Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita picks for Sunday, Dec. 29

FIRST RACE: 1. Made to Worship (best bet), 2. Shakeitupbetty, 3. Cause Ur My babe. LONG SHOT: Wired for Fun.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer is no slouch when it comes to winning with first-timers (25 percent) and this daughter of Ministers Wild Cat looks live with this bunch. Leading rider Rafael Bejarano will be aboard MADE TO WORSHIP.

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SECOND RACE: 1. No Tricks for Jack, 2. Born Lucky, 3. Ghost N Your Heart. LONG SHOT: Amulay.

Trainer Victor Garcia is pretty good sprint to route (27%) and NO TRICKS FOR JACK has a big work over the Santa Anita dirt. This filly got bumped at the start last time and may have prevented a better effort.

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THIRD RACE: 1. Modern Empire, 2. Seeking the West, 3. Scarly Charly. LONG SHOT: Perfect Set.

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FOURTH RACE: 1. Black Witch, 2. Zanbo, 3. Heat du Jour. LONG SHOT: Fadeintoinfinity.

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FIFTH RACE: 1. Brown Is Beige, 2. Princess Suances, 3. Acute. LONG SHOT: Rachels Belle.

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SIXTH RACE: 1. Distant Image, 2. Noise of the Crowd, 3. Joeandbetty’sbaby. LONG SHOT: Blushing Martha.

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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Fashion Plate, 2. Star Sighting, 3. Beverly the Boss. LONG SHOT: Mum.

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EIGHTH RACE: 1. Moone’s My Name, 2. Gulsary, 3. Customer Base. LONG SHOT: Champagneandcaviar.

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NINTH RACE: 1. Mini Candy, 2. Grammy Times Six, 3. Impeccably. LONG SHOT: Mudge (SCRATCHED)

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Saturday’s top choice winners: 2 (San Onofre $2.40, second race; Unbridled’s Note $5.00, eighth)

Saturday’s second choice winners: 3 (Ontology $5, sixth; Seeking the Sherif $3.80, seventh; Exotic Behavior $4.20, ninth)

Saturday’s third choice winners: 3 (Tiz Dynamic $6.40, first; Brando the Birdman $8.60, third; Enterprising $5.60, fourth)

Saturday’s long shot winners: 0

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Hollywood Park, Horse racing

“That’s a wrap!’

Woodmans_Luck_cb3_72

Woodman’s Luck and Corey Nakatani won the finale at Hollywood Park as the Inglewood oval hosted its last race card on Sunday, Dec. 22, before closing the doors for good. The city of Inglewood has approved plans to demolish the “track of lakes and flowers”, and build nearly 3,000 homes on the 238-acre site along with retail outlets, offices, and a park. BENOIT PHOTO

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A few quotes courtesy of the Hollywood Park publicity department following the final race at the historic track on Sunday:

Jockey Corey Nakatani on winning the final race on Woodman’s Luck:

“Well, I made history.  I won the last race and got the last set of days (he received a three-day suspension from the stewards earlier Sunday) at Hollywood Park.  Kind of bittersweet.  That was really emotional.  It’s hard to really say that much.  This has always been such a great place to be.  After winning a bunch of races here, it’s hard to see it go.  It’s pretty sad.”

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Jockey Rafael Bejarano on winning the final riding title:

“It feels great to win the last title.  It means a lot to me.  When I came back to the winner’s circle, I could hear everyone cheering and I was just so happy.”

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Trainer Vladimir Cerin on winning the final race:

“I almost would have taken a four-horse dead heat there and let everyone have a piece of the last race.  When they were coming down the stretch, all I could think of is how sad that it was over. I didn’t think he could win from where he was.  Nakatani has given us some fantastic rides this meet. I think this is the second photo finish he’s won for us like this.  Tama County (a winner Nov. 17) was also owned by (David and Holly Wilson) and he had no chance, like this horse, at the sixteenth pole, but won it.  Oddly enough, Gary Stevens won a race for me here on Christmas Eve (Dec. 24, 2000) on a horse named Jingle Bell Hop and that was the last race on the card.  It’s almost hard to enjoy the win when you think this is the last race at this race track.  When I started training here, I think it took me a year to win my first race and to have it end like this just seems surreal.”

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Kudos to Hollywood Park track announcer Vic Stauffer for his final race call in Inglewood. It was great.

“That’s a wrap.”

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Saturday’s top choice winners: 3 (Katie’s Garden $5, fourth race; Sensationalize $16, seventh; Swiss Lake Yodeler $3.80, 10th)

Saturday’s second choice winners: 0

Saturday’s third choice winners: 0

Saturday’s long shot winners: 3 (Christopher Street $13, first; Courtside $18.60, second; Anniversary Kitty $14, 11th)

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Sunday’s top choice winners: 3 (Handsome Dennis $11.20, fourth race; Moon Ride $4.40, sixth; Koukla $5.60, eighth)

Sunday’s second choice winners: 3 (Maxx the Giant $11.60, first; Woodlandsway $6, second; Califoornia Chrome $6.40, 10th)

Sunday’s third choice winners: 0

Sunday’s long shot winners: 1 (Jet Blue Girl $5.40, fifth)

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Hollywood Park, Horse racing

Hollywood Park picks for Sunday, November 17

FIRST RACE: 1. Two Term Leader, 2. Tahoe Flash, 3. Kafister. LONG SHOT: He’s Not Bluffin.

Just a hunch here. Jockey Vandyke is making his first career start here on TWO TERM LEADER for trainer Tom Proctor and Glen Hill Farm. My thought is this horse is going to to be gunned to the lead for a wire-to-wire win. We’ll see.

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SECOND RACE: 1. As Good as Gold, 2. Tama County, 3. Blue Collar Boy. LONG SHOT: Bobby Flay.

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THIRD RACE: 1. Ciao Bella Luna, 2. Qiaona, 3. Curvy Cat. LONG SHOT: Sister Kate.

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FOURTH RACE: 1. Super Reagan, 2. Unusual Fleet, 3. Ron’s Boy. LONG SHOT: This Cat’s Awesome.

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FIFTH RACE: 1. Northern Iowa, 2. Holy Candy, 3. Curly Top. LONG SHOT: Admission.

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SIXTH RACE: 1. Yana, 2. Mia Luccia, 3. Reflective Glory. LONG SHOT: Casey’s Clem.

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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Somethings Unusual (best bet), 2. Uncle Dick, 3. Rangi. LONG SHOT: Empty Headed.

Jockey Joe Talamo could have ridden a couple of horses in here, but decides to stick with this 5-year-old SOMETHINGS UNUSUAL. The gelding finished second down the hill at Santa Anita and now stretches out. He has won 2-of-3 tries on this turf course and once at today’s distance. He could be rounding back into form for trainer Don Warren.

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EIGHTH RACE: 1. Betty Bing Bing, 2. Global Hottie, 3. Our Glitter Ball. LONG SHOT: Euroclydon.

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NINTH RACE: 1. Live the Forth, 2. Splemdiferious Moon, 3. Warren’s Judy. LONG SHOT: Totaly Blonde.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Saturday’s top choice winners: 3 (Enterprising $4, fourth; Coco de Carchy $15.20, fifth; Magic Number $9, ninth)

Saturday’s second choice winners: 3 (Rock and Glory $7.60, first; Maximus $4.80, second; Arethusa $23, third)

Saturday’s third choice winners: 0

Saturday’s long shot winners: 1 (Tebowing $24.40, sixth)

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Hollywood Park, Horse racing

Hollywood Park picks for Monday, Nov. 11

FIRST RACE: 1. Cook Inlet, 2. Joe Carl, 3. Senator Bon. LONG SHOT: Bank the Eight.

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SECOND RACE: 1. Impeccably, 2. Elegant Trick, 3. Blameitonthecat. LONG SHOT: Strollin Home.

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THIRD RACE: 1. Burns Turn, 2. Somethingabouther, 3. Indygo F M A. LONG SHOT: Sweet Tess.

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FOURTH RACE: 1. Seeking the West, 2. Wicked Finance, 3. Well Lawyered. LONG SHOT: Super Sam.

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FIFTH RACE: 1. Proven Warrior, 2. Navarre, 3. Cervaro. LONG SHOT: Aqua Revelation.

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SIXTH RACE: 1. ROCKY BARBOA (best bet, 2. Eight Stitiches, 3. Ranulf. LONG SHOT: Shining Son.

Trainer Eric Kruljac has been on fire lately and here he drops this 3-year-old gelding ROCKY BARBOA into a claimer. The gelding has a good work after a bit of a layoff and he has a win and second over this track.

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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Tiz a Classy Lass, 2. Krazypapaya, 3. Keldy. LONG SHOT: Blazen All Star.

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EIGHTH RACE: 1. Tenkiller Kid, 2. Perfect Magic Man, 3. Proud Boss. LONG SHOT: Coranto.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Saturday’s top choice winners: 1 (Great Friends Rule $4.80, first race)

Saturday’s second choice winners: 2 (Bajan $3.60, second; King Maya $4, fourth)

Saturday’s third choice winners: 3 (Miss Charming $17, third; Big Macher $19.40, fifth; Mass Transit $13.20, sixth)

Saturday’s long shot winners: 1 (Warren’s T. Baze $5.60, ninth)

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Sunday’s top choice winners: 1 (Five Palms $4, seventh race)

Sunday’s second choice winners: 2 (Shared Belief $5, third; Lady of the Nile $7.40, ninth)

Sunday’s third choice winners: 1 (Ricsprentiousgal $4.20, fourth)

Sunday’s long shot winners: 2 (Rossi Reserve $10.60, first; Echo Zulu $4.20, second)

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Breeders' Cup, Del Mar, Horse racing, Santa Anita

Breeders’ Cup 2014: Fair Santa Anita track needed both days

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

First, let me state, I enjoyed covering almost every minute of last weekend’s Breeders’ Cup.

Put me in the category of the Breeders’ Cup should be in California every year —- whether it be Santa Anita, or maybe the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club some year down the line. I think the weather outweighs a lot of negatives.

Then, again, I understand that a historic track like Churchill Downs should also be in the rotation every three or four years. As for the East, forget about it. No more, Monmouth Park monsoons. I really don’t care if owner Mike Repole keeps his horses in Todd Pletcher’s barn in New York because The Cup won’t come back to Belmont Park.

The one negative in my mind for Santa Anita is its racing surface.

I found Santa Anita president Keith Brackpool’s comments to Ed Zieralski of the San Diego Union-Tribune to be out of touch.

“I haven’t slept in six days,” Brackpool said. “Look, we’ve been blessed with the weather. We had great fields, great races, fair races. Standing here in the paddock before the last, this is the best Breeders’ Cup I’ve seen in years.”

Keith, did u watch Friday’s races? Or even Thursday’s races? What was fair about them?

When I arrived on Thursday, it was obvious the Santa Anita track was a paved highway for inside speed. The jockeys took notice and acted accordingly.

On Friday, it was more of the same. Would the winners still have won on a fair track? Maybe, but we’ll never know.

According to at least one media report I read, BC officials were concerned and told Santa Anita officials that. The affect was immediate, as those of us who were still working after the races on late Friday afternoon saw with our own eyes. The tractors were out working the inside of the track. They didn’t stop for a reported 10 hours.

Saturday’s surface was fair to all horses, speed types and closers. The best horses won. There’s no doubt in my mind.

The problem is that handicappers, people who bet their money and make this game go round and round, didn’t know what to expect until they saw some results.

Saturday’s track should have been Thursday and Friday’s track.

Trainer Bob Baffert said a week before the event he was concerned about the surface because it changed on a “day-to-day basis.” He was right and Santa Anita needs to take measures to have a fair surface all the time and especially at Breeders’ Cup 2014.

Surfaces can’t change from day to day. That’s a recipe for injuries and deaths.

Unfortunately, BC 2013 had two horses suffer broken legs. Centralintelligence suffered one on Friday and had surgery on Sunday. Baffert’s nice 2-year-old filly Secret Compass suffered one in the Juvenile Fillies on Saturday and had to be euthanized.

Del Mar track officials and trainers have told me through the years that their biggest fears for catastrophic injuries always came at the beginning of the meet because horses were changing surfaces from Hollywood Park to the seaside oval.

Did Santa Anita’s working of the track surface overnight result in Secret Compass’ death and jockey’s John Velasquez’s injuries (he was aboard the filly and had to undergo emergency surgery to have his spleen removed)? We’ll probably never know, but it’s something to ponder.

I hope to be at BC 31 in 2014 at Santa Anita. I also hope the track is safe and fair.

Now for a little bookkeeping from last week as we got behind on posting the results of our picks:

Thursday’s top choice winners: 3 (Pasalm Sixteen $6, first race; Sinfully $7.40, third; Koast $8.40, fifth)

Thursday’s second and third choice winners: 0

Thursday’s long shot winners: 2 (Majestic City $32.40, sixth; Bright Town $18.80, eighth)

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Friday’s top choice winners: 2 (Chriselliam $15.80, ninth race; Beholder $7.60, 10th)

Friday’s second choice winners: 1 (Heir of Storm $77.60, second)

Friday’s third choice winners: 1 (Pure Loyalty $10.80, first)

Friday’s fourth choice winners: 1 (Goldencents $9.60, eighth)

Friday’s long shot winners: 0

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Saturday’s top choice winners: 5 (Richies Party Girl $15.60, first; Dank $5, fifth; Mizdirection $7.40, seventh; New Year’s Day $23, eighth; Mucho Macho Man $10, 12th)

Saturday’s second choice winners: 4 (Pontchatrain $6.60, third; Magician $27, ninth; Secret Circle $7, 10th; Wise Dan $3.60, 11th)

Saturday’s third choice winners: 1 (Zeewat $12, second)

Saturday’s fourth choice winners: 0

Saturday’s long shot winners: 1 (Ria Antonia $66.60, fourth)

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Breeders' Cup, Horse racing, Santa Anita

California here we come … again

The groans can be heard from outside the state lines every time Santa Anita Park is named to host the Breeders’ Cup, thoroughbred racing’s championship days.

The Arcadia track will host the event for the seventh time in 30 years beginning on Friday with five races and continuing on Saturday with nine more races.

Santa Anita has already been named to host BC 31 next year, too.

The howls from those in the industry and fans always complain about a home-court advantage for California’s entries, but some Eastern horsemen don’t mind.

“They probably have the advantage, but we’ve done pretty well going out there,” said Hall of Fame trainer and New York-based Bill Mott last week on a national teleconference. “I’m happy enough to go make the trip out there. The weather is good; the turf is firm and the track seems to be bearing up. … I think most of the horses seem to have a fair chance.”

As Mott correctly later pointed out, if the Breeders’ Cup had been held in New York last year, Superstorm Sandy might have cancelled the proceedings and there was the year the event was held in a deluge at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J.

If truth be told, Californians may not have an advantage.

Only two of the 15 races were won last year by California-based horses when Mizdirection took the Turf Sprint and Beholder scored in the Juvenile Fillies. In 2009, four of the 14 races were taken by Golden State connections for a total of 21 percent winners the last two times the event was held in Arcadia.

When the draw was held for the 15 races only three California horses —- Mizdirection (4-1) trying to repeat in the Turf Sprint; Private Zone (3-1) in the Sprint and Game On Dude (8-5) in the Classic —- were made favorites by morning-line maker Jon White.

That doesn’t mean California couldn’t come up big. Nearly 33 percent of the horses entered (49 of 150) are based in California, but Bob Baffert, Game On Dude’s trainer, says it’s not the same racing surface from year to year or even on a daily basis.

“Santa Anita is real sandy, a loose track,” Baffert said. “It’s different from last year. It changes from day to day.”

That didn’t stop Baffert from entering eight horses this week —- Eastern-based Chad Brown entered an event-high 11. The silver-haired Baffert has big shots with Tap It Rich (6-1) in the Juvenile and Secret Circle (4-1) in the Sprint.

Trainer Richard Mandella won four races when the Breeders’ Cup was held at Santa Anita in 2003. He will be looking for double this year with Beholder (5-2) in the Distaff on Friday and Indy Point (9-2) in the Turf on Saturday.

The numbers say California’s best chances will come on Saturday when it has 50 percent (25 of 50) of the horses entered in the Filly and Mare Sprint, Turf Sprint, Juvenile and Mile.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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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

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Updated Santa Anita picks for Sunday Sept. 29

A little late but here are today’s picks.

FIRST RACE: 1. Billy Win, 2. Disarm, 3. Hazardous. Long shot: Judge Carr.

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SECOND RACE: 1. Miss Personality, 2. Southern Sunshine, 3. Dancinginthestreet. Long shot: Total War.

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THIRD RACE: 1. Bev N Bud, 2. Silver Wings, 3. Dunmore East. Long shot: Private Bounty.

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FOURTH RACE: 1. Bluegrass Girls, 2. Classic Candy, 3. Little Unusual. Long shot: Visions of Candy.

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FIFTH RACE: 1. Uncle Dick, 2. Tom’s Tribute, 3. Little Jerry. Long shot: Quiet Force.

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SIXTH RACE: 1. Wasted At Midnight, 2. Hiumor Me, 3. Tappingintherain. Long shot: Hollywood Icon.

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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Funny Gal, 2. Magestic Stinger, 3. Pat’s Back. Long shot: Anita Marie.

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EIGHTH RACE: 1. HOLDING GLORY (Best bet), 2. Indy Point, 3. Vagabond Shoes. Long shot: Lucayan.

One real opinion is in Race 8: #2 Holding Glory: Trainer A C Avila desperately wanted to run the Brazilian bred on the turf at the Del Mar, but the owner wanted to run in the synthetic $1 million Pacific Classic. This 4-year-old certainly wasn’t disgraced in the Classic, finishing fifth behind Game On Dude, just a quarter of a length out of second place, but Avila gets his preferred surface today as Holding Glory won 4-of-6 in Brazil on the turf. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith takes over the mount.

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NINTH RACE: 1. Justa Runner, 2. Wild Dude, 3. Derringer. Long shot: Ranulf.

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10th RACE: 1. Flashy Dame, 2. Toppers Sunshine, 3. Dolphin Shorts. Long shot: Hair on Fire.

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Saturday’s top choice winners: 5 (Secret Compass $23.40, 5th race; Tiz Flirtatious $5.40. 6th; Beholder $5.20, 9th; Mucho Macho Man $5.20, 10th; Pontchatrain $13, 11th)

Saturday’s second choice winners: 1 (All For Us $10.20, 2nd race)

Saturday’s third choices winners: 2 (Versye $28.20, 1st race; Topper’s Ghost $12, 2nd)

Saturday’s long shot winners: 0

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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