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

Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Friday, July 29 (4 p.m. first post)

Preview: The turf rails come back in to 12 feet today which will allow closers to have a better shot in the stretch. Yesterday we talked about jockeys who have done well so far during the meet on the grass. Here are a couple of jockeys who have been struggling on the green (stats through Tuesday): Tyler Baze (1-for-18), Santiago Gonzalez (1-15) and Stewart Elliott (0-9).

Race 1: 1. #4 Mrs. Guty (7-2) BEST BET, 2. Spindle, 3. Generous Pour. LONG SHOT: La Galy
This filly finished third as the 6-5 favorite in her debut. She showed a lot of speed that day and tired so should be fitter for this race. Trainer Michael McCarthy is 23% with horses off a 46 to 90-day layoff. The filly also takes a drop in class.

Race 2: 1. Cioppino Pasadino, 2. My California, 3. I’ll Be Around. LONG SHOT: Love a Honeybadger.

Race 3: 1. Katy Drama, 2. Sizzling Bel, 3. B K Miss. LONG SHOT: Chicago Angel.

Race 4: 1. #5 Ciao Bella Rosa (12-1), 2. Simmy’s Temple, 3. You Missed It. LONG SHOT: Gio’s Lady.
This filly cost $125K at auction and is sire by Kitten’s Joy, who gets 17% first out winners on the grass. This 2-year-old is prep to love the green and go a distance of ground. Trainer Peter Miller likes to win at Del Mar and at a price is even better.

Race 5: 1. Jonny’s Choice, 2. Minister Vivendi, 3. Nahem. LONG SHOT: Misdeed.

Race 6: 1. #5 Doubelievenmagic (7-2), 2. Out Ofthe Ordinary. LONG SHOT: Queen Scheherazade.
This filly finished second on the grass for trainer Todd Pletcher at Gulfstream Park 2 months ago and now ends up here to try and cash in on the “Ship N Win” program. Trainer David Hofmans is 35% going from sprint to route, 18% with first-time routers and 27% with jockey Joe Talamo at Del Mar.

Race 7: 1. Elwood J, 2. Caiifornia Clone, 3. Amodei. LONG SHOT: Midnight Reveler.

Race 8: 1. With a Twist, 2. Swiss Skimmer, 3. Intoxicaing Move. LONG SHOT: Lady’s Lunar Luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Thursday, March 24

Preview: Look for hot jockeys this week as some jockeys are out of town riding in Dubai and Santiago Gonzalez is out six weeks with a broken jaw. Check for jockey changes but remember the trainer wanted the meet’s No. 2 jockey so keep that in mind and that the horse is probably live.


Race 6 – SA

#3 Esmeralda Belle (6-1): This filly showed some talent last year before going to the sidelines. She drops into a maiden claimer for the first time and trainer Jorge Peridan is 33% with that move. He is also 3-for-4 with horses coming off a layoff of more than 180 days.


Race 7 – SA

#9 Warden of the West (5-1): This colt broke his maiden in New York for Todd Pletcher and now ends up in the barn of trainer Eddie Truman, who is 46% with shippers. He gets leading rider Rafael Bejarano to ride and he will have to work out a trip from the outside with this closer.


Race 8 – SA

#2 Seattle Boom (8-1) (turf only): This gelding is dropping into into a maiden claimer for the first time and claimer Craig Dollase is 24% with that move. On top of that he is going two turns for the first time. The sire War Front is a monster is monster of the turf.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Horse racing, Tampa Bay Downs

Tampa Bay Downs opinions for Saturday, March 12

Race 2: #4 Harp N Halo (4-1): This mare likes to win races and she’s 2-for-3 over this track in the past. Trainer John Terranova ships her in and Terranova is 20% with shippers. On top of that he gets Irad Ortiz Jr. to ride.


Race 5: #4 Elusive Speed (9-2): Trainer Jamie Ness might be known for winning with claiming horses but he can win with first-time starters (24%), too. He also team up with Tampa riding champ Antonio Gallardo and they are a 34% proposition.


Race 8: #6 Family Meeting (8-1) (turf only): This 3-year-old filly was facing tougher in Southern California and won the Grade III Durante at Del Mar. Trainer Tom Proctor can get them ready off the layoff (21%).


Race 11 (TAMPA BAY DERBY):  #3 Outwork (12-1): Trainer Todd Pletcher is playing catch up with this 3-year-old. This is only his third career race but he’s a perfect 2-for-2. Pletcher is 29% with a first-time router and he’s out of Uncle Mo and an Empire Maker mare. Plus jockey John Velazquez comes North for the ride.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Breeders' Cup, Horse racing, Keeneland, Keeneland Race Course

Breeders’ Cup selections for Saturday, Oct. 31



1-Land Over Sea

9-Rachel’s Valentina

2-Tap to It

I have thought all along SONGBIRD would be the most likely winner on this card, but then she drew outside post, No. 10. I still think she is the one to beat, but I think LAND OVER SEA needs a longer look after drawing No. 1 and finishing second to Songbird two times in a row.



1-Pure Sensation

9-No Silent

14-Mongolian Saturday

4-Bobby’s Kitten

I think this a wide open race. The only thing I think is I’m not betting favored LADY SHIPMAN. If she wins, I lose. I like the fact that PURE SENSATION draws the inside and he likes it hard or soft turf plus John Velazquez rides. I hope NO SILENT comes from off the pace for the Gary Mandella barn.



2-Dame Dorothy

11-Judy the Beauty

6-Super Majesty


This 4-year-old filly DAME DOROTHY is making her third start off the layoff for that powerful jack-trainer combination of Velazquez and Todd Pletcher. She will likely press the pace from the inside and she loves this 7-furlong distance with a 4-for-5 record.





9-Miss France

6-Queen’s Jewel

Once again I’m sticking with the Euros in this race. BAWINA gets the services of Oliver Pesleir back and they have won three races together. She is first time Lasix and had some trouble in her last race.


Race 7: SPRINT

8-Wild Dude


4-Limousine Liberal

2-Kobe’s Back

Of course there is a ton of speed in this race and I’m going with the horse I think is the best closer in WILD DUDE for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and jockey Rafael Bejarano.


Race 8: MILE



3-Make Believe


Again sticking with the foreign horses and KARAKONTIE is the defending champions of this race. Can you say back-to-back?







The West Coast horses have done pretty good around the country in the 2-year-old ranks and it will be no different here. Jockey Kent Desormeaux had his choice of horses entered by his brother, trainer Keith Desormeaux, and he settled on this son of Curlin, EXAGGERATOR.


Race 10: TURF


1-Golden Horn

10-The Pizza Man

4-Big John B

GOLDEN HORN will be a lot a single for a lot of people but just not convinced he has to win this race after already winning the Arc in France. I’m going with the 3-year-old filly FOUND, trained by Aiden O’Brien and ridden by Ryan Moore.


Race 10: CLASSIC

9-Honor Code

4-American Pharoah



Like I said before it’s a shame BEHOLDER isn’t in this race. AMERICAN PHAROAH is now the clear speed although others will likely take a shot at him. I’m going with the deep closer HONOR CODE, trained by Shug McGaughey. Honor Code was impressive at Saratoga and I look for a similar effort.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita selections for Saturday, Dec. 27

FIRST RACE: 1. Red Man Run, 2. Mahalo Arturo, 3. Warren’s Wesley. LONG SHOT: Kozani.


SECOND RACE: 1. Holy Ascension, 2. Where Is My Mind, 3. Ill Tell You What. LONG SHOT: Ju Ju Bella.


THIRD RACE: 1. Longstocking, 2. Fantastic Style, 3. Ben’s Duchess. LONG SHOT: Street Reflection.

Trainer Michael McCarthy, a Todd Pletcher protégé, has shown a penchant for getting horses ready in their second start as he is 2-for-4 with those like LONGSTOCKING. He is also 25% with 2-year-olds and 5-for-15 sprinting. Jockey Mike Smith stays aboard. FANTASTIC STYLE has been training lights out for trainer Bob Baffert.


FOURTH RACE: 1. Tigah, 2. I’ll Wrap It Up, 3. Buymeabond. LONG SHOT: Greeley Awesome.


FIFTH RACE: 1. Seeking the Sherif, 2. Secret Circle, 3. Bahamian Squall. LONG SHOT: Bolita Boyz.


SIXTH RACE: 1. Soul Driver (BEST BET), 2. Daddy D T, 3. Bolo. LONG SHOT: Stormy Liberal.

SOUL DRIVER (12-1), a son of Street Boss, received an absolutely brutal ride last time from Tyler Baze. Full of run on the rail, Baze was stuck behind horses, finishing fifth, but past the wire he powerfully galloped out in front. Not in love with the post, but love the horse.


SEVENTH RACE: 1. Dancinthenightaway, 2. Sayes So, 3. Swiss Lake Yodeler. LONG SHOT: Big Break.


EIGHTH RACE: 1. Winning Rhythm, 2. Scooter Bird, 3. Diversy Harbor. LONG SHOT: Kathleen Rose.


NINTH RACE: 1. Vicious, 2. Cyrus Alexander, 3. Nob Hill. LONG SHOT: Ghost of Navigator.

VICIOUS, a son of Indian Charlie, gave an even effort while sprinting last time and should enjoy the run around two turns for trainer Eoin Harty. Comes out of the Firing Line maiden race at Del Mar and that one just lost to Dortmund.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita selections for Sunday, Oct. 26 (updated)

FIRST RACE: 1. Warren’s Assassin, 2. Eltoninadress, 3. Rosewhitenblue. LONG SHOT: Acute.


SECOND RACE: 1. Here’s Bella, 2. Desert Madam, 3. Twenty Eleven. LONG SHOT: Hollywood Royalty.


THIRD RACE: 1. Welcome Home Ryan, 2. Chicsdigtheshark, 3. Fly Blue. LONG SHOT: Bluegrass Reward.


FOURTH RACE: 1. Decisive Edge, 2. Pantera Rojo, 3. Yes Yes Yes. LONG SHOT: Card Trick.


FIFTH RACE: 1. Madiba (best bet), 2. Hauler, 3. Pioneerof the West. LONG SHOT: Vartan.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer sends MADIBA (7-2), a $700,000 yearling purchase, around two turns for the first time and puts blinkers on. Hollendorfer is 23% sprint-to-route and 32% with jockey Rafael Bejarano.


SIXTH RACE: 1. Smoove It, 2. Cal Gal, 3. Chati’s On Top. LONG SHOT: Yana.


SEVENTH RACE: 1. Echo Zulu, 2. Compulsive, 3. Presiding Justice. LONG SHOT: Twenty Percent.


EIGHTH RACE: 1. Hay Dude, 2. Old Time Hockey, 3. Starspangled Heat. LONG SHOT: Artest (SCRATCHED) new long shot: Power Ped.


NINTH RACE: 1. No Problem, 2. Bandido Too, 3. Verraco. LONG SHOT: Lovenseek.

NO PROBLEM, a son of Munnings, showed speed in his debut and then faded. Trainer Michael McCarthy, formerly Todd Pletcher’s right-hand man, drops this 2-year-old from MSW to a maiden claimer for first time and jockey Victor Espinoza sticks around.

@Jeff_Nahill on twitter

Saturday’s top choice winners: 0

Saturday’s second choice winners: 2 (Devil’s Beauty $8, third race; Lexie Lou $8.40, eighth)

Saturday’s third choice winners: 3 (Backwoods Belle $8.80, first; Beth’s My Babe $14.60, second; Conquest Two Step $4.60, sixth)

Saturday’s long shot winners: 0


Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita Park selections for Saturday, June 7

FIRST RACE: 1. Madame Forbes, 2. Moonlight Stroll, 3. Itsabeautifulday. LONG SHOT: I’msoulflattering.


SECOND RACE: 1. Diamond Majesty, 2. Holiday Camp, 3. Social Request. LONG SHOT: Rowdy Dylan.

The pricey 2-year-olds are starting to come out as DIAMOND MAJESTY cost $225,000 for trainer Patrick Biancone and HOLIDAY CAMP was purchased by trainer Bob Baffert for $700,000 for his owner. Both colts have been training well, but the Baffert horse is likely to receive a lot of betting attention.


THIRD RACE: 1. Seeking the West, 2. I Earned It Baby, 3. R S Watson. LONG SHOT: Garen.


FOURTH RACE: 1. Uncharted Course, 2. Hold Everything, 3. Misdeed. LONG SHOT: Oso Smart.

Both UNCHARTED COURSE and HOLD EVERYTHING have been facing some of the top horses in the 3-year-old class for the last year. Now both of them drop into the maiden claiming ranks for the first time. Go with the better price.


FIFTH RACE: 1. Shoer Hugh, 2. Newfound Gold, 3. Gold Medallion. LONG SHOT: Forin Sea.


SIXTH RACE: 1. Smart Journey, 2. Little Professor, 3. Decantered. LONG SHOT: Unusual Taste.


SEVENTH RACE: 1. Exclude, 2. Wonderful Union, 3. Myfundsarelo. LONG SHOT: Rocked Twice.


EIGHTH RACE: 1. Alpha Bullet, 2. Candy Anniversary, 3. Will True Up. LONG SHOT: Maxx the Giant.


NINTH RACE: 1. Can the Man, 2. Arkenstone, 3. Big Tire. LONG SHOT: Lolo El Canonero.


10TH RACE: 1. Trelawny (best bet), 2. Dysprosium, 3. Causeithertz. LONG SHOT: Oak Kye Why.

Check out the ownership on TRELAWNY. The 7-year-old gelding was claimed last time out for $40,000 by Repole Stable. If that sounds familiar it should. Mike Repole is one of trainer Todd Pletcher’s big clients. Michael McCarthy, a former Pletcher assistant, has gone out on his own and Repole is obviously helping him out here. The gelding just finished second and takes a drop in class trying to cash and make a quick buck.


11TH RACE: 1. Tenkiller Kid, 2. Bosque Angel, 3. Compulsive. LONG SHOT: Clubhouse Rock.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Friday’s top choice winners: 1 (Parada $3.60, first race)

Friday’s second choice and long shot winners: 0

Fridays third choice winners: 5 (Warren’s Jen Fizz $9, third; Seeking the Sheriff $3.80, fourth; Jennyway U Want It $5, fifth; Destino $11.80, sixth; Off the Deep End $15, eighth)



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)


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


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)

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.