Belmont Park, Churchill Downs, Horse racing

Churchill Downs opinions for Saturday, June 8 (Updated)

PREVIEW: Several jockeys are at Belmont Park today so jockey Florent Geroux has picked up a lot of mounts, especially for trainer Steve Asmussen, so Geroux could have a very big day. Don’t sleep on him.

NOTE: They are sloppy and off the turf in races 5 and 8. So take these picks with a grain of salt. Look for wet track pedigree.

FIRST: 1. Zyramid, 2. Nucky, 3. Halfmoon Reef. LONG SHOT: Cheeseburger.

SECOND: 1. Lunar Approach, 2.Ransomed, 3. Day by Day. LONG SHOT: Game Time Decision.

THIRD: 1. Magical, 2. Pretty Greeley, 3. Maybe Wicked. LONG SHOT: Special Relativity.

FOURTH: 1. Don’teatmycookies, 2. (Entry) Dilly Dally Darby and Estrela Cadente, 3. Indicating. LONG SHOT: Pinotage.

FIFTH: 1. Confessing (best bet), 2. Our Bay B Ruth, 3. Silver Kitten. LONG SHOT: Lady Rosalie. OFF THE TURF IGNORE PICKS

SIXTH: 1. Better Charge It, 2. Light of the World, 3. On d;Oro. LONG SHOT: Kansas City Zip.

SEVENTH: 1. Make Noise, 2. Paddock Pick, 3. Mine My Time. LONG SHOT: Brush Country.

EIGHTH: 1. Cosmic Code, 2. Be Nimble, 3. Bella Laura. LONG SHOT: Talbeya. OFF THE TURF IGNORE PICKS

NINTH: 1. Combatant, 2. Matrooh, 3. Solomini. LONG SHOT: Kershaw.

10TH: 1. Mom’s On Strike, 2. Limari, 3. Stave. LONG SHOT: Smart Emma.

11TH: 1. Ready and Rich, 2. New Frontier, 3. Admiral Brown. LONG SHOT: Not Very Gentle.

Good luck.

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Churchill Downs, Horse racing, Kentucky Derby, Tampa Bay Downs

Churchill Downs opinions for Saturday, May 4 (plus some Tampa Bay Downs)

Preview: Expect a wet track at some point today and a softer turf course. Rain is suppose to hit hardest around 1 p.m.

12TH RACE (Grade I Kentucky Derby: 1. Improbable, 2. Game Winner, 3. Roadster, 4. Vekoma. LONG SHOT: By My Standards.
If it’s Derby Day we must be in trainer Bob Baffert’s world and we’re just living in it. Baffert can pull off a race feat here by hitting the trifecta with all three of his entries. Improbable is my choice off his runner-up efforts to Omaha Beach, who had to scratch out of the race with a balky throat. All three of Baffert’s horses, including Game Winner and Roadster, are coming up to the race in fine form and a win by any of them wouldn’t surprise me.

Other Churchill Downs stakes

SIXTH RACE (Grade I Humana Distaff): 1. Talk Veuve to Me, 2. Marley’s Freedom, 3. Spiced Perfection, 4. Emboldened. LONG SHOT: Mia Mischief.

SEVENTH RACE )Grade II Churchill Distaff Turf Mile): 1. Beau Recall, 2. Daddy Is a Legend, 3. Precieuse, 4. Valedictorian. LONG SHOT: Environs.

EIGHTH RACE (Grade I Churchill Downs): 1. Do Share, 2. Mitole, 3. Uncontested, 4. Whitmore. LONG SHOT: Warrior’s Club.

NINTH RACE (Grade II American Turf): 1. Marquee Prince, 2. Seismic Wave, 3. Digital Age, 4. Social Paranoia. LONG SHOT: Henley’s Joy.

10TH RACE (Grade III Pat Day Mile): 1. Instagrand, 2. Durkin’s Call, 3. Mr Money Bags, 4. Last Judgment. LONG SHOT: Dunph.

11TH RACE (Grade I Turf Classic): 1. Brick and Mortar (best bet), 2. Multiplier, 3. Ticonderoga, 4. Next Shares. LONG SHOT: Synchrony.

TAMPA BAY DOWNS
FOURTH RACE: 1. Sir Higgins, 2. Market Swings, 3. No choice. LONG SHOT: Trap Music.
SEVENTH RACE: 1. Pure Luck, 2. Silver Shield, 3. Solid. LONG SHOT: Edelman’s Catch.
10TH RACE: 1. Sugar Cane Girl, 2. Crown of Joy, 3. Speeding Starlet. LONG SHOT: Patient Digna.
Good luck.
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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.

TAMPA BAY DOWNS

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

Good luck.

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Breeders' Cup, Churchill Downs, Horse racing

Breeders’ Cup Saturday opinions for Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs

THIRD RACE (Filly and Mare Sprint)
1. #11 Finley’sluckycharm, 2. #5 Golden Mischief, 3. #13 Marley’s Freedom, 4. #8 Mia Mischief. LONG SHOT: #6 Chalon.

FOURTH RACE (Turf Sprint)
1. #6 Rainbow Heir, 2. #9 Stormy Liberal, 3. #8 Chanteline, 4. #14 Conquest Tsunami. LONG SHOT: #12 Richard’s Boy.

FIFTH RACE (Dirt Mile)
1. #1 City of Light, 2. #7 Firenze Fire, 3. #10 Catalina Cruiser, 4. #6 Seeking the Soul. LONG SHOT: #4 Seven Trumpets.

SIXTH RACE (Filly and Mare Turf)
1. #14 Eziyra, 2. #3 Wild Illusion, 3. #10 Magic Wand, 4. #13 Athena. LONG SHOT: #7 Smart Choice.

SEVENTH RACE (Sprint)
1. #8 Limousine Liberal, 2. #9 Roy H, 3. #2 Promises Fulfilled, 4. #1 Whitmore. LONG SHOT: #3 B Squared.

EIGHTH RACE (Mile)
1. #13 Gustav Klimt, 2. #7 Expert Eye, 3. #8 I Can Fly, 4. #1 One Master. LONG SHOT: #2 Next Shares.

NINTH RACE (Distaff)
1. #2 Abel Tasman (BEST BET), 2. #7 Midnight Bisou, 3. #5 Wonder Gadot, 4. #11 Monomoy Girl. LONG SHOT: #8 Vale Dori.

10TH RACE (Turf)
1. #12 Waldgeist, 2. #2 Enable, 3. #5 Magical, 4. #4 Robert Bruce. LONG SHOT: #3 Channel Maker.

11TH RACE (Classic)
1. #7 West Coast, 2. #8 Pavel, 3. #10 Yoshida, 4. #6 McKinzie. LONG SHOT: #4 Gunnevera.

Good luck.

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Breeders' Cup, Churchill Downs, Horse racing

Breeders’ Cup Friday opinions for Friday, Nov. 2 at Churchill Downs

OVERVIEW: On these big days you need to have a key horse or two and stick to it. That key for me today is Summering (15-1) in the Juvenile Fillies Turf. She did nothing wrong in two wins at Del Mar but then she got trapped at Santa Anita and had nowhere to go in the Surfer Girl, finishing third. I think she’s worth a shot. The main question today, like with all of the races on the grass, is the condition of the turf course. It has been raining for the last two days and the course won’t be firm. So whether she takes to the course will be a key as much as anything. Will the Euros have a bigger shot today on the turf? There are two schools of thought: 1) they have run on softer before; 2) they might have been sent to the States to run on firmer ground. We’ll see.

FIFTH RACE (Juvenile Turf Sprint): 1. #11 Queen of Bermuda, 2. #2 Soldier’s Call, 3. #6 Moonlight Romance, 4. #5 Bulletin. LONG SHOT: #4 Stillwater Cove.
This race was added by the Breeders’ Cup this year and it certainly came up tough with American and Euros plus males and females entered. There are six fillies in the body of the race. I went with QUEEN OF BERMUDA because jockey Flavien Prat should have some insight to the Euros and she looks like she can track the pace from the outside.

SIXTH RACE (Juvenile Fillies Turf): 1. #12 SUMMERING (Best bet), 2. #2 The Mackem Bullet, 3. #6 Newspaperofrecord, 4. #5 La Pelosa. LONG SHOT: #11 Lady Prancealot.
I’ve already made my case for SUMMERING. NEWSPAPEROFRECORD seems to be a lot of handicappers selection and I get, but I don’t like picking or betting favorites.

SEVENTH RACE (Juvenile Fillies): 1. #1 Reflect, 2. #10 Bellafina, 3. #2 Serengeti Empress, 4. #4 Restless Rider. LONG SHOT: #3 Vibrance.
I wanted to pick BELLAFINA but in looking at the workout times since her last race, I wasn’t impressed. Maybe she has topped out but I hope not for Southern California trainer Simon Callaghan. VIBRANCE is an interesting long shot as she finished second to Bellafina at Santa Anita.

EIGHTH RACE (Juvenile Turf): 1. #6 Henley’s Joy, 2. #5 Line of Duty, 3. #2 Uncle Benny, 4. #14 Anthony Van Dyck. LONG SHOT: #13 Marie’s Diamond.
OK, in the interest of honesty, Jeff Bloom, who owns Henley’s Joy, and I are friends, but I really like this 2-year-old. He tries every time and again the condition of the course will be the key. Internet reports are that he looks good and has trained good. LINE OF DUTY seems to be the wise guy horse and ANTHONY VAN DYCK seems to be the top hope from Europe, but he drew the No. 14 post. Ouch.

NINTH RACE (Juvenile): 1. #9 Game Winner, 2. #6 Complexity, 3. #11 Code of Honor, 4. #13 Topper T. LONG SHOT: #4 Tight Ten.
This race seems pretty straight forward, but that’s when chaos happens. If the favorites don’t show up take a look at TOPPER T, TIGHT TEN and KNICKS GO.

Good luck.

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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.

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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

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