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Memorial Day is one of my favorite days of the year to attend the races. I don’t make a lot of trips to Hollywood Park during the season because of the convenience of working at Santa Anita, which is much closer to where I live. But I have made it a tradition to be on track (along with 11,032 in attendance this year) for the holiday card and was treated to a couple of outstanding performances.

THE TIN MAN truly has become a present day John Henry. With his win in Monday’s Shoemaker Mile, he matched the legendary gelding by winning a Grade I event as a 9-year-old. Coming off an eight-month layoff, I doubted that the old-timer would be ready to fire his best shot, especially going only a flat mile. But there he was, coming away through the final 100 yards to whip horses half his age. After a 2006 campaign in which he earned nearly $2 million when winning four of five starts, THE TIN MAN looks set to have another outstanding year. Give full credit to Richard Mandella, who was winning his first race of the meet, for getting remarkable old guy back to the races in tip-top form. The goal is a repeat attempt in the Arlington Million but Mandella hinted that he might like to try ‘MAN in the Hollywood Gold Cup, which would be his first lifetime start on the main track. He trains so well over the Cushion Track that Mandella is toying with the idea of moving him off the turf for the first time in 28 lifetime starts. How about a matchup between LAVA MAN vs. THE TIN MAN on Gold Cup Day?

CITRONNADE took down her first Grade I with a front-running victory in the Gamely. She got away with yet another soft trip while winning her fourth straight (now five for six on turf), holding off a strong challenge from stablemate PRICE TAG as trainer Bobby Frankel runs one-two. I wrote here recently that you could expect Frankel to start rolling after a slow start, and he has. Previously unbeaten VACARE was exposed a little bit here, finishing a distant third while taking on “real” horses for the first time. As her rider Jose Valdivia said, “I turned for home and David’s [Flores, rider of the winner] hind end was getting smaller and smaller.” The race was marred by the breakdown of THREE DEGREES, who took a bad step right near the wire. The 5-year-old mare had to be put down on the track. Talk about the highs and lows of this game. Owners David Bienstock and Charles Winner had just enjoyed a nice win by FANTASTIC SPAIN in the Golden Gate Fields Breeders’ Cup about 15 minutes prior to the tragic breakdown of their THREE DEGREES. LeRoy Jolley sounded unsympathetic when he said it after the breakdown of Ruffian but his words still ring true: “This is not a game for little boys in short pants.”

Also on Monday: Two riding victories for Flores, who was also aboard promising winner HEWITTS for trainer Bob Hess…LE COPAIN has really come around lately for the Bump-Delgadillo tandem…Ron Ellis continues to blaze as his LATIN RHYTHMS took the 8th…how about the late odds drop on BLACK SEVENTEEN, who entered the gate at 7/2 but wound up at 5/2 at the wire. What kind of hit was needed to move the board two points in a race where there was probably about $200,000 in the win pool?

On Sunday: Two more wins by Joe Talamo, to cut Michael Baze’s lead down to 30-27 in the jockey standings…a riding double by Corey Nakatani, who figures to get some momentum with new agent Craig O’Bryan…2-year-olds had the spotlight in the Willard Proctor Memorial and Cinderella Stakes but I wasn’t impressed with either THOROUGHLY in the male division or WONDERFUL LUCK in the filly division. Both rallied from last to win total setups as the leaders melted down up front. The final 1/16th in both races was run in :07.1—not good.

To View Free Samples of Saturday, Sunday and Monday Premium Plays, click on the links below: Premium Plays for May 26Â Â Â Â Premium Plays for May 27Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Premium Plays for May 28

With nearly $100,000 in the carryover pool, Pick Six players exploded last night by betting an additional $977,475 into the kitty. That’s an incredible amount when you think about it because a normal carryover attracts about 3 to 4 times more handle than the amount carried over. It would have been reasonable to expect last night’s pool (not including carryover) to have been about $300,000-$400,000, not the astronomical figure we got. So as the excitement built—at least for those alive—to a fever pitch, we got a dead-heat in the last race between 6/5 favorite SOCIAL SATIRE and 5/1 shot SON MONTUNO, thus putting a glaring spotlight on the unfairness of current rules. As it stands now, there are not separate payoffs for the two runners (this also applies to the Pick 4) but rather the payoff is determined by taking the entire pool (minus takeout and percentage left over for consolation payoffs) and dividing it by tickets held on BOTH runners. This is patently unfair to those who held winning tickets on the longer price. They saw their projected payoff drop from $45,800 to $9,577, while those with the favorite saw their payoff drop only from $12,106. So the ticket holders with the favorite received only a 21% reduction, yet the ticket holders with the longer-priced runner took a massive 79% hit. The percentages were similar in the Pick 4 when both horses returned $362, thereby reducing the projected payoff for ‘MONTUNO from $1,557 (and $473 from ‘SATIRE). How crazy is this? Shouldn’t each horse be treated separately and have its payoff cut in half, which is basically what happens in the win pool? As Jay Privman said this morning on the “Thoroughbred Los Angeles” radio show, it amounts to computer software and programming laziness. The technology is there and this rule must be changed ASAP.

On Friday: Two riding wins for David Cohen and a pair of training wins for John Sadler…Bobby Frankel ended a prolonged slump when DOUBLE TROUBLE gave him his second winner of the meet. You can expect Frankel to come roaring back in the remainder of the meet.

On Thursday: Two wins each for David Flores and Joe Talamo, while trainers Mike Mitchell and Barry Abrams also doubled…the sire Unusual Heat sent out THREE winners on the card. He has been one incredible producer over the years, especially when his runners hit the turf.

Excellent weekend cards coming up, particularly Monday’s 10-race Memorial Day card featuring the Shoemaker Mile and the Gamely. Can’t wait.

To View Free Samples of Thursday and Friday Premium Plays, click on the links below: Premium Plays for May 24Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Premium Plays for May 25

For the second time at the Hollywood Park meet, the total Pick Six pool went over the $4 million mark. With a massive two-day carryover of more than $850,000, Pick Six players wagered an additional $3.7 million today, bringing the total pool to more than $4.5 million. That’s what happens when gamblers get two days off to reload their bullets. And considering that three favorites won, with only two double digit prices ($25.40 and $12.60), the winning payoff of $29,775 (to 99 winning tickets) was extremely generous.

I played a $192 ticket on my Premium Play sheet, and if you’ve been following my picks through the first third of this meet, you probably can figure out what happened. Yep, five out of six (why not, I’ve been getting three of out four in the Pick 4 on a rather consistent basis). The irony is that I missed the race I felt most confident in, using three runners in race 5 (Unusual Suspect, Yankee Bay and my top choice Bernasconi) but not getting close as TYCOON DOBY nosed out ROBBOS COURAGE on the wire. Now if I had used ‘COURAGE on the ticket and got nipped for $20,000 or so, I might have snapped. As it turned out three consolation payoffs returned $654, which means a tidy little profit on the investment. I also had the 4th race exacta for $202 on a four-horse box and the last race trifecta for $113 ($40 play), so perhaps the worm has turned.

Nine different trainers and jockeys won today…after much debate and due diligence, Santa Anita announced that is will be installing Cushion Track in September, which will allow for three weeks of training before the start of the Oak Tree meeting. Musical Agents: With the split of Corey Nakatani and agent Gary Stevens (not exactly shocking news…how did they last this long?), Nakatani has hired Craig O’Bryan, who also has Jon Court. Clinton Potts, who had been with O’Bryan, has jumped ship to agent Nick Cosato, who represents leading rider Michael Baze.

Correction: I wrote in my last posting that Alex Bisono was injured in the warm up for the 4th race before being unable to ride TIME TO GET EVEN in Sunday’s Laz Barrera. More accurately, Bisono, who was injured in a nasty spill on Thursday, went out to test the ankle and see if he could ride but was in too much pain and had to be replaced before that race.

To view a Free Sample of Wednesday Premium Plays, click on the link below: Premium Plays for May 23

Saturday’s 132nd running of the Preakness was as good a horse race as you will see. I’ve watched the stretch run a dozen times now and never get tired of seeing these two terrific animals hit the wire together. I know a lot of racing fans are disappointed that the Belmont will be run in three weeks without the possibility of a Triple Crown hope. But I would rather witness a thrilling race between two exceptional horses end in a headbob—even one that ends the hope of a Triple Crown—when that race makes an impression for a lifetime. This was the best Preakness since Sunday Silence and Easy Goer in 1989, so let’s hope CURLIN and STREET SENSE come back for the rubber match on June 10.

After Robby Albarado escaped injury in a spill two races before the Preakness, didn’t you get the feeling that fate was smiling on him? And if he had been injured, imagine the heartbreak he would have experienced watching someone else win (assuming that jockey put up the same great ride that he did) aboard Curlin. Both Albarado and Calvin Borel rode excellent races on horses that were prepared expertly by their trainers. Steve Asmussen got his first win in a Triple Crown race and Carl Nafzger was all class in defeat. Saturday really showed off everything that is great about horse racing. Now if someone could have convinced Wayne Lukas not to run a hopelessly overmatched Cal-bred sprinter against the best sophomores in the nation, the day would have been perfect.

On the homefront: David Flores got his 3,000th winner today in the Laz Barrera Stakes aboard TIME TO GET EVEN, who he picked up when regular rider Alex Bisono injured his ankle during the warm-up of the 4th race. Not to add insult to injury, but in my opinion there’s no way ‘EVEN gets up without the rider switch. Flores is a much stronger finisher, which made the difference at the wire…closers pretty much dominated today over Cushion Track. It’s very refreshing to see horses be able to rally from far back and make up lengths in the final 100 yards—as long as speed doesn’t become a liability.

Tough Beat of the Year Award: Two horses were covered in the Pick Six heading into the finale. One of them was CANDYGRAM, who got nailed right near the wire. I was bummed about getting headed out of the Pick 4 for $2,257 ($81 ticket on my Premium Play sheet) but I shook it off a little easier when I thought about the life-changing P6 score that had been snatched away from some poor souls. I think it would take awhile before I could come back to the races after that kind of torture. The good news for the rest of us is that more than $850,000 is carried over to Wednesday. Can you say fresh money? With two days off, Pick Six players will beg, borrow and steal to be reloaded for the Wednesday card.

Congratulations to public handicapper Terry Turrell, who nailed $100+ winners on consecutive days. On Saturday, he had CAYAMBE ($123.20) on top and today he made SKY CAPE ($145.60) his BEST BET of the day. Incredible job.

SELVATICA won Saturday’s Desert Stormer Handicap and has now been first or second in 11 of 12 career starts…Hollywood Park handled $20.7 million (all sources) on Preakness Day, to go along with the $27 million handled on Derby Day. Both handle and on-track attendance figures are up from a year ago.

Rest up and get some fresh money for Wednesday.

To view Free Samples of Friday, Saturday and Sunday Premium Plays, click on the links below: Premium Plays for May 18Â Â Â Â Â Â Premium Plays for May 19Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Premium Plays for May 20

I made a call to Mike Ziegler, Vice President of Hollywood Park, today for a brief Q & A session. I wanted to find out exactly what happened with Sunday’s 9th race debacle, as well as find out why the Show Me The Money contest was delayed, and why field sizes have been smaller than expected during the past week and half. Ziegler was very forthcoming and helpful, so here’s the scoop:

Vic Stauffer took off the last race as he has a few times over the past couple of years. I didn’t ask why (I should have) but I have heard from reliable sources that he left early to catch a flight to Las Vegas (something about an Elton John concert, who did play at Caesar’s Palace on Sunday night). George Ortuzar “called” the race. I mistakenly wrote in my last posting that Ortuzar had no race calling experience that I was aware of but Ziegler corrected me. George O. has called the races, mostly in Spanish, at the Fresno Fair for the past couple of seasons. The call did not go out over the track PA system because a switch was not flipped on but it did go out to TV land and simulcast locations. The reason for the long pause, according to Ziegler, was because Ortuzar became distracted by the stewards/placing judges who were yelling at him about the lack of sound. I wasn’t on track that day but a few people have told me that the first words they heard when the PA was finally switched on were, “Oh, F***!” All in all, an unmitigated disaster.

The Show Me The Money contest will be restarted on Sunday, May 20. There was a computer glitch whereby many potential contestants were timed out at Saturday midnight instead of 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, the cut-off time for signing up on the original starting day. The good news is that the problem has been fixed and no one was eliminated, so it’s a clean start for everyone on Sunday. I will be putting up a “show” selection each day on the Free Picks section of the website.

As for field sizes, Ziegler said the average through Sunday was 8.4, which is up from last year’s spring/summer meet and about even with the numbers from the successful fall meet. For me, the problem has been with the woefully small fields in the early races over the last week or so.

On Thursday: A nasty spill in the 4th race marred an otherwise pretty good day of racing. ROYAL CHANGE (Alex Bisono up) broke down on the lead, with NO TIP FOR YOU and MUDDER OF PEARL tripping over the fallen horse and losing riders Martin Garcia and Martin Pedroza. Bisono (sprained right ankle) and Garcia (sprained left wrist) were released from Centinela Hospital. Pedroza was treated at track first aid and rode the last race…there is a Pick Six carryover of more than $81,000 into the Friday night card…SOUL CITY SLEW came with his “A game” today to win the 7th, defeating HE’S THE RAGE (reclaimed by Ted West for $80,000) and comebacker ONE UNION, who ran like he was fit to go five furlongs, not seven and a half. DECLAN’S MOON put up no fight in the final 100 yards to finish third while again looking like just a shell of his old self…’SLEW gave trainer Art Sherman the second of his two wins, to go along with a double on Wednesday…two-year-old filly NOOK AND GRANNY broke the 4 1/2-furlong track record when winning the 2nd in very impressive style for trainer David LaCroix.

To View Free Samples of Wednesday and Thursday Premium Plays, click on the links below: Premium Plays for May 16Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Premium Plays for May 17

Perhaps when track announcer Vic Stauffer takes a race off, as he did in Sunday’s ninth, Hollywood Park should turn to the old Keeneland policy of having no race caller. Silence would be better than what we were subjected to when George Ortuzar attempted to call the finale. Now in fairness to George O., he has zero experience as a track announcer as far as I know. He works in the marketing department and takes part in some of the zany in-house commercials put out by the track, but to expect him to step right in and call a live race was asking the impossible. Anyone who thinks it’s an easy job should grab your binoculars, come out to track with a tape recorder and give it a shot. I guarantee you will butcher the call, much as George did. His pause down the backstretch was longer than some of the gaps in the Nixon Watergate tapes.

The call was edited and redone for the replay show (with a low drone of fake crowd noise added for the stretch run), but the live product was a doozy. Stauffer has never been my favorite announcer (for the record, that would be Michael Wrona, who I believe lays over the field) but at least he’s an experienced professional. He’s accurate and gets it right most of the time—it’s the hyperbole and telling us what’s going to happen before it happens that bugs me. But if Stauffer has to miss a race in the future, here’s hoping Hollywood Park will go without an announcer and spare the embarrassment.

On the racing front, three winners for Joe Talamo and riding doubles for Clinton Potts and Martin Garcia. ASHLEY’S KITTY remained perfect on the main track (lone defeat was on turf) by winning the featured Railbird Stakes for trainer Ted West. Teri Hatcher was on hand (as is her Mother’s Day tradition) to present the trophy to the winning connections. I wasn’t there in person but on TV she looked real and spectacular. Seinfeld devotees know what I’m talking about.

On Saturday: The Cinderella story continued for Jack Disney and his Indizguys partners as ON THE ACORN followed up his win in the San Juan Capistrano by taking down the Jim Murray Memorial. As a former friend and colleague of the late Murray, Disney was truly elated with the win. Not a bad stakes double for a horse they claimed for $40,000. VALBENNY snapped back to top form by taking the Senorita under Alex Solis, and SAILORS SUNSET again showed his fondess for the Cushion track by gamely winning the Los Angeles Handicap. ‘SUNSET has accounted for both of trainer Marcelo Polanco’s HP stakes wins. Riding doubles by Richard Migliore, Michael Baze and Solis, who has won three stakes at the meet.

On Friday, the Pick Six was somehow hit by a lone ticket holder. But the strangest part was that six horses were covered in the last leg. With winners paying $58.60, $43.80, $15 and $10—along with six beaten favorites—it seemed impossible anyone could be alive, let alone be alive to six of the 10 runners…VALID’S VALID easily won the Tuzla Stakes for trainer Jesse Mendoza, who has popped with three of his five starters (all going 6 furlongs on turf) at the meet…back-to-back riding wins for Brice Blanc…congratulations to good friend George Hicker (and breeders Paul and Candy Nicoletti) as BROTHER MAN turned it around and broke his maiden in the 4th.

To view Free Samples of Friday, Saturday and Sunday Premium Plays, click on the links below: Premium Plays for May 11Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Premium Plays for May 12Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Premium Plays for May 13

“They can put a man on the Moon but they can’t…” How many times in your lifetime have you heard that expression? To update that dated saying, they can crack the human genome, they can put GPS navigation systems in cars and they can freeze Ted Williams’ head, but they CAN’T properly announce equipment changes at Southern California tracks before the races start. It happened twice again yesterday. Horses were delayed in the paddock for the 5th race before it was announced that one of the favorites, KICKIN BACK, was NOT removing blinkers after all. Then it was announced before the 6th race that OCEAN MELODY (8th race) would be adding blinkers. Both announcements came after $158,000 had been bet in the Pick Six pool and a good chunk of the $317,000 had been bet in the late Pick 4. Now neither horse won, but ‘MELODY (with blinkers) showed heretofore unseen early speed to make a clear lead and held on for second at 15-1, signaling a big improvement off his recent form. When is this unprofessional treatment of horseplayers going to end? When someone (track or human) is given a large fine, that’s when.

Yesterday was bizarro day at Hollywood Park. Favorites in the early races (GENERAL BUENO in the 1st and UNRIVALED SONG in the 2nd) were hammered down to 1/9 in the early betting before eventually floating up a bit. ‘BUENO won but ‘SONG was horrible, finishing last as a show-plunging bridgejumper splashed into the water. LANG FIELD, the 2-1 favorite, returned $7.40 to show, runner-up COREY COUNTY $14.20 and third horse MARSILIO FICINO a whopping $26.80 in a five-horse field. I can’t help but laugh to myself when these huge favorites run out, pitying the poor fool who plunked down thousands while trying to make a quick 5% on his money. It’s the most idiotic bet on the racetrack but gives contrarians who play against the “show” horse a chance to make easy money when these horses run out, and they do so with surprising regularity.

I’m in Kentucky for a few days and Michael Baze goes crazy with three consecutive hat tricks. He holds a 19-14 lead over Victor Espinoza, who is taking 12 days in appealed suspension time, so the riding title is Baze’s to lose. The 20-year-old has improved in leaps and bounds and probably will get his main challenge from apprentice Joe Talamo…two winners yesterday for Richard Migliore, who continues to carve out a top-five niche in SoCal…congratulations to Gonzo Almeida, who ended a long drought and got his second winner of the year aboard YOUR QUOTE in the 4th…BILLIE BOB was impressive breaking her maiden under wraps in the 3rd and looks like a potential stakes type in the Cal-bred ranks.

On Wednesday: Martin Garcia and The Mig got a pair of riding victories, and Vladimir Cerin continued his hot hand with a training double. His FLEETHEART made it three-for-three with a game victory in the 7th…TICE has found his niche going 1 1/4 miles in paceless fields…ROYAL PRANA was visually impressive winning the 4th on turf for Mike Machowsky/Jose Valdivia.

To view Free Samples of Wednesday and Thursday Premium Plays, click on the links below: Premium Plays for May 9Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Premium Plays for May 10

This was my second Kentucky Derby—the first being in 1994. Seems like a different lifetime ago, and in many ways it is. As I wrote on my website (in the “About” section) a few months ago, I much prefer Breeders’ Cup Day and didn’t need to attend another Derby unless I owned a horse running. Well, that wasn’t the case this year but it was a close second. I was an invited guest of the Reddam-O’Neill team, which sent out GREAT HUNTER and LIQUIDITY.

After attending a rainy Oaks Day, our group had an early night on Friday night in preparation for the long day on Saturday. And I mean long. Took a cab from the hotel to the track around noon (Eastern) and had to do my segment of the Thoroughbred Los Angeles radio show on my cell phone from the car. Not ideal circumstances for caller or listener as I lost cell contact once and had to call back in. I talked about how I was going to play the race, requiring that either my top choice CURLIN or second choice STREET SENSE would have to win the race, then I would need ANY GIVEN SATURDAY to finish second or third (with ALL in the other spots) in order to hit the trifecta. As we now know, I had the top spot covered but got no run out of ‘SATURDAY, so I wasn’t able to capture lightning in a bottle by hitting the Derby tri two years in a row.

Got in (but not before the O’Neill brothers’ nephew Patrick somehow lost his Derby ticket on the ride over, leaving a very expensive present for the next person to hail that cab), got seated and went to work on the last half of the card. I only bet a handful of races while there, having neither the time nor inclination to get down and dirty with handicapping a circuit that I don’t regularly follow. My plays would be simple: put some money into the guaranteed Pick 4 (races 7-10) and play trifectas in the Derby.

My Pick 4 ticket was alive after the first two legs, then it was time to head to the backstretch and participate in the traditional “Derby Walkover” with the two O’Neill-trained horses. The wait is long—there was still another race in between, then about an hour between the Woodford Reserve and the Derby. We passed the time joking around, the connections trying to cut the tension with light-hearted banter. An informal  strategy session between owner and trainer. Watched the Woodford from the big sceen behind the 5/8ths pole as my Pick 4 ticket died a less-than-heroic death. Shortly thereafter came the call over the backside loudspeaker to get the Derby horses ready to be at the “gap” (area where horses enter the main track from backstretch) in five minutes. It was actually a reality now. Doug O’Neill wanted to take his horses out last, cutting down on the time they would circle around in the chute until all 20 runners were present. With STREET SENSE saddled in the barn right behind them, it was like a boxing match to see who would enter the ring first. O’Neill’s horses ended up going out right in front of the eventual winner, while I snapped digital pictures along the way. Trainer and owner embraced, acknowledging the enormous accomplishment of getting two horses into the Run for the Roses.

I have always heard about the thrill those involved feel during the Walkover. Fans lining the rail and shouting encouragement to horses and connections. This was one part of the trip I was hoping to be able to experience. And I got my wish. What a thrill it was to look up at the packed grandstand, with fans standing and cheering and whooping it up for their favorite horse. This has been going on for 133 years and I was getting the chance to experience what a relatively few had experienced before me. I got goosebumps and tears in my eyes while making that emotional walk over, thinking about how lucky I was to be able to make a living doing something that I love. About all the great people I have met along the way. About what a great tradition the Derby represents. Graditude, friendship, tradition—three of the most important things in life.

GREAT HUNTER and LIQUIDITY didn’t fire but it did not diminish the Derby experience for those involved. Everyone had a great time and is looking forward to getting back to Kentucky again next year. Special thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Reddam and the O’Neill families for their incredible generosity and hospitality. Hopefully I can reciprocate some day.

To View Free Samples of Saturday and Sunday Premium Plays, click on the links below: Premium Plays for May 5Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Premium Plays for May 6

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Kentucky Experience: Flew to Cincinatti on Thursday, then drove about 100 miles south to Louisville. Checked in, nap, drinks, late dinner. Up early to hit the Churchill Downs backstretch on Friday morning, did a brief spot on the Scott and BR radio show (1090 AM based in San Diego), then returned back for the races later in the afternoon.

The track was sloppy/muddy (sealed) but played fairly and the final times seemed to be about normal. I only bet a few races on the day, mainly keying in on California invader WHATSTHESCRIPT in the Crown Royal (9th race). He had a very tough trip under Isaias Enriquez and wound up second in a race where he very well may have been best. Came back and hit the Oaks trifecta (only returned $65.50) by keying the Todd Pletcher-trained winner RAGS TO RICHES and runner-up OCTAVE. What a terrific filly the winner is, drawing away late for an authoritative 4 1/4-length victory. I watched her closely during the running of the race and wasn’t sure she was handling the off going but her class showed up through the stretch run.

Hustled to the taxi line just as the rain and lightning show started. Made it back to the hotel fairly unscathed but exhausted. Had dinner with Dennis O’Neill (brother of trainer Doug O’Neill) and Corey Nakatani and both are quietly confident about the chances of GREAT HUNTER in tomorrow’s Derby. They briefly plotted strategy and Nakatani seemed unconcered about post position 20. I asked him if he feels butterflys for the huge events like Derby Day and Breeders’ Cup and he laughed it off. Nakatani has always been a great big-race rider.

O’Neill feels that ‘HUNTER is ready to run the race of his life, which, he says, may or may not be good enough to win the Run for the Roses. So, there’s a little inside scoop that may be helpful tomorrow. The most recent weather report is calling for a 30-50% chance of thunderstorms throughout the day. If we get lucky and the rain stays away, the Churchill main track is capable of drying out extremely quickly.

Tomorrow I will add Kentucky Derby selections and betting strategy to my Hollywood Park Premium Play selections. Remember, last year I hit the trifecta for $5,700 on a $72 investment and plan on using the same strategy tomorrow.

To view Free Samples of Thursday and Friday Premium Plays, click on the links below: Premium Plays for May 3Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Premium Plays for May 4

A quick blog recap, three hours of sleep and then off to Louisville.

Post positions were drawn today for Saturday’s Derby and the televised presentation was pretty much a yawner as usual. I was a little surprised, however, when the connections of CURLIN opted for the 2-post instead of going way outside. With a horse that has tactical speed and the long run to the first turn, I think it’s a safer play to take the outside and not risk as much crowding when the field starts to drop down into the clubhouse turn.

At Hollywood Park, one winning Pick 6 ticket, returning $83,568 when longshot SUISSE MOVEMENT ran down price horse LA BEAU EM, who even though a shorter price, was not covered in the Pick 6. Another excruciating Pick 4 loss on my Premium Play sheet. The original $72 ticket (reduced by a third with a scratch in the 6th) “singled” GIANT BASIL ($9.60), who was a nose winner in the 7th and had six horses in the last. You guessed it, the winner was not one of them. I’ve been unable to capitalize on more huge price horses (trifectas and Pick 4′s) in the first seven days of the meet than at any time I can remember.

David Flores rode three winners, bringing him within eight of the 3,000 milestone…back to back victories for Richard Migliore in races 5 and 6…another training win for Pete Eurton to put him on top with four…Ron Sticka made it two-for-two at the meet when winning the finale…Mike Harrington got off the schneid with his 2-year-olds when SWISS ACE took the opener…the Derby will be run between Hollywood Park’s 5th and 6th races.

On Tuesday:

A riding triple for Michael Baze, who just seems to get better by the day…BLACK SEVENTEEN got back on the winning track after his drubbing in the Santa Anita Derby…owner John Liviakis and trainer Melody Conlon popped again, this time with first-time starter RED HOT RENEE, who was predictably hammered down to 4/5 in the wagering.

Next posting from Louisville on Friday night.

To view Free Samples of Tuesday and Wednesday Premium Plays, click on the links below: Premium Plays for May 1Â Â Â Â Â Premium Plays for May 2

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