Horse racing, Tampa Bay Downs

Tampa Bay Downs opinions for Sunday, Feb. 22

Race 6: #7 High Side (turf only) (6-1)

Trainer Gerald Aschinger is 2-for-6 with first-time turfers. This 4-year-old gelding also gets to try two turns for the first time off a second-place finish at 6 furlongs at this level.

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Race 10: #5 Nines Wild Frankie (turf only) (5-1)

Trainer M.C. Reardon is 24% with horses off a layoff of 90 days or more as this gelding hasn’t been seen since September at Suffolk Downs. This 4-year-old makes his turf debut and showed speed in two maiden races. The sire Wildcat Heir is 13% with first-time turf.

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Horse racing, Tampa Bay Downs

Tampa Bay Downs opinions for Friday, Dec. 26

Race 1: #8 Lightning Quick (9-2)

Trainer Kathleen O’Connell has gotten off to a fast start at the meet, mainly with horses shipping in from Gulfstream West. This 2-year-old filly should relish the extra distance, being by Thunder Gulch and O’Cpnnell is 21% with second-time starters.

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Race 4: #5 Divining Rod (7-2)

Trainer Arnaud Delacour tried to get this son of Tapit on the grass in his debut, but it got taken off the turf and he won anyway at Laurel. So now he tries to get on the turf again and Delacour is 29% with horses that won their last race.

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Race 9: #1 Ward Three Art G (5-1)

Trainer John Rigattieri has shipped down from Suffolk Downs and put up three wins already. This 3-year-old gelding had trouble at the start in his last race and come out of a key race. Jockey Dyn Panell knows this horse well, having won three times on him.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita picks for Sunday, Jan. 26 (updated)

Well that was a pretty bad job of handicapping Saturday’s card. Knew there would be bombers, just didn’t pick any of them.

I usually hone in on a jockey like Kent Desormeaux coming in to ride and I didn’t do that. At least, I hit the exacta where he finished second.

I sort of like Sunday’s card, which probably means ignore my picks, but we’ll do our best with a Pick 6 carryover of nearly $431,000.

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FIRST RACE: 1. Modern Empire, 2. Forest Boy, 3. Private Access. LONG SHOT: Mank.

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SECOND RACE: 1. Melanistic (best bet), 2. Proud Vixen, 3. Branding. LONG SHOT: Yahilwa.

Trainer Micahel Catalano, who normally races at Suffolk Downs, is wintering at Santa Anita and still looking for his for his first win at the Great Race Place. MELANISTIC, a 5-year-old mare, has won four races in Arcadia and Catalano goes to leading jockey Rafael Bejarano here.

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THIRD RACE: 1. Exclude, 2. Alsace, 3. Statman Jerry. LONG SHOT: Murmansk.

EXCLUDE, a $550,000 2-year-old purchase two years ago, hits rock maiden in a $20,000 maiden claimer for trainer Richard Mandella. He’s got some speed and a big work showing. Mandella is 27% with maiden claimers and this one could out-class them.

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FOURTH RACE: 1. Black Spirit (SCRATCHED), 2. Horizontalyspeakin, 3. Den’s Legacy. LONG SHOT: Artic North (SCRATCHED). New picks: 1. Horizontalyspeakin, 2. Den’s Legacy, 3. Pure Loyalty. LONG SHOT: American Act.

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FIFTH RACE: 1. Writer Fever, 2. Roman Express, 3. Q’ Viva. LONG SHOT: Bert’s Melody.

Trainer Ron Ellis drops this 3-year-old filly WRITER FEVER into a state-bred maiden claimer for the first time. She appears to have tactical speed. Jockey Victor Espinoza wins 37% of the time riding for Ellis at Santa Anita.

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SIXTH RACE: 1. Pragmatical, 2. Bird In Love, 3. Diversy Harbor. LONG SHOT: Tizmiss.

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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Sawyer’s Hill, 2. Chelios, 3. Superlooper. LONG SHOT: Surfer Moon.

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EIGHTH RACE: 1. Lakerville, 2. Drill, 3. El Commodore. LONG SHOT: Di Giorgio.

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NINTH RACE: 1. Warren’s Tyler S., 2. Tribal Smoke, 3. Fit to Rule. LONG SHOT: Ithoughtipaidyou.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Saturday’s top choice winners: 2 (Well Deserved $3.00, first race; Big Macher $6.20, eighth)

Saturday’s second choice winners: 0

Saturday’s third choice winners: 1 (California Chrome $7, 10th)

Saturday’s long shot winners: 0

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita picks for Saturday, Dec. 28

FIRST RACE: 1. Big Wags, 2. Admission, 3. Tiz Dynamic. LONG SHOT: Ezio.

This 6-year-old, BIG WAGS, was claimed last time out by Suffolk Downs trainer Michael Catalano Jr., who is wintering Southern California. This gelding is moving up in class and stretching out. He has five lifetime wins at Santa Anita and seven wins going around two turns. Suffolk jockey Tami Piermarini, who has a 42 percent winning percentage with Catalano, will ride.

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SECOND RACE: 1. San Onofre, 2. Topper’s Ghost, 3. Life a Riley. LONG SHOT: Memphis.

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THIRD RACE: 1. Rocked Twice, 2. Charisma Code, 3. Brando the Birdman. LONG SHOT: Oh Brother Go.

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FOURTH RACE: 1. Craftsman, 2. Royal banker, 3. Enterprsing. LONG SHOT: Noble Metal.

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FIFTH RACE: 1. Gameboy Luke, 2. Pimpernel, 3. Indian Smoke. LONG SHOT: Garen.

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SIXTH RACE: 1. Kozani, 2. Ontology, 3. Number Five. LONG SHOT: Miraglo.

There is no doubt (No. 1) Ontology will be tough to beat after running in six straight stakes races and now returning to the maiden ranks, but this 2-year-old colt KOZANI turned in a great third place effort in his maiden effort. Jockey Corey Nakatani chose this horse over two others in the race so that’s a big plus.

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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Three Vases, 2. Seeking the Sherif, 3. Tribal Smoke. LONG SHOT: Whilly Pink.

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EIGHTH RACE: 1. Unbridled’s Note, 2. Handsome Mike, 3. Chips All In. LONG SHOT: Ain’t No Other.

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NINTH RACE: 1. Red Barris, 2. Exotic Behavior, 3. Miraculous Mindy. LONG SHOT: Reflective Glory.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Friday’s top choice winners: 3 (Pretzel Logic $5.20, second race; Cool Samurai $5.80, third; Kathleen Rose $3, seventh)

Friday’s second choice winners: 3 (Macias $7.60, fourth; Velvet Mesquite $7.60, fifth; Chitu $3.40, sixth)

Friday’s third choice winners: 1 (I’m No Patsy $5, first)

Friday’s long shot winners: 0

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Hollywood Park, Horse racing

Hollywood Park picks for Thursday, December 12

RACE 1: 1. Only Joise Knows, 2. With a Miracle, 3. Appealing Resume. LONG SHOT: Tribal Chatter.

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SECOND RACE: 1. Wonderful Union, 2. Street Choir, 3. Mikey T. LONG SHOT: Wistfullee Mine.

This 3-year-old gelding WONDERFUL UNION showed plenty of speed last time before fading in the final furlong. He takes a drop in class and could be long gone under jockey Edwin Maldonado, who is 31% with trainer Ron Ellis. Ellis is 24% with maiden claimers.

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THIRD RACE: 1. Cinco de Mario (best bet), 2. Nome, 3. Sidepocket Champ. LONG SHOT: Di Conti.

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FOURTH RACE: 1. Friendswith K Mill, 2. Cactus Shines, 3. Sir Macho. LONG SHOT: Big Rosie Brown.

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FIFTH RACE: 1. High On Final, 2. Elusive Journey, 3. Omar Little. LONG SHOT: Pressure Time.

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SIXTH RACE: 1. Melanistic, 2. Rathbaun, 3. English Crossing. LONG SHOT: Demonsterous.

Trainer Michael Catalano Jr. makes his first start this fall/winter in Southern California with this 4-year-old filly MELANISTIC. Catalano, who has trained mainly at Suffolk Downs in Massachusetts, is a 27% trainer from 79 starters. This daughter of Ministers Wild Cat has won 2-of-3 efforts at this 1 1/16-mile distance, but none on synthetic. She has a couple of good works over the Hollywood Park surface and might be ready for a winning effort.

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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Indecise, 2. Miss Well Molded, 3. Flashy Ways. LONG SHOT: Silver Hustler.

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EIGHTH RACE: 1. Capers N Wine, 2. Too Obvious, 3. Time Linda Goteven. LONG SHOT: Reflective Glory.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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