Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Wednesday, July 18 (Opening day)

Preview: Going to the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club can be a lot of fun, but let’s be honest, everyone wants to win money. Jockeys and trainers all have their strengths and weaknesses. If you know those, it can point you to the winner’s circle and away from throwing your tickets away.

Jockeys
FLAVIEN PRAT:
Without a doubt, the best rider not named Mike Smith on the circuit, and he rides a lot more than Smith. Prat began his career in France and thus he was put on a lot of grass horses early in career, but he has become a very good all-around jockey. He won the Del Mar title last summer by winning 23 races on the dirt (25 percent) and 12 races (from 80 starters) on the grass. He was also second in races won with 2-year-olds (six) and that number could improve as he has made some inroads into the Bob Baffert barn. Prat loves to get to the rail on the turf, save ground and swing out at the head of the home stretch. He sometimes gets caught in traffic with this move, but he knows what he’s doing most of the time.

RAFAEL BEJARANO: The once king of Del Mar has slowed in the last year. He did finish tied for second in the standings, tied with Evin Roman, and tied for third on the dirt. He also tied Prat and Kent Desormeaux with 12 victories on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course. If you are looking for a horse to finish down the lane, don’t bet against Bejarano because he will carry it there with his strength. The one weakness in Bejarano’s game is his work out of the gate. He registered just three wins on 2-year-olds during the 2017 meet because trainers want a jockey pushing a horse out of the gate. A lot of 2-year-old races are won by speed horses, which isn’t Bejarano’s strong suit.

KENT DESORMEAUX: There’s the good Kent and the bad Kent. If Desormeaux is in a good mood, he can be the best rider in the room, but if he’s not feeling it that day, don’t bet on him. Desormeaux, who rides a lot for his brother and trainer Keith, was fourth in the standings a year ago. He had 14 wins on the dirt and 12 wins on the grass. He is an exceptional grass rider.

JOE TALAMO: There was a time that “Talamo on the turf” made you big bucks every meet, but he has lost some of that magic in the last few years. He was fifth in the riding standings last summer (23 wins), but tied for third on the dirt with 17 winners. On the grass, he slipped to just six winners. He had a like number of victories with 2-year-olds, to tie for second in the colony. He was also second with first-time starters with three wins.

APPRENTICES: Roman, who won the Eclipse Award as the top apprentice in the country, lost his bug and is a journeyman now. Who will replace those 29 wins because you know how trainers like those 7- and 5-pound weight allowances? Fans should especially watch Heriberto Figueroa and Asa Espinoza, who just tied for the Los Alamitos riding title. Two others to watch are Edgar Payeras and Franklin Ceballos.

OTHERS: Mike “Money” Smith will ride in a lot of stakes races and 2-year-old events. If he rides in another race, take note. … Tyler Baze wins the hard-luck award from 2017 with 18 seconds and 17 thirds with just nine wins. He’s a good all-around rider. … Drayden Van Dyke scored 11 wins on the turf a year ago, one behind the leaders, and he has a great clock in his head. Watch out for him with Baffert, too. He has also made in-roads in that stable and Baffert won’t be afraid to put him up on a good 2-year-old. … Journeyman Edwin Maldonado is a rider to watch, especially on the grass as he registered seven wins on the green in 2017. He’s underrated. … Corey Nakatani maybe getting older but last summer he proved he’s still good with 2-year-olds (Bolt d’Oro) and he’s also a master on the grass.

FIRST RACE: 1. Carville, 2. Out of Patience, 3. General Ike. LONG SHOT: Above Board.
Tough race take as many as you can in the Pick 5.

SECOND RACE: 1. Upo, 2. Kylemore, 3. Ayacara. LONG SHOT: Jimmy Chila.
If this Pick 5 doesn’t pay boxcars, I’ll be stunned. This card is tough.

THIRD RACE: 1. Ketos, 2. Junior Gilliam, 3. Eighty Three. LONG SHOT: Gentrified.

FOURTH RACE: 1. Blueberry Princess, 2. Flying to the Line, 3. Dicotomy. LONG SHOT: Opus Won.
Blueberry Princess comes out of a race that has already produced two next out winners from four starters.

FIFTH RACE: 1. Bird Is the Word, 2. Ritzy A. P., 3. Ann Arbor Eddie. LONG SHOT: Castle.

SIXTH RACE: 1. Shivermetimbers, 2. Divisor, 3. Regulate. LONG SHOT: Show Me Da Lute.

SEVENTH RACE: 1. Brill (BEST BET), 2. Angel Alessandra, 3. Bizwhacks. LONG SHOT: Barbadolla.
We all know how good trainer Jerry Hollendorfer is with young fillies and this $1 million purchase BRILL looks like the real deal. She has three big works coming into the race and Hollendorfer is 17 percent with first-timers. We will never get the 5-2 morning-line, but that’s life. Looks like a single to me.

EIGHTH RACE (Oceanside Stakes): 1. Texas Wedge, 2. Desert Stone, 3. Artie B Good. LONG SHOT: More Honor.
Believe it or not, trainer Peter Miller didn’t win a stakes race at the Del Mar summer meet so you can bet (and he will) that he wants to end that right here and now.

NINTH RACE: 1. Blame Joe, 2. Super Duper Cooper, 3. Aurora d’Oro. LONG SHOT: Impression.

10TH RACE: 1. Sellwood, 2. Henry County, 3. Zipman. LONG SHOT: Starting Bloc.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Advertisements
Standard
Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Friday, Oct. 6

Preview: Plenty of big prices on Thursday means a huge Pick 6 carryover into the program Friday. Evin Roman won times, two of them at big prices, and trainer Peter Miller had a couple of nice scores so his barn might be worth watching because when it gets hot, it gets HOT.

FIRST RACE: #2 Forthenineteen (8-1)
This filly has a 7-1-1-1 record over this track. Trainer Genaro Vallejo is 3-for-5 on the year. I try to look for prices in the these lower priced claiming races. If the favorite wins, I lose. It’s that simple.

THIRD RACE: #5 Christy Jackson (4-1)
Blinkers go on and trainer Kenny Black drops her to the bottom of the maiden claiming ranks for the first time. Tyler Baze has ridden her the last three times and needs to get a better start out of the gate.

FIFTH RACE: #1 Candy Boss (8-1)
This filly has had two sprint preps and goes long for the first time, a move trainer John Sadler is 23% with. She will likely show speed from the inside, the key will be for jockey Joe Talamo to ration that speed going around two turns.

EIGHTH RACE: #1 Ava Forty Seven (12-1)
It’s possible this is a prep race for going two turns for trainer Phil D’Amato, but he is 22% off a layoff of this length, 22% going from route to sprint and 20% on the turf. He puts Jamie Theriot aboard and they are 21% together, but an even better 29% at Santa Anita. Good works at San Luis Rey Downs in Bonsall. This is also the “other” D’Amato so be suggest an exacta box of Ava and #3 Be Mine (5-2).

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Standard
Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Saturday, April 29

Preview: Hope some of you played our two horses yesterday and cashed.

Race 1 – SA
#9 Lady Acclamation (6-1) TURF ONLY ****
Our Eyes: Jockey Tyler Baze has ridden three other horses in this field and decides to take the mount on this first-time starter. I know trainer Kenny Black is 0-for-11 with first-timers, but there is always a first time and I’ll take a shot with this filly.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 4 – SA
#8 Line (6-1) TURF ONLY ****
Our Eyes: I’ve been waiting for this filly to hit her stride. Maybe today is the day with Mike Smith in the irons. Trainer Richard Mandella is 21% third off the layoff as is his other mare in here, Scandal (5-2). I’m taking the longer price and play and exacta box.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show. EXBX 8-6.

Race 7 – SA
#6 Farhaan (6-1) TURF ONLY ****
Our Eyes: This 8-year-old ran a decent second off the layoff and has a big work coming into the race. Phil D’Amato is great with turf horses and Tyler Baze keeps the mount.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show. EXBX 6-2-3-4.

Race 8 – SA
#4 Union Rebel (9-2) ****
Our Eyes: Has been improving each day and this might be graduation day. Rafael Bejarano keeps the mount and is 25% with trainer Richard Baltas.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 9 – SA
#4 Hero Ten All (6-1) TURF ONLY ****
Our Eyes: Jeff Mullins flies under the radar these days but he is 23% with horses off a 31 to 60-day layoff. This gelding had been training well and Tyler Baze keeps the mount.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show. EXBX 8-6.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Standard
Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Saturday, March 18

Race 4 – SA
#4 Kenjisstorm (4-1) ****
Our Eyes: Second start off the layoff for trainer Richard Baltas, who is 24% with horses the second time in his barn. Flavien Prat jumps on and he should have this horse in a good spot.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 4 – SA
#4 Trappe the Moment (10-1) ****
Our Eyes: This colt hasn’t been seen since the American Anthem maiden race at Del Mar, which has produced four next out winners. Drops into a claimer for the first time. Worth a shot.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 10 – SA
#4 Catfish Hunter (3-1) TURF ONLY ****
Our Eyes: Moving up in class to a MSW but that’s OK because this is his first turf try. The sire Grazen gets 23% first time winners on the grass. Tyler Baze keeps the mount.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show. EXBX 4-1-5.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Standard
Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Friday, March 17

Race 2 – SA
#6 Chuchotti (2-1) ****
Our Eyes: In case you haven’t figured out, I’m a big believer in the key race theory and this filly is coming out of a Del Mar race that has produced four winners from five starters. That’s enough for a single in all wagers for me.
Jeff’s Playbook: 5 units to win, 10 units to place.

Race 5 – SA
#7 Lauren’s Ladd (9-2) TURF ONLY ****
Our Eyes: Jockey Tyler Baze was on fire Thursday and hoping he stays hot here. This colt broke his maiden going down the hill and he finished second last time over a “good” surface. Maybe firm ground will suit him better. Trainer Ron Ellis is 33$ second off the claim.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Race 8 – SA
#3 Irish Dame (4-1) ****
Our Eyes: This filly has been running on the turf but trainer Vann Belvoir gives that up and goes to the dirt as he drops her into a maiden claimer for the first time. He gets leading rider Falvien Prat and they are 24% together.
Jeff’s Playbook: 4 units to win, 5 units to place and 6 units to show.

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Standard
Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Thursday, Dec. 1

Preview: Jockey Flavien Prat will miss the remainder of the meet after being thrown from a mount on Sunday. Prat saw blood in his urine and doctors told him not to ride again until Dec. 26, opening day at Santa Anita. There will be plenty of jock changes Thursday and Friday so pay attention.

Sorry late again.

Race 1: #6 Easter Fever (2-1) BEST BET, 2. Ron Sophia, 3. Princess Kendra. LONG SHOT: Q’Viva.
Could be a single on most Picks 5s. Trainer Phil D’Amato is 22% first off the claim and 2-for-5 when dropping off the claim. Even with the drop, if D’Amato wins and the 4-year-old gets claimed he makes a nice profit. This 4-year-old has has good early speed.

Race 2: 1. T. Montana, 2. Sorry Erik, 3. Beantown Noys. LONG SHOT: Mizzen Me.

Race 3: 1. Nat’s Nation, 2. Malko, 3. Trust Your Gut. LONG SHOT: Motoring Around.

Race 4: #6 Princess Marie (6-1), 2. Big Adventure, 3. War Factor. LONG SHOT: Dumont.
This filly has had trouble in her last two starts and now she goes two turns for the first time. Trainer Kristin Mulhall is 24% when she has two sprints into a route. Mulhall had secured leading jockey Prat before his injury so that’s a good sign.

Race 5: 1. Halo Darling, 2. Conquest So True, 3. Sid the Squid. LONG SHOT: Flaming Vixen.

Race 6: 1. Alright Alright, 2. Blameitonthelaw, 3. Indavidualist. LONG SHOT: Act.

Race 7: 1. Guns Loaded, 2. Siletn Bird, 3. Conquest Cobra. LONG SHOT: El Huerfano.

Race 8: #7 Bona Fide Image (5-1), 2. Another Girl Alma, 3. Bissou Bissou. LONG SHOT: Rally Back.
Trainer Bill Spawr isn’t know for his work with 2-year-olds but this filly could be sitting on a win after trouble in her last race. Spawr is 21% with maiden claimers and 18% with beaten favorites. He also has a good late kick and jockey Tyler Baze keeps the mount.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Standard
Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Sunday, Aug. 21

Preview: Very good card, except for the Del Mar Mile, which drew just five horses, but Del Mar was smart enough to keep it out of the Pick 6. I’ll go out on the limb and say there will be a carryover into next week.

Race 1: 1. #6 Bohemian Bliss (6-1), 2. Cyclone Betty, 3. Ratera. LONG SHOT: Royal Flush Babe.
Trainer Mike Puype is 63% when he drops a horse two or more class levels. He drops this filly to the bottom of the maiden claiming ranks after a troubled sixth. At least one horse has come to win out of that race and jockey Tyler Baze stays aboard.

Race 2: 1. #5 Northern Iowa (6-1), 2. Winning Causeway, 3, Emmett Park. LONG SHOT: L’s Choice.
Trainer Vladimir Cerin moves this gelding from an open claimer to a non-winners of three for a slightly higher claiming price. He also secures the services of leading rider Flavien Prat. Cerin is 22% when a horses goes sprint-sprint-route race.

Race 3: 1. Pee Wee Reese, 2. Hot Rodin, 3. Son of a Royal. LONG SHOT: Martini Up.

Race 4: 1. Midnight Storm, 2. Om, 3. Little Curlin. LONG SHOT: Ambitious Brew.

Race 5: 1. #1 Princess Kendra (4-1), 2. Late ‘n Left, 3. Stand by for News. LONG SHOT: Truly Ponti.
Trainer Bill Spawr is 34% first off the claim, but likes to bring horses back sooner than this. Still Spawr is 21% off a 46 to 90-day layoff and this one had a troubled trip in last but Kent Desormeaux sticks. This filly is taking a drop in class from an open claimer to a non-winners of two. Sneaky.

Race 6: 1. #5 Sky Preacher (12-1), 2. Hat Dude, 3. Comes the Deam. LONG SHOT: Street Moxie.
Another horse coming off a troubled third, but trainer Richard Baltas moves him up. Baltas is 28% second off the claim. Jockey Norberto Arroyo has been sneaky good on the grass this meet.

Race 7: 1. #4 The Rule of King’s (8-1), 2. Irish Freedom, 3. Honor and Courage. LONG SHOT: Royal Mo.
This is a tough 2-year-old race but we’re going with a price as this colt has come out of a couple of highly rated races, losing to Best Pal Stakes winner Klimt and Chasing Aces, who might be the closing-day Futurity favorite.

Race 8: 1. Kentuckian BEST BET, 2. Navy Hymn, 3. Celebrated Talent. LONG SHOT: Alabama Tide.

Race 9: 1. Eric the Trojan, 2. Schillaireess, 3. Tiz a Billy. LONG SHOT: Gutsy Ruler.

Race 10: 1. #3 Celebrity Status (5-1), 2. Swiss Cheese, 3. Pat the Bear. LONG SHOT: Ain’t No Other.
This gelding is claimed back by trainer Peter Miller and owner Rockingham Ranch. Miller is 32% first off the claim and jockey Rafael Bejarano rides back.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Standard