Breeders' Cup, Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita/Breeders’ Cup picks for Friday, November 1


Bias alert! Bias alert!

Keep a close eye on the main track for Friday’s early races because Thursday’s races were run in wire-to-wire fashion, except the last race when the leader still finished a strong second.

It brings back memories of last year’s Breeders’ Cup when there was a pronounced speed bias. The smart jockeys will smell it out so watch the races very closely.

The word around the track is that the inside of the track was “scrapped” on Wednesday. For most of the fall meet the track has seemed fair, but many jockeys didn’t stay on the rail. They will on Friday, if Thursday is any indication.

We’ll see.

FIRST RACE: 1. He’s Had Enough, 2. Omega Star, 3. Pure Loyalty. LONG SHOT: Yankee Rebel.

HE’S HAD ENOUGH was on the Triple Crown trail earlier this year facing the likes o f Orb, Flashback, Violence and Shanghai Bobby, who he finished to in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last year. The son of Tapit has been off since late March and trainer Doug O’Neill tries something new with him, running down the hill on the turf course. If he’s 90 percent, he might just outclass this field.


SECOND RACE: 1. Got Even, 2. Heir of Storm, 3. Door’s Open. LONG SHOT: Newfound Gold.

This could be an all-Peter Miller exacta as he trains the top two. I was leaning to HEIR OF STORM, a son of Wildcat Heir, who gets a barn switch to the red-hot Miller (11 wins at the meet) until the speed bias showed up on Thursday. GOT EVEN has speed and he gets Joel Rosario to ride. HEIR OF STORM is trying dirt for the first time in his career after synthetic and grass attempts. Miller puts the blinkers on and Eastern-based jockey Jose Lezcano jumps aboard.


THIRD RACE: 1. Cinmars Dance, 2. Tamarando, 3. Life Is a Joy. LONG SHOT: Electric Eddie.


FOURTH RACE: 1. Harlington’s Rose, 2. Moving Desert, 3. Cal Gal. LONG SHOT: Smoove It.


FIFTH RACE: 1. Procurement, 2. Gervinho, 3. Gabriel Charles. LONG SHOT: Dry Summer.

PROCUREMENT, a 3-year-old son of Milwaukee Brew, has lost to a few of these before, but he has two wins over this course and one victory at this distance of 1 1/8 mile on the grass. Jockey Gary Stevens keeps the mount and the way he is riding the odds are well worth a shot. We think his downhill trip last time was just a prep for this spot.


Breeders’ Cup races begin here.

SIXTH RACE: 1. Ever Rider, 2. Suns Out Guns Out, 3. Commander, 4. Worldly. LONG SHOT: Old Time Hockey.


SEVENTH RACE: 1. Giovanni Boldin1, 2. Wilshire Boulevard, 3. Bobby’s Kitten, 4. Bon Accord. LONG SHOT: Aotearoa.


EIGHTH RACE: 1. Alpha, 2. Brujo de Olleros, 3. Fed Biz, 4. Goldencents. LONG SHOT: Broadway Empire.


NINTH RACE: 1. Chriselliam, 2.Vorda, 3. My Conquestadory, 4. Clenor. LONG SHOT: Ready to Act.


TENTH RACE: 1. BEHOLDER (BEST BET), 2. Royal Delta, 3. Princess of Sylmar, 4. Authenticity. LONG SHOT: Close Hatches.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Breeders' Cup, Horse racing, Santa Anita

Breeders’ Cup selections (early)

For those who don’t know, I also contribute selections to Horse Player NOW and had to give my selections by noon on Tuesday. Therefore as a disclaimer, I did a early selection process. I have not factored in workouts or a computer program I like to look at so I reserve the right to change my mind before my final selections are posted here on Thursday and Friday respectively.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Breeders’ Cup picks for Friday, Nov. 1


Ever Rider

Suns Out Guns Out





Giovanni Boldini

Wilshire Boulevard

Bobby’s Kitten

Bon Accord




Brujo de Olleros

Fed Biz

Broadway Empire





Ready to Act

My Conquestadory




Royal Delta

Princess of Sylmar



Breeders’ Cup picks for Saturday, Nov. 2



Secret Compass

Sweet Reason

Artemis Agrotera




Tiz Flirtatious





Sweet Lulu

Dance to Bristol

Teddy’s Promise

Book Review





Unbridled’s Note

Capo Bastone



New Year’s Day


Tap It Rich

Diamond Bachelor



The Fugue


Indy Point

Little Mike



Secret Circle

Private Zone

Fast Bullet

Laugh Track



Olympic Glory

Wise Dan

Za Approval

No Jet Lag



Mucho Macho Man

Will Take Charge

Game On Dude

Palace Malice

Breeders' Cup, Horse racing, Santa Anita

Draw kind to Breeders’ Cup favorites

The racing gods were kind to the favorites who were given their post positions for this week’s biggest Breeders’ Cup races —- the Classic and Distaff —- at Arcadia’s Santa Anita Park.

The same couldn’t be said for some of the other races on Friday and Saturday.

Game On Dude, a perfect 5-for-5 in 2013, drew the No. 9 spot on Monday for Saturday’s $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic and was installed as the 8-5 morning-line favorite. Defending Classic champion Fort Larned (6-1) drew the No. 7 post. The Classic is one of nine BC races on Saturday.

“You really need racing luck,” said Bob Baffert, Game On Dude’s trainer. “I like his outside post (No. 9). We didn’t want to be buried inside.”

Friday’s five races are headed by the $2 million Distaff, which features a small but star-studded field of six females. Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens called the draw for that 1 1/8-mile race “irrelevant” on Twitter.

Stevens will come out of the No. 5 hole with the 3-year-old filly Beholder (5-2) while favorites Royal Delta (8-5 and the two-time defending champ) and Princess of Sylmar (9-5), another 3-year-old filly, drew No. 4 and No. 6, respectively.

As for the rest of the races, the biggest loser might be the 2-year-old filly My Conquestadory (9-2), who drew the outside post in a field of 14 going 1 mile on Santa Anita’s turf course in Friday’s Juvenile Fillies Turf. Trainer Mark Casse said the draw was so bad for his undefeated filly that he might consider scratching.

“I haven’t been feeling well, and I can’t tell you that made my stomach feel any better,” said Casse. “I’ve been on the phone with Ernie (Semersky, owner of Conquest Stables) and we may not even run, but we’ll see.”

Trainer Doug O’Neill didn’t have any luck with the No. 12 draw for speedy Goldencents (4-1) in Friday’s Dirt Mile plus another speed horse, and morning-line favorite Verrazano (3-1), drew No. 10.

“(The 12 post for Goldencents) is the one post I wasn’t thrilled about, but as I thought about it, I think it will work out,” said O’Neill, who also has the favorite in Saturday’s Sprint with Private Zone (3-1), which drew No. 7.

Defending Turf Sprint champion Mizdirection (4-1), owned in part by radio talk show host Jim Rome, drew an advantageous No. 12 for Saturday’s race on Santa Anita’s famed downhill grass course.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Horse racing

And in New York Saturday

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Big day at Belmont Park today for Breeders’ Cup preps. Here’s a few thoughts:

FIFTH RACE (Beldame) 12:09 p.m.: Don’t see anyone beating Royal Delta (3-5), the defending BC Ladies Classic winner, and Princess of Sylmar (2-1), the up-and-coming 3-year-old from the Todd Pletcher barn.


SIXTH RACE (Kelso) 12:41 p.m.: Graydar (7-5) will be tough to beat for Pletcher, but he has been away since March. I’m going with Hymn Book (6-1) for Shug McGaughey. The 7-year-old gelding has 3 wins and 3 seconds in seven tries at Belmont.


SEVENTH RACE (Vosburgh) 1:13 p.m.: I’m not really sure I understand trainer Doug O’Neill’s logic in sending Private Zone (4-1) East after his big win in the Pirates Bounty on closing day at Del Mar. That being said. The 4-year-old gelding loves the distance. However, we’re going to go with Justin Phillip (3-1), who has three wins at Belmont and a big work showing.


EIGHTH RACE (Flower Bowl) 1:45 p.m.: Looks like a wide-open race to me so in that case let’s go with Mystical Star (4-1) and White Rose (15-1). Both get tested for class and where else are you going to get trainer Bill Mott and jockey John Velazquez at 15-1?


NINTH RACE (Turf Classic) 2:17 p.m.: Another wide-open affair. King Kressa (12-1) just lost to reigning horse of the year Wise Dan at Saratoga and deserves a strong look as does Nutello (8-1) for trainer Graham Motion.


10th RACE (Jockey Club Gold Cup) 2:49 p.m.: I’m not sure how good Vitoria Olimpica (20-1) is, but Pletcher puts him in this tough spot so he must be doing pretty good while making his third start in the United States after importing from Brazil. Palace Malice (4-1) had all kinds of trouble in the Travers and might just be the best 3-year-old in the country despite Will Take Charge’s last two wins. Flat Out (3-1) is 5-for-6 over the surface.

Del Mar, Horse racing

The Dude was The Man

Co-owners Joe Torre, left, and Bernie Schiappa, right, escort favored Game On Dude and Martin Garcia into the winner's circle after victory in the Grade I $1,000,000 Pacific Classic Sunday,  at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. BENOIT PHOTO

Co-owners Joe Torre, left, and Bernie Schiappa, right, escort favored Game On Dude and Martin Garcia into the winner’s circle after victory in the Grade I $1,000,000 Pacific Classic Sunday, at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. BENOIT PHOTO

DEL MAR —- In the end, The Dude was just too much.

After two straight years of frustrating losses in Del Mar’s $1 million Pacific Classic, Game On Dude ran the other 11 horses off their hooves on Sunday.

Game On Dude, who was the 8-5 betting favorite, beat runner-up Kettle Corn by 8½ lengths. It was the largest winning margin in the history of Del Mar’s premiere race.

“He made a huge statement,” said Bob Baffert, Game On Dude’s trainer. “It was a great day of horse racing in Southern California.”

The statement the 6-year-old gelding made was that he will be one of the favorites in the Breeders’ Cup Classic in the fall at Santa Anita.

Going into the Pacific Classic, there was plenty of uncertainty surrounding the Game On Dude camp. The thoroughbred didn’t seem to like Del Mar’s Polytrack surface the last two summers, despite finishing second last year to Dullahan.

Then there was the game of musical jockeys.

Mike Smith had ridden The Dude to five straight victories, but he had a commitment to ride Royal Delta on Sunday at Saratoga Springs, N.Y. So Baffert went out and got the nation’s leading jockey in money won, Joel Rosario. However, Rosario suffered a broken foot in a freak riding accident on Friday at Saratoga and will miss six weeks of action.

Baffert then turned to Martin Garcia, who had been exercising Game On Dude in the mornings, but hadn’t ridden him in the afternoon for more than two years. Garcia was spoken for in the Classic aboard Liaison, owned by Arnold Zetcher, another Baffert client, but the trainer asked to scratch the horse and run in another race next weekend.

“(Garcia) finally got paid for working the horse (in the mornings),” said Baffert of the $600,000 first-place check.

Garcia just was a pilot gliding around the race track through fractions of 24.19 seconds, 47.96 and 1:12.61. Canadian invader Delegation, who was suppose to pressure Game On Dude, stayed a length or so behind after being very wide through the stretch the first time. By the head of the stretch, Game On Dude had a 6-length lead and he hit the finish line in 2:00.69 for the 1¼ mile.

“I feel amazing,” said Garcia, “especially here at Del Mar in its biggest race. I felt really comfortable around there.”

Almost everyone watching the race knew it was over when Game On Dude was trotting around the track.

“We wish there had been some pace in front of them, but it wasn’t there. The other speed horses just didn’t go,” said trainer John Sadler, who finished second (Kettle Corn) and third (You Know I Know).

Garcia took Game On Dude straight to the rail from the No. 10 post as the rest of the field tried to find their spots.

“The move out of the gate, that was it,” said Baffert. “I told Jill (Baffert’s wife) that there were no excuses today. It was a tough loss last year (to Dullahan). This is a very emotional win.

“Martin said when (Game On Dude) here this year, he could tell he was a different horse. He was doing everything smoothly.

“We talked about different scenarios and how there was so much speed lined up, but I told Martin he had the fastest horse.”

Baffert also had instructions for the top of the stretch.

“I told him when you turn for home, I don’t want anyone running you down (like last year),” said Baffert. “I don’t want Dullahan running you down (again).”

No one could run down Game On Dude.

“Today, he really moved way up,” said Baffert, who saw his horse move to 29th on the all-time money earning list with $5.6 million. “He’s getting better.”

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter