Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Friday, Nov. 11

Preview: The fall meet returns to the seaside oval for the third year now. On opening day for some reason the Jimmy Durante Turf Course is at 12 feet instead of being zero. Don’t ask me why. As the rails come out, look for speed to prevail but for now here’s hoping it’s a fair grass course. .

Race 1: 1. #2 Perfect Set (6-1), 2. Out of Patience, 3. Rough Passage. LONG SHOT: Alex Rossi.
This gelding was claimed last time out by Anthony Saavedra no doubt with this meet in mind. The 7-year-old has a 7-2-1-2 record at Del Mar. This is his second race off the layoff and he should be tighter.

Race 2: 1. Desert Madam, 2. Ponder Lea, 3. Enduring Erin. LONG SHOT: Lookout Sister.

Race 3: 1. Celebrated Talent, 2. Tribal Jewel, 3. Forest Blue. LONG SHOT: City Steel.

Race 4. 1. Ciao Bella Rosa, 2. Tammy’s Window, 3. Go Argento. LONG SHOT: Mo Style.

Race 5: 1. #2 Dman Doughty (12-1), 2. Dixie Pistol, 3. Dynamic Ruler. LONG SHOT: Pumpkin Star.
Trainer Robertino Diodoro knows how to win with first-time starters (21%) and 2-year-olds (22%). This is a son of U S Ranger, who gets 9% winners first time out. Jockey Joe Talamo takes the mount.

Race 6: 1. Bird E House, 2. All Call, 3. Winning Causeway. LONG SHOT: Comes the Dream.

Race 7: 1. #2 Hot Rodin (9-2), 2. Admiral’s Club, 3. Salient. LONG SHOT: Country Road.
This gelding bobbled at the start in his last and still showed speed, like he has in all of his races. Speed can be dangerous on this track and the 3-year-old shortens up. Norberto Arroyo takes over for trainer Kristin Mulhall.

Race 8: 1. Keri Belle, 2. Sobradora, 3. Amboseli. LONG SHOT: Do the Dance.

Race 9: 1. Buzzer Beater, 2. Aiming Straight, 3. Wake the Dawn. LONG SHOT: Zanab.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Sunday, July 17

Preview: Phil D’Amato led the training standings at Santa Anita on the turf, but last year at Del Mar he was no better than fourth on the grass. Doug O’Neill led all trainers with grass wins last summer followed by Peter Miller and Mike Puype. Keep it in mind. How some of you hit Saturday’s $20.40 winner She’s Not Here.

Race 1: 1. Pragmatical (SCRATCHED), 2. English Queen, 3. Brainspin. LONG SHOT: Vivacious Beauty.

Race 2: 1. #5 Carlsbad Mountain (8-1), 2. Thanksgiving Day, 3. Big Tire. LONG SHOT: Dive Down.
Just throw out that last race for this gelding. Trainer Robertino Diodoro drops this 7-year-old back to his claimed level and the gelding has a win over the track at the fall meet. Look for jockey Stewart Elliott to send his mount from the gate.

Race 3: 1. #8 Cammy’s Music (4-1), 2. Mr. Louis, 3. Crime Boss. LONG SHOT: Thirty Pepperonis.
Trainer Craig Dollase is good with first-timers, sporting a 24% win pct. with those types. He is 29% with debuting maiden claimers and the sire Maclean’s Music is 38% with first-time starters with limited starters.

Race 4: 1. Sausalito Sunset, 2. It’s Not So Easy, 3. Champagne Elegance. LONG SHOT: Highly Classified.

Race 5: 1. Entrechat, 2. Chati’s On Top, 3. Flamingo Lane. LONG SHOT: Bottle Blonde.

Race 6: 1. Success Rate, 2. Celebrity Status, 3. Swiss Cheese. LONG SHOT: Northern Iowa.

Race 7: 1. Riri, 2. Cheekaboo, 3. Well Caught. LONG SHOT: How Unusual.

Race 8: 1. Chasing Aces, 2. Law Abidin Citizen, 3. The All Button. LONG SHOT: Blame Joe.

Race 9: 1. Midnight Storm, 2. Finnegans Wake, 3. Ashleyluvssugar. LONG SHOT: Flamboyant.

Race 10: 1. Kristi’s Copilot, 2. Que Chistoso, 3. It’s Just Bob. LONG SHOT: Ebony Gold.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Saturday’s top choice winners: 3 (Toowindytohaulrox $4.20, fifth race;  Rinse and Repeat $6.20, sixth; She’s Not Here $20.40, ninth)

Saturday’s second choice winners: 0

Saturday’s third choice winners: 4 (Overcomer $7, first; Passionate Emotion $5, second; Spanish Hombre $7.40, fourth; Morganite $19.40, eighth)

Saturday’s long shot winners: 1 (Cindys Secret $43.40, third)

Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Saturday, July 16

Preview: Opening day has come and gone, and now we get into the meat and potatoes of the meet. The first three days all have 10 races so that’s a good sign. Let’s hope it continues. Yesterday we discussed the best turf riders in the second half of the Santa Anita meet. Here are some riders maybe to ignore on the turf: Fernando Perez 0-for-45, Edwin Maldonado 0-for-25 and Alex Solis 1-for-19.

Race 1: 1. #4 Brother Soldier (4-1), 2. Stormin Trick, 3. Overcomer. LONG SHOT: Two Six Wins.
This gelding was claimed last time out by trainer Robertino Diodoro, who is 26% first off the claim.The 5-year-old is moving from an open $10K claiming to a nonwinners of three at the $16K level. There’s also a big jock switch to take notice of from E. Gomez to Tyler Baze.

Race 2: 1. Angel Lane, 2. Sunshine Laurie, 3. Passionate Emotion. LONG SHOT: Adios Princess.

Race 3: 1. Xoxo, 2. Moment Is Right, 3. Codacious. LONG SHOT: Cindys Secret.

Race 4: 1. Basinca, 2. Look Me in the Eye, 3. Spanish Hombre. LONG SHOT: Midnight Edition.

Race 5: 1. #3 Lieutenant Colonel (6-1), 2. Vyjack, 3. Toowindytohaulrox. LONG SHOT: A Red Tie Day.
This gelding is making the first start of his 10-race career on the grass. On the dirt he has faced the likes of El Kabeir, Frosted, Big John B and Melatonin. Not exactly slouches. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer is cutting him back hoping for a new career on the green.

Race 6: 1. Rinse and Repeat, 2. Rim Ditch, 3. Brandan. LONG SHOT: Close to Midnight.

Race 7: #3 I’malreadythere (6-1), 2. Lauren’s Ladd, 3. It’s the Ice. LONG SHOT: Horse Greedy.
Jockey Flavien Prat could have ridden for trainer Richard Mandella, but he opts for this gelding trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, who is 20% with horses off a 90-plus-day layoff. The outside post will be the main obstacle here.

Race 8: 1. Go Baby Run, 2. Noted and Quoted, 3. Morganite,. LONG SHOT: Tap On a Star.

Race 9: 1. #8 She’s Not Here (12-1), 2. Majestic Heat, 3. Nancy From Nairobi. LONG SHOT: Her Emmynency.
This mare is 0-for-3 since turning 5 years old, but those two wins over this course last year just stick out. Maybe she just loves the ocean air. Jockey Drayden Van Dyke jumps on her for the first time and here’s hoping he adopts the style she had last year when she made one run down the stretch.

Race 10: 1. Speed General, 2. Alaskan Cruise, 3. One for My Baby. LONG SHOT: Hoosier Road.

Good luck.

Friday’s top choice winners: 1 (Grazen Sky $14.20, seventh race)

Friday’s second choice winners: 2 (I’ll Be Around $10.60, second; Rye $12.40, third)

Friday’s third choice winners: 1 (Chief of Staff $12, ninth)

Friday’s long shot winners: 2 (Grandma’s Hands $4.60, fifth; Alaskan Son $9.40, 10th)

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Saturday, June 26

Preview: Gold Cup Day and we like the idea of running the race as the last event on the card. Rafael Bejarano went 2-for-2 on Thursday to create some space in the jockey’s race and he could pick up some more today as Flavien Prat is suspended and can only ride in the Gold Cup. Bad day on Friday as favorites won everything and my favorites ran up the track

Race 3: #4 Concorso (9-2): Trainer Dan Hendricks is 2-for-8 at the meet. This gelding showed good speed in breaking his maiden at Los Alamitos but he also has the Brisnet top Late Pace Rating. Hendricks is 21% with horses coming off a 46 to 90-day layoff and jockey Drayden Van Dyke gets aboard.

Race 4: #7 Chasing Aces (6-1): Trainer Peter Miller scored Thursday with a maiden training at San Luis Rey Downs and that’s what we have here in this colt sired by Flatter, an 11% first out sire. Miller is 17% first time out and he’s 26% with jockey Fernando Perez.

Race 6: #8 Family Code (3-1): This gelding pressed the pace in his last win and has two wins over this track. Trainer Robertino Diodoro is 48% when he drops a horse off a win.

Race 7: #5 Tiz No Bluff (6-1): This colt is making his second career start after an even effort in his first try around two turns. He should improve off that effort for trainer Ron Ellis, who is 24% with horses off a 61 to 180-day layoff and 20% on the dirt.

Race 8: #2 Kobe’s Back (5-2): Absolutely love this horse in this spot going 7 furlongs. He also loves this track with a 6-3-2-0 record over the oval. There is plenty of speed in here and he has Brisnt’s top Class and Late Pace Ratings.

Race 9: #1 Bal a Bali (9-2): This horse has run all 21 lifetime efforts on the grass so why does Richard Mandella run him here? Because he’s a Hall of Fame trainer. The 6-year-old horse from Brazil has been tearing it up in the mornings in workouts on the dirt and there are no world beaters in this race so why not take a shot? Mandella is 26% going from turf to dirt and 22% with beaten favorites. This horses has been facing tough ones on the grass so the class shouldn’t be a problem and jockey Flavien Prat stays aboard.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Saturday, May 21

Good card on Preakness Saturday. Sounds like it will be a lot drier in SoCal than Baltimore for the Preakness.

Race 2 – SA
#4 Vartan: About time for trainer Bill Spawr to get hot. This gelding making a jump in class but it shouldn’t matter. Barn rider Agapito Delgadillo is staying aboard and he’s 28% with Spawr. This 4-year-old has the best Brisnet Late Pace Rating.

Race 3 – SA
#5 Navy Hymn: Trainer Robertino Diodoro runs this 3-year-old up in class but with good reason as this speedster is a perfect 3-for-3 over the track. Diodoro also brings in jockey R.A. Vazquez in from Prairie Meadows to ride in a stakes and give him this mount, too. They are 44% together.

Race 8 – SA
#4 Coppa: This 3-year-old won at first asking at Del Mar so there is no reason to think trainer Phil D’Amato can’t do the same thing in her second race. D’Amato is 26% with horses off a 90-plus-day layoff.

Race 10 – SA
#9 Avenge: This filly has a 3-for-4 record over the downhill course and trainer Richard Mandella should have her ready to run her best off the layoff.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Thursday, May 19

Preview: Just a so-so weekday. During the first two weeks of the meet, jockey Edwin Maldonado has been hot, winning 10 of 38 races. Rafael Bejarano is right behind him with 9-of-36.

Race 1 – SA
#3 My California (10-1): This appears to be the sire Calimonco’s first starter and owners/breeders like to get off to a fast start with new sires. Trainer Robertino Diodoro is 25% with first-time starters and 23% with 2-year-olds.

Race 5 – SA
#8 City of Vengeance (4-1): Trainer Ron Ellis claimed this gelding and wanted to get him on the downhill course but was thwarted due do the weather. Ellis is 40% second off the claim and has a second down the hill. Jockey Tyler Baze, 27% with Ellis at Santa Anita, takes the mount.

Race 8 – SA
#1 Papa Joey (4-1): This gelding showed big improvement when placed on the turf for the first time by trainer Phil D’Amato, who is 38% with jockey Drayden Van Dyke.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Sunday, March 6

Preview: With rain scheduled to begin late Saturday night, SA management finally did something smart and carded only one grass race, which will be taken off to main track in all likelihood on Sunday. Look for horses that have done well on wet tracks before and check those Tomlinson numbers.


Race 3: #4 Toledo Eddie (9-2) 

Trainer Robertino Diodoro claimed this gelding last time and moves him up, which is always a good. Diodoro is 22% first off the claim and this 7-year-old is 2-for-2 on a wet track.


Race 4: #5 Keeping the Faith (6-1)

Plenty of class droppers in this maiden claimer, including this gelding. Trainer Anthony Saavedra is a perfect 3-for-3 when employing the sprint-route-sprint angle. Also the sire Southern Image is 18% with horses on a wet track. Apprentice David Lopez jumps on.


Race 6: #3 Feldini (8-1) 

Tough maiden race with trainers like Bob Baffert, Jerry Hollendorfer and John Sadler with horses entered but going with a possible up and comer in this 3-year-old by Twirling Candy, a sire who is 31% with mud horses. Trainer Scott Hansen is 33% with horses going two turns for the first time and jockey Tyler Baze jumps on.


Race 8: #3 Star of Munster (5-1) 

This filly had been doing well in open company and now drops into a Cal-bred race so looks like a class drop to me. Trainer Robertino Diodoro is 27% with horses that won their last race and should it stay wet the sire Tribal Rule does well on an off-track.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Friday, Feb. 26

Preview: If it only takes 15 pages to print out the card, that means there aren’t a lot of entries and there aren’t. In looking at the main track, trainers Doug O’Neill (13-87) leads the way followed by Bob Baffert (12-62) and Jerry Hollendorfer (10-70). On the other end, trainers to avoid might be Jim Cassidy (1-26), Art Sherman (1-20), Mike Machowsky (1-19) and Javier Sierra (1-19).


Race 3

#6 Desert Madam (6-1) 

Trainer Robertino Diodoro, who is 22% first off the claim, claimed this mare off two sub-par efforts. If she returns to form, she’s worth the price. The mare has three wins over the Santa Anita surface in her four lifetime dirt wins.


Race 4 

#3 Cimpl Man (turf only) (3-1) 

Trainer Gary Mandella is 30% when a horse is making his third race off a layoff and this colt stretches out. Jockey Mike Smith and let’s hope he gets more speed out of this colt because the rails are set at 30 feet and speed will be important.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Friday, Nov. 20


FIRST RACE: 1. Semper Fortis, 2. Weirdhaircut Seth, 3. Five Star Jack. LONG SHOT: Media Melee.

SECOND RACE: 1. #6 Gotta Get Paid (6-1), 2. Classic Gent, 3. Bandido Too. LONG SHOT: Silvertron.

Trainer Robertino Diodoro ships this 3-year-old in from Canterbury and drops him in class. Diodoro is 26% with shippers and 28% with horses on the dirt. Tyler Baze jumps on and he is 25% with Diodoro.


THIRD RACE: 1. #4 JOHN’S SUCCESS (4-1) BEST BET, 2. Lovenseek, 3. Trifecta. LONG SHOT: I’ll Play My Hand.

This 3-year-old must find a way to beat Lovenseek, but jockey Corey Nakatani will find a way like he does on this course. Trainer Doug O’Neill is 20% third off the layoff and the barn is hot right now.


FOURTH RACE: 1. A Colt Following, 2. Ain’t Misbehavin, 3. Tiz Jolie. LONG SHOT: Ladies Man.
FIFTH RACE: 1. Fishel, 2. Dynamite Ride, 3. Gunslinger. LONG SHOT: Day in the Sun.
SIXTH RACE: 1. Frac Candy, 2. Go Long, 3. Derby Chatter. LONG SHOT:  Always Macho.
SEVENTH RACE: 1. #9 No Comparison (4-1), 2. Sharaun, 3. Easter Fever. LONG SHOT: Cin City Lady.

Tough to explain the failure last time as the 3-5 favorite. Jockey Alonso Quinonez must know this filly wants to be up on the pace, unlike last time. Trainer Kenny Black is 26% with sprinters.

EIGHTH RACE: 1. A Lucky Carry, 2. Allsquare, 3. Casino Fever. LONG SHOT: Hurricaine Callie.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter


Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Friday, July 24 (UPDATED)

FIRST RACE: 1. Fashioned Gem, 2. Rush of Day, 3. Jazzed. LONG SHOT: Sweet Lu.


SECOND RACE: 1. Heavenly Haze, 2. Chief of Staff, 3. Missing Groom. LONG SHOT: Wings of Mojave.
THIRD RACE: 1. #4 FAMILY CODE (6-1) best bet, 2. Carlos Dangerous, 3. Star Express. LONG SHOT: Counterplay.

Drops into a maiden claimer for the first time off a fourth-place finish against MSW types. Trainer Robertino Diodoro is 25% with that move and he is 20% with jockey Fernando Perez.


FOURTH RACE: 1. Friendswith K Mill SCRATCHED, 2. Beast of Bourbon, 3. Tribal Tribute. LONG SHOT: Sizzlin’ Joe. New selections: 1. Beast of Bourbon, 2. Tribal Tribute, 3. Sizzlin’ Joe. LONG SHOT: Mr T Bird.
FIFTH RACE: 1. Pefiolo, 2. Win Quietly SCRATCHED, 3. Shemp. LONG SHOT: Surfer Moon. New selections: 1. Pefiolo, 2. Surfer Moon, 3. Shemp. LONG SHOT: Omdurman.
SIXTH RACE: 1. #6 Point Piper (5-1), 2. Sky Kingdom, 3. Lideris. LONG SHOT: Big John B.

This 5-year-old makes his debut on the West Coast under the watchful eye of trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who 31% with first-time trainees. This horse is bred to run all day and gets his first chance to do that here with a huge jockey switch to Hall of Famer Mike Smith.


SEVENTH RACE: 1. Tiz Dynamic, 2. Bench Light SCRATCHED, 3. Gin Riki. LONG SHOT: Mister Blue. New selections: 1. Tiz Dynamic, 2. Gin Riki, 3. Mister Blue. LONG SHOT: Terrys Tom Cat. 
EIGHTH RACE: 1. Matter of Luck, 2. Scatchmeifyoucan, 3. Bella Breeze. LONG SHOT: Lady Regina

This filly filly showed speed on the drop, but faded in the stretch. Trainer Dan Blacker, who is 38% with horses moving down to classes, adds blinkers and speed jockey Edwin Maldonado.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Thursday’s top choice winners: 3 (Smooth Talker $19.40, second race; Gravity Force $4, fourth; Midnight Transfer $8.40, sixth)

Thursday’s second choice winners: 1 (West Coast Storm $17.2o, eighth)

Thursday’s third choice winners: 0

Thursday’s long shot winners: 1 (Sooner Time $13.20, first)