Horse racing, Saratoga

Jeff Nahill’s Saratoga opinions for Thursday, July 16 (Opening day)

Note: There is a possibility of rain so check for changes. Word from the main track has been rebuilt and is more sandy this year. That could inside speed on a dry track and rally wide closers on a wet track but we’ll have to see hot it works out. I usually like horses for courses particularly at Del Mar and Saratoga so I don’t what to think.

FIRST RACE: 1. Castle Casanova, 2. Jerome Avenue, 3. Guy Caballero. LONG SHOT: Sargeant Drive.

SECOND RACE: 1. Magic Mojo, 2. Mutakaamil, 3. Leading West. LONG SHOT: Eternal Summer.

THIRD RACE: 1. Palace Avenger, 2. Glass Ceiling, 3. Palomita. LONG SHOT: Carrizo.

FOURTH RACE: 1. Yes to Mischief, 2. Dial me Up, 3. Thrill. LONG SHOT: Palace Duchess.

FIFTH RACE: 1. The Caretaker, 2. Thorny Tale, 3. Dark Money. LONG SHOT: Steam Engine.

SIXTH RACE: 1. Mr Everything, 2. Propensity, 3. Sir Chubby. LONG SHOT: No Bad Days.

SEVENTH RACE: 1. Astoiria Kitten, 2. Summer At the Spa, 3. Ava K’s Girl. LONG SHOT: Pecatonica.

EIGHTH RACE: 1. Hopeful Princess, 2. Beautiful Memories, 3. Quinoa Tifah. LONG SHOT: Make Mischief.

NINTH RACE: 1. Mystic Guide, 2. Caracaro, 3. Modernist. LONG SHOT: Mo Hawk.

10TH RACE: 1. Summer Fortune (best bet), 2. Secure Connection, 3. Alley to Calvary. LONG SHOT: Rousey.

Good luck. Stay safe.

Belmont Park, Horse racing

Jeff Nahill’s Belmont Park opinions for Saturday, July 4 (Races 7-11)

SEVENTH RACE: 1. Jo’s Bold Cat, 2. Danfusi, 3. Point Him Out. LONG SHOT: Bad Guy.

EIGHTH RACE: 1. Seismic Wave (best bet), 2. Valid Point, 3. Got Stormy. LONG SHOT: Hawkish.

NINTH RACE: 1. Mr Freeze, 2. Code of Honor, 3. McKinzie. LONG SHOT: Network Effect.

10TH RACE: 1. Devamani, 2. Instilled Regard, 3. Cross Border. LONG SHOT: Spooky Channel.

11TH RACE: 1. Just Whistle, 2. Sir Winston, 3. Moretti. LONG SHOT: Forewarned.

Good luck. Stay safe.

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Thursday, March 24

Preview: Look for hot jockeys this week as some jockeys are out of town riding in Dubai and Santiago Gonzalez is out six weeks with a broken jaw. Check for jockey changes but remember the trainer wanted the meet’s No. 2 jockey so keep that in mind and that the horse is probably live.


Race 6 – SA

#3 Esmeralda Belle (6-1): This filly showed some talent last year before going to the sidelines. She drops into a maiden claimer for the first time and trainer Jorge Peridan is 33% with that move. He is also 3-for-4 with horses coming off a layoff of more than 180 days.


Race 7 – SA

#9 Warden of the West (5-1): This colt broke his maiden in New York for Todd Pletcher and now ends up in the barn of trainer Eddie Truman, who is 46% with shippers. He gets leading rider Rafael Bejarano to ride and he will have to work out a trip from the outside with this closer.


Race 8 – SA

#2 Seattle Boom (8-1) (turf only): This gelding is dropping into into a maiden claimer for the first time and claimer Craig Dollase is 24% with that move. On top of that he is going two turns for the first time. The sire War Front is a monster is monster of the turf.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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.


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.


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.


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

Gulfstream Park West, Horse racing

Gulfstream Park West opinions for Friday and Saturday, Nov. 6-7

Race 3: #6 American Phantom (12-1)

This 2-year-old drops into a maiden claimer for the first time and comes out of a MSW race that has produced 4 next out winners. He tries two turns and the turf for the first time. Sire Cowtown Cat is 12% first time turf.


Race 5: #6 Born to Be Winner (turf) (3-1)

Drops into a maiden claimer for the first time for a fifth-place finish on the grass. Paco Lopez takes over so look for this one to go straight to the front.


Race 8: #7 Subcontractor (5-1)

Trainer David Jacobson ships this 3-year-old down from New York. He is 26% with shippers and this horse come out of a key race that was produced 3 next out winners.


Saturday, Nov. 7

Race 4: #3 Imperial Robyn (turf only) (10-1)

This mare returns to South Florida, where she has won twice in the past. Trainer Kerry Zavash is 24% with shippers and the 6-year-old is coming out of a key race. Jockey Joe Bravo jumps on .


Race 10: #4 Big Boy Bruno (10-1)

This 2-year-old broke his maiden with ease at first asking. Trainer Larry Pilotti is 29% with horses coming off a layoff of 90 or more days and the son of Seeking Beauty has been training lights out for his turf debut. Speed jockey Paco Lopez jumps on.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Horse racing, Tampa Bay Downs

Tampa Bay Downs opinions for Friday, Feb. 6

Race 4: #4 Hank’ster (4-1)

Trainer Jason Da Costa is 28% at the meet and he decides to put blinkers on this son of Wildcat Heir, who finished sixth in this debut. Da Costa and jockey Fernando De la Cruz are looking for more speed as this 3-year-old drops his claiming price in half ($50,000 to $25,000).


Race 9: #1 Shaikha (turf only) (8-5)

This 5-year-old mare has been facing way tougher in New York and before that at Gulfstream Park. She has 7 runner-up finishes in 16 lifetime starts and might finally have found a class level she can win at. She has tactical speed and jockey Dyn Panell is 24% with trainer John Rigattieri.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Hollywood Park, Horse racing

What a maddening game horse racing is

Arethusa_cb1_200 (1) 

Darley Stable’s Arethusa and Corey Nakatani win the $100,000 Sharp Cat Stakes Saturday, Nov.16, at Betfair Hollywood Park. BENOIT PHOTO

I’ve told many people that I would describe myself as a good handicapper and a bad bettor. I just haven’t mastered that part of the game like my Del Mar boothmate, syndicated handicapper Bob Ike.

This past weekend proved my point again. A lot of it is my own fault for being too much of a football fan (and bettor) watching games and playing tracks in New York and Kentucky.

Then all of a sudden it’s 12:30 p.m. and Hollywood Park is going off and I don’t have a wager put in for the Players Pick 5 which costs 50 cents per combination. On Saturday, that mistake cost me $4,367.40.

The first three races were taken by my second choices in my handicapping on this blog. The last two races were won by my top pick. So for a paltry $4, I could have won a lot of coin and when you have COBRA payments every month, that’s a lot of green.

Of course, the kicker was the key race was the third when maiden Arethusa, trained by Eoin Harty, won a stakes race as a maiden, paying $23. I gave out that horse earlier in the meet here and on Horse Player Now, but did I bet her on Saturday? Nope.

Even after doing well in the Pick 5, I didn’t bet my long shot, Tebowing ($24.40), in the sixth. No, I made one bet, in the ninth on Magic Number ($9). Sure I won but not a satisfying day from a betting standpoint.

So on Sunday, I didn’t have a real good feeling, and I was right, at least early on the card. I was horrible in the first five races, but as the late Pick 5 approached, I thought my luck and handicapping had to change.

Again I was watching the Chargers and Red Zone (love Red Zone) plus a friend’s mother needed a ride to the ER so off I went.

When I got back I found my long shots Casey’s Clem ($40.60) and Empty Headed ($8.40) won the sixth and seventh races, respectively. My second choice Global Hottie ($3.40) took the eighth —- here’s a hint in following my picks, I rarely put an even-money shot on top —- and finally my third choice, Warren’s Judy ($20.80), won the last race. The payoff on the Pick 4 was $942.40 and I had none of it.

So a good weekend of handicapping and another weekend of bad betting or non-betting, whatever the case. So frustrating, but I’m sure everyone has stories like this. I just needed to vent.

Now onto handicapping this week’s cards.


Sunday’s top choice winners: 0

Sunday’s second choice winners: 3 (Tama County $11.40, second race; Holy Candy $6.60, fifth; Global Hottie $3.40, eighth)

Sunday’s third choice winners: 1 (Warren’s Judy $20.80, ninth)

Sunday’s long shot winners: 2 (Casey’s Clem $40.60, sixth; Empty Headed $8.40, seventh)

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