Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Friday, Jan. 15

Preview: Turf races again seem to hold the most intrigue. On the training front, Richard Baltas has been reaching the winner’s circle plenty of times and Peter Eurton’s horses are hitting the board with great regularity. Also, Bob Baffert’s barn has hit a hot spell after cold few weeks.

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Race 2: #2 Dauphine Russe (turf only) (5-2)

Trainer David Jacobsen, who is based in New York, has a string here this winter. This mare will make her first trip down the hill and Jacobsen is 25% second off the claim and with shippers. Martin Garcia picks up the mount.

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Race 5: #1 El Gran Turismo (turf only) (8-1)

At some point this gelding’s breeding has to kick in as his mother is Cambioscorsa, who was a monster on this downhill course. He had a tough debut but jockey Flavien Prat takes over for trainer Mike Puype.

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Race 7: #6 Precious Audrey (turf only) (6-1)

This filly broke her maiden at Gulfstream Park West and looks like a private purchase and sent to trainer Phil D’Amato, who is 25% going dirt to turf and 20% first time turf.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Gulfstream Park West, Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita early opinions for Sunday, Oct. 25 (plus Gulfstream Park West)

Race 4: #4 Blessherheart (7-2)

Trainer Phil D’Amato drops this filly into a maiden claimer for the first time, a move he is 29% with. She showed speed going long and now cuts back to 7 furlongs. Jockey Tiago Pereira jumps on and he is 27% with D’Amato at Santa Anita.

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Race 6: #4 Cant Do the Danse (4-1)

Trainer Jonathan Wong claimed this gelding at Golden Gate and ships south. Wong is a 47% trainer on dirt and 30% with horses off a 46 to 90-day layoff. Wong employs red-hot apprentice Ty Kennedy.

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Race 9: #6 Lucky Reality (5-1)

Young trainer Dan Blacker doesn’t start many, but this is his best move: going from MSW to maiden claiming. He’s 50% with this move and this gelding finished second at Del Mar in the maiden claiming ranks at a higher level. Jockey Martin Garcia knows the 3-year-old well.

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Gulfstream Park West 

Race 2: #5 E Z’s Irishman (8-1)

Was bet down to 7-2 in debut, but didn’t do much running. Trainer Larry Pilotti is 28% with horses making their second career start. Apprentice jockey Harry Hernandez jumps on for a weight break.

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Race 5: #1 Morning Calm (turf only) (7-2)

Our Eyes: This colt finished 6th in the John’s Call at Saratoga and now takes a class drop. Also, that race has produced three next out winners. Trainer Michelle Nihei is 21% with horses off a 46 to 90-day layoff.

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Race 9 – GPW

#6 Set On Salsa (turf only) (8-1) ***

Our Eyes: Trainer Kathy Mongeon ships this filly down from New Jersey where the 4-year-old comes out of a race that has produced three next out winners. Leading jockey Tyler Gaffallione takes the mount.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Gulfstream Park West, Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Saturday, Oct. 24

Race 4: #7 City of Vengeance (15-1)

Has been a disappointment since coming West, but trainer John Sadler is 22% second off the claim as the gelding tries the downhill for the first time. Jockey Victor Espinoza jumps off another contender to ride this son of City Zip and is 21% with Sadler.

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Race 6: #8 Oppidum (5-1)

If it’s a 2-year-old race trainer Bob Baffert usually has it surrounded and such is the case here with three horses. The barn’s main rider, Martin Garcia, chooses this son of Speightstown who showed good speed at Del Mar before stopping. He goes shorter here and should be on the engine.

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Race 9: #7 Canada (4-1)

Is bred to be a good one, but has had problems in both starts, especially last time, but Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens has seen enough to stay aboard and he is 26% with trainer Simon Callaghan.

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Gulfstream Park West

Race 1: #2 Drama Club (5-2)

This colt makes his debut on turf, but the bigger thing is that he drops from the straight maiden ranks to a maiden claimer. Trained by David Fawkes, he exits a race that has produced three winners. Jockey Edgard Zayas takes over.

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Race 7: #10 Awesome Sunrize (turf only) (6-1)

This filly returns to South Florida after running at Arlington Park. She comes out of a key race and trainer Kerry Zavash is 24% with shippers. Zavash has a winner already at the meet with jockey Eddie Castro, who jumps on.

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Race 9: #1 Samus (turf only) (5-1)

Trainer Marcus Vitali has been on fire at the meet with 6 winners from 20 starters. Vitali is 25% with horses second time in his care like this 3-year-old. He is also 30% on the year with jockey Matthew Rispoli.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita early opinions for Sunday, Oct. 4

Race 2: #3 Brolazza (5-1)

Interesting jockey switch here as leading rider Rafael Bejarano jumps on this 2-year-old, which finished third in his debut at 29-1. The son of Decarchy showed something down the lane and now gets an extra furlong.

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Race 9: #7 Nine Point Nine (9-2)

Trainer Craig Dollase drops this 2-year-old filly into a maiden claimer for the first time and he is 33% with that move. She has some good works since her last race and jockey Martin Garcia keeps the mount.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Saturday’s top choice winners: 1 (Alexis Tangier $11, ninth)

Saturday’s second choice winners: 1 (Wild Dude $6.20, eighth)

Saturday’s third choice winners: 2 (Hail Mary Play $13, first; Story to Tell $24.40, 10th)

Saturday’s long shot winners: 2 (Wild Street Party $5.20, second; No Silent $15.80, sixth)

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita selections for Friday, Oct. 2

FIRST RACE: 1. Toomanytomatoes, 2. Smooth Talker, 3. Papaslilprincess. LONG SHOT: Seek Safe Harbor.

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SECOND RACE: 1. Resistanceisfutile, 2. Visbility, 3. Where’s Bubba. LONG SHOT: Rob’s Pal.

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THIRD RACE: 1. Lovenseek, 2. Commander King, 3. Follow me Cerv. LONG SHOT: Silver Torch.

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FOURTH RACE: 1. #9 Shakahari (3-1), 2. Carlsbad Mountain, 3. Mr. Itkins. LONG SHOT: Moonlight Meeting.

Trainer Blaine Wright doesn’t come to SoCal often but when he does he means business. This 4-year-old finished second at this level at Del Mar and won over this surface in March. Wright is 5-of-7 at Santa Anita with jockey Tyler Baze aboard.

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FIFTH RACE: 1. Dynamite Ride, 2. Red Button, 3. Doyouknowsomething. LONG SHOT: Global Magician.

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SIXTH RACE: 1. American Blend, 2. Dress Code, 3. Carlot Cowboy. LONG SHOT: Congregationalist.

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SEVENTH RACE: 1. #2 Nahem (5-1), 2. Unusually Green, 3. Shake Things Up. LONG SHOT: Itsinthepost.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer is 31% second off the claim like he is here with this 7-year-old. Hollendorfer puts blinkers on and jockey Martin Garcia takes the mount.

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EIGHTH RACE: 1. #2 Ponder Lea (5-2) BEST BET, 2. Seaward Cottage, 3. Kiana’s Dream. LONG SHOT: Relaunch a Memory.

Trainer John Sadler is 55% (5-for-11) with horses dropping from MSW to maiden claiming. This 3-year-old filly has a good work since her debut when she got squeezed at the start and still showed decent speed.

@Jeff_Nahill On Twitter

Thursday’s top choice winners: 2 (Golds Venice $2.60, second race; Dragon Flower $6.80, eighth)

Thursday’s second choice winners: 5 (Zendai $3.60, first; Tulira Castle $3.40, fourth; Boone Docks $7.60, fifth; Bellamentary $3.40, sixth; Glory $6.20, seventh)

Thursday’s third choice winners: 0

Thursday’s long shot winners: 0

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Thursday, Aug. 27

FIRST RACE: 1. Ike Walker, 2. Doyouknowsomething, 3. Jens de Ville. LONG SHOT: Papa Kade.

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SECOND RACE: 1. Treasuring, 2. Jade Princess, 3. Shakti. LONG SHOT: Wake the Dawn.
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THIRD RACE: 1. Sinfully, 2. Antinanco, 3. City State. LONG SHOT: Okaad.
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FOURTH RACE: 1. #5 Bosserette (10-1), 2. Pearl de Vere, 3. Sweet Profit. LONG SHOT: Mark of a Gem.

Trainer Howard Zucker drops this 4-year-old filly into a claimer for the first time. She ran credible in her first race in a year last time and should be tighter this time. Jockey Joe Talamo takes over. Zucker is 17% on the turf.

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FIFTH RACE: 1. HANK THE TANK (5-2) best bet, 2. I’m Not Bullish, 3. Jimmy the Juice. LONG SHOT: Big Finish.

This son of In Summation is bred to sprint and he makes his career debut for trainer Peter Miller, who is seeking the Del Mar training title. There are some quick works at San Luis Rey Downs and Miller is 27% with first-timers. Miller is also 29% with jockey Martin Garcia the last 60 days.

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SIXTH RACE: 1. Take Back Spring (8-1), 2. Kyankes, 3. Housemaker. LONG SHOT: Showcase Winner.

Trainer Kristin Mulhall is pulling out all of the stops here as she adds blinkers (27%) to this daughter of Spring at Last. It may look like the filly is moving up in class but she’s going from facing older fillies and mares to only facing 3-year-olds here.

SEVENTH RACE: 1. All Run, 2. Gravity Force, 3. Swiss Cheese. LONG SHOT: Overcomer.
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EIGHTH RACE: 1. Tribal Zen, 2. Bussjaeger, 3. Midnight Edition. LONG SHOT: Rickles.

Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Wednesday’s top choice winners: 1 (Buymeabond $12.80, fourth race)

Wednesday’s second choice winners: 1 (On Fire $7.60, third)

Wednesday’s third choice winners: 2 (Bully Pulpit $10, second; Kiss At Midnight $5, fifth)

Wednesday’s long shot winners: 2 (Dad’s Princess $7.20, first; Point Piper $62, seventh)

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Thursday, July 23

FIRST RACE: 1. Wish I Understood, 2. Don’t Tell Jackie, 3. Vronsky’s Devka. LONG SHOT: Sooner Time.

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SECOND RACE: 1. #2 SMOOTH TALKER (6-1) best bet, 2. Good Stats, 3. Where Is My Mind. LONG SHOT: Norastone.

Trainer Doug O’Neill has gotten off to a slow start at the meet, but he’s bound to heat up at some point and did so on Wednesday when he won two races on the turf, of all surfaces. O’Neil is 36% with horses moving down two or more classes like this 5-year-old mare. Drayden Van Dyke is re-united with the mare.

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THIRD RACE: 1. #9 Holiday Camp (12-1), 2. Roy H, 3. Incline Village. LONG SHOT: Rule He Will.

Trainer Bob Baffert is searching for a winning spot for the this $700,000 purchase last year. The turf might be the answer as the sire Street Boss is 20% with first-time turfers and Baffert is 24% with jockey Martiin Garcia.

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FOURTH RACE: 1. Gravity Force, 2. Blue Ratio, 3. Out of Mischief. LONG SHOT: I’m Zonin.
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FIFTH RACE: 1. #2 Lily Kai (12-1), 2. Almost Reality, 3. Ticaboo. LONG SHOT: Just Got Lucky.

This daughter of Unusual Heat is bred to love the grass and to go long. She showed improvement in her second start and now trainer Mike Machowsky sends her around two turns for the first time after two sprints, a move he is 23% with. Good turf jockey Brice Blanc is aboard.

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SIXTH RACE: 1. Midnight Transfer, 2. Buckleberry Grey, 3. Barrel Knot. LONG SHOT: Ain’t No Other.
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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Lady’s Plan, 2. Freethinker, 3. Kadesha. LONG SHOT: Halljoy.
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EIGHTH RACE: 1. Emerald Green, 2. West Coast Storm, 3. I Heart You. LONG SHOT: Quick Navigator.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Wednesday’s top choice winners: 2 (Gypsy’s Rule $17.20, fourth race; Savings Account $4.20, sixth)

Wednesday’s second choice winners: 1 (Luvuryan $7.40, eighth)

Wednesday’s third choice winner: 0

Wednesday’s long shot winners: 1 (Karma King $17.80, second)

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Wednesday, July 22

To say it was a tough week on the handicapping front during the first week of Del Mar is an understatement. Five top choice winners isn’t acceptable, but with the weather and surface changes what are you going to do? I had second choice winners score but they weren’t on top.

As for track itself, newcomer Flavien Prat leads the jockey race with six winners, five of them on the dirt. Prat is in his first full season in Southern California after riding mainly on the grass in his native France. Prat is tied for the lead on the dirt with Joe Talamo (5-for-16). Santiago Gonzalez follows with four wins, all in the mud on Sunday. There is an old handicapping angle that says bet South American-sired horses in the mud. I guess that now carries over to the jockeys, too.

On the flip side on the dirt, Edwin Maldonado is 0-for-10, James Graham is 0-9 and Fernando Perez is 1-13. Graham, a newcomer from the Midwest is off to a rough 0-for-12 start overall.

On the grass, Mike Smith, Rafael Bejarano and Drayden Van Dyke all have two wins. Tyler Baze is 0-for-7 on the grass and Triple Crown riding jockey Victor Espinoza is 0-for-6. In fact, Espinoza is 0-for-13 overall. Can you say TC hangover?

On the training front, Jeff Mullins (4-for-7) and Peter Miller (4-for-24) lead the race. Jerry Hollendorfer is 3-for-8 on the dirt while Doug O’Neill is 0-for-9 on the dirt and 0-for-13 overall.

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FIRST RACE: 1. Silvertron, 2. Comanche Ruler, 3. Domingo Cat. LONG SHOT: Crazy Al.

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SECOND RACE: 1. #5 Venetian Mask (4-1), 2. Sir Macho, 3. Whiskey Wild. LONG SHOT: Karma King.

Trainer Jerry Holldendorfer drops this 4-year-old into a claimer for the first time and gelded the son of Pulpit. Hollendorfer is 25% turf to dirt and he puts jockey Martin Garcia aboard.

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THIRD RACE: 1. Forest Chatter, 2. Marchman, 3. Head South. LONG SHOT: Giant Ego.
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FOURTH RACE: 1. Gypsy’s Rule, 2. Grape Fizz, 3. Lady Wedge. LONG SHOT: She’s too Wild.
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FIFTH RACE: 1. Merle, 2. Gigantis, 3. Diablo Caballero. LONG SHOT: Heat.
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SIXTH RACE: 1. Savings Account, 2. All Star Bub, 3. Front Range. LONG SHOT: Sky Mega.
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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Kulik Lodge, 2. Footstepsinbronze, 3. Winning Prize. LONG SHOT: Zuri Chop.
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EIGHTH RACE: 1. #1 DIXIE TWEET (5-2) BEST BET, 2. Mucho Blessings, 3. Luvuryan. LONG SHOT: Katsfashion.

Trainer Mark Glatt drops this filly to the bottom of the maiden claiming ranks. Glatt is 36% dropping a horse two or more class levels. This daughter of Dixie Chatter showed high speed on the turf and jockey Rafael Bejarano takes over and he is 27% with Glatt.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Sunday’s top choice winners: 1 (War Destiny $5, fourth race)

Sunday’s second choice winners: 2 (Codacious $16.20, second; Pretty N Cool $4, sixth)

Sunday’s third choice winners: 2 (Toomanytomatoes $11.40, third; Husband’s Folly $7.80, fifth)

Sunday’s long shot winners: 1 (Sweet Profit $4.60, first)

 

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Thursday, July 16 (opening day)

Merry Christmas, it’s opening day at Del Mar.

Remember there is a new dirt main track. The Polytrack is gone forever. Look for speed to do well on the new dirt track because that’s the way it was in years past. According to reports, the track has been a little deep in the first week, but look for it to tighten up as the meet goes on.

Some trainers have raved about the look and deepness of the turf course, which is in its second season following replacement. Yes, the turf course was shut down last summer twice due to a rash of fatalities. I think Del Mar management did what it had to do to quell the situation, but two facts remain clear: the jockeys and trainers both said there was nothing wrong with the grass. In my book, if the jockeys are willing to ride on it and the trainers are willing to send their horses out, run them.

Ok, rant is over. Time to pick some winners, hopefully. Tread lightly here at the beginning of the meet, especially on the dirt. Look for form reversals and horses that like the seaside environment.

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Race 1: #5 Secretsatmidnight (7-2)  SCRATCHED

Trainer Bob Baffert must be trying to clear out a stall as he drops this 5-year-old into a claimer for the first time, a move he wins 37% of the time. This son of Midnight Lute has been facing better and will likely be forwardly placed by jockey Martin Garcia.

FIRST RACE: 1. All Squared Away, 2. Dress Code, 3. The Mad Hungarian. LONG SHOT: Olympic Blue.

As you can tell I lost my top choice when the scratches were announced Wednesday morning so we’ll go another direction and hope for the best.

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SECOND RACE: 1. No Tricks for Jack, 2. Prettyhotprincess, 3. Peppy Bolly. LONG SHOT: Adriatic Skye.

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THIRD RACE: 1. Restrike, 2. Pippappy, 3. Ink Well. LONG SHOT: Celtic Ray.

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FOURTH RACE: 1. Toowindytohaulrox, 2. Wanstead Gardens, 3. Cyrus Alxander. LONG SHOT: Infinite Magic.

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FIFTH RACE 1. MILES SISTER (best bet), 2. Late ‘n Left, 3. Plane Lucky. LONG SHOT: Alicanto.

This filly showed no speed in her debut but came running down the stretch to finish third. Trainer Cliff Sise is 22% with second-time starters and 29% with 2-year-olds. She should improvement second time out.

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SIXTH RACE: 1. Nextdoorneighbor, 2. Basmati, 3. Planet Sunshine. LONG SHOT: Gnarly Dude.

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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Gangnam Guy, 2. Fight Thru, 3. Derby Glass. LONG SHOT: The Gold Monkey.

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Race 8: #8 Ground Rules (12-1) SCRATCHED

This 3-year-old colt tries winners and turf for the first time for trainer Cliff Sise. The sire Smart Strike is 12% first time with turfers and jockey Kent Desormeaux should have him in the right spot for the upset. Exacta box 8-10-11.

EIGHTH RACE: 1. Papacoolpapacool, 2. Soul Driver, 3. Forest Blue. LONG SHOT: Thanksgiving Day.

As you can see I lost my top horse when the scratches came out. Also for those that don’t know I am friends with Jeffrey Bloom, who owns Soul Driver. I have no inside information other than Soul Driver won his last race. I picked Papacoolpapacool because he beat Soul Driver two races back and jockey Gary Stevens elects to ride Papa instead of Soul Driver.

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NINTH RACE: 1. Sweet Promises, 2. Never Ends, 3. Gloryzapper. LONG SHOT: Dreamologist.

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10TH RACE: 1. Suances Dream, 2. Benba, 3. Synnin. LONG SHOT: Volkonsky.

 

Trainer John Martin ships down from Northern California and he’s 34% with shippers like Suances Dream. Martin is 29% with grass horses and jockey Martin Garcia takes the mount. Benba is coming out of a key race and Synnin has won over this turf course twice.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Gulfstream Park, Horse racing, Los Alamitos, Monmouth Park

Los Alamitos (plus a few others) opinions for Sunday, July 5

Race 3: #1 Sheza Eyeopener (5-1)

This 5-year-old mare won over this course three times last year in four tries. She returns to the dirt from the turf for trainer Rafael Becerra, who is 2-for-9 with the move. Jockey Martin Garcia keeps the mount.

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Race 8: #3 Ultimate Holiday (5-1)

Jockey Jimmy Graham makes his debut in SoCal today and rides this daughter of Harlan’s Holiday. The 3-year-old filly ran a creditable third over the track a year ago and trainer Richard Baltas is a 23% trainer this year.

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MONMOUTH PARK

Race 10: #6 Red Vine (3-1) *****

This 5-year-old broke his maiden on the turf at Del Mar a few years back and this year trainer Christophe Clement switched to the dirt and just like that he is 3-for-3. This horse is moving up the ladder  and think a win here propels him to Del Mar’s $1 million Pacific Classic. Likes to stay just off the pace and punce in the stretch. “Jersey” Joe Bravo retains the mount.

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Race 11: #8 Ashleyluvssugar (5-1)

SoCal-based trainer Peter Eurton switched this 4-year-old gelding to going long on the turf this year and discovered a star with a perfect 3-for-3. Eurton skipped the closing weekend San Juan Capistrano at Santa Anita to run here and Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens retains the mount for this closer .

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GULFSTREAM PARK

Race 10: #10 Nesso (20-1)

A long time ago, this filly broke her maiden in Southern California, but now runs on the East Coast. She is versatile, running on the front end or from off the pace. Think the pace could be hot here for look for jockey Jesus Rios to be closing in the lane. She ran well over this track a year ago. Beware.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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