Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Wednesday, Aug. 27

Give it to Prat

The jockey’s title was sewn up two weeks ago by Flavien Prat.
Heading into the final six days of racing as track announcer Trevor Denman would say, “They would need to sprout wings” to catch Prat at this point. After a 7 for 25 week, Prat has 34 victories and Drayden Van Dyke (4 for 19 last week) is in second with 24.
Abel Cedillo is proving his move from Northern California was worth it. Cedillo, following a 5 for 31 week, is in third place with 21 wins. He is also starting to get rides in the Peter Miller barn, which is a good thing.
Journeyman Rafael Bejarano is limping to the finish line following an 0 for 21 week while apprentice Jorge Velez Jr. is come off his best week of the meet with a 4 for 20 effort.

WEDNESDAY’S PICKS

FIRST RACE: 1. Of Good Report, 2. Tikkun Olam, 3. Juggles. LONG SHOT: Grab the Munny.
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SECOND RACE: 1. Buttie, 2. Road Test, 3. Tiz Toffee. LONG SHOT: Check Six.
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THIRD RACE: 1. UNAPOLOGETIC (best bet), 2. Morse Code, 3. Big Buzz. LONG SHOT: Mongolian Empire.
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FOURTH RACE: 1. Arouse N Go, 2. Smiling Excess, 3. Calese. LONG SHOT: It’s a Riddle.
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FIFTH RACE: 1. Queen of the Track, 2. Jaccat, 3. Point Hope. LONG SHOT: Coilette.
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SIXTH RACE: 1. Express Train, 2. Dean Martini, 3. Shooters Shoot. LONG SHOT: Include the Tax.
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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Bulletproof One, 2. Smiling Shirlee, 3. Been Studying Her. LONG SHOT: Vegan.
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EIGHTH RACE: 1. Trapani, 2. Darpa, 3. Tandalicious. LONG SHOT: La Dolfina.

Good luck.

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Tuesday, Aug. 20

In the saddle

Victor Espinoza led all jockeys last week with six wins. He was followed by Joe Talamo and Rafael Bejarano, who had five wins each.
Flavien Prat still leads the standings with 27 winners and an argument could be made for the fact that he had the best week despite a 2 for 22 effort. Prat won the $1 million Pacific Classic aboard Higher Power for John Sadler.
Drayden Van Dyke (3 for 22) is still second in the standings but only one win ahead of Bejarano, 20-19.
Abel Cedillo was 4 for 13 during Week 5 on the dirt and is now the leading rider on the main track with 14 victories. Ruben Fuentes is second with 13 and Prat is third with 12.
Prat had a brutal week on the grass with an 0 for 12 effort, but he shouldn’t feel bad as New York jockey John Velazquez came in over the weekend to pilfer three victories on the turf. Plus, Saratoga-based jockey Florent Geroux added another turf victory in addition to a win he scored on main track. So that was five total wins for the out-of-towners.
Fuentes scored his first win on the green but he is still only 1 for 42 on the surface. Martin Garcia is 1 for 27, Norberto Arroyo Jr. is 1 or 29, Jorge Velez 1 for 23 and Aaron Gryder 1 for 22 on the grass while Tiago Periera is 0 for 32. Ouch.

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Wednesday, Aug. 14

Prat on fire

Jockey Flavien Prat pretty much wrapped up the riding title with an eight-win week from 26 mounts during Week 4. His five-win day on Saturday was a thing of beauty and all jockeys should watch replays of his winners to see how he put his his horses in position to reach the winner’s circle.
Prat now leads Drayden Van Dyke, 25-17, after Van Dyke suffered an 0 for 17 week. It wasn’t that Van Dyke was riding poorly because he had four seconds and four thirds. It was just a case of not getting the breaks.
Rafael Bejarano also had a tough five days with just one winner from 16 mounts.
Ruben Fuentes had a solid 25-3-4-3 week as did Abel Cedillo (15-3-0-3), who missed Sunday’s card to ride at Emerald Downs.
Fuentes remains the top rider on the main track with 12 victories followed by Prat and Cedillo, who each have 10 wins each.
The turf course is being dominated by four jockeys: Prat (15 wins), Van Dyke (10), Bejarano (eight) and Joe Talamo (six). They have a total of 39 victories. The rest of the riding colony has 22 wins on the grass.

WEDNESDAY’S PICKS

FIRST RACE: 1. Shootin Money, 2. Heraclitus, 3. Deckology. LONG SHOT: Four O’Five.
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SECOND RACE: 1. Vidalia, 2. Adulting, 3. Chirp. LONG SHOT: Shesaidshesperfect.
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THIRD RACE: 1. Bellerin, 2. Sheer Flattery, 3. Dukes Up. LONG SHOT: Start a Runnin.
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FOURTH RACE: 1. Flying to the Line, 2. Equal Measure, 3. Red Bunting. LONG SHOT: Breezy Bee.
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FIFTH RACE: 1. Anniversary Sale, 2. Atomic Candy, 3. Afternoon Heat. LONG SHOT: Calder Vale.
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SIXTH RACE: 1. TRAVIEZA (best bet), 2. Gypsy Blu, 3. Just Grazed Me. LONG SHOT: Storming Lady.
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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Papa Turf, 2. An Ocala Ten, 3. Westmont. LONG SHOT: Nova.

Good luck.

SUNDAY’S RESULTS

Top choice winners: 2 (Drink $11.20, second race; Inspiressa $4, fourth)

Second choice winners: 1 (Indy Jones $6.60, fifth)

Third choice winners: 1 (Overdue $5, third)

Long shot winners: 1 (Carnivorous $13.40, sixth)

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Thursday, Aug. 8

After going 2 for 8 on last week, Flavien Prat has made the race for the jockey title interesting again entering Wednesday action.
Prat was tied at the top with Drayden Van Dyke as both riders have 17 winners entering Week 4.
In all fairness to Prat, he missed three racing days last week, two by suspension and one while riding Bellafina in the Test at Saratoga. He was in the money with all eight of his mounts.
Van Dyke made up ground by going 5 for 21 on the week and that wasn’t even the most wins for the five days of racing.
Rafael Bejarano and Abel Cedillo both had six victories and also had a hand in Doug O’Neill’s big week.
Journeyman Ruben Fuentes rebounded from a winless Week 2 to score four wins from 19 mounts.
Aaron Gryder (1 for 33) and apprentice J.C. Diaz Jr (1-33) are struggling as is Alonzo Quinonez (0 for 14).
Fuentes took over on the top while riding on the main track as he has nine victories, but he is 0 for 26 on the grass and should be avoided.
Prat and Van Dyke lead the colony with 10 grass victories each.
Victor Espinoza (1-22), Norberto Arroyo (1-29), Martin Garcia (1-16), Tiago Pereira (0-19), apprentice Jorge Velez (0-18) and Gryder (0-16) have been less than stellar on the turf course.

FIRST RACE: 1. Miss Megan, 2. Remember to Smile, 3. Takethediamondlane. LONG SHOT: Jan Jan Can.
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SECOND RACE: 1. Moonshone Annie, 2. Tig Tog, 3. Playa Chica. LONG SHOT: Divine Dharma.
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THIRD RACE: 1. Best Two Minutes, 2. Weast Hill, 3. Fast Cotton. LONG SHOT: Monydontspenitself.
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FOURTH RACE: 1. MASTER RYAN (best bet), 2. Fredikstad, 3. Cunning Munnings. LONG SHOT: Tribals Last Reign.
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FIFTH RACE: 1. Aced, 2. Emtech, 3. Vintage Hollywood. LONG SHOT: Sea’s Journey.
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SIXTH RACE: 1. Zestful, 2. Builder, 3. Play Hard to Get. LONG SHOT: Zeke.
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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Solar Nova, 2. Senora Power, 3. Lady Sunset. LONG SHOT: Kuda Huraa.

Good luck.

Good luck.

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinion for Tuesday, July 30

In the saddle

In the Del Mar jockey’s race, Flavien Prat is still on top with 17 wins, including five from 17 mounts during Week 2. However, Prat is is the middle of serving a three-day suspension. He was limited to just one ride in a stakes race on Sunday and will be off all of his mounts Wednesday and Thursday.
Drayden Van Dyke closed the gap on Prat with a seven-win week from 21 mounts. He is three behind Prat with 12 wins and look for him to be live the next two days as Van Dyke will be riding for barns that might normally choose Prat, especially in turf races.
Rafael Bejarano had a strong second week with five wins in 21 tries and is now third in the standings with seven wins.
Kent Desormeaux, Joe Talamo and Martin Garcia all had three wins on the week to secure spots in the top 10.
On the other end, Rueben Fuentes went from having five victories in Week 1 to none in 22 mounts during Week 2. Also, Fuentes is 0 for 19 on the Del Mar grass course so far.
Abel Cedillo also had a tough second week with no wins in 19 mounts. He did have two seconds and five thirds. Cedillo is just 1 for 24 on the dirt.

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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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