Horse racing

Churchill Downs opinions for Wednesday, Nov. 23

Preview: There is a rollover of $139,275 in the Single Six wager and there is also rain in the forecast so don’t expect the turf races to stay on the green.

Race 6: #8 Teenertown Prince (6-1)
This 3-year-old drops to his lowest level ever and comes out of a key race that has produced three next out winners. Trainer Forest Kaelin is 29% with horses off a 46- to 90-day layoff and he gets Calvin Borel to ride. The sire Speightstown gets 21% winners on a wet track.

Race 9: #12 Takeittotheedge (8-1)
Our Eyes: This 3-year-old is making his second race start off the layoff and look who he lost to in some of his past races: Cupid, Forevamo and Nyquist. Trainer Dale Romans is 23% with beaten favorites. Faces several he lost to in return and could like the mud as sire Broken Vow is 18% on off-tracks.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Horse racing, Pimlico

Pimlico Race Course opinions for Saturday, May 21

There are no secrets to my picks for Saturday’s Preakness Stakes, #westisbest.
Even thought it’s suppose to rain most of the day at Pimlico Race Course, I don’t see any reason why Nyquist won’t win the race and go to New York looking to give the sport a second straight Triple Crown.
Nyquist has just proven to be able to do what he wants on the track and the thing I keep coming back to is the fact that he doesn’t want to be passed once he gets in front.
Exaggerator has yet to get by him and I don’t see it on Saturday, but he looks like the second-best 3-year-old in the country.
Adding to the intrigued in this one will be the addition of Uncle Lino, who finished to Exaggerator in the mud at the Santa Anita Derby. I don’t think he is as good as Nyquist, but he will have to go from the No. 2 post and he has natural speed.
I look for a West Coast trifecta in this race. Rain or shine.

1. Lady Shipman, 2. Joya Real, 3. Exaggerated. Long shot: Miss Matzoball.

1. Counterforce, 2. Justin Squared, 3. Quijote. Long shot: Discreet Angel.

1. Mizz Money, 2. Heath, 3. Tiger Ride. Long shot: Flying Tipat.

1. Dazzling Gem, 2. American Freedom, 3. Gettysburg. Long shot: Moon King.

1. Takeover Target, 2. Grand Arch, 3. Take the Stand. Long shot: Prince Gagarin.

13TH RACE: Preakness Stakes
1. Nyquist, 2. Exaggerator, 3., Uncle Lino. Long shot: Fellowship.

Good luck.

Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Churchill Downs, Horse racing

Churchill Downs opinions for Saturday, May 7

Kentucky Derby selections
#13. Nyquist
#11. Exaggerator
#9. Destin
#6. My Man Sam
It took me a while to warm up to the undefeated Nyquist, also trained by O’Neill and ridden by Mario Gutierrez. I tried to beat him in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile because of his poor post draw, but I did have him in my West Coast trifecta that finished 1-2-4. It was that race that turned me around. Once he got the lead, he won’t let you go past him. It’s been the same in his 2016 races. Go back and look at the replays. Exaggerator had dead aim on him in February and Nyquist wouldn’t let him by. Believe me, the Desormeaux brothers (trainer Keith and jockey Kent) were more than happy to see Nyquist go to the Florida Derby, where he beat the best in the East to collect a $1 million bonus. Meanwhile, Exaggerator stayed in Arcadia and turned in an impressive turn of foot in the sloppy Santa Anita Derby win. Destin is coming out of win in the Tampa Bay Derby, which has produced three next out winners, while My Man Sam has some closing ability. My real LONG SHOT is the maiden Trojan Nation. I don’t know if he can win, but I think he can shake up the exotics.

Race 3: #10 Jimbo Fallon (4-1): This colt is coming off a 13-month layoff, but word is that he has been the workout mate for Mor Spirit, who runs later on the card in the Derby, and by the looks of the works JF has been holding his own. Another positive is he’s a 4-year-old running against a lot of 3-year-olds.

Race 8: #9 Birdatthewire (5-1: Dale Romans is back training this filly and Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith is back in the saddle. Smith has won her before at 7 furlongs, just like today. Her wins all show one thing: a long sustained run from the back and we expect the same here.

Race 10: #2 Ralis (10-1): The colt hasn’t had the same success he had as a 2-year-old, but he has been working out with likely Derby favorite Nyquist in Kentucky. Trainer Doug O’Neill tries to get him to focus by adding blinkers and jockey Mario Gutierrez is reunited with him.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Saturday, March 12


Preview: Rainhit the Arcadia area on Friday so what will happen with the turf races is anyone’s guess. I would think the graded stakes will stay on the turf, but it depends on how much rain there is. As for the main track, here are some jockeys who are under 10% on the dirt: Fernando Perez (9-113), Brayan Pena (3-49), Abel Lezcano (3-35), Tiago Pereira (1-58) and Gonzalo Nicholas (1-39).


Race 2: #2 Queenoftheplace (8-1) (turf only): There is a ton of speed in this race and speed has been good on the turf, but a closer like this mare might just get the trip. She has finished third own the hill.


Race 4: #2 Street Surrender (5-1): This is strictly a trainer and pedigree play on this first-time starter. Craig Dollase is 28% with first-timers and the the sire Street Boss is 19%. Victor Espinoza rides.


Race 7 (SAN FELIPE):  #7 Exaggerator (5-2): In my mind, Nyquist is the top 3-year-old in America and this son of Curlin just can’t beat him, but guess what? Nyquist isn’t in this race so Exaggerator should be the favorite. Trainer Keith Desormeaux is 22% second off the layoff and his brother, Kent, will ride.


Race 9: #5 Cautious Giant (10-1): This is strictly a pace play in this 7-furlong stakes race. This gelding seems like the lone speed in this spot and he does well at this distance. Jockey Santiago Gonzalez is second in main track wins so he knows what to do.


Race 11: #2 Sutton’s Smile (6-1)  (turf only): This filly broke her maiden over a good turf course here so if there is any moisture in it I think she will be tough on the return from the layoff. Trainer Phil D’Amato is 25% with horses off a 90-plus day layoff and he gets Rafael Bejarano to ride.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Monday, Feb. 15

Preview: Five-day a week cards are tough here but at least we get to see Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Nyquist today begin his Road to the Kentucky Derby. I like Exaggerator to give him all he wants today.


Race 2: #8 Adios Princess (5-2)

There are a lot of first-timers in this maiden claimer, but the proven commodity is this 3-year-old filly, which is dropping from a MSW. Jockey Flavien Prat jumps on for trainer Mike Puype and they are 20% together.


Race 4: #4 Souper Knight (5-1) 

Trainer David Jacobson is starting to get the hang of things in Southern California.Tyler Baze jumps on this gelding, which holds the top Brisnet Prime, Class and Late Pace numbers.


Race 9: #5 Holiday Mousse (8-1)

This gelding was bought for 185K and now is offered for $30K in a maiden claimer. Trainer Doug O’Neill is 29% going from MSW to MC and he switches to speed jockey Edwin Maldonado which probably means a send from the gate.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Saturday, Jan. 9

Race 1: #7 Pageant Material (5-2)

Trainer Richard Baltas has been hitting on all cyclinders so far at the meet. This filly ran a big race over this track in October but ran into the highly regarded Bellamentry. She holds an early pace edge and class edge over these plus jockey Santiago Gonzalez rides.


Race 6: #1 Rare Candy (6-1)

This newly turned 3-year-old finished fourth over this track in his only dirt race. He finished fourth to undefeated Nyquist that day and now adds blinkers as trainer David Hofmans searches for the right formula. Jockey Joe Talamo stays aboard.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Sunday, Nov. 29 (closing day)

FIRST RACE: 1. Diablo Caballero, 2. Cool Green, 3. Sundar Drums. LONG SHOT: Otto’s Echo.

SECOND RACE: 1. #8 Intoxicating Move (4-1), 2. Vanlose Stairway, 3. With a Twist. LONG SHOT: Artistic Charm.

Tough to explain the last race by this mare, but it would appear she likes going around two turns better with three lifetime wins. She takes a drop in class for trainer for trainer Jack Carava and he goes with good turf rider Corey Nakatani.


THIRD RACE: 1. Wise Tale, 2. Start a Runnin, 3. Purrin’ Proud. LONG SHOT: Fin de Semaine.
FOURTH RACE: 1. It Is Living Water, 2. Thanksgiving Day, 3. Nahem. LONG SHOT: Bird E House.
FIFTH RACE: 1. Perfect Set, 2. Ike Walker, 3. Crucero. LONG SHOT: Gold Treasure.
SIXTH RACE: 1. #9 Rare Candy (15-1), 2. Dressed in Hermes, 3. Imperious One. LONG SHOT: Ninety One Assault.

This colt comes out of the Front Runner at Santa Anita. All he did was finish fouth behind the 1-2 finishers in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Nyquist and Swipe). It appears this 2-year-old likes grass better and Joe Talamo knows how to ride on the turf.


SEVENTH RACE: 1. Lord Walton, 2. Hard Gale, 3. Hoffenheim. LONG SHOT: My Patate.
EIGHTH RACE: 1. Olorda, 2. Filimbi, 3. Stellar Path. LONG SHOT: Curlin’s Fox.
NINITH: 1. #6 RIM NICK (6-1) BEST BET, 2. Miner’s Light, 3. Agronomy. LONG SHOT: Trump Diesel.

It would be right to close out the meet with the leading jockey (Rafael Bejarano) and leading trainer (Doug O’Neill). This first-time starter is sired by J P’s Gusto, who gets 18% first-time winners. Plus this one seems to be training good over the track.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Saturday’s top choice winners: 4 (Roper $5.40, first race; Tulira Castle $3, second; Tribal Jewel $15, sixth; Dortmund $3.20, eighth)

Saturday’s second choice winners: 1 (Path of David $7.60, third)

Saturday’s third choice winners: 0

Saturday’s long shot winners: 0