Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Friday, Oct. 27

Preview: Watch out for the Doug O’Neill barn. Not the best year but won three races on Thursday and might be rounding into form at the right time of the year.

FIRST RACE: #1 Pitching (4-1)
This Glen Hill Farm homebred ran into some trouble last race and it might have cost him a better placing. Trainer Tom Proctor is 22% second time off a 45 to 180-day layoff and barn rider Drayden Van Dyke is aboard.

SIXTH RACE: #7 Tea for Tam (15-1)
This a tough race with a couple of second-time starters for Jerry Hollendorfer (20%) and a pair of first-time starters for Bob Baffert (25%), but I’m going to take a shot with this Malibu Moon firster. The sire gets 14% winners first time out and John Shirreffs hasn’t forgotten how to train since Zenyatta retired.

SEVENTH RACE: #6 Dadtaughtmewell (6-1)
We had this one last time he race, but he finished fourth, beaten by 1 1/2 lengths. Flavien Prat rides back for Dean Pederson and that combination was 4-for-4 before that race. There is a good work showing since that race and he might be sitting on a good one.

EIGHTH RACE: #4 Langham (10-1)
This 4-year-old comes out of one of the most powerful key races during the Del Mar meet. Four horses have come back to win out of that maiden race and another finished second from nine next out starters. Trainer John Sadler had this one gelded since that race when he pressed the early pace and then faltered. This one is bred to love the grass and cuts back in distance. Sadler is 19% with horses off a 46 to 90-day layoff. Good work showing so maybe ready to run best since being gelded.

Good luck

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Thursday, Oct. 26

FIRST RACE: #8 Out Ofthe Ordinary (6-1)
The rails are out to 20 feet on the turf course which might help speed and that’s what this mare has. Trainer Brian Koriner is 40% with beaten favorites and he’s a decent combination with jockey Jamie Theriot (14%).

THIRD RACE: #4 Minister’s Glory (15-1)
It’s first time turf for this 2-year-old son of Ministers Wild Cat, who gets 14% winners first time on the grass. The damsire, Valid Wager, gets 13% winners first time on the turf. Trainer Mike Machowsky is 20% first time turf and he has a good turf rider in Joe Talamo on board. Machowsky also puts blinkers on (20%). This gelding moves from a Maiden $50,000 claimer to MSW but I’m not concerned by the class rise.

FIFTH RACE: #6 Moon Juice (15-1)
Going with a pure pedigree play here with this son Kantharos, who gets 20% winners first time out. This gelding is out of a Meadowlake mare and Meadowlake gets 18% first time winners. Martin Pedroza is a good gate jockey.

SIXTH RACE: #3 Tribal Fighter (4-1)
Like the downhill course (4-1-2-0) and comes out of a key race. Has some early speed and jockey Corey Nakatani sticks for trainer Richard Baltas and they are are 25% combo.

EIGHTH RACE: #4 Roaring Fork (5-1)
Closed in his debut on the dirt and now comes down the hill. Out of an Arch (10%) mare. Stewart Elliott and trainer Mike Puype are a decent combination (117%).

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Horse racing, Ramon Guce

Santa Anita opinions for Saturday, Oct. 21

SECOND RACE: #6 Blame the Rider (6)
Trainer Doug O’Neill is due to break loose soon with a 1-for-39 start to the meet. He likes to win for owner J. Paul Reddam, who paid $320,000. This is a son of Jimmy Creed, which has been winning at 27% with first-time out starters. Barn rider Mario Gutierrez is aboard and there are some decent works showing.

SIXTH RACE: #7 Mischievous Song (5-1)
Trainer David Hofmans has improved percentage with first-time starters over the last year to 19%. The sire Into Mischief gets 14% winner first time out and this won has a couple of good works showing. Play an exacta box with the favored #8 Fracas (8-5).

NINTH RACE: #12 Paved (8-1)
Jockey Flavien Prat certainly could have ridden other in this maiden turf event, but he choose to get aboard this first-timer from the Michael McCarthy barn. This 2-year-old cost $320,000 at auction this year so she must have some talent. The sire Quality Road gets 9 percent winner first time on the grass. This filly is out of a Cozzene mare so there is plenty of grass breeding on the bottom side. Let’s hope, Prat had made the right choice.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Sunday, Oct. 15

Preview: Battleground State finally gave us a winner on Saturday. I was a little worried Flavien Prat was too wide, but he knew he had the horse and held on through the lane.
Two more weeks left in Arcadia and then it’s time for Del Mar and the Breeders’ Cup.

FIRST RACE: #4 Camino Del Paraiso (4-1)
Trainer OJ Jauregui ships this gelding down from Northern California and he doesn’t do that much so there is a purpose here. Despite the class hike going to the better circuit, jockey Kent Desormeaux jumps on. Desormeaux is a masterful turf rider and when he gets on a horse for the first time that horse usually shows improvement, which will be needed here. Jauregui is 3-for-7 with horses in the allowance ranks.

SIXTH RACE: #4 Hay Dude (8-1)
This gelding has won at Santa Anita on the grass four times and he has won two of five times down the hill. The only time he ran down the hill this year he won. He’s taking a slight class raise but I think he still has a big shot.

EIGHTH RACE: #7 South Texas Lingo (5-1)
Trainer Dallas Keen has stayed in SoCal after Del Mar and drops this gelding to the bottom. Keen is 41% when dropping a horse more than two class levels. Jockey Tyler Baze takes over.

NINTH RACE: #7 Sasini (4-1)
This filly is making her first start in the States and trainer Simon Callaghan is 27% with that kind. Callaghan puts blinkers on and adds Lasix. Prat jumps aboard and he is 30% with Callaghan. This filly is bred to go this far or longer.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Saturday, Oct. 14

FOURTH RACE: #1 Radio Silence (7-2)
Love War Front offspring going a mile on the turf. This colt is first-time in the U.S. Trainer Richard Baltas is 23% with a horse the first time in his care. Good works coming into the race and jockey Flavien Prat jumps aboard.

SEVENTH RACE: #5 Slasher (7-2)
This gelding takes a drop in class off a layoff since Aug. 2. He has a 6-1-1-3 record at Santa Anita. Apprentice Evin Roman rides for trainer Mark Glatt and they are 29% together.

NINTH RACE: #8 Battleground State (7-2)
My observation at Del Mar was that apprentice jockey Evin Roman needs to work on his turf riding. He came in second on this filly, but opts to ride the “other” Neil Drysdale, in Rolling Shadow (8-1) here. So either Roman’s agent made a choice or Drysdale made a choice. What Drysdale put on Battleground State is jockey Flavien Prat, who is the best grass rider on the circuit. I would also play an all-Drysdale exacta.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Sunday, Oct. 8

Preview: I’m not sure I’ve picked so many horses that have finished fourth in my life. That’s good for superfecta players, but I’m not. Oneward and upward. Don’t forget there is racing Monday.

FOURTH RACE: #1 Luminoso (12-1)

This filly is coming out of a key Del Mar race that has produced two winners so far. The sire Quality Road gets 9% winners first time on the turf and jockey Rafael Bejarano takes over.

SEVENTH RACE: #2 Tatar (4-1)

Really like jockey Kent Desormeaux on the grass and the first time he rides a horse. Trainer Edward Freeman is 20% when going from route to a sprint.

EIGHTH RACE: #6 Kafister (4-1)
This old boy didn’t have it at Del Mar following a year layoff, but he has plenty of class plus eight wins at Santa Anita from 16 starts. That must be why trainer Michael McCarthy, who rarely claims, took this 7-year-old. He drops him in class but with a win might make a small profit. McCarthy, a former Todd Pletcher assistant, is 21% with horses second off the layoff. Jockey Tyler Baze saw enough last time to stay aboard.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter