Churchill Downs, Horse racing

Jeff Nahill’s Churchill Downs opinions for Friday, Sept. 4 (Oaks day, stakes only)

Note: Races have been off the turf the last two days at Churchill and no matter how the course is listed (aka firm) there will be some cut in the ground. 

EIGHTH RACE: 1. Four Graces, 2. Sconsin, 3. Mundaye Call. LONG SHOT: Purrfectly Claire.
NINTH RACE: 1. Hendy Woodas, 2. Sharing, 3. Walk In Marrakesh. LONG SHOT: Lucky Betty.
10TH RACE: 1. McKinzie, 2. By My Standards, 3. Mr Freeze. LONG SHOT: Silver Dust.
11TH RACE: 1. Monomoy Girl, 2. She’s a Julie, 3. Vexatious. LONG SHOT: Lady Kate.
12TH RACE: 1. Swiss Skydiver (best bet), 2. Donna Veloce, 3. Gamine. LONG SHOT: Shedaresthedevil.Almost everyone thinks GAMINE is a free bingo square, but I don’t. Gamine is 4-for-4 on the track (DQ’d on a drug positive) and she’s great, but SWISS SKYDIVER has lost only one of her last five races and that was to the boys in Blue Grass. I just think she is the horse to beat. DONNA VELOCE is 4-2-2-0 on the track and seems like an underachiever. Maybe today she overachieves.
13TH RACE: 1. Tiger Blood, 2. Carotari, 3. Tell Your Daddy. LONG SHOT: High Crime.
Good luck. Stay safe.

Churchill Downs, Horse racing, Tampa Bay Downs

Churchill Downs opinions for Friday, May 3 (plus one from Tampa Bay)

At Churchill Downs

11TH RACE (Grade I Kentucky Oaks): 1. Street Band, 2. Bellafina, 3. Flor de La Mar, 4. Jaywalk. LONG SHOT: Out for a Spin.
Bellafina will be rightfully favored but I still don’t like that race last year in the Breeders” Cup Juvenile Fillies over this track. I’m not buying the she was “in season” excuse. Maybe she doesn’t like this track. We’ll see. Trainer Larry Jones knows how to get fillies ready for this race and Street Band is tearing up the track in the morning after winning the Fair Grounds Oaks.

Other races

FIFTH RACE (Grade II Eight Belles): 1. Lyrical Lady, 2. Mother Mother, 3. Take Charge Angel, 4. Break Even. LONG SHOT: Proud Emma.

SIXTH RACE (Grade III Edgewood): 1. Newspaperofrecord, 2. Concrete Rose, 3. Cambier Parc, 4. Fortunate Girl. LONG SHOT: Winter Sunset.

SEVENTH RACE (Grade II Alysheba): 1. Tom’s d’Etat, 2. Seeking the Soul, 3. McKinzie, 4. Prime Attraction. LONG SHOT: Bourbon Resolution.

EIGHTH RACE (Grade I La Troienne): 1. Divine Miss Grey, 2. She’s a Julie, 3. Blue Prize, 4. Secret Spice. LONG SHOT: Mopotism.

NINTH RACE (Allowance): 1. Mojo Man, 2. Rugbyman, 3. American Tattoo, 4. Solid Wager. LONG SHOT: Home Base.

10TH RACE (Turf Sprint): 1. Undrafted, 2. World of Trouble, 3. Angaston, 4. Will Call. LONG SHOT: Chaos Theory.


SECOND RACE: 1. Discreetly Placed, 2. She Read My Texts, 3. Big Awesome. LONG SHOT: Monkey Money.

Good luck.

Churchill Downs, Horse racing, Kentucky, Kentucky Derby

Churchill Downs opinions for Friday, May 4 (Kentucky Oaks Day)

Preview: Check the track conditions because rain is forecast for Friday and Derby Day on Saturday. Races might come off the turf so check the changes. I handicapped just the stakes races. For the other you are on your own but check out West Coast jockeys who get mounts in other races.

FIFTH RACE (Eight Belles, Grade II): 1. Mia Mischief, 2. Gas Station Sushi, 3. Amy’s Challenge, 4. Salt Bae. LONG SHOT: Talk Veuve to Me.

SIXTH RACE (La Troienne, Grade I): 1. Abel Tasman, 2. Salty, 3. Martini Glass, 4. Apologynotaccepted. LONG SHOT: Streamline.

SEVENTH RACE (Turf Sprint, Grade III): 1. Vision Perfect, 2. Bucchero, 3. Will Call, 4. Delectation. LONG SHOT: Latent Revenge.

EIGHTH RACE (Alysheba, Grade II): 1. Good Samaritan, 2. Always Dreaming, 3. Backyard Heaven, 4. Hoppertunity. LONG SHOT: Awesome Slew.

10TH RACE (Edgewood, Grade III): 1. Altea, 2. Rushing Fall, 3. Beyond Blame, 4. Daddy Is a Legend. LONG SHOT: Figarella’s Queen.
Rushing Fall (4-5) is a monster and should win but I’ll go with the longer price of the uncoupled Chad Brown entry. Rushing Fall is entered against the boys on Saturday in case it comes down in buckets Friday, but I think she’ll run here.

11TH RACE (Kentucky Oaks, Grade I): 1. Midnight Bisou, 2. Rayya, 3. Classy Act, 4. Monomoy Girl. LONG SHOT: Wonder Gadot.
This is a tough race for me because Midnight Bisou (5-2) is owned in part by Oceanside’s Jeff Bloom, one of my best friends in the sport and I guarantee a lot of people in the industry are pulling for Jeff and his group. And with good reason, the 3-year-old filly is two noses away from being undefeated. She lost twice to the Bob Baffert-trained Dream Tree, who is injured and out of this race. Midnight Bisou’s last race was visually impressive as jockey Mike Smith let her loop the field on the turn. She didn’t beat much but it was the way she did it. Look for a similar style in this race and if it rains, she has a victory on a wet/fast track at Santa Anita. Rayya, at 12-1 on the morning-line, is the filly to watch. She just finished second to Mendlessohn, who is one of the favorites in the Derby, in the UAE Derby. She came from off the pace on a speed-favoring track. She is in the Bob Baffert barn and is adding Lasix for the first time, a move Baffert is 30 percent with. Classy Act (15-1) has a second over this track and horses coming from the Fair Grounds have been tearing it up across the country since the end of that meet. Monomoy Girl (2-1) is favored, but that post (No. 14) is horrible.

Good luck.

Churchill Downs, Horse racing

Churchill Downs opinions for Friday, May 5 (Oaks Day)

Preview: Check the track conditions because the rain is suppose to continue. It will be interesting if CDI takes the races off the turf. I hope not.

RACE 5 (Grade I La Troienne): 1. #1 Eskenformoney (8-1), 2. #8 Finest City (6-5), 3. #4 Paid Up Subscriber (2-1). LONG SHOT: #9 Go Maggie Go (8-1).
Yes, I know I’m trying to beat the SoCal in Finest City, but Eskenformoneydhould like a wet track and Javier Castellano should have cozy run from the inside. Long shot Go Maggie Go is coming out of a key race that has produced four winners for far.

RACE 6 (Grade II Alysheba): 1. #1 Bird Song (9-2), 2. #3 El Huerfano (15-1), 3. #9 American Freedom (3-1). LONG SHOT: #6 International Star.
Interesting race even if American Freedom, second to Arrogate in the Travers last year, will never be 3-1. Could be a big weekend for trainer Ian Wilkes and Bird Song is 2-for-3 on this track. Trainer Peter Miller ships from SoCal with El Huerfano and don’t think he is shipping for the heck of it.

RACE 7 (Grade III Twin Spires Turf Sprint): 1. #3 Holding Gold (4-1), 2. #4 Why Two (5-1), 3. #8 Pure Sensation (5-2). LONG SHOT: #5 Maniacal (12-1).
Hope this doesn’t come off the grass. A lot of these have never run of a soft course. Pure Sensation has with success. Why Two ships from SoCal for Mike Machsky, who is trying to find out how good this gelding for a try later in the year in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Del Mar, where he is 2-for-2 on the grass.

RACE 8 (Grade II The Eight Belles): 1. #3 Union Strike (3-1), 2. #9 Florida Fabulous (9-2), 3. #1 Benner Island (10-1). LONG SHOT: #7 Golden Mischief (12-1).
OK, let me say I’m not a big fan of “trainer” Mick Ruis and what he has done with his horses, but this filly is the real deal and we saw that last year when she won the Grade I Del Mar Debutante. I think she is a single in this spot with the track being the only question. Best bet of the day.

Race 10 (Grade III Edgewood): 1. #1A La Coronel (8-5), 2. #6 Stallion Heiress (6-1), 3. #11 Emphatically (15-1). LONG SHOT: #2 Bernadiva.
Another race I hope doesn’t come off. La Coronel is also entered on Saturday against the boys so it will be interesting to see what trainer Mark Casse does. Stallion Heiress is a perfect 3-for-3 on grass.

RACE 11 (Grade I Kentucky Oaks): 1. #7 Farrell (5-1), 2. #2 Lockdown (20-1), 3. #4 Paradise Woods (5-2), 4. #13 Abel Tasman (5-1). LONG SHOT: #11 Tequilita (20-1).
There is no doubt Paradise Woods, trained by Richard Mandella, was sensational in the Santa Anita Oaks, but will she regress off that effort and how will she take to the likely muddy track? Abel Tasman, trained by Bob Baffert, finished second to Paradise Woods and drew a brutal post here. I end up on Farrell, who has proven she loves the mud, and was sensational this winter at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans. Lockdown also would like an off track and she’s trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the draw is great and the price is right.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Horse racing, Pimlico

Pimlico Race Course opinions for Friday, May 20

Preview: The rain isn’t suppose to hit Baltimore until tomorrow so hopefully its fast and firm today at Pimlico. Here’s a look at the stakes races, beginning with the seventh race.

1. Noble Bird, 2. Page McLenney, 3. Hesinfront. Long shot: Savoy Stomp.

1. Expected Ruler, 2. Rocket Heat, 3. Ben’s Cat. Long shot: Rapid Dan.

1. Theogony, 2. Super Majesty, 3. Mei Ling. Long shot: Tiger Ride.

1. Thundering Sky, 2. Spinamiss, 3. Miss Katie Mae. Long shot: Morethanjusthello.

11TH RACE: The Black-Eyed Susan
1. She’s a Warrior, 2. Land Over Sea, 3. Go Maggie Go. Long shot: Midnight On Oconee.
Yes, SHE’S A WARRIOR is still a maiden, but trainer Peter Eurton isn’t one to ship a horse around just for the heck of it. Eurton is 25% with shippers. This daughter of Majestic Warrior has run third to Songbird in two of her last three races and she seemed to enjoy the mud while finishing third in the Santa Anita Oaks. She has the fourth best Brisnet Late Pace Rating and jockey Gary Stevens keeps the mount. LAND OVER SEA and GO MAGGIE GO are the class in the race coming out of the Kentucky Oaks. MIDNIGHT ON OCONEE is from the always dangerous trainer Larry Jones barn.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Churchill Downs, Horse racing

Churchill Downs opinions for Friday, May 6

Race 7 – CD
#2 Jade Princess (8-1): Simple philosophy: If you lost to undefeated Songbird, it’s no disgrace and play next time without her in the same race. This 3-year-old filly comes out of the Santa Ysabel that Songbird won and two fillies came out of the race to win, including Land Over Sea. Trainer Bob Baffert knows Churchill Downs well and gets Victor Espinoza to ride.

Race 10 – CD
#3 Nodiac (15-1) (turf only): Trainer Phil D’Amato has shipped a string from SoCal to Kentucky this spring and is spreading his wings. This filly finished third over a yielding course and now gets the services of jockey Flavien Prat, who is 32 with D’Amato and one of the top turf riders in SoCal.

Kentucky Oaks selections
1. #13 Land Over Sea
2. #6 Mokat
3. #3 Lewis Bay
4. #2 Weep No More
Like I said before if you lost to Songbird you go to the head of the class. LAND OVER SEA lost so many times Doug O’Neill decided to go to the Fair Grounds to win a race. MOKAT finished second to Songbird in the Santa Anita Oaks in the mud.

Race 13 – CD
#6 Kiss Limit (3-1): As we said trainer Phil D’Amato has come to the Blue Grass and he stepped up to claim this colt off Mike Maker for 50K. By virtue of a cheaper maiden claiming win, this 3-year-old gets to run in a starter allowance. D’Amato is 24% first off the claim and gets that man Flavien Prat (32%) to ride.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Thursday, May 5

Preview: There is a chance of rain for the return to Santa Anita so the turf races could be in danger of coming off. It’s looks like Rafael Bejarano is new top rider for the Bob Baffert barn after a falling out with jockey Martin Garcia. Also top jocks will be missing for much of this week to ride in Kentucky for the Oaks and the Derby.


Race 6 – SA

#3 Emmzy (5-2): This filly from the Bob Baffert barn cuts back a half-furlong, which is a little surprising knowing haw the trainer likes to stretch them out. Rafael Bejarano takes the mount and he’s tough to beat in the stretch.


Race 7 – SA

#4 Tribal Again (6-1): There is a ton of speed in this race and this gelding seems like the only one that come from off the pace. There is a big jockey upgrade to Flavien Prat, who is 24% with trainer Peter Miller.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Churchill Downs, Horse racing

Churchill Downs opinions for Friday, May 1

Race 2: #11 Vouch for Kitten (8-1)

Owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey like to go to the winner’s circle during Derby week and this 3-year-old filly makes her debut for trainer Wesley Ward and jockey Joel Rosario. Offspring of Kitten’s Joy are 17% first time turf.


Race 4: #5 Counterfactual (9-2)

This 3-year-old filly had a ton of trouble in her debut at the Fair Grounds. Trainer Tom Amoss has good numbers in all areas and makes a key jockey switch to James Graham as they are 28% together.


Race 9: #10 Power Alert (5-1)

The favorite in the Shakertown at Keeneland tired in second race off the layoff for trainer Brian Lynch, who is 26% in turf sprints. There is a ton of speed in here so we think jockey Julien Leparoux will come from off the pace and nail them at the wire. The sire Alert is 32% on the turf.


Race 12: #4 Lunar Gaze (8-1)

Trainer Tom Amoss and jockey James Graham are looking to have a big Oaks Day. This filly pressed the pace in her debut, but had to wait at the quarter pole and lost all chance. Amoss is 31% with second-time starters.


Jeff Nahill’s Kentucky Oaks top four

#4 Eskenformoney

#12 Stellar Wind

#1 Forever Unbridled

#10 Oceanwave

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Horse racing

Churchill Downs picks for Kentucky Oaks Day, May 2

Remember first post is 7:30 a.m. here on the West Coast for this Kentucky Oaks program at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

We’ll stick to the stakes races on the program.

FIFTH RACE (Grade I La Troienne): 1. Devil’s Cave, 2. On Fire Baby, 3. Magic Union, 4. Unlimited Budget. LONG SHOT: Molly Morgan.


SIXTH RACE (Grade III Turf Sprint): 1. Sum of the Parts, 2. Stormofthecentury, 3. Scatman, 4. Ancil. LONG SHOT: Googleado.


EIGHTH RACE (Grade III Eight Belles): 1. Fiftyshadesofgold, 2. She’s a Tiger, 3. Jojo Warrior, 4. Our Amazing Rose. LONG SHOT: Milam.


NINTH RACE (Edgewood): 1. Little Journey, 2. Granny Mc’s Kitten, 3. Candy Kitty, 4. Miss Machiavelli. LONG SHOT: V V Goodnight.


10TH RACE (Grade II Alysheba): 1. Mylute, 2. Will Take Charge, 3. Golden Ticket, 4. Golden Soul. LONG SHOT: Bradester.


11TH RACE (Grade I Kentucky Oaks): 1. Ria Antonia, 2. Untapable, 3. Aurelia’s Belle, 4. Rosalind. LONG SHOT: Got Lucky.

There is no doubt UNTAPABLE will go off as a heavy favorite here, and she should after her recent races, but the No. 13 post is a bear to overcome. RIA ANTONIA finished a good second in the Santa Anita Oaks as jockey Mike Smith rode her for the first time. She badly needed that race and should be ready to go for trainer Bob Baffert.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter