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.


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

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Thursday, Oct. 5

SECOND RACE: #5 Psycho Dar
This gelding broke his maiden at first asking at Del Mar. Has speed and jockey Evin Roman stays aboard for trainer Steve Miyadi and they are 25 percent together. Also comes out of a key race that has produced two winners so far.

FIFTH RACE: #9 Hawk’s Journey (10-1)
Trainer Ed Moger Jr. is having a good year and brings this filly down from NoCal. This is her first time in a claimer and hot jockey Drayden Van Dyke jumps on. In addition to a win bet I would back wheel her in the exacta.

SEVENTH RACE: #9 Cheekaboomboom (7-2)
This gelding is 2-1-1-0 on the dowhill turf course and jockey Flavien Prat stays aboard. Prat is 25% with trainer Peter Eurton. Play an exacta box with the speedy Mr Vargas (#6, 3-1).

EIGHTH RACE: #10 Decarchy Dawn (3-1)
Trainer Bob Hess Jr. is pulling out all the stop to get this 3-year-old to break his maiden. He is adding blinkers and gelded the horse since his last race. The son of Decarchy comes out of a key Del Mar race that has produced two winners so far and keeps jockey Kent Desormeaux aboard.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Friday, July 15 (Opening day)

Preview: It’s Christmas Day in July as Del Mar opens. This is the second year of the dirt main track and the new widened turf course. Just a reminder it’s been 3 weeks since turf horses race in Southern California. Last summer Rafael Bejarano let the meet with 14 grass winners followed by Flavien Prat with 13. However, at the recent Santa Anita meet, Prat lapped the field with 22 grass wins and scoring 34% of the time.

Race 1: 1. #3 Successful Runner (3-1), 2. Hadfunlastnight, 3. Saddle Soar. LONG SHOT: My Secret Affair.
Trainer Chris Hartman makes his first appearance at Del Mar, but make no mistake this guy can train with a 24% win percentage mostly in the Midwest. This 7-year-old has tactical speed, which is key on the main track.

Race 2: 1. Radish, 2. I’ll be Around, 3. Veiled Heat. LONG SHOT: Cougar Creek.

Race 3: 1. Glory Bound, 2. Rye, 3. Ace Deuce. LONG SHOT: Preacher Roe.

Race 4: 1. Nextdoorneighbor, 2. Drover Crazy, 3. Madelyn’s Wild Max. LONG SHOT: Cougar Country.

Race 5: 1. #5 La Boheme (6-1), 2. Cover Song, 3. Zip N Bayou. LONG SHOT: Grandma’s Hands.
We have already extolled the virtues of jockey Falvien Prat on the turf, who is on this filly for trainer Richard Mandella, who is 21% with beaten favorites and 32% in allowance races. Mandella and Prat were 18% at Del Mar last year.

Race 6: 1. Warren’s Honey Bee, 2. Turf Club Queen, 3. Silver Oak. LONG SHOT: Wondrous Cat.

Race 7: 1. #2 Grazen Sky (5-1) BEST BET, 2. Westfest, 3. Forest Blue. LONG SHOT: Missing Groom.
This colt owns the top Brisnet Late Pace Rating by nine points so I can see jockey Tyler Baze letting the speed go and closing in the lane. Trainer Steve Miyadi is 23% with beaten favorites.

Race 8: 1. #8 Arcature (8-1), 2. Dressed in Hermes, 3. Moonlight Drive. LONG SHOT: Diplodocus.
Tough to tell what happened in this 3-year-olds last race as he finished eighth. Maybe it was the longer distance as he shortens up here for Prat and Simon Callaghan. Prat had his choice of several in here and takes this son of Archarcharch. The trip will be key here as a full field of 14 is entered.

Race 9: 1. Got Even, 2. Dr. Dorr, 3. Chief of Staff, LONG SHOT: Mad Bum.

Race 10: 1. #9 Langahm (9-2), 2. Airlite, 3. Scuderia. LONG SHOT: Alaskan Son.
This is a first-time starter that cost over $400K at auction. I love this Australian sire Fastnet Rock and his offspring should love the turf and the distance. Trainer John Sadler is 21% with horses going a route first time and jockey Mike Smith rides.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Friday, March 11

Preview: Hope everyone likes sprint races because there are no two turn races on the card. Rafael Bejarano has finally overtaken Santiago Gonzalez as the top jockey on the dirt with 35 wins to 34 for Gonzalez. They are followed on the main track by Flavien Prat (21-117), Edwin Maldonado (21-110) and apprentice David Lopez (19-101).


Race 6: #6 Jamie Said No (8-1) (turf only)

Love the sire Cape Blanco on the turf and think his numbers will only get stronger. This colt had all kinds of trouble in debut, but trainer Doug O’Neill is 20% with second-time starters. Also jockey Mario Gutierrez jumps on.


Race 7: #3 Warrensdollarsigns (4-1) 

This mare just won over the track drops in class. Trainer Steve Miyadi is 6-for-12 when he drops off a win. Apprentice David Lopez jumps on and he is 18% with Miyadi.


Race 9: #6 Easy Going Evening (5-2) 

 This filly has the top Brisnet Prime rating and drops off to an all-time low. Trainer Phil D’Amato is 23% with maiden claimers an the 3-year-old gets a big jock switch from an apprentice to speed jockey Edwin Maldonado.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter


Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Friday, Jan. 22

Preview: Just an OK card with two races on the turf. Speaking of the turf, jockey Rafael Bejarano is 6-for-25 on the green followed by Flavien Part, who is 5-for-29. Those struggling on the green are leading rider Santiago Gonzalez 2-19, Mike Smith 0-17 and Tyler Baze 0-22.


Race 3: #1 You Know I Know (6-1) 

Trainer David Jacobson is still looking for his first win this winter after sending some horses West from New York. This gelding was claimed off Keith Desormeaux and Jacobson is 26% first off the claim and 22% going a sprint to a route .


Race 4: #1 Warrensdollarsigns (4-1)

Any horse claimed off Steve Knapp is a play for me. New trainer Steve Miyadi is 27% first off the claim and he is 20% with horses going from sprint to route. Edwin Maldonado gets the mount back and he knows the mare well.


Race 5: #10 Last Resort (8-1) 

Jockey Drayden Van Dyke is underrated on the turf. This post is bad but here’s hoping Van Dyke can figure out a winning trip. Trainer Tom Proctor is 24% off a 61-180 day layoff and 24% going from dirt to turf.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita selections for Thursday, Oct. 1

FIRST RACE: 1. Magic Moon, 2. Zendai, 3. Casuality. LONG SHOT: Royal Rebel.


SECOND RACE: 1. Golds Venice, 2. Miss Star Maker, 3. Warren’s Salute. LONG SHOT: Paralyzing Eyes.


THIRD RACE: 1. Celebrity Status, 2. Chief Lion, 3. Out of Patience. LONG SHOT: Apollo Ten.


FOURTH RACE: 1. I Don’t Care Who, 2. Tulira Castle, 3. Broadway Nika. LONG SHOT: Luckbox Sam.


FIFTH RACE: 1. Broken Up, 2. Boone Docks, 3. Big Discovery. LONG SHOT: Radio Silent.


SIXTH RACE: 1. #6 Structure (6-1) Best bet, 2. Bellamentary, 3. Shakti. LONG SHOT: Escapee.

This daughter of Bernardini was bred to route. She finished fourth at 5 ½ furlongs and that was just a prep for this as jockey Mike Smith jumps on for trainer Bob Baffert, who is 28% with first-time routers.


SEVENTH RACE: 1. #6 Tatum’s Gold (30-1), 2. Glory, 3. Whisk. LONG SHOT: Madam Aamoura.

Gonna take a big swing here with this long shot as the sire Grazen is 29% with first-time turf, albeit with a small sample. Still, shows some like of the turf. Trainer Steve Miyadi is 22% first time turf and good turf jockey Joe Talamo jumps back on.


EIGHTH RACE: 1. Dragon Flower, Sharp Holiday, 3. Aiming Straight. LONG SHOT: Public House.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Sunday’s top choice winners: 0

Sunday’s second choice winners: 3 (Reckless Charm $11.60, first race; Street Vision $13.40, fourth; Sugar Buzz $5, ninth)

Sunday’s third choice winners: 2 (Top Drawer $7, second; Horizontalspeakin $5.80, fifth)

Sunday’s long shot winners: 2 (Texas Ryano $7.60, sixth; Alert Bay $10.80, eighth)

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Saturday, June 20

Race 1: #5 Ain’t Misbehavin (5-2)

Trainer Mike Puype claimed this 3-year-old and he is 26% first off the claim. On top of that he makes a big jockey switch to Rafael Bejarano. Pupye is also 40% when he drops off the claim.


Race 4: #2 Rocker (15-1)

This gelding has been running at Golden Gate on the grass for trainer Steve Miyadi, who is 63% when he drops a horse off a win. The sire Grazen is 28% on the grass, but maybe more importantly this 3-year-old is running against Cal-breds for the first time since his career debut and jockey Alex Solis jumps on.


Race 9: #12 Gigantis (12-1)

Trainer Bruce Headley hit with a first-time router on Thursday and he tries the same formula here with the same jockey in Edwin Maldonado. Headley is 40% first-time route and 21% first time grass. The sire Cyclotron is 20% first tome grass. The post is an obstacle, but that just means a bigger price.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter