Horse racing, Santa Anita

Updated Santa Anita picks for Sunday Sept. 29

A little late but here are today’s picks.

FIRST RACE: 1. Billy Win, 2. Disarm, 3. Hazardous. Long shot: Judge Carr.


SECOND RACE: 1. Miss Personality, 2. Southern Sunshine, 3. Dancinginthestreet. Long shot: Total War.


THIRD RACE: 1. Bev N Bud, 2. Silver Wings, 3. Dunmore East. Long shot: Private Bounty.


FOURTH RACE: 1. Bluegrass Girls, 2. Classic Candy, 3. Little Unusual. Long shot: Visions of Candy.


FIFTH RACE: 1. Uncle Dick, 2. Tom’s Tribute, 3. Little Jerry. Long shot: Quiet Force.


SIXTH RACE: 1. Wasted At Midnight, 2. Hiumor Me, 3. Tappingintherain. Long shot: Hollywood Icon.


SEVENTH RACE: 1. Funny Gal, 2. Magestic Stinger, 3. Pat’s Back. Long shot: Anita Marie.


EIGHTH RACE: 1. HOLDING GLORY (Best bet), 2. Indy Point, 3. Vagabond Shoes. Long shot: Lucayan.

One real opinion is in Race 8: #2 Holding Glory: Trainer A C Avila desperately wanted to run the Brazilian bred on the turf at the Del Mar, but the owner wanted to run in the synthetic $1 million Pacific Classic. This 4-year-old certainly wasn’t disgraced in the Classic, finishing fifth behind Game On Dude, just a quarter of a length out of second place, but Avila gets his preferred surface today as Holding Glory won 4-of-6 in Brazil on the turf. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith takes over the mount.


NINTH RACE: 1. Justa Runner, 2. Wild Dude, 3. Derringer. Long shot: Ranulf.


10th RACE: 1. Flashy Dame, 2. Toppers Sunshine, 3. Dolphin Shorts. Long shot: Hair on Fire.


Saturday’s top choice winners: 5 (Secret Compass $23.40, 5th race; Tiz Flirtatious $5.40. 6th; Beholder $5.20, 9th; Mucho Macho Man $5.20, 10th; Pontchatrain $13, 11th)

Saturday’s second choice winners: 1 (All For Us $10.20, 2nd race)

Saturday’s third choices winners: 2 (Versye $28.20, 1st race; Topper’s Ghost $12, 2nd)

Saturday’s long shot winners: 0

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Del Mar, Horse racing

Updated Del Mar picks for Wednesday, Aug. 28

FIRST RACE: 1. Topper’s Ghost, 2. Stormin Lute, 3. Brannaman. LONG SHOT: Run Hide.

TOPPER’S GHOST, a 3-year-old son of Old Topper, was a universal good thing first time out. He was 20-1 on the morning-line and went off as the 2.40-1 favorite, winning by three-quarters of a length. He was claimed out of that race by leading trainer John Sadler, who is 25 percent with that move. Leading jockey Rafael Bejarano jumps off another contender to ride here, too.


SECOND RACE: 1. Melatonin, 2. Kristo, 3. Roundupthelute. LONG SHOT: Quick and Silver.

This is a race with several high-priced 2-year-olds like KRISTO ($500K) and ROUNDUPTHELUTE ($230K) , but it could be a 20,000 bargain named MELATONIN that steals the show. The son of Kodiak Kowboy has been tearing up the track in the morning and looks ready to go for trainer Jeff Bonde.


THIRD RACE: 1. Marine Fog, 2. Bev N Bud, 3. Peacenik. LONG SHOT: Afleet Cowboy.

CLASSIC BOBBY (No. 1) is “stuck” in the race and likely to scratch. MARINE FOG was claimed out of his last race by Bonde and must beat several others he lost to last time. However, Bejarano jumps aboard and that could make all the difference.


FOURTH RACE: 1. Dreamnofatticus, 2. Bro’s Bro, 3. Glitter of Silver. LONG SHOT: Accomplish.

Bejarano just missed getting DREAMNOFATTICUS to the winner’s circle last time. He shortens up a half-furlong here and it just might be the winning formula.


FIFTH RACE: 1. TONES (best bet), 2. Gutshot Straight, 3. Truelee Scrappin. LONG SHOT: Magic Beam.

Heading into the final full week of the meet some trainers drop horses looking for some shipping money. We have one of these here for trainer Doug O’Neill in TONES. This 4-year-old drops into a claimer for the first time, all the way down at $20,000. We might have gotten a better price here if this race was run before last weekend. In Tones’ last race, he lost to You Know I Know (third in the Pacific Classic), Holding Glory (fifth in the Pacific Classic) and Huntsville (third in the Del Mar Mile). That’s quite a company line.


SIXTH RACE: 1. Sizzlin’ Joe, 2. Christopher Street, 3. Turn on the Pumps. LONG SHOT: Heat Streaker.

Marty Jones trains both SIZZLIN’ JOE and CHRISTOPHER STREET. SIZZLIN’ JOE has been on the synthetics his last three races, but in his only try at this distance on the grass, he won. Plus, Bejarano takes over and he comes out of a race where Brown Boss has come back to win. CHRISTOPHER STREET has been a disappointment in his two comeback races so maybe the third start off the layoff will do the track.


SEVENTH RACE (Generous Portion): 1. Sunday Rules, 2. Rovenna, 3. Feature Attraction. LONG SHOT: Whatsallthedrama.

You would think for a $150,000 purse there would be more than six Cal-bred fillies signed up, but there isn’t. SUNDAY RULES went wire-to-wire in her debut and looks tough in this spot. ROVENNA is the interesting one as she broke her maiden at Calder and comes out West looking for bigger money.


EIGHTH RACE: 1. J K’s Mischief, 2. Winninginfashion, 3. Nonna Reese. LONG SHOT: Maddog Maddie.

J K’S MISCHIEF threw in a clunker last time, but she was favored and will be looking to make amends here. Hard Buns came back to win, making it a possible key race.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Del Mar, Horse racing

The Dude was The Man

Co-owners Joe Torre, left, and Bernie Schiappa, right, escort favored Game On Dude and Martin Garcia into the winner's circle after victory in the Grade I $1,000,000 Pacific Classic Sunday,  at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. BENOIT PHOTO

Co-owners Joe Torre, left, and Bernie Schiappa, right, escort favored Game On Dude and Martin Garcia into the winner’s circle after victory in the Grade I $1,000,000 Pacific Classic Sunday, at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. BENOIT PHOTO

DEL MAR —- In the end, The Dude was just too much.

After two straight years of frustrating losses in Del Mar’s $1 million Pacific Classic, Game On Dude ran the other 11 horses off their hooves on Sunday.

Game On Dude, who was the 8-5 betting favorite, beat runner-up Kettle Corn by 8½ lengths. It was the largest winning margin in the history of Del Mar’s premiere race.

“He made a huge statement,” said Bob Baffert, Game On Dude’s trainer. “It was a great day of horse racing in Southern California.”

The statement the 6-year-old gelding made was that he will be one of the favorites in the Breeders’ Cup Classic in the fall at Santa Anita.

Going into the Pacific Classic, there was plenty of uncertainty surrounding the Game On Dude camp. The thoroughbred didn’t seem to like Del Mar’s Polytrack surface the last two summers, despite finishing second last year to Dullahan.

Then there was the game of musical jockeys.

Mike Smith had ridden The Dude to five straight victories, but he had a commitment to ride Royal Delta on Sunday at Saratoga Springs, N.Y. So Baffert went out and got the nation’s leading jockey in money won, Joel Rosario. However, Rosario suffered a broken foot in a freak riding accident on Friday at Saratoga and will miss six weeks of action.

Baffert then turned to Martin Garcia, who had been exercising Game On Dude in the mornings, but hadn’t ridden him in the afternoon for more than two years. Garcia was spoken for in the Classic aboard Liaison, owned by Arnold Zetcher, another Baffert client, but the trainer asked to scratch the horse and run in another race next weekend.

“(Garcia) finally got paid for working the horse (in the mornings),” said Baffert of the $600,000 first-place check.

Garcia just was a pilot gliding around the race track through fractions of 24.19 seconds, 47.96 and 1:12.61. Canadian invader Delegation, who was suppose to pressure Game On Dude, stayed a length or so behind after being very wide through the stretch the first time. By the head of the stretch, Game On Dude had a 6-length lead and he hit the finish line in 2:00.69 for the 1¼ mile.

“I feel amazing,” said Garcia, “especially here at Del Mar in its biggest race. I felt really comfortable around there.”

Almost everyone watching the race knew it was over when Game On Dude was trotting around the track.

“We wish there had been some pace in front of them, but it wasn’t there. The other speed horses just didn’t go,” said trainer John Sadler, who finished second (Kettle Corn) and third (You Know I Know).

Garcia took Game On Dude straight to the rail from the No. 10 post as the rest of the field tried to find their spots.

“The move out of the gate, that was it,” said Baffert. “I told Jill (Baffert’s wife) that there were no excuses today. It was a tough loss last year (to Dullahan). This is a very emotional win.

“Martin said when (Game On Dude) here this year, he could tell he was a different horse. He was doing everything smoothly.

“We talked about different scenarios and how there was so much speed lined up, but I told Martin he had the fastest horse.”

Baffert also had instructions for the top of the stretch.

“I told him when you turn for home, I don’t want anyone running you down (like last year),” said Baffert. “I don’t want Dullahan running you down (again).”

No one could run down Game On Dude.

“Today, he really moved way up,” said Baffert, who saw his horse move to 29th on the all-time money earning list with $5.6 million. “He’s getting better.”

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Del Mar, Horse racing

Updated Del Mar picks for Sunday, Aug. 25, Pacific Classic Day

Remember first post is 1 p.m. and the Pacific Classic post is approximately 5:18 p.m.

Don’t forget jockey Joel Rosario will be replaced on all of his mounts after suffering a broken foot at Saratoga on Friday. Also don’t be afraid to bet horses he was suppose to ride because his agent, Ron Anderson, is one of the sharpest in the business and his mounts will be live.

FIRST RACE: 1. Wild Media, 2. D’Obession, 3. My Slew. LONG SHOT: Follini.

WILD MEDIA finished fourth in his comeback race and since that race has had two bullet works at Hollywood Park for trainer Bruce Headley. Jockey Edwin Maldonado takes over so look for a little more speed out of the gate.


SECOND RACE: 1. Magic Union, 2. Ismene, 3. Camryn Kate. LONG SHOT: Creditcardroulette.

MAGIC UNION looks like a private purchase by Hronis Racing LLC and trainer John Sadler. Leading jockey Rafael Bejarano takes the mount in the 3-year-old filly’s first try on a synthetic track.


THIRD RACE: 1. Mudflats, 2. Suances Candy, 3. Just Irish. LONG SHOT: Master Rudy.

Earlier this year, MUDFLATS was bought for a lot of money and was a contender on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Trainer Doug O’Neill drops him down to a $16,000 claimer and I’m willing to bet there will be some claims in for him. The 3-year-old gelding has a good work over the track and may have found his friends.


FOURTH RACE: 1. Elite Eight, 2. Be Proud, 3. Antiquity. LONG SHOT: Candy Eye.

ELITE EIGHT and BE PROUD both have races over the track while most of the others are making their career debuts. ELITE EIGHT had a ton of trouble and switches to Gary Stevens.


FIFTH RACE (Del Mar Mile Handicap): 1. Obviously, 2. Silentio, 3. Tigah. LONG SHOT: El Commodore.

Only five signed on here. I’m sure OBVIOUSLY scared a lot of people away. He’s tough on the front end. SILENTIO returns from a layoff after losing to the likes of Wise Dan and Suggestive Boy.


SIXTH RACE: 1. Primal Instinct, 2. Bardstown, 3. Kristo. LONG SHOT: Gift Exchange.

This is one tough maiden race with horses making their debuts that cost the likes of $500,000, $400,000 and $300,000. PRIMAL INSTINCT comes from the Baffert barn and he has been training well for this spot.  KRISTO IS SCRATCHED


SEVENTH RACE (Pat O’Brien): 1. Fed Biz, 2. Majestic City, 3. Goldencents. LONG SHOT: Great Hot.

The Pat O’Brien comes up really tough with a field of 13 going 7 furlongs. This seems a little strange for this colt to go from 1 1/8-mile on the turf to sprinting on the Polytrack, but trainer Bob Baffert is a master at this, hitting at 38 percent with the route-to-sprint move. This one has a win over the Polytrack in the past and a good work this week in preparation.


EIGHTH RACE: 1. Include the Aussie, 2. Lilbourne Eliza, 3. Zanbo. LONG SHOT: Macaabra.

INCLUDE THE AUSSIE ships in from Arlington Park for trainer Tom Proctor. Gary Stevens rides and the 3-year-old filly loves the distance, having never been off the board in three tries.


NINTH RACE (Grade I Pacific Classic): 1. Dullahan, 2. Delegation, 3. Game On Dude. LONG SHOT: Jeranimo.

This 4-year-old won’t catch this Pacific Classic field by surprise like last year when he won this race as a 3-year-old. The facts are these: the son of Even the Score has three lifetime wins and they are all on Polytrack; leading rider Rafael Bejarano takes the mount and there just seems to be too much speed in this race with Delagation, Game On Dude. Blueskiesandrainbows and Endorsement. That should set things up perfectly for this colt.


10th RACE: 1. Forever Freedom, 2. Yomybato, 3. Format V. LONG SHOT: Smokin’ Cat.

Bejarano rides the first off the claim for Henry Dominguez. When top riders get aboard for small barns, it usually means they are live. YOMYBATO is scratched.


11th RACE: 1. MR LEMON TREE (best bet), 2. Empty Headed, 3. Volkonsky. LONG SHOT: All Star Bell.

The son of Suave makes his turf and two-turn debut in this spot for trainer Richard Baltas, who hits with 42 percent of his sprint-to-turf moves. The 3-year-old closed well in his last race, which was his first start in 11 months. Leading rider Rafael Bejarano sees fit to ride.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter


@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter


The news never seems to end at seaside oval.

+ Jockey Garrett Gomez held a 90-minute meeting with track stewards Sunday morning in hopes of getting permission to begin exercising horses on Wednesday.

That isn’t going to happen.

Gomez, who admitted to falling off the wagon and drinking again, had his follow up meeting with the Del Mar stewards moved from Wednesday morning to Friday afternoon.

Did Gomez fail his drug/alcohol test? Only time will tell.

Will the stewards play hard ball with Gomez because he failed to show up on opening day and honor his commitments (also for Thursday and Friday)?

The bigger issue might be that Gomez made no attempt to contact the stewards when two weeks ago when he was asked to do so. If Gomez had called to say, he fell off the wagon and was in a rehab a program, the stewards might have a different view of the situation.

As things stand now, the earliest Gomez will be able to get on a horse would be next Saturday and the first possible mounts he might be able to accept would be a week from Wednesday.

We’ll find out on Friday, what the latest chapter is.

+ Further news on the jockey front, trainer Bob Baffert announced Joel Rosario will ride Game On Dude in the Pacific Classic.

Regular rider Mike Smith will be at Saratoga that day to ride Royal delta for trainer Bill Mott, which means Rosario and Smith will pass each other in the air somewhere in the middle of the country.

The news also means defending Pacific Classic champion Dullahan will have a new jockey. Rosario rode him to victory last year.

However, Ron Anderson, Rosario’s agent, told Del Mar media officials “Game On Dude may be the best horse in the country and I would think he’d be a huge favorite (for the Classic).”

The move brought a classic response Dale Romans, Dullahan’s trainer.

“No one monkey stops my show,” said Romans.

+ The Grade I Bing Crosby was interesting on several levels.

Trainer Tim Yakteen scored his first Grade I victory with Points Offthebench ($8.80), who edged Goldencents by a head.

Funny after the race, TVG personality Greg Wolfe interviewed winning jockey Smith. It just so happens Yakteen is married to HRTV handicapper Millie Ball.

Also in the Bing Crosby, the plunger showed up for the second time this weekend and for the second time lost a $200,000 show wager made at Santa Anita.

On Saturday, the loss came in the Fleet Treat Stakes. On Sunday, the wager was on Comma to the Top, who finished fifth.

The show payoffs weren’t as large as the Fleet Treat, but they were nothing to sneeze at: $8.40, $6.60 and $7.20.

+ The Del Mar jockey colony had better be ware of Julien Leparoux when he goes to the lead on the turf course.

Twice on Sunday, Leparoux went wire-to-wire scoring with Pontchatrain ($9.40) and Horizontalyspeakin ($15) in the 10th race.

Leparoux normally rides from behind on the grass, but he was loaded on both horses and nobody pressured him.

Points Offthebench and jockey Mike Smith, right, hold off Goldencents (Kevin Krigger), left, to win the Grade I, $300,000 Bing Crosby Stakes, Sunday, July 28, 2013 at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Del Mar CA. BENIOT PHOTO

Points Offthebench and jockey Mike Smith, right, hold off Goldencents (Kevin Krigger), left, to win the Grade I, $300,000 Bing Crosby Stakes, Sunday, July 28, 2013 at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Del Mar CA.

Del Mar, Horse racing

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