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 Saturday, April 29

Preview: Hope some of you played our two horses yesterday and cashed.

Race 1 – SA
#9 Lady Acclamation (6-1) TURF ONLY ****
Our Eyes: Jockey Tyler Baze has ridden three other horses in this field and decides to take the mount on this first-time starter. I know trainer Kenny Black is 0-for-11 with first-timers, but there is always a first time and I’ll take a shot with this filly.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 4 – SA
#8 Line (6-1) TURF ONLY ****
Our Eyes: I’ve been waiting for this filly to hit her stride. Maybe today is the day with Mike Smith in the irons. Trainer Richard Mandella is 21% third off the layoff as is his other mare in here, Scandal (5-2). I’m taking the longer price and play and exacta box.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show. EXBX 8-6.

Race 7 – SA
#6 Farhaan (6-1) TURF ONLY ****
Our Eyes: This 8-year-old ran a decent second off the layoff and has a big work coming into the race. Phil D’Amato is great with turf horses and Tyler Baze keeps the mount.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show. EXBX 6-2-3-4.

Race 8 – SA
#4 Union Rebel (9-2) ****
Our Eyes: Has been improving each day and this might be graduation day. Rafael Bejarano keeps the mount and is 25% with trainer Richard Baltas.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 9 – SA
#4 Hero Ten All (6-1) TURF ONLY ****
Our Eyes: Jeff Mullins flies under the radar these days but he is 23% with horses off a 31 to 60-day layoff. This gelding had been training well and Tyler Baze keeps the mount.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show. EXBX 8-6.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Saturday, Aug. 27

Preview: The turf rails will be at 12 feet today so closers should have a shot. Jockeys Flavien Prat (16-for-69) and Rafael Bejarano (10-56) lead the way on the grass. Jockeys to avoid (maybe) are Stewart Elliott 1-for-26, Mike Smith 1-for-25 and Martin Garcia 0-21.

Race 1: 1. #3 Where’s Bubba (6-1) BEST BET, 2. Boompa, 3. Tomasino. LONG SHOT: Exemplar.

Trainer Bill Spawr is good a changing a horses distance. He is 36% when going from a route to a sprint and even more impressive when going sprint-route-sprint he is 56%.

Race 2: 1. Above Board, 2. Latest Craze, 3. Counturluckystars. LONG SHOT: Cavalry.

Race 3: 1. Masochistic, 2. Indexical, 3. Vyjack.

Race 4: 1. Vartan, 2. Dream It Do It, 3. Moose Skowron. LONG SHOT: Dynamic Scoring.

Race 5: 1. #3 Lauren’s Export (12-1), 2. Dust It, 3. Leveler. LONG SHOT: Anythingcanhappen.

Trainer Carla Gaines is 23% when debuting a horse on the turf and this daughter of Lonhro has three straight big works coming into the race. Lonhro is 13% with first-time turfers.

Race 6: 1. Hell On Heels, 2. Krisie’s Heart, 3. Passionate Emotion. LONG SHOT: Dragon Flowerr.

Race 7: 1. Nodiac, 2. Do the Dance, 3. How Unusual. LONG SHOT: Patriotic Diamond.

Race 8: 1. #5 How About Zero (6-1), 2. Miss Sunset, 3. You’re Late. LONG SHOT: I’ll Be Around.

We have seen trainer Doug O’Neill do this before: start a first-time maiden in a stakes race and he has won. This is a daughter of Square Eddie, who gets 16% winners first time out and barn jockey Mario Gutierrez takes the ride.

Race 9: 1. #8 Hansen Tale Blues (10-1), 2. Life’s Blessings, 3. Lovely Linda. LONG SHOT: Soul Singer.

Trainer Victor Garcia is 12% with first-time starters and he always seems to cash a bomber for his father King Juan Garcia, who races under the name Lucky Charm Stable. This son of Hansen has been training steadily and the sire gets 14% first time out. Follow the money.

Race 10: 1. American Aristocat, 2. Temple Keys, 3. Anatolian. LONG SHOT: Over Par.

Good luck

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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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.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Sunday, Aug. 14

Preview: The turf rails will be set at 12 feet, giving closers a decent shot. On the main track jockeys to think twice about are Drayden Van Dyke 0-for-16, Abel Lezcano 0-13 and Mike Smith 1-15.

Race 1: 1. Space Cadet, 2. Spindle, 3. Atlantic Slew. LONG SHOT: Topaz Time.

Race 2: 1. Midnight Rambler, 2. Trust Ur Intuition, 3. Eddie Haskell. LONG SHOT: Senator Robert.

Race 3: 1. I B Mike, 2. Coyote Fly, 3. Overcomer. LONG SHOT: Dadtaughtmewell.

Race 4: 1. #9 Feldini (6-1), 2. Dark Energy, 3. Angel Eria. LONG SHOT: Aztec Warrior.
Trainer Scott Hansen is 43% the first time he puts a horse on the grass for the first time. Jockey Drayden Van Dyke jumps back. The sire Twirling Candy gets 10% winners first time on the green.

Race 5: 1. #2 Cordiality (5-1), 2. Allsquare, 3. Filly On Fire. LONG SHOT: The Spiral Jetter.
Trainer Mark Glatt is having a huge meet and he looks to continue it with this first off the claim filly. Glatt is 31% first off the claim and jockey Flavien Prat, 27% with Glatt, takes over.

Race 6: 1. Hobbits Hero, 2. Tuco, 3. Zinvor. LONG SHOT: Reflected Star.

Race 7: 1. Fact of Life, 2. American Gal, 3. Cho Has Zip. LONG SHOT: Hopefully.

Race 8: 1. #5 Barbara Beatrice (6-1), 2. Singing Kitty, 3. How Unusual. LONG SHOT: Tiz a Kiss.
This filly has been facing open company and now drops into a Cal-bred stakes. She has won over this course before and trainer Phil D’Amato is good in all categories, especially 25% third off the layoff. She might get overlooked in the wagering.

Race 9: 1. Awesome Image, 2. Legitimate, 3. Star Express. LONG SHOT: Olimpio’s Scat Cat.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Saturday, Aug. 6

Preview: Not a bad card with a pair of stakes races on the 10-race card. Some stats to consider are jockeys not doing well on the dirt: Drayden Van Dyke 0-for-15, Abel Lezcano 0-11, Jamie Theriot 1-15 and Mike Smith 1-14.

Race 1: Nextdoorneighbor, 2. Basmati, 3. Luckarack. LONG SHOT: Changing Karma.

Race 2: 1. #6 Big Tire (5-1), 2. Hay Dude, 3. All Call. LONG SHOT: Madikwe.
It’s been a long time since this gelding has been on the grass, but trainer John Brocklebank claimed him last out and gets top turf rider Flavien Prat to take the mount. Look for this 5-year-old to close down the lane.

Race 3: 1. Truly Ponti, 2. Angel Lane, 3. Esmeralda Belle. LONG SHOT: Lisa Largo.

Race 4: 1. #3 Rooms (10-1), 2. Miss Southern Miss, 3. Champagne Room. LONG SHOT: Ciao Bella Rosa.
This filly wanted no part of two turns on the grass so what does trainer George Papaprodromou do? He puts this maiden in a stakes on the dirt cutting back in distance. She should be plenty fit and he gets the meet’s leading rider Flavien Prat to take over.

Race 5: 1. Sutton’s Smile, 2. La Boheme, 3. Stylish in Black. LONG SHOT: Dynamic Mizzes K.

Race 6: 1. Pragmatical, 2. Tandora, 3. Vivacious Beauty. LONG SHOT: Dashin Ashen.

Race 7: 1. #7 Annie’s Candy (15-1), 2. Bombard, 3. Curlin Rules. LONG SHOT: Trinitas Soldier.
This gelding showed a decent effort while closing in a 5-furlong turf event recently. Now trainer Peter Miller stretches him out and Miller is 21% with horses their second time on the turf. Jockey Norberto Arroyo keeps the mount.

Race 8: 1. Excavation, 2. Straight Fire, 3. James River. LONG SHOT: Plum Dandy.

Race 9: 1. Lucky Bryan, 2. Moonlight Drive, 3. Monster Bea. LONG SHOT: Dressed in Hermes.

Race 10: 1. #4 Little Mustard (5-1) BEST BET, 2. Rideo, 3. Alaskan Cruise. LONG SHOT: Woodstock Memory.
This gelding likes to finish second and third, but maybe today is graduation day. Jockey Flavien Prat could have ridden two others in this race but opted to get back on this 3-year-old. The gelding likes to be close to the pace so maybe there will be a speed bias to help him.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Saturday, July 23 (updated)

Preview: Can any card with California Chrome and Dortmund on it, be bad? Doubt it. Soi Phet and Hard Aces have scratched out of the San Diego, leaving just five horses for Chrome and Dortmund. Jockey Edwin Maldonado is off all mounts today attending his grandmother’s funeral.

In case you haven’t heard three horses were injured this morning at Del Mar during workouts, with at least one fatality. Trainer Richard Mandella decided not to work Beholder due to the condition of the track and said he hopes to work on Sunday morning.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has scratched a top 2-year-old filly from a maiden race today. I don’t know if the track has anything to do with it.

I had one Del Mar executive tell me after the first three days of racing last weekend that he didn’t like the way the main track was playing. Food for thought.

Race 1: 1. Ketos, 2. Feldini, 3. Patron. LONG SHOT: Westwood’s Wizard.

Don’t know what to do with Bob Baffert’s Patron. She is working well, but she is bred for the grass and to run long. She will get bet. She may win, but not with my money.

Race 2: 1. Dutchessa, 2. Q’ Viva, 3. Foxy Lover. LONG SHOT: Avicii.

Race 3: 1. #6 Paiasolo (9-2), 2. Hobbits Hero, 3. Free Rose. LONG SHOT: Banze No Oeste.
This colt almost broke through at this condition last time but came up a length short. Trainer Richard Mandella is 21% with beaten favorites and 31% in allowance races. Jockey Flavien Prat rides and he is 18% with Mandella.

Race 4: 1. #4 Light of the Moon (3-1) SCRATCHED, 2. Adorable, 3. Princess Coco. LONG SHOT: Feel Freely.
This filly didn’t get off to the best start in her debut, but she took plenty of money so the clockers must have liked what they saw. She must make up 5 lengths on Adorable in this race, but trainer Jerry Hollendorfer is 30% with second-time starters. Jockey Mike Smith stays aboard and he’s 47% with Hollendorfer the last two years at Del Mar.

Race 5: 1. #1 Metaboss (5-1), 2. Calculator, 3. Perfectly Majestic. LONG SHOT: Texas Two Step.
After running his last three races in Maryland for trainer Michael Dickinson, this 4-year-old ends up in the Phil D’Amato barn, which is 18% with horse first time in their barn. Jockey Rafael Bejarano jumps on and he’s 31% with D’Amato.

Race 6: 1. Sorryaboutnothing, 2. Classico, 3. Swiss Minister. LONG SHOT: Blanket of Ice.

Race 7: 1. #1 Belvoir Bay (4-1), 2. Mokat, 3. Be Mine. LONG SHOT: Jade Princess.
Jockey Florent Geroux comes west to ride this filly for owners Team Valor and Gary Barber. Last the 3-year-old was seen, she destroyed the competition in the Blue Northern stakes at Santa Anita. Trainer Peter Miller has been her ready at San Luis Rey Downs. Look for her to use her speed from the inside and roll from there.

Race 8: 1. Princess Kendra, 2. Katy Drama, 3. Tooluckysupermoon. LONG SHOT: Ish.

Race 9: 1. California Chrome, 2. Dortmund, 3. Win the Space. LONG SHOT: Follow Me Crev.

Pace 10: 1. Sassy Ashley, 2. Lethal Legacy, 3. Whistle Pretty. LONG SHOT: Georgia Blue.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Friday’s top choice winners: 3 (Pray Hard $6.20, fifth race; Little Scotty $7.60, sixth; Enola Gray $2.20, seventh)

Friday’s second choice winners: 0

Friday’s third choice winners: 3 (Ask Me I Might $8, second; All Star Parade $6, third; Lord of Chaos $5.40, eighth)

Friday’s long shot winners: 0

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