Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Wednesday, Aug. 21 (UPDATED)

Barns heating up

Trainers Richard Baltas and Phil D’Amato finally jump-started their meets during Pacific Classic week.
Baltas was 6 for 20, including four wins on the Pacific Classic card (two with John Velazquez), now trails Doug O’Neill, 20-17.
O’Neill seems to on an every other week binge as he went 1 for 11 the last five racing days which might mean he’s due for another warm streak this coming week.
D’Amato went 4 for 11 and is now tied for fourth in the standings (10 wins) with John Sadler, who went 3 for 6 and leads the meet in money won with more than $1.5 million.
Peter Miller is third in the standings with 13 wins after a 2 for 12 week.
Mark Glatt (8-2-2-3) and Bob Hess Jr. (5-2-2-1) also had big weeks.
Sadler and Miller are tied for the lead with eight wins each on the main track while Bob Baffert and O’Neill have seven each.
O’Neill still leads in grass victories with 10 despite an 0 for 7 week. Baltas has nine wins on turf and D’Amato has eight while leading in money won with nearly $820,000.

WEDNESDAY’S SELECTIONS

FIRST RACE: 1. Lakaya, 2. Nina En Fuego, 3. Warren’s Showtime. LONG SHOT: Sassyserb.
==
SECOND RACE: 1. Beyond Pleasure, 2. Atina (SCRATCHED) new horse: Whirling, 3. Cimarron. LONG SHOT: Fracas.
==
THIRD RACE: 1. Secret Square, 2. Mind Out, 3. Nu Pi Lambda. LONG SHOT: Beautiful Thunder.
==
FOURTH RACE: 1. Go For a Ride, 2. Caribbean, 3. Noble Pursuit. LONG SHOT: Mongolian Hero.
==
FIFTH RACE: 1. VERY VERY STELLA (best bet), 2. Unusually Green, 3. Murad Khan. LONG SHOT: Terrys Tom Cat.
==
SIXTH RACE: 1. Isotherm, 2. Dr. Dorr, 3. Line Judge. LONG SHOT: Two Thirty Five.
==
SEVENTH RACE: 1. No Bang No Boom (SCRATCHED), 2. Oil Can Knight (SCRATCHED), 3. Prodigal Son. LONG SHOT: Hartel. New picks: 1. Prodigal Son, 2. Hartel, 3. Boa Nova. LONG SHOT: Order and Law.
==
EIGHTH RACE: 1. Nucky, 2. Bamboozler, 3. Railsplitter. LONG SHOT: Prince Ricky.

Good luck.

SUNDAY’S RESULTS

Top choice winners: 1 (Vintage Hollywood $4.80, third race)

Second choice winners: 3 (Stellar Sound $5, first; Todos Santos $5.80, second; Flagstaff $3.60, fourth)

Third choice winners: 1 (Midcourt $31, eighth)

Long shot winners: 3 (Twirling Tiger $9, fifth; It’s Fitting $37.60, sixth; She’s Our Charm $18, ninth)

Standard
Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Wednesday, July 31

NOTES: Adam Kitchingman is one of three trainers who are perfect (1 for 1) at the Del Mar meet so far. David Randall and Tim Yakteen are the others.
Week 2 proved to be big for Peter Miller, who took over the training lead even though he shipped a lot of horses East during the spring ills of Santa Anita. Miller had five wins out of 11 starters last week and now has eight winners for the 10-day-old meet.
Miller leads John Sadler and Richard Baltas by three wins.
Sadler was 3 for 7 for the week and all five of his victories have been in stakes events. Sadler’s barn has earned $684,291, which is tops by more than $275,000.
Baltas had a tough second week, going 2 for 16, and Doug O’Neill had a tougher week, winning just once in 19 starters. O’Neill did have two runner-up placings and six third-place finishers.
The Bob Baffert barn finally started to heat up with three wins, one second and two thirds from six starters.
Bob Hess Jr. also had three wins for the week, also from seven starters.
Jeff Mullins is quietly having a good meet. He had two wins and two seconds from five starters. He now has four wins overall and has been in the money 77 percent of the time.
At the other end of the spectrum, Michael McCarthy (0 for 15), Valdimir Cerin (0-12) and Jonathan Wong (0-11) are all looking for their first wins of the meet.
Phil D’Amato is 1 for 25 but at least that one win was in a stakes race. Keith Desormeaux (1-16) and Peter Eurton (1-12) are also struggling.

FIRST RACE: 1. Vangogo, 2. Bellazano, 3. Grey Lady. LONG SHOT: So Much Happy.
==
SECOND RACE: 1. STREET CLASS (best bet), 2. C Falls, 3. Commanding Chief. LONG SHOT: Mica Bay.
==
THIRD RACE: 1. Baby Gronk, 2. The White Shadow, 3. Call You Tomorrow. LONG SHOT: Big Barrel.
==
FOURTH RACE: 1. Smiling to Excess, 2. Twentyseventrouts, 3. Traffic Stopper. LONG SHOT: Bayonce.
==
FIFTH RACE: 1. Wind Tartare, 2. My Aunt Tillie, 3. Lady Phyllis. LONG SHOT: Convince.
==
SIXTH RACE: 1. Cholula Lips, 2. Bulletproof One, 3. None of Your Biz. LONG SHOT: Bella Renella.
==
SEVENTH RACE: 1. Honos Man, 2. Chosen Vessel, 3. River God. LONG SHOT: Tequila Blanco.

Good luck.

SUNDAY’S RESULTS

Top choice winners: 4 (Immediate Impact $2.80, first race; Wound Tight $5.80, second; Spokane Eagle $4.40, fourth; Desert Oasis $8.80, eighth)

Second choice winners: 0

Third choice winners: 1 (Reedley $4.60, fifth)

Long shot winners: 1 (Ollie’s Candy $10, seventh)

Standard
Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Thursday, July 19

Preview: Trainers Doug O’Neill and Jerry Hollendorfer, who were mediocre in 2017, dominated on opening day, winning the first seven races between them. Give their horses an extra look, especially O’Neill, who gets hot and then cools off.

Trainers to watch
PHIL D’AMATO: Tied for the Del Mar training title last summer with 18 wins and his stable has only gotten stronger since then. He is a monster on the turf with 12 wins and 11 seconds from 66 starters. This summer look for improved numbers on the dirt and with younger horses.

RICHARD BALTAS: He tied D’Amato for the crown a year ago. Surprisingly, he beat D’Amato on the grass, leading all trainer with 13 winners on the green. One area of weakness is first-time starters so stay away from them.

PETER MILLER: Last summer wasn’t the best for the Carlsbad resident who annually starts a ton of horses at the seaside oval. He had more than twice has many seconds and thirds (24 and 16) as wins (15). No doubt he wants to turn those numbers around. Don’t be afraid of horses showing San Luis Rey Downs works because he has a portion of his stable there. Miller was second in dirt wins and victories by 2-year-olds. He does a lot of damage with claimers and maiden claimers, but you often don’t get a square price.

MARK GLATT: He had a really good summer under the radar last year, finishing tied for third in the standings with Miller (15 wins) from far less starters (68). He also is sneaky on the grass with eight wins from 37 starts. Betting on all of Glatt’s starters would have produced a flat-bet profit, according to Jim Mazur’s The Del Mar Handicapper 2018.

DOUG O’NEILL: It will be a race to see who starts more horses this meet: Miller or O’Neill. The O’Neill barn gets a lot of horses from J. Paul Reddam and a lot sired by Square Eddie so watch for that combination. O’Neill was tied for third in dirt wins (nine) and grass can be a weakness. However, look at turf sprints because in 2016 O’Neill did well in that category.

OTHERS: Bob Baffert has his second Triple Crown winner in four years but like American Pharoah, Justify won’t run at Del Mar. Baffert led all trainers with 12 dirt wins, with half of them coming from 2-year-olds. He is also usually strong in the sprint and handicap divisions. The best betting option is “the other Baffert.” When he has two horses in the same race, bet the one with the higher odds plus bet an exacta box of his two horses. … Jerry Hollendorfer had just five winners a year ago but he got hot during Santa Anita and might be back to his old self. Watch out for his 2-year-olds, especially the fillies, one of which (Brill) is running on opening day. … Michael McCarthy, the former Todd Pletcher assistant, is starting to get better stock after finishing last summer for third in dirt wins (nine). According to Mazur’s book, McCarthy produced a huge $73 flat-bet profit. … Simon Callaghan is another younger trainer to watch after he had seven 2-year-old winners in 2017. … Steve Miyadi is also good with 2-year-olds (four wins) and first-time starters (three of 11). … Jim Cassidy, the life-long New York Yankees fan, is 7-for-13 in turf sprints the last three years with a profit of $137, according Mazur’s book. … Tom Proctor, who trains mainly for Glen Hill Farm, is a whiz on the turf and he went 6-for-15 at 2017 meet for a flat-bet profit, but don’t expect any large prices because his horses get bet.

FIRST RACE: 1. Watch Me Burn, 2. Jellybeankristine, 3. No Thanks Erik. LONG SHOT: Lakerzwin.

SECOND RACE: 1. Gutsy Effort, 2. Welldidyougetit, 3. Latitude. LONG SHOT: June Two Four.

THIRD RACE: 1. PASTIME (best bet), 2. G Q Covergirl, 3. Painting Corners. LONG SHOT: Invested Prospect.
Let me just say this up front there is no way we are getting the 12-1 morning line on No. 8 Pastime in today’s third race. Trainer Victoria Oliver brings a small string to Del Mar almost every year from Kentucky and always seem to win at a good price, but the word is already out on social media. That being said Oliver is 4-for-11 at Del Mar with horses off a 31- to 60-day layoff like this filly and the average winning price is $20, according to Jim Mazur’s The Del Mar Handicapper 2018.

FOURTH RACE: 1. Robin’s Love, 2. Cylinders, 3. Lil Bit Dangerous. LONG SHOT: Go Smiley Go.

FIFTH RACE: 1. Memorable Election, 2. Rockaway, 3. Ivy Mike. LONG SHOT: Master Ruler.

SIXTH RACE: 1. Magic Musketier, 2. Andesh, 3. Inscom. LONG SHOT: Soltero.

SEVENTH RACE: 1. Secret Spice, 2. Moonshine Memories, 3. Show It N Moe It. LONG SHOT: Treasuring.

EIGHTH RACE: 1. Majorie E, 2. Venue, 3. Oh Pretty Woman. LONG SHOT: Unusual Gold.

WEDNESDAY’S RESULTS

Top choice winners: 2 (Shivermetimbers $4.60, sixth race; Brill $3.40, seventh)

Second choice winners: 1 (Super Duper Cooper $6.40, ninth)

Third choice winners: 3 (Eighty Three $10.60, third; Dichotomy $5.40, fourth; Ann Arbor Eddie $20, fifth)

Long shot winners: 1 (Jimmy Chila $7, second)

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Standard
Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Saturday, March 18

Race 4 – SA
#4 Kenjisstorm (4-1) ****
Our Eyes: Second start off the layoff for trainer Richard Baltas, who is 24% with horses the second time in his barn. Flavien Prat jumps on and he should have this horse in a good spot.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 4 – SA
#4 Trappe the Moment (10-1) ****
Our Eyes: This colt hasn’t been seen since the American Anthem maiden race at Del Mar, which has produced four next out winners. Drops into a claimer for the first time. Worth a shot.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 10 – SA
#4 Catfish Hunter (3-1) TURF ONLY ****
Our Eyes: Moving up in class to a MSW but that’s OK because this is his first turf try. The sire Grazen gets 23% first time winners on the grass. Tyler Baze keeps the mount.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show. EXBX 4-1-5.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Standard
Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Saturday, Feb. 4

Preview: Some rain on Friday, but only one race was taken off the turf which is a good sign for today’s card. At the start of the race week, Jerry Hollendorfer, Peter Miller and Richard Baltas led the way on the dirt with eight wins each. Doug O’Neill was right behind with seven winners. On the other end, Steven Knapp was 0-for-10 followed by Mike Harrington (1-18) and Sal Gonzalez (1-14), all of whom were having trouble winning races.

Race 4: #9 Amer Sista (6-1): Took money in her debut, but was off slow and then in right. Trainer Phil D’Amato puts blinkers on (22% move) and top turf rider Flavien Prat stays on and he’s 24% with D’Amato.

Race 6: #8 Fabozzi (6-1): This gelding is 3-2-0-1 at the distance. The 4-year-old is moving up in class but trainer Mark Glatt is 30% with horses that won their last race and that man Prat rides again on the turf. Prat is 27% with Glatt.

Race 8: #5 Mor Spirit (3-1): Pure and simple that try in the Malibu was a prep for this race by trainer Bob Baffert. This 4-year-old tries older horses for the first time, but Baffert is 27% going sprint to route and jockey Mike Smith stays aboard.

Race 9: #8 Perfectly Majestic (10-1): This gelding has beaten some of these before and has a record of 18-4-5-6 on the grass. Kent Desormeaux gets back on and he has had success with this 5-year-old in the past.

Good luck

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Standard
Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Thursday, Feb. 2

Preview: There is a strong chance of rain on Friday so this might be the last day of turf racing for the week. Phil D’Amato and Peter Miller lead the training corps with three wins each. Surprisingly, Richard Baltas is 1 for 20 and Doug O’Neill is 1 for 15 on the green stuff.

Race 1 – SA
#1 A. P. Zona (3-1) ****
Our Eyes: This 3-year-old drops into maiden claimer for the first time. Trainer Molly Pearson is 42% with that move and the colt comes out of a key race that has produced three next out winners.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 3 – SA
#6 David’s Memory (4-1) ****
Our Eyes: Huge jock switch here from Fernando Perez to Rafael Bejarano and this 5-year-old comes out of a key race with three next out winners.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 4 – SA
#9 Metrocity (4-1) ****
Our Eyes: This gelding drops into a maiden claimer for the first time. He has been running at Golden Gate and now is in Vladimir Cerin’s barn. Has good early speed which is always good at this level. Plus is also coming out of a key race, also with three next out winners.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 8 – SA
#7 Queen Blossom (4-1) ****
Our Eyes: Trainer Graham Motion sent her out here for the American Oaks at Santa Anita and she finished ninth. He keeps her out here and she is bred to run all day. Victor Espinoza takes the mount.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Standard
Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Saturday, November 12

Preview: Keep in mind that journeyman Norberto Arroyo Jr. had a big summer meet here, especially on the turf, so keep it in mind at this fall meet. Good card for this time of year. Jockeys Rafael Bejarano (hand injury) and Mario Gutierrez (sickness) missed opening day on Friday. Hope someone bet my long shots on Friday as two of them came in.

Race 1: 1. #6 Klondike Creek (5-2), 2. Evicted, 3. Bedeviled. LONG SHOT: Pappou.

This colt is making only his third career start and he showed big improvement in his first race on the grass. Trainer Richard Mandella is 36% with second-time turfers and 29% with horses running their second time at a route. Flavien Prat keeps the mount.

Race 2: 1. Lunar Express, 2. Savannah Sky, 3. Call ot Congrats. LONG SHOT: Miss Star Maker.

Race 3: 1. SABI SANDS (BEST BET), 2. Sly Humor, 3. Princess Hulia. LONG SHOT: Mopotism

Race 4: 1. Defiantly, 2. Barhanpour, 3. Mittersill. LONG SHOT: Camino Del Paraiso.

Race 5: 1. #6 Velvet Jones (7-2), 2. Lil Miss Sapphire, 3. Feel Freely. LONG SHOT: Cioppino Pasadino.

This filly broke her maiden first time over this track with a come from behind effort. A similar style might work here as there appears to be a lot of speed. She is dropping out of a minor stakes race and gets a big jockey switch to Rafael Bejarano.

Race 6: 1. Infinite Magic, 2. Cervaro, 3. Tattenham. LONG SHOT: Saint Loup.

Race 7: 1. Thunder Basin, 2. Pedro Cerrano, 3. Anthonysgotgame. LONG SHOT: Smokey’s Legacy.

Race 8: 1. Crown the Kitten, 2. Hobbits Hero, 3. McHeat. LONG SHOT: Banze No Oeste.

Race 9: 1. #12 Gavin Streetsense (10-1), 2. Little Mustard, 3. The Golden Kid. LONG SHOT: Johann’s Command.

This gelding ran fourth over this track at this distance at this level. Trainer Richard Baltas owns this 3-year-old and he makes a jockey change to journeyman Tiago Pereira and they are 29% together.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Standard
Breeders' Cup, Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Friday, Sept. 2 (3:30 p.m. first post)

Preview: Interesting that the featured Cal-bred stakes is moved out of the Pick 6 and run as race 2. I don’t see a big favorite so don’t know why. The trainers race could come down to the final day on Monday. Phil D’Amato started the week with 19 winners followed by Richard Baltas at 16 and Bob Baffert and Peter Miller with 15 each. You can bet all those barns will be firing over the final four days of the meet.

Race 1: 1. #8 Crown of Light (8-1), 2. Princess Tiznow, 3. She’s Got Style. LONG SHOT: Cyclone Betty.
Trainer Peter Eurton is 28% the second time puts a horse on the grass. The sire Popular gets 18% winners on grass and jockey Rafael Bejarano, who is 25% with Eurton, jumps on.

Race 2: 1. #1 Rinse and Repeat (6-1), 2. Elwood J, 3. California Diamond. LONG SHOT: Upstaging the Cast.
Trainer Doug O’Neill threw this 2-year-old to the big boys in the Best Pal stakes and finished fourth. He is now back with his friends in the Cal-bred ranks and look for him to be up on engine after a poor start in the last race.

Race 3: 1. Start a Runnin, 2. Trust Your Gut, 3. American League. LONG SHOT: Blanket of Ice.

Race 4: 1. Trump Diesel, 2. Blue Navy Blue, 3. Resistanceisfutile. LONG SHOT: Gotta Get Lucky.

Race 5: 1. Shysheisnot, 2. Lady’s Lunar Luck, 3. Midnight Candy. LONG SHOT: My Sweet Afleet.

Race 6: 1. Red Apple, 2. Start to Finish, 3. You’re the Reason. LONG SHOT: Lilac Street.

Race 7: 1. #9 Paquita Coqueta (5-1) BEST BET, 2.Long Hot Summer, 3. Pretty N Cool. LONG SHOT: Crowley’s Law.
Trainer Richard Mandella does well with imports as his 24% win rate with horses first time in North America would suggest. This mare from Chile won 8 of 10 at this sprint distance on the turf down there and she has been throwing bullets in the morning. Flavien Prat, who is 20% with Mandella, rides.

Race 8: 1. Vending Machine, 2. L.A. Tower, 3. Mt. Leinster. LONG SHOT: Two Thirty Five.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Standard
Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Friday, Aug. 26 (First post 3:30 p.m.)

Preview: How will the main track play for this late afternoon is anybody’s guess. On Saturday, there was a strong closer bias, which made California Chrome’s wire job even more impressive. On Sunday, there was an outside bias. They usually work the main track after training on Fridays to beware.

Race 1: 1. Rim Ditch, 2. Pacific Song, 3. Caan Me. LONG SHOT: Westmont.

Race 2: 1. Papacoolpapacool, 2. A Red Tie Day, 3. Forever Juanito. LONG SHOT: Poshsky.

Race 3: 1. Six Cider, 2. Bernin Sensation, 3. What’sontheagenda. LONG SHOT: A. P. Zona.

Race 4: q. #8 Big Finish (20-1), 2. El Koreano, 3. Swiss Minister. LONG SHOT: Nusret.
This 3-year-old has been facing tougher, including Eric the Trojan and Navy Hymn which both won over the weekend. Trainer Molly Pearson puts the blinkers back on so she wants this gelding on the engine early and good gate jockey Martin Pedroza rides back. Plus there is a good work showing since his last race, presumably in the blinkers.

Race 5: 1. Yellow Bonnet, 2. Untouchable U, 3. Escapee. LONG SHOT: Dama Fina.

Race 6: 1. Hot Market, 2. Jazzy Josh, 3. Wildfire Kid. LONG SHOT: Zuri Chop.

Race 7: 1. #9 Who’s Out (3-1), 2. Accererate, 3. Taman Guard. LONG SHOT: Touched by Autism.
Kind of ironic that trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has a big shot to win the Shared Belief Stakes here. This 3-year-old likes this track and goes around two turns for the first time. Hollendorfer is 23% when going sprint-sprint-route. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith rides.

Race 8: 1. #5 Yavrig (3-1) BEST BET, 2. If You Believe, 3. Buzzer Beater. LONG SHOT: Tanager.
It’s now or never for this filly. She lost at a mile and finished second at 6 1/2 furlongs so this 7-furlong race should hit her right between the eyes. Trainer Richard Baltas is 24% third off the layoff.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Standard
Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar late selections for Thursday, Aug. 25

Preview: Plenty of variety on this card so should be interesting. The trainer’s race is coming down to the usual suspects. Heading into the week Phil D’Amato led with 16 winners followed by Richard Baltas and Bob Baffert at 12 wins each and Peter Miller with 10. Disappointing meet for the Doug O’Neill barn so maybe that barn will get hot in the last two weeks.

Sorry late again.

Race 1: 1. Tryst, 2. Pearl de Vere, 3. Cuyathy. LONG SHOT: Spicy Blonde.

Race 2: 1. #4 Handsome Hank (5-2), 2. Unbridled Rocket, 3. Suavemente. LONG SHOT: Proud Zoning.
Trainer Art Sherman does claim many but he must have seen some here. Maybe it’s the 5-2-1-2 record at this distance or 2-1-0-1 record on the dirt. This colt is bred to run all day and has the best Brisnet Late Pace Rating.

Race 3: 1. Lil Miss Sapphire, 2. Woot Woot, 3. Goseecal. LONG SHOT: My Mel Mar.

Race 4: 1. #3 Patron (6-1) BEST BET, 2. Silent Movies, 3. What’s Up Gus. LONG SHOT: Magik Pepper.
This is strictly a breeding play as trainer Bob Baffert is 4% with first-time turfers. This colt was training good enough going into debut but that was on the dirt. This 3-year-old is bred to run on the turf (13% first time grass) and bred to run all day (7.5 average furlongs for sire and 9.4 for the broodmare sire). This colt is also coming out of a key race. Baffert is 32% with jockey Stewart Elliott. I’m all in.

Race 5: 1. Enduring Erin, 2. Mrs. Norris, 3. Dis Smart Cat. LONG SHOT: Stylish in Black.

Race 6: 1. #8 Vibe (6-1), 2. Plum Dandy, 3. Term of Act. LONG SHOT: Thirty Pepperonis.
Think this colt’s debut was just a training race as the Desormeaux brothers team up here on this son of Astrology. Trainer Keith Desormeaux is 17% with horses the first time they go a route of ground.

Race 7: 1. #5 Instant Drama (15-1), 2. Easy Grader, 3. Madame Mousse. LONG SHOT: Cover Song.
This filly tries turf for the first time as she returns from a short freshening. The sire Big Drama gets 10% winners first time turf. Trainer Gary Mandella is 2-for-8 in turf sprints and this 3-year-old has a couple of big works coming into the race.

Race 8: 1. Clude, 2. Big Discovery, 3. Motoring Around. LONG SHOT: Tough Emblem.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Standard