Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Saturday, Aug. 19 (Pacific Classic Day)

FIRST RACE: 1. Inhibition, 2. The Real McCann, 3. Bucky Goldstein. LONG SHOT: Hoppitty.

SECOND RACE: 1. Lord Simba, 2. American Pastime, 3. Taman Guard. LONG SHOT: Coastline.
Trainer Bob Baffert loves to win other races on big days at the track and this son of Discreet Cat has been away since May, when he finished third in the Kona Gold at Santa Anita. I look for a big effort here.

FIFTH RACE: 1. AUSSIE FOX (best bet), 2. Saltini, 3. Lucky Soul. LONG SHOT: Icy Street.
This looks like a wide open race to me, but I love Aussie Fox. The colt just missed last time when he started from the No. 11 post. Today, he gets to start from the inside so look for jockey Rafael Bejarano to gun from the gate. I don’t know if Saltini will be ready off the bench for Richard Mandella, but look who he lost to in his last race … Arrogate. Hmmmm.

EIGHTH RACE ($1 million Pacific Classic): 1. Collected, 2. Accelerate, 3. Arrogate. LONG SHOT: Hard Aces.
I believe Baffert when he says Arrogate is ready to go, but I didn’t like the workout this week with Arrogate looking all over the place when he hit the stretch. I’m sticking with the “other” Baffert play. Collected destroyed Accelerate the last time they met. Some times horses just have another horse’s number like Accelerate already beating Arrogate twice. I hope Arrogate is back to his old self. This sport needs superstars. I’m just not 100 percent convinced. Maybe I will be at 5:46 p.m. today.

For the rest of my selections, go to:
http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sports/sd-sp-delmar-selections-handicap-nahill-20170818-story.html

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Saturday, Aug. 20 (Pacific Classic Day)

Preview: It’s Pacific Classic Day, but there will be no Mike Smith as he rides Songbird at Saratoga. As for the main track on this day, who knows. Watch an early race or two before big bets. In the past, tracks like to soup up the main track on big days. Del Mar played to speed on Thursday, but was due to renovation Friday after works so it may get a little deep. Watch for trends.

Race 1: 1. #4 Glacken Too (3-1), 2. Moments Notiz, 3. Boone Docks. LONG SHOT: Drover Crazy.
This is the first time this gelding has been up for a claiming price, a move trainer Phil D’Amato is 24% with. The 5-year-old has speed and can be positioned early by Martin Garcia, who is 20% with D’Amato.

Race 2: 1. Lucky Teroda, 2. Professor Cinch, 3. Big Bad Jon. LONG SHOT: Solar Zone.

Race 3: 1. Dream Team, 2. Boozer, 3. Itsinthepost. LONG SHOT: Fueled by Bourbon.

Race 4: 1. Tough It Out, 2. Pray Hard, 3. Foxtrot Romeo. LONG SHOT: Souper Knight.

Race 5: 1. #7 Viva Vegas (3-1), 2. Diva La Mousse, 3. Abel Tasman. LONG SHOT: Zapperkat.
Trainer Bob Baffert likes to unveil prized maidens on big racing days. This filly might be the real deal after some good works. Rafael Bejarano takes the mount and he’s 45% with Baffert the last 60 days. The sire, The Factor, is 13% with first-timers.

Race 6: 1. Harmonize, 2. Decked Out, 3. Mokat. LONG SHOT: Mines and Magic.

Race 7: 1. #8 Miner’s Light (3-1), 2. Moe Candy, 3. Coldspell. LONG SHOT: Hook ‘Em Kurt.
Our Eyes: This gelding returns to the track after 9 months off and look who he lost to last year: Exaggerator and Uncle Lino. Those were tough races. Trainer Carla Gaines is 22% off a layoff of more than 180 days and leading jockey Flavien Prat jumps on.

Race 8: 1. #7 Flamboyant (7-2) BEST BET, 2. Ashleyluvssugar, 3. Metaboss. LONG SHOT: Finnegans Wake.
Our Eyes: This gelding was good early in the year and then finished fifth in the Dubai Turf. He came back to finish third in the Eddie Read earlier in the meet and trainer Paddy Gallagher is 32% second off the layoff. Jockey Flavien Prat keeps the mount.

Race 9 (Pacific Clasic): 1, Dortmund, 2. California Chrome, 3. Beholder. LONG SHOT: Dalmore.

Race 10: 1. Hillhouse High, 2. Into The Mystic, 3. La Berma. LONG SHOT: B Rockett.

Race 11: 1. Alex Rossi, 2. Rough Passage, 3. Carlsbad Mountain. LONG SHOT: Gunslinger.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Thursday, Aug. 18

Preview: Big week at Del Mar with the Pacific Classic on Saturday. Bob Baffert, to no one’s surprise is leading all trainers in main track wins with 10 from 33 mounts. John Sadler is having a great meet with 7 wins from 16 starters on the dirt and Mark Glatt is 6-of-21.

Race 1: #2 Nuke Laloosh (3-1), 2. Ideal, 3. Papa Gulf. LONG SHOT: Foolish to Deceive.
Trainer Peter Miller brings this 3-year-old back after more than a year’s layoff, but look who he lost to in his last race, no other than Preakness winner Exaggerator. That race was a key race and with the drop to maiden claimers for the first time (Miller’s 28% there) this first-time gelding could be real tough.

Race 2: Dame Street, 2. Optimism And Hope, 3. Compel. LONG SHOT: Tequila Mary.

Race 3: 1. Golden Atlantic, 2. Cee the Preacher, 3. Look Me in the Eye. LONG SHOT: Redneck Crazy.

Race 4: 1. Marvelous Max, 2. Bernardjfortunato, 3. Zealous Tale. LONG SHOT: Ring Collector.

Race 5: #1 Marriedtoaminister (5-1) BEST BET, 2. Papa Mambo, 3. Watch This Cat. LONG SHOT: Conquest So True.
This filly was claimed by trainer Richard Baltas out of a maiden claiming victory and we think he had grass in mind for her. Baltas is 21% first off the claim and 25% both first turf and dirt to turf. The filly has the best Brisnet Late Pace Rating by 9 points which should work out well on the grass.

Race 6: 1. Warren’s Purrfect, 2. Appealing Lady, 3. Goliath’s Girl. LONG SHOT: Lob City.

Race 7: 1. Danas Best, 2. Pretentious, 3. Infinite Loop. LONG SHOT: Banze No Oeste.

Race 8: 1. #8 You’re the Reason (5-1), 2.It’s Not So Easy, 3. Starr of Quality. LONG SHOT: Victory Seeker.
Trainer William Morey drops this filly into a maiden claimer for the first time and he is 53% with such moves. Huge jockey switch from Kerwin John to Gary Stevens.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Gulfstream Park, Horse racing, Los Alamitos, Monmouth Park

Los Alamitos (plus a few others) opinions for Sunday, July 5

Race 3: #1 Sheza Eyeopener (5-1)

This 5-year-old mare won over this course three times last year in four tries. She returns to the dirt from the turf for trainer Rafael Becerra, who is 2-for-9 with the move. Jockey Martin Garcia keeps the mount.

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Race 8: #3 Ultimate Holiday (5-1)

Jockey Jimmy Graham makes his debut in SoCal today and rides this daughter of Harlan’s Holiday. The 3-year-old filly ran a creditable third over the track a year ago and trainer Richard Baltas is a 23% trainer this year.

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MONMOUTH PARK

Race 10: #6 Red Vine (3-1) *****

This 5-year-old broke his maiden on the turf at Del Mar a few years back and this year trainer Christophe Clement switched to the dirt and just like that he is 3-for-3. This horse is moving up the ladder  and think a win here propels him to Del Mar’s $1 million Pacific Classic. Likes to stay just off the pace and punce in the stretch. “Jersey” Joe Bravo retains the mount.

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Race 11: #8 Ashleyluvssugar (5-1)

SoCal-based trainer Peter Eurton switched this 4-year-old gelding to going long on the turf this year and discovered a star with a perfect 3-for-3. Eurton skipped the closing weekend San Juan Capistrano at Santa Anita to run here and Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens retains the mount for this closer .

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GULFSTREAM PARK

Race 10: #10 Nesso (20-1)

A long time ago, this filly broke her maiden in Southern California, but now runs on the East Coast. She is versatile, running on the front end or from off the pace. Think the pace could be hot here for look for jockey Jesus Rios to be closing in the lane. She ran well over this track a year ago. Beware.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Breeders' Cup, Del Mar, Horse racing, Los Alamitos

Trainer Ken McPeek sending Frac Daddy to Del Mar

The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s premiere race, the $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 24, is turning into quite a race, already.
On Sunday, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said the undefeated 3-year-old Shared Belief, owned in part by media mogul Jim Rome, would be pointed for the Del Mar race at 1 1/4 on the Polytrack.
On Tuesday, trainer Ken McPeek confirmed his 4-year-old Frac Daddy would board a plane bound for Del Mar next Wednesday with the intention of running in the July 26 San Diego Handicap as a prep for the Pacific Classic.
“We’re pointing for the San Diego with the Pacific Classic as the goal,” said McPeek by telephone. “He’s doing extremely well.”
Frac Daddy is a synthetic surface special with three wins in four tries and earnings of $264,756 on Polytrack. The son of Scat Daddy saw his undefeated record on the surface come to an end July 1 when he finished second in the Grade III Dominion Day stakes at Woodbine Race Course in Toronto.
Despite being the overwhelming favorite, Frac Daddy finished second in the 1 1/4 race to Sky Captain, trained by Mark Casse, who is sending a string of 30 to 40 horses to Del Mar this summer for the first time. There is no official word from the Casse barn as to whether Sky Captain might make the trip, too. The 4-year-old son of Sky Mesa is now a perfect 3-for-3 on Polytrack.

For McPeek’s part, he is taking the blame for the loss at Woodbine.

“I think I ran a short horse,” he said. “I’ll take the bullet for that.
“He was out of his element in the race. He likes to sit outside and he was inside (under jockey Luis Contreras). He scooted along, but he never relaxed. I think I didn’t do enough with him (before the race).”
Frac Daddy, who has earned $674,036 in his career with five wins from 17 races, was coming off a 5-length win in the Eclipse Stakes at Woodbine on June 1.
McPeek said it looks like Frac Daddy will fly to Del Mar on July 16 and be stabled with trainer Blake Heap.
McPeek said he doesn’t have a rider yet for the San Diego, which will be run at 1 1/16-mile on the Polytrack.
As for facing last year’s 2-year-old champion Shared Belief at Del Mar, McPeek isn’t worried. Shared Belief is a perfect 4-for-4 on synthetic tracks and won last Saturday’s $500,000 Los Alamitos Derby in his first race on dirt.
“Facing older horses is a different bear all together,” he said. “He’s a very nice horse. (The Pacific Classic) should be a great race.”
If McPeek’s name sounds familiar, it should. He has earned $61 million in his training career. He won the 2002 Belmont Stakes with Sarava and finished second in the 1995 Kentucky Derby with Tejano Run. He also finished second in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita with Golden Ticket.
McPeek is also the owner of the Horse Races Now app, which he started 14 months ago and has more than 200,000 followers. The app allows people to see entries, results, live video, race replays, news and most importantly wager on races.
“It hasn’t been easy starting it,” said McPeek, “but it’s something the industry needed.”
More information on the app is available at http://www.horseracesnow.com.
@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar’s Pacific Classic returning to national TV

Build it and they will come or maybe card it and they will televise it, eventually.

After several years of not being on national television, other than TVG (which is a sponsor of the race), the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s $1 million Pacific Classic has returned to the national airwaves, it was announced Monday.

The 1 1/4-mile race on the main track (Polytrack for its final year) will be shown by NBC Sports Network (NBCSN, Channel 65 on Cox Cable) from 5-6 p.m. PDT on Sunday, Aug. 24. That means the race will probably remain the ninth or 10th race on an 11-race program with a first post of 1 p.m. for the full card.

Over the years, the Pacific Classic has been shuffled around on the card to meet the needs of national television (mainly ESPN). It has been run earlier on the card and it has been run as late as 6:45 p.m. one year.

After the ridiculous practically night time post, Del Mar officials, starting with track president Joe Harper, decided to end the madness and run the race where they wanted, eschewing national exposure.

Now, Del Mar gets to keep its traditional post time and return to national television at the same time. A win, win in its eyes.

Personally, I think running the biggest race of the meet that late in the day defeats the purpose because some fans begin leaving the track after the fifth or sixth races due to the early first post. Plenty of fans never see the race at all due to that factor, but for Del Mar to be back on national TV is a good thing.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Sunday’s top choice winners: 3 (Cuneo $3.60, second race; Safety Belt $19.60, seventh; Beholder $2.20, eighth)

Sunday’s second choice winners: 4 (New Nature $9.60, first; Stoney Fleece $10.60, third; Happy Idea $6.20, sixth; Bench Light $6, ninth)

Sunday’s third choice winners: 0

Sunday’s long shot winners: 0

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Del Mar, Horse racing, Santa Anita

Del Mar: Casse coming from Woodbine

The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club spent the last week talking to horsemen about coming to its annual summer meeting, looking to beef up a horse population that shrinks yearly. The efforts are working.

Woodbine trainer Mark Casse recently told Del Mar officials he will bring 30 to 40 horses this year for the first time. In Hot Springs, Ark., trainer Cody Autrey told Del Mar he will be back and hopefully earlier like during the the Los Alamitos meet.

Del Mar officials then moved on to Lexington, Ky., and the Keeneland meet to tell more horsemen about the third year of the “Ship N Win” program which gives horses a starting gate and purse bonus in their initial start of the meeting as long as their last start was out of state.

The big get is Casse, who started Delegation in last year’s Pacific Classic.

“He came close to coming last year,” said Tom Robbins, executive vice president/racing. “He was all set and then they had a virus outbreak and there was no movement into the United States. We’re excited. We have our fingers crossed.”

“That’s the plan,” said Casse on last week’s NTRA teleconference. “I’ve been in communications with Del Mar.  I’ve cleared it with my owners and the plan is currently to bring probably between 30 and 40 horses to Del Mar, and then probably stay there maybe for who knows how long; a long time.”

The key with Casse is that he has a lot of allowance horses, which will help increase the quality of Del Mar’s races.

“He liked what he saw last year, and he has California owners,” said Robbins, “but the key is he’s planning on staying beyond our meet and that’s good for the industry.”

Casse won nine races and $368,653 from 84 starters this winter at Gulfstream Park. In the first week of the Keeneland meet, he has a 27-5-3-5 record with earnings of $305,312 and during the first weekend of racing at Woodbine (in Toronto) Casse was 7-2-1-1, earning $86,193.

Another key to the Casse move is that Keeneland and Woodbine have Polytracks, a similar surface which will be making its swan song at the seaside oval this summer before being replaced by dirt next year.

Jockey Luis Contreras rides many of Casse’s top horses at Woodbine and rode Delegation (poorly, I might say) in last year’s Pacific Classic, but don’t expect him to come to Del Mar as the barn rider.

“No, I don’t think so,” said Casse.  “You know, Luis does really well at Woodbine.  It would be kind of crazy for him to come out there.  I don’t know who.  Somebody may come with me.  I mean there’s plenty of good riders in California.  I don’t think I really have to bring anybody.  You know, (Hall of Fame jockey) Mike Smith and we go back probably 25 or 30 years, and so there are a lot of good riders.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

“So far we’ve been very lucky recently at Keeneland with Stewart Elliott, and, you know, we’ll just have to see how things are going. I like the way he rides, and him and I have a good relationship, but we may or may not bring somebody.  That just remains to be seen.  But like I said, I’m not concerned.  There’s a lot of good riders in California.”

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Sunday’s top choice winners: 2 (Queen of the Hill $5.20, third; Cat Burglar $5.20, fifth)

Sunday’s second choice winners: 1 (Kid Rollins $7, ninth)

Sunday’s third choice winners: 1 (Stormy Lucy $5.40, fourth)

Sunday’s long shot winners: 1 (Remind Mee $8.40, seventh)

Note: Racing resumes at Santa Anita on Saturday/Sunday for the close of the winter/spring meet. There will be mandatory Pick 6 and Super High 5 payouts on Sunday. The spring/summer meet opens Friday, April 24.)

 

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