill Farm/Proctor.

FIFTH RACE: #8 Gogoula (20-1)
Going to take a shot with a big bomb here. Go back in the past performances and you will find this filly has run down the hills before in a minor stakes and she wasn’t disgraced. She takes a drop in class and had trouble at the start in her last. Worth a flyer.

SEVENTH RACE: #3 Popular Kid (5-1)
I’ll be honest here: I hope my friend Jeff Bloom wins with #2 Kona Dreams but he is a 3-year-old facing older and he’s been done in by speed duels in his last two races. And there is a ton of speed and pressers in this race. Therefore I was looking for a closer. I consider #9 Quality Line, but he just doesn’t seem to want two turns. Then I saw Popular Kid. Look two races back to what Kent Desormeaux did in just missing on the Del Mar turf. He took the horse back and that’s exactly what he needs to do today.

EIGHTH RACE: #1 Air On Fire (10-1)
The “other” Mandella. Trainer Richard Mandella has the morning-line favorite in Milhaud (5-2) and this first-time turfer. Air On Fire is a son of Unbridled’s Song, who gets 13% winner first time on the turf. He has a big work showing and jockey Rafael Bejarano takes over. A Mandella exacta box would seem to be in order.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Thursday, Oct. 5

SECOND RACE: #5 Psycho Dar
This gelding broke his maiden at first asking at Del Mar. Has speed and jockey Evin Roman stays aboard for trainer Steve Miyadi and they are 25 percent together. Also comes out of a key race that has produced two winners so far.

FIFTH RACE: #9 Hawk’s Journey (10-1)
Trainer Ed Moger Jr. is having a good year and brings this filly down from NoCal. This is her first time in a claimer and hot jockey Drayden Van Dyke jumps on. In addition to a win bet I would back wheel her in the exacta.

SEVENTH RACE: #9 Cheekaboomboom (7-2)
This gelding is 2-1-1-0 on the dowhill turf course and jockey Flavien Prat stays aboard. Prat is 25% with trainer Peter Eurton. Play an exacta box with the speedy Mr Vargas (#6, 3-1).

EIGHTH RACE: #10 Decarchy Dawn (3-1)
Trainer Bob Hess Jr. is pulling out all the stop to get this 3-year-old to break his maiden. He is adding blinkers and gelded the horse since his last race. The son of Decarchy comes out of a key Del Mar race that has produced two winners so far and keeps jockey Kent Desormeaux aboard.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Friday, Feb. 10

Preview: There is an 80 to 100% per chance of rain in Arcadia today so I don’t see a reason to look at the two turf races.

Race 6 – SA
#7 Moments Notiz (6-1) ****
Our Eyes: Trainer Bill Spawr is 7-for-16 at the meet. This takes a class drop and should love a wet track with a 9-3-2-2 record. Jockey Agapito Delgadillo keeps the mount and is 17% with Spawr at Santa Anita.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 8 – SA
#6 Hard Arch (4-1) ****
Our Eyes: Finished third over a wet/fast track last time, but the key here today is the stretch out. Trainer Vladimir Cerin is 22% with horses going sprint-sprint-route and he gets Kent Desormeaux to ride this son of Archarcharch.
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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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Thursday, Feb. 9

Preview: I’ll be honest, the first time through the races I didn’t look at the turf races because with rain on Tuesday I didn’t think they would run on it today, but with warmer weather and rain 100% in the forecast for Friday, I think they will run on it. Also in the seventh race, two horses popped up from one of the biggest key races of the year at Del Mar.

Race 1 – SA
#1 Informant (8-1) ***
Our Eyes: This will be a tough race to beat the favorites, but this filly ran her best race going around two turns at Del Mar and she finally returns to two turns today for trainer Eddie Truman.
Jeff’s Playbook: 3 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 2 – SA
#7 Pearly de Vere (5-2) TURF ONLY ****
Our Eyes: Throw out that last race in the mud. Trainer Peter Miller claimed this mare to run down the hill, where she has three wins. Miller and jockey Kent Desormeaux have been hot. Might be a single in the Pick 5 and Pick 4.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 4 – SA
#3 Nuke Laloosh (5-2) ****
Our Eyes: Sorry, not real original here, but everything Miller sends out is live these days. This gelding has been away since November but it’s Miller and Desormeaux again.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 7 – SA
#8 Oscar Dominguez (6-1) TURF ONLY ****
#1 Landwade Lad (8-1) TURF ONLY ****
Our Eyes: You never see me “dutch” a race but I’m going to here. These two horses are coming out of a Dec. 2 Del Mar race that has produced four winners from five starters, including Rye ($8) on Sunday. Oscar finished third in that race, beating the fifth place Lad by less than 2 lengths. I would bet both to win and place plus play an exacta box. If the odds get really high on one of them, put an extra bet on that one.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win and 6 units to place. EXBX 8-1.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Saturday, Feb. 4

Preview: Some rain on Friday, but only one race was taken off the turf which is a good sign for today’s card. At the start of the race week, Jerry Hollendorfer, Peter Miller and Richard Baltas led the way on the dirt with eight wins each. Doug O’Neill was right behind with seven winners. On the other end, Steven Knapp was 0-for-10 followed by Mike Harrington (1-18) and Sal Gonzalez (1-14), all of whom were having trouble winning races.

Race 4: #9 Amer Sista (6-1): Took money in her debut, but was off slow and then in right. Trainer Phil D’Amato puts blinkers on (22% move) and top turf rider Flavien Prat stays on and he’s 24% with D’Amato.

Race 6: #8 Fabozzi (6-1): This gelding is 3-2-0-1 at the distance. The 4-year-old is moving up in class but trainer Mark Glatt is 30% with horses that won their last race and that man Prat rides again on the turf. Prat is 27% with Glatt.

Race 8: #5 Mor Spirit (3-1): Pure and simple that try in the Malibu was a prep for this race by trainer Bob Baffert. This 4-year-old tries older horses for the first time, but Baffert is 27% going sprint to route and jockey Mike Smith stays aboard.

Race 9: #8 Perfectly Majestic (10-1): This gelding has beaten some of these before and has a record of 18-4-5-6 on the grass. Kent Desormeaux gets back on and he has had success with this 5-year-old in the past.

Good luck

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Saturday, Nov. 25

Preview: Rain is expected to hit the Del Mar area this afternoon so make sure you check the track conditions. Trainer Peter Miller continued his rampage on Thursday with three more wins, giving him eight in the last three racing days. On the riding front, there are five jockeys within three wins at the top as Flavien Prat and Santiago Gonzalez were tied with eight wins each through Thursday.

Race 1: 1. #6 Look Twice (3-1), 2. L’s Choice, 3. Bluegrass Bronco. LONG SHOT: What We Doing.

Peter Miller claimed this gelding last time out and leaves him at the same level. Like we said Miller has been hot and spotting his horses well. Apprentice Austin Solis gets the mount and has won of 3-of-8 with Miller.

Race 2: 1. Glacken Too, 2. Alabama Tide, 3. Malibu Mogul. LONG SHOT: Louden’s Gray.

Race 3: 1. Midnight Candy, 2. Margie’s Minute, 3. Sharp Holiday. LONG SHOT: Trinitys Turn.

Race 4: 1. #2 Horse Laugh (6-1) (turf only), 2. Richard’s Boy, 3. Eddie Haskell. LONG SHOT: War Envoy.

There is a ton of speed in this race so we are going with the closer of the bunch in this 5-year-old gelding. The son of Stormello finished third on this course against tougher this summer. Jockey Jamie Theriot takes the mount.

Race 5: 1. #2 Vexatious (4-1), 2. Bernina Star, 3. Mistressofthenight. LONG SHOT: Diamond of Value.

This is a tough maiden race, but we think trainer Neil Drysdale just put this one in for the experience last time and today is what the son of Giant’s Causeway really wants to do (go long on the dirt). Kent Desormeaux keeps the mount over one for his trainer/brother. Drysdale is 19% with maiden second time starters.

Race 6: 1. Journey Home, 2. Defiant Honor, 3. With Honors. LONG SHOT: La Force.

Race 7: 1. Unique Bella, 2. Mannerly, 3. Top Quality. LONG SHOT: Princess Nile.

Race 8: 1. Vyjack, 2. Om, 3. Ring Weekend. LONG SHOT: A Red Tie Day.

Race 9: 1. General Info, 2. Majestic Journey, 3. One I’m Running To. LONG SHOT: Pamper n’ Boots.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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