Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Saturday, Feb. 13

Preview: Good card with a nice stakes. Wish there were a few more entries in a few races. Tough to handicap some races where trainers have two entries because you don’t know which one is live.

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Race 4: #5 Conquest Flatterme (3-1) 

This filly finished second in her West Coast debut for trainer Vladimir Cerin, who is 24% with horses returning off a 31- to 60-day layoff. Cerin puts apprentice David Lopez aboard and they are 57% together.

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Race 8: #3 Birdatthewire (5-2)

Looks to me like Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith had his choice of three horses in this race and chose this 4-year-old filly. She has a 5-2-2-0 record at this distance and should be ready to go here.

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Race 9: #2 Macalla (20-1) 

I like the Australian sire Lonhro, who wins with 13% of his turf horses. This filly may like the firm turf here instead of the good turf last time. Big jock switch in my mind from Alonso Quinonez to Victor Espinoza.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Friday, August 7

FIRST RACE: 1. #6 TRUE RANGER (4-1) best bet, 2. Last One Standing, 3. Panther Creek. LONG SHOT: Keepin It Lucky.

This colt makes his SoCal debut after two races at Monmouth Park. Trainer Dan Hendricks is 46% with maiden claimers at Del Mar and the son of U S Ranger has speed, which is key at this level.

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SECOND RACE: 1. Light Striker, 2. Big Rosie Brown, 3. Del Mar Dixie. LONG SHOT: Natalie Paige.
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THIRD RACE: 1. Simplicityizgenius, 2. Vartan, 3. Rare Punch. LONG SHOT: Juansagain.
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FOURTH RACE: 1. Urloveneverfails, 2. Sadie Clare, 3. Edwina E. LONG SHOT: Soul Fryer.
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FIFTH RACE: 1. Volkonsky, 2. Hobbits Hero, 3. Blackford. LONG SHOT: Friendswith K Mill.
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SIXTH RACE: 1. Daddy’s Duo, 2. Silver Mojave, 3. Sweet Mz. Poppet. LONG SHOT: Siena Grace.
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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Shrinking Violet, 2. Birdlover, 3. Home Journey. LONG SHOT: Amaranth.

Wesley Ward is the listed trainer, but she has been working under the eye of trainer Blake Heap. She finished sixth against the boys at Woodbine, but has beaten this kind on the West Coast before and has a win at Del Mar. She can sit off the pace an bounce with jockey Kent Desormeaux.

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EIGHTH RACE: 1. Bananappeal, 2. Mydancingshadow, 3. Show and Tell. LONG SHOT: Scat City.
@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter
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Horse racing, Pimlico, Triple Crown

Pimlico Race Course opinions for Saturday, May 16

The Pimlico is here and I’m not going to try to re-invent the wheel. I still think the West Coast horses are the best so here are my picks:

#8 Firing Line (4-1)

#1 American Pharoah (4-5)

#2 Dortmund (7-2)

#5 Tale of Verve (30-1)

Comment: I’m sticking with Firing Line and hope jockey Gary Stevens can get him to switch leads down the lane this time.

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Here are some other races on the card:

Race 1: #7 Mafia Muscle Man (turf only) (6-1)

Trainer Larry Rivelli is based in Chicago, yet he picks this spot for this 2-year-old to make his debut. He also owns the colt and the sire Lewis Michael is 15% with first-time turfers. Rivelli is 27% with first-timers and gets Javier Casellano to ride. Play an exacta box with #8 FINNEGAN (6-5), who is supposed to be trainer Wesley Ward’s next big Ascot thing.

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Race 3: #10 Chiropractor (7-2)

Trainer Tom Proctor is going to have a barn on the East Coast based near Pimlico and starts this Kitten’s Joy first-timer on the turf, where the sire is 17% first-time turf. One of Proctor’s West Coast jockeys, Drayden Van Dyke, rides, but they have been cold lately.

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Race 6: #2 Hooligan (4-1)

Trainer Wesley Ward is almost an automatic play in a 5-furlong turf sprint and here he gets jockey John Velazquez aboard (22% together).

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Race 9: #1 Bocaouva (8-1), #8 Watsdachances (6-1), #9 Token of Love (5-1).

One of the toughest races on the card, BOCAOUVA had a ton of trouble in her last race and drawing the No. 1 hole here is no bargain. Will use all three in all vertical bets.

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Race 10: #7 Gimme Da Lute (3-1)

Trainer Bob Baffert is an amazing 39% with horses going sprint-route-sprint and that’s what this 3-year-old does after finishing third to Competitive Edge in the Pat Day Mile on Derby Day.

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Race 12: #10 Manchurian High (turf only) (15-1)

Jockey Gary Stevens doesn’t need to ride every race so he must have gotten a good story on this gelding to ride for little-known trainer Lilli Kurtinecz. The 7-year-old has won twice over this Pimlico turf course and will be charging down the lane. He also comes out of a key race with three next out winners. This is one of tougher races on the card so go for a price.

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita selections for Saturday, March 14

FIRST RACE: 1. Perfect Set, 2. Jackson Sundown, 3. Fonz. LONG SHOT: Fast Mast.

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SECOND RACE: 1. Satin Cinnamon, 2. Bert’s Baby, 3. Easter Lillian. LONG SHOT: Sparkling Peg.

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THIRD RACE: 1. Sudden Rumor, 2. Sir barclay, 3. Como Mi Padre. LONG SHOT: Jedi Mind Trick.

Trainer Brian Koriner has had a tough meet (0-for-14), but he claimed this gelding SUDDEN RUMOR (4-1) two back, moved it up in class and now drops still above claimed level. Koriner is 2-of-8 going turf to dirt and this 4-year-old finished second at this level three back.

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FOURTH RACE: 1. Vocalist, 2. Grey Girl Gone, 3. Spy Girl. LONG SHOT: Council Rules.

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FIFTH RACE: 1. Velvet Mesquite, 2. Demonica, 3. Go West Marie. LONG SHOT: Warren’s Gussie.

This mare VELVET MESQUITE (9-5) is one of our favorites as she has five wins down the hill on the turf course. She broke slowly last time and lost all chance, but jockey Mike Smith sticks around for trainer Blake Heap.

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SIXTH RACE: 1. Kings Adventure, 2. Coolington, 3. Takem by Surprise. LONG SHOT: Sidepocket Champ.

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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Skylander, 2. Fighter Squadron, 3. Corinthian’s Song. LONG SHOT: Mobilized.

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EIGHTH RACE: 1. Cassatt (best bet), 2. Dame Dorothy, 3. Warrne’s Veneda. LONG SHOT: Tiz Midnight.

The older filly and mare division on the dirt isn’t much on the West Coast so trainer Larry Jones ships this 4-year-old CASSATT (3-1) for this Grade I event. There is no secret here: jockey Kerwin Clark will go to the front and take this daughter of Tapit as far as she can go.

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NINTH RACE: 1. Qui Bear, 2. Zip N Bayou, 3. Show Stealer. LONG SHOT: Madam Aamoura.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Friday’s top choice winners: 1 (Underhill Drive $3.80, third race)

Friday’s second choice winners: 1 (Short Heat Wave $5.40, sixth)

Friday’s third choice winners: 0

Friday’s long shot winners: 2 (J and S Express $18, fourth; K Thirty Eight $12.20, eighth)

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Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar selections for Friday, Nov. 21 (Bing Crosby Season)

FIRST RACE: 1. Midnight Candy, 2. Seek Safe Harbor, 3. Watdifrenzdzitmake. LONG SHOT: Oh Deann.

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SECOND RACE: 1. Conquest Superstep, 2. Olivia’s Greatdane, 3. Bayonet. LONG SHOT: Show Stealer.

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THIRD RACE: 1. Well Measured, 2. Memphis, 3. Luckbox Sam. LONG SHOT: Lucky Views.

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FOURTH RACE: 1. Temeeku, 2. Bilger’s Sapphire, 3. Warrens Goldenugget. LONG SHOT: Mad Melinda.

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FIFTH RACE: 1. Cayanna, 2. I’m No Patsy, 3. Gabby’s Purim. LONG SHOT: Spirit of Ten.

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SIXTH RACE: 1. Bench Warrant, 2. Tizcano, 3. Inexcess Time. LONG SHOT: Two Six Wins.

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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Stars Above Me (best bet), 2. Sam’s Sister, 3. Biorhythm. LONG SHOT: Ramona’s Wildcat.

STARS ABOVE ME (3-1), a 3-year-old filly, finished third down the hill at Santa Anita in her West Coast debut for trainer Graham Motion. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith takes the mount and figures to gun from the gate.

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EIGHTH RACE: 1. Dead Easy, 2. Thesheetsguy, 3. Warrior’s Ridge. LONG SHOT: Brackendale. 

DEAD EASY (4-1), a 4-year-old gelding, finally showed a bit more speed last time and drops from straight maidens to maiden claiming $20,000.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Thursday’s top choice winners: 2 (Jedi Mind Trick $5.80, first race; Alice Roadtrain $10, second)

Thursday’s second choice winners: 1 (Pioneerof the West $6.60, fifth)

Thursday’s third choice winners: 1 (Nero’s Pleasure $36.20, sixth)

Thursday’s long shot winners: 1 (Mega Heat $11.60, seventh)

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Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita selections for Wednesday, Oct. 29

FIRST RACE: 1. Whoyougonnacall (best bet), 2. Empire Cat, 3. Slapshot Man. LONG SHOT: Condition.

WHOYOUGONNACALL (3-1), a 2-year-old gelding, has shown speed in both of his races and now gets to go around two turns for the first time. He is a son of Ghostzapper and should relish the added distance. Trainer Phil D’Amato is 21% sprint-to-route and jockey Joe Talamo is 28% with D’Amato.

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SECOND RACE: 1. West Riding, 2. Mangita, 3. Taste Like Candy. LONG SHOT: Yahilwa.

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THIRD RACE: 1. Bolo, 2. Diamond Majesty, 3. Secreto Primero. LONG SHOT: Clever Move.

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FOURTH RACE: 1. Silk in Silver, 2. Magic Number, 3. Cayanna. LONG SHOT: Siberian Winter.

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FIFTH RACE: 1. Inspeight of Us, 2. Partyin, 3. Doctor Susan. LONG SHOT: Blooming Hannah.

Since Leandro Mora has taken over for the suspended Doug O’Neill the barn has been winning at a 25% clip and the 2-year-olds have been firing. INSPEIGHT OF US (6-1), a daughter of Speightstown, has had some good works for her debut at Fairplex Park. Leading jockey Rafael Bejarano takes the mount.

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SIXTH RACE: 1. Silver Torch, 2. Gallant Charm, 3. Watch It Buster. LONG SHOT: Crux.

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SEVENTH RACE: 1. Alberts Hope (15-1), 2. Hoppertunity, 3. Pimpernel. LONG SHOT: Diamond Bachelor.

One of the top 2-year-olds on the West Coast last summer, ALBERTS HOPE (15-1), a gelding, came back with a disappointing race last month. He only figures to improve off that effort for trainer Mike Puype and might surprise in here against some toughies.

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EIGHTH RACE: 1. Signature Cat, 2. Hot Lightning, 3. Dontpreachto Darcy. LONG SHOT: All Around Brown.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Sunday’s top choice winners: 2 (Decisive Edge $4.40, first race; No Problem $8, ninth)

Sunday’s second choice winners: 1 (Desert Madam $14.60, second)

Sunday’s third choice winners: 0

Sunday’s long shot winners: 2 (Bluegrass Reward $17.80, third; Twenty Percent $9.40, seventh)

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Horse racing

Churchill Downs picks for Kentucky Oaks Day, May 2

Remember first post is 7:30 a.m. here on the West Coast for this Kentucky Oaks program at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

We’ll stick to the stakes races on the program.

FIFTH RACE (Grade I La Troienne): 1. Devil’s Cave, 2. On Fire Baby, 3. Magic Union, 4. Unlimited Budget. LONG SHOT: Molly Morgan.

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SIXTH RACE (Grade III Turf Sprint): 1. Sum of the Parts, 2. Stormofthecentury, 3. Scatman, 4. Ancil. LONG SHOT: Googleado.

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EIGHTH RACE (Grade III Eight Belles): 1. Fiftyshadesofgold, 2. She’s a Tiger, 3. Jojo Warrior, 4. Our Amazing Rose. LONG SHOT: Milam.

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NINTH RACE (Edgewood): 1. Little Journey, 2. Granny Mc’s Kitten, 3. Candy Kitty, 4. Miss Machiavelli. LONG SHOT: V V Goodnight.

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10TH RACE (Grade II Alysheba): 1. Mylute, 2. Will Take Charge, 3. Golden Ticket, 4. Golden Soul. LONG SHOT: Bradester.

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11TH RACE (Grade I Kentucky Oaks): 1. Ria Antonia, 2. Untapable, 3. Aurelia’s Belle, 4. Rosalind. LONG SHOT: Got Lucky.

There is no doubt UNTAPABLE will go off as a heavy favorite here, and she should after her recent races, but the No. 13 post is a bear to overcome. RIA ANTONIA finished a good second in the Santa Anita Oaks as jockey Mike Smith rode her for the first time. She badly needed that race and should be ready to go for trainer Bob Baffert.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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