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 Friday, Oct. 13

THIRD RACE: #6 Earring (2-1)
I don’t normally like betting favorites, but the way I look at this filly is that she can be a single in the Pick 5 and a single to start off your Pick 6. Trainer Tom Proctor is one of the best with turf horses. This 4-year-old finished third to better at Saratoga. Proctor is 21% with shippers and good turf jockey Drayden Van Dyke rides like he normally does for Glen Hill Farm/Proctor.

FIFTH RACE: #8 Gogoula (20-1)
Going to take a shot with a big bomb here. Go back in the past performances and you will find this filly has run down the hills before in a minor stakes and she wasn’t disgraced. She takes a drop in class and had trouble at the start in her last. Worth a flyer.

SEVENTH RACE: #3 Popular Kid (5-1)
I’ll be honest here: I hope my friend Jeff Bloom wins with #2 Kona Dreams but he is a 3-year-old facing older and he’s been done in by speed duels in his last two races. And there is a ton of speed and pressers in this race. Therefore I was looking for a closer. I consider #9 Quality Line, but he just doesn’t seem to want two turns. Then I saw Popular Kid. Look two races back to what Kent Desormeaux did in just missing on the Del Mar turf. He took the horse back and that’s exactly what he needs to do today.

EIGHTH RACE: #1 Air On Fire (10-1)
The “other” Mandella. Trainer Richard Mandella has the morning-line favorite in Milhaud (5-2) and this first-time turfer. Air On Fire is a son of Unbridled’s Song, who gets 13% winner first time on the turf. He has a big work showing and jockey Rafael Bejarano takes over. A Mandella exacta box would seem to be in order.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Saturday, July 22

Preview: The great Arrogate will run in today’s San Diego Handicap and that’s worth the price of admission right there. Jockey Rafael Bejarano seems to be on an every other day binge right now as he had four winners on opening day and two of the first five races on Friday’s card.

FIRST RACE: 1. #5 True Ranger, 2. #8 Looks Good N a Tux, 3. #1 Golden Atlantic. LONG SHOT: #4 Where’s Bubba.
True Ranger has never been off the board in three tries on the Del Mar main track with a 3-1-1-1 record. Jockey Jamie Theriot is 27% with trainer Ryan Hanson, who is 25% in dirt races.

SECOND RACE: 1. #4 Alley Boss, 2. #6 Cherubim, 3. #3 Pray Hard. LONG SHOT: #1 Kaabraaj.
Alley Boss comes out of a key race that has produced two winners from five starts. This colt has been throwing bullets in morning works at San Luis Rey Downs and seems to be ready for an upset.

NINTH RACE (San Diego Handicap): 1. #3 Arrogate, 2. #5 Cat Burglar, 3. #4 Donworth. LONG SHOT: El Huerfano.
Did you really expect me to pick against the big horse? I think trainer Bob Baffert will run 1-2 here. This is just a work out for Arrogate and he should be able to toy with this field.

For the rest of my selections go to:
http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sports/sd-sp-nahills-del-mar-picks-for-july-22-story.html

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Friday, April 14

Race 3 – SA
#3 Fallout (3-1) ****
Our Eyes: Tired in her first race in more than six weeks last time so she should be fitter here. Would appear she holds a class edge over these.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 5 – SA
#8 Looking At Thelake TURF ONLY (5-2) ****
Our Eyes: Shipping in from Florida, where she was trained by George Weaver. William Morey takes over and he’s 19% first time with a horse and 21% off layoff of 46 to 90 days. This filly has never been worse than third in four tries. Has good turn of late foot.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 7 – SA
#2 Candy Boss (7-2) TURF ONLY ****
Our Eyes: Just gets a huge jockey change from apprentice Roman to Rafael Bejarano. Early fractions (21.40 and 43.60) were just suicidal last time. Look for Bejarano to go just a little slower and have more for the finish.
Jeff’s Playbook: 3 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Friday, March 24

Race 1 – SA
#7 Lil Awecim (5-1) ****
Our Eyes: Has been running in the Cal-bred ranks but takes the drop from MSW to maiden claiming, a move trainer Mark Glatt wins 23% of the time.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win. EXBX 7-1-4

Race 5 – SA
#2 The Topester (4-1) ****
Our Eyes: This gelding dropping to the bottom of the maiden claiming ranks for the first time. Trainer Phil D’Amato is 29% when dropping a horse two or more levels. The 4-year-old is also coming out of a key race that has produced three winners so far.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 8 – SA
#1 Line (3-1) TURF ONLY ****
Our Eyes: Loved this filly last time out, but she stumbled at the start and never got back in the race. Richard Mandella brings her back in a similar spot and he’s 31% with horses second time on the turf. Rafael Bejarano takes over.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show. EXBX 1-8-10

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Friday, Feb. 3

Preview: To be honest I’m not sure what to do with this card because rain has been forecast for much of the week, but the percentage has gone down. It probably means there is 100% of rain and it will wash the turf races off the grass.

Race 1 – SA
#2 Rangi (7-2) (TURF ONLY) ****
Our Eyes: The Peter Miller barn has been on fire for the last week. This gelding has speed and takes a drop in class. He has won over the downhill before and Rafael Bejarano stays aboard.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 3 – SA
#1 Yellow Bonnett (5-2) ****
Our Eyes: Been following this filly for a while and she finally gets to run around two turns for the first time, which she is bred to do. Trainer Mark Glatt is 24% second off the layoff and he’s 27% with Flavien Prat.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 8 – SA
#7 Sequentially (6-1) ****
Our Eyes: This gelding faced tougher in his debut at Del Mar and now takes a class drop. Glatt is 31% when dropping a horse two or more classes. He is also 21% with jockey Norberto Arroyo Jr..
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Del Mar, Delta Downs, Horse racing

Del Mar picks for Saturday, November 19 (plus Delta Downs)

Preview: Jockey Norberto Arroyo Jr. missed Thursday’s card due to personal reasons but was due back Friday and will ride this weekend. Flavien Prat, Kent Desormeaux and Martin Pedroza are all riding elsewhere today. The rails on the turf course will be at 24 feet which could mean speed will dominate on the green.

Race 1: 2. #6 Black Tie ‘n Tails (6-1), 2. Junior Gilliam, 3. El Super. LONG SHOT: Dano’s Dream.
Trainer Peter Miller claimed this gelding and he must have had a planned for this as this 4-year-old goes first time on the turf. Miller is 32% first off the claim and he gets apprentice Austin Solis to ride which tells me they are going to try and go to the front.

Race 2: 1. Finallygotabentley, 2. Quorum of Joy, 3. Senator Bob. LONG SHOT: Captain Akers.

Race 3: 1. #6 Big Hit (6-1) BEST BET, 2. Fielder, 3. Law Abidin Citizen. LONG SHOT: Little Juanito.
Trainer Phil D’Amato is 47% when have a horse go sprint-route-sprint like this 2-year-old. The colt should be plenty fit for this elongated sprint. Santiago Gonzalez picks up the mount for the injured Rafael Bejarano.

Race 4: 1. #1 Sergio (5-1), 2. Avalanche, 3. Irap. LONG SHOT: Odyssey Explorer.
Big jockey switch to Gary Stevens, who rode two turf winners opening weekend. This colt’s best race came on the grass so why he was switch to the dirt for his last is a mystery.

Race 5: 1. Mastery, 2. California Diamond, 3. Bernin Sensation. LONG SHOT: Opper Wallah.

Race 6: 1. #1 Gangster (12-1), 2. Liam the Charmer, 3. Fritz Johansen. LONG SHOT: Sawyer’s Hill.
In his second race back off a long layoff, trainer Doug O’Neill puts this 4-year-old on the turf for the first time and his sire Street Boss gets 18% winners first time on the green. Good grass rider Drayden Van Dyke takes the mount. O’Neill is also 23% second off the layoff.

Race 7: 1. Match Play, 2. Honor and Courage, 3. Bobby Abu Dhabi. LONG SHOT: Adorned.

Race 8: 1. Wanstead Gardens, 2. Play Hard to Get, 3. Perfectly Majestic. LONG SHOT: Little Curlin.

Race 9: 1. Aloha Spirit, 2. Warren’s Honey Bee, 3. Motutapu. LONF SHOT: Turf Club Queen.

Plus here are some picks on the big 2-year-old races at Delta Downs.

DELTA DOWNS
Race 6 (Delta Downs Princess): 1. Flatter Up, 2. Golden Mischief, 3. Shane’s Girlfriend, 4. Jilly.
Race 7 (Delta Downs Jackpot): 1. Thirstforlife, 2. Gunnevera, 3. Baladeen, 4. Hot Sean.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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