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.

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Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Friday, Aug. 26 (First post 3:30 p.m.)

Preview: How will the main track play for this late afternoon is anybody’s guess. On Saturday, there was a strong closer bias, which made California Chrome’s wire job even more impressive. On Sunday, there was an outside bias. They usually work the main track after training on Fridays to beware.

Race 1: 1. Rim Ditch, 2. Pacific Song, 3. Caan Me. LONG SHOT: Westmont.

Race 2: 1. Papacoolpapacool, 2. A Red Tie Day, 3. Forever Juanito. LONG SHOT: Poshsky.

Race 3: 1. Six Cider, 2. Bernin Sensation, 3. What’sontheagenda. LONG SHOT: A. P. Zona.

Race 4: q. #8 Big Finish (20-1), 2. El Koreano, 3. Swiss Minister. LONG SHOT: Nusret.
This 3-year-old has been facing tougher, including Eric the Trojan and Navy Hymn which both won over the weekend. Trainer Molly Pearson puts the blinkers back on so she wants this gelding on the engine early and good gate jockey Martin Pedroza rides back. Plus there is a good work showing since his last race, presumably in the blinkers.

Race 5: 1. Yellow Bonnet, 2. Untouchable U, 3. Escapee. LONG SHOT: Dama Fina.

Race 6: 1. Hot Market, 2. Jazzy Josh, 3. Wildfire Kid. LONG SHOT: Zuri Chop.

Race 7: 1. #9 Who’s Out (3-1), 2. Accererate, 3. Taman Guard. LONG SHOT: Touched by Autism.
Kind of ironic that trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has a big shot to win the Shared Belief Stakes here. This 3-year-old likes this track and goes around two turns for the first time. Hollendorfer is 23% when going sprint-sprint-route. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith rides.

Race 8: 1. #5 Yavrig (3-1) BEST BET, 2. If You Believe, 3. Buzzer Beater. LONG SHOT: Tanager.
It’s now or never for this filly. She lost at a mile and finished second at 6 1/2 furlongs so this 7-furlong race should hit her right between the eyes. Trainer Richard Baltas is 24% third off the layoff.

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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.

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Wednesday, Aug. 3

Preview: So-so card. Some jockeys off to slow starts are Joe Talamo 2-for- 45, Martin Garcia 2-36, Martin Pedroza 2-35 and Edwin Maldonado 1-36. Maldonado has reportedly changed agents.

Race 1: 1. #3 Senza Fina (8-1), 2. Flexible Ethics, 3. L.A. Magic. LONG SHOT: Smil’n From Above.
Trainer Mark Glatt, who is off to a fast start, held a fire sale on this mare last time and she finished second. Glatt is 24% with beaten favorites and in a good sign, he moves her up in class. Glatt is 22% with jockey Fernando Perez.

Race 2: 1. Gloryzapper, 3. Minster’sadventure. LONG SHOT: Meta Mu.

Race 3: 1. Huevos Rancheros, 3. Zen Deputy. LONG SHOT: Grass and Cactus.

Race 4: 1. Pay or Play, 2. Stormy Endeavor, 3. Start to Finish. LONG SHOT: Cougar Creek.

Race 5: 1. #6 Souper Knight (5-1), 2. Schillairess, 3. Gutsy Ruler. LONG SHOT: Well Maybe.
Trainer Gary Stute doesn’t start many but he claimed this gelding last time and Stute is 44% first off the claim. Jockey Victor Espinoza jumps on.

Race 6: 1. #3 Nusret (6-1) BEST BET, 2. Ain’t Misbehavin, 3. Matriculate. LONG SHOT: Storm Comin Thru.
Trainer Ron Ellis doesn’t claim very often so when he does you have to take notice. Ellis is 22% first off the claim and he stretches this gelding out off many sprints.

Race 7: 1. Milton Freewater, 2. Green With Eddie, 3. California Diamond. LONG SHOT: Exotic Ghost.

Race 8: 1. Magik Pepper, 2. Silent Movies, 3. Gabo’s Macondo. LONG SHOT: Latest Craze.

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Friday, July 22 (First post 4 p.m.)

Preview: Speed again was king on the main track on Wednesday and winners continue to come off the rail from the two slot on in the stretch and then just pull away. Keep it in mind. Eight races on Wednesday and eight different jockeys won so no one is hot right now.

Race 1: 1. #5 Cherokee in Me(5-1), 2. Summer Veil, 3. Amberella. LONG SHOT: Midnight Lady.
Trainer Armando Lage brings a string down from Northern California, including this filly, who is 2-for-2 in dirt races. The 4-year-old has the top Brisnet Prime and Late Pace Ratings. Also jockey Abel Cedillo is 53% with Lage.

Race 2: 1. Blue Chat, 2. Too Much Drama, 3. Ask Me I Might. LONG SHOT: Jeoffie.

Race 3: 1. Tough Emblem, 2. Radio Silent, 3. All Star parade. LONG SHOT: Armored Car.

Race 4: 1. #9 Trust Ur Intuition (8-1), 2. Sharaun, 3. Silver Mojave. LONG SHOT: Run Like the Boss.
This Cal-bred has been running in claimers at Gulfstream Park and trainer Kristin Mulhall ships her back to face state breds. Mulhall is 20% with shippers and 20% off 31-60-day layoffs. Good gate jockey Martin Pedroza rides and is 18% with Mulhall.

Race 5: 1. Pray Hard, 2. Too Fast to Pass, 3. Distinctive B. LONG SHOT: Dadtaughtmewell.

Race 6: 1. El Super, 2. Little Scotty, 3. Willing to Travel. LONG SHOT: Malko.

Race 7: Enola Gray, 2. Allsquare, 3. Fantasy of Luck. LONG SHOT: Roo’s Valentine.

Race 8: 1. #1 Gio Mio (8-1), 2. The Big Train, 3. Lord of Chaos. LONG SHOT: Admiral’s Club.
Looks like this gelding’s last race was a prep for this spot. If you look over this 3-year-olds PPs you”ll notice his best career race was over this turf course for jockey Victor Espinoza. Trainer Art Sherman has the same conditions here and he’s 25% with Espinoza. The sire Gio Ponti gets 10% turf winners.

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Thursday’s top choice winners: 2 (Gunslinger $4.80, first race; Warm Endowment $8.60, fifth)

Thursday’s second choice winners: 2 (Pico Chick $6.20, second; Five Star Jack $13.40, eighth)

Thursday’s third choice winners: 2 (Freddies Dream $26, third; Plastered $4, sixth)

Thursday’s long shot winners: 0

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Friday, May 20

Preview: More horses in the late Pick Four than early. The turf rails at 30 feet, which might favor speed. A few jockeys have gotten off to a slow start at the meet: Agapito Delgadillo is 0-for-15 followed by Stewart Elliott is 1-for-24 and Drayden Van Dyke is 1-for-16.

Race 1 – SA
#7 Western Warrior (4-1): The first year sire Iqbaal is 1-for-4 with debuting maidens and looking to make a name for himself. Trainer Blade Heap is 15% first-timers and 3 for his last 10 in the MSW ranks. He is the co-breeders on this colt and gets good gate jockey Martin Pedroza.

Race 3 – SA
#2 Trifecta (9-2) (turf only): This gelding has been running in longer races and cuts back to a mile so he should be plenty fit and maybe that’s why trainer Ron Ellis claimed him. The 4-year-old is 7-2-2-0 at this distance and Ellis is 23% first off the claim.

Race 5 – SA
#2 Yes Yes Yes (5-1)(turf only): Trainer Peter Eurton gets the gelding back down the hill where he is 3-1-0-2 and the 5-year-old has had a couple of good works coming into this race. Eurton is 26% with horses off a 61-180-day layoff and jockey Rafael Bejarano jumps on (28% with Eurton.

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Horse racing, Los Alamitos

Los Alamitos opinions for Thursday, Dec. 3


Race 4: #7 Preacher Roe (7-2) 

This gelding has won 2 of the 3 times he has run on this track so not concerned with the rise in class. Jockey Martin Pedroza knows him well and is 30% at Los Al with trainer Adam Kitchingman.


Race 6: #1 Dixie Caravan (3-1)

Fresno shippers did well at Del Mar and now this 2-year-old drops into a maiden claimer for the first time. Trainer Craig Dollase is 3-for-8 going from MWS to MC. –

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Thursday, July 30

FIRST RACE: 1. #5 ITZ A SAINT (4-1) best bet, 2. Wild Caroline, 3. Gem of a Gal. LONG SHOT: Grammy Times Six.

This mare has never been out of the money in 10 tries at this distance, winning four times. Trainer Richard Baltas is off to a hot start and he is 27% with layoffs of longer than 180 days and he’s 30% with jockey Martin Pedroza.


SECOND RACE: 1. Shared Image, 2. Sugar Spice, 3. Prettyhotprincess. LONG SHOT: Myrna Lou.
THIRD RACE: 1. #6 Zanbo (5-2), 2. Augustina de Aragon, 3. Bartiromo. LONG SHOT: Loveintheshadows.

This mare just ran over the weekend, finishing fourth and missing by one length. Trainer Peter Miller is 2-for-5 at Del Mar when bringing a horse back on less than 7 days rest. This 6-year-oldis dropping from the allowance ranks to a claimer and Tyler Baze stays aboard.


FOURTH RACE: 1. Excite Me, 2. Unbridled Rocket, 3. Mishegas. LONG SHOT: Dixie Writer.
FIFTH RACE: 1. Benba, 2. Papa Kade, 3. Eternal Flame. LONG SHOT: Rainbow North.
SIXTH RACE: 1. Cassandras Chase, 2. Arewehavingfunyet, 3. Girl Downstairs. LONG SHOT: Marketplace.
SEVENTH RACE: 1. Point Piper, 2. Little Jerry, 3. Draw Two. LONG SHOT: Danas Best.
EIGHTH RACE: 1. Papa Frank, 2. Herbies Thunder, 3. Eagle Rock. LONG SHOT: Generous Don.

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 Wednesday’s top choice winners: 1 (Land Over Sea $3.40, fifth race)
Wednesday’s second choice winners: 0
Wednesday’s third choice winners: 1 (Jimmy Bouncer $8.60, third)
Wednesday’s long shot winners: 4 (Hye I’m Jack $28.80, first; Mr. Zippers $32.60, second; Tumbleweedprincess $8, fourth; Saint Adalbert $25.40, eighth)
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.


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.


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


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


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


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.


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


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


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.


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


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.

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Belmont Park, Horse racing, Triple Crown

Belmont Park opinions for Saturday, June 6

Jeff Nahill’s Belmont Stakes picks

#6 Frosted

#5 American Pharoah

#2 Tale of Verve

#8 Materiality


Race 6: #10 Sky Kingdom (6-1)

This race is a trial for jockey Victor Espinoza and trainer Bob Baffert for the Belmont later in the day. This 6-year-old has never been worse than second at this distance and he has been training lights out at Santa Anita for this race.


Race 7: #10 Light the City (12-1)

Tough to explain her last, but she has since been sent East to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who is 58% with horses the first time he runs them. She seems to be training well at Belmont and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., who is 34% with McLaughlin, takes over.


Race 10: #8 Biz the Nurse (15-1)

Our Eyes:  This horse makes his third start in the U.S. and he was a good fourth last time out at Keeneland. He’s moving up in class but in Grade I company in Europe and could be ready to unlease a big effort with new rider Joel Rosario.


Race 13: #8 Biz Looie (12-1) ***

Our Eyes:  Trainer Jorge Navarro has a horse in the Met Mile and brings this high-priced claimer along, too, and also lets jockey Martin Pedroza ride. This gelding is coming off a wire-to-wire win at Gulfstream, beating the morning-line favorite in this race, Social Inclusion.

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