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If you’ve become hooked like I have on HBO’s new series Flight of the Conchords, you can’t get the song out of your head, either. Who’s the Boom King? How about Jeff Mullins and Clinton Potts, who have combined to win six straight races together. According to Brad Free of DRF, the streak started on June 13 with CANDY JO ($7.80) and COMMISIONER GORDON ($15.20), followed by SCOTTSBLUFF ($6.20) on June 17, MISS JOSIEY WALES ($5.00) on June 21 and today’s double with APPLAUD DUBAI (6.20) and EDDIE MUNSTA ($19.80). Mullins has been a tear lately and Potts is having a very solid meeting due to his big “in” with the Mullins stable.

Who’s the Boom King? How about Michael Baze, who went for the hat trick today to increase his lead back up to seven in the jockey standings. Or Vladimir Cerin for the training feat of the day (meet?) by bringing PLACID LAKE back from a 27-month layoff to break his maiden in the 5th race. Or Doug O’Neill, who got a training double while vacationing in Ireland. But it definitely was not Saul Arias, who cost BROTHER MAN the win by going way too fast and opening up a big lead before getting run down by the favorite in the 2nd. How can some of these riders continue to make the mistake of going out fast and opening up? Have they been watching races at this meet? Unlike a traditional Southern California “dirt” track, the Cushion Track does not play favorably to this type of strategy.

On Wednesday, a riding double by Aaron Gryder and two training wins for Cerin…five winning favorites on the card…game first-time out win by HIGH INTELLECT to give owner David Lanzman the first of his two winners in the past couple of days (he also owns EDDIE MUNSTA)…LAZIO fired another good shot to just miss in the 6th. It was denoted in the program that he had been “heel nerved” (a legal surgical operation that cuts the nerve to the back of the heel). Was that being reported since his last start or is this something that happened previously and is just now starting to be reported on a regular basis? What about the win by UNUSUAL SUSPECT in the 7th? Making his fifth start of the meet, the Abrams-trained colt ran down ASTERI while coming his final 1/8th in about 11 seconds when winning in 1:08.2. The runner-up wasn’t stopping, ‘SUSPECT just flew home.

No winning favorites on Thursday resulted in a Pick Six carryover of more than $95,000 into Friday night’s card (post time at 7:05 p.m.). Noon post for Saturday’s 11-race Gold Cup card.

To View Free Samples of Wednesday and Thursday Premium Plays, click on the links below: Premium Plays for June 27Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Premium Plays for June 28

After Saturday’s chalkfest, where there were seven winning favorites and two second-choice winners, Sunday’s full fields produced much different results. Public handicappers, like this one, who had six winners on Saturday were blanked on Sunday. The Pick Six payoff went from $676 to a single ticket worth $178,785. Pick 4 payoffs at $52 on Saturday swelled to $521 and $3,302 on Sunday. The Sunday results didn’t have a crazy knockout horse on the card but rather a combination of logical and mid-priced runners, with winners in the Pick Six races paying $7.60, $11.60, $14.00, $10.60, $7.40 and $19.20. It is often a string of these mid-priced horses that produce massive payoffs or even carryovers because it’s so difficult to put them all together.

On Sunday: Two winners each for David Flores, Alex Solis and Michael Baze, who maintains a six-win margin over Joe Talamo (who had one victory on the card) as these two young bucks have distanced themselves from the rest of the riding colony. Baze rode the rail and got through inside for both wins today…Tom Foley got his first winner at Hollywood Park when he rocketed comebacker TRAIL MIX to the lead through fast splits, then held on at the wire. With the win, Foley immediately went from a 10-pound weight allowance to seven pounds…LADY GAMER remained perfect on the Cushion Track when taking the Valkyr in wire-to-wire fashion…UNDER SERVICED kept coming to nail B R’S GIRL in a solid-looking 2-year-old heat. The Baffert trainee is a New York-bred daughter of Hook and Ladder that cost $325,000 at sale…CHARMING LEGACY switched back to turf and won the 8th. What a producer her dam Olympic Charmer has been…the Gutierrez-Nakatani combination scored again with WARREN’S SECRET in the finale, running down well-meant first-timer TOP LEESE on the line.

On Saturday: Chalk rolled home all day. DEPUTY LAD became a four-time winner at the meet, stepping up once again to defeat $25,000 claimers while giving Mike Mitchell his second training win on the card…AWESOME GEM was a very easy winner of a third-level allowance race and looks ready to step back up into the stakes ranks…WORLDLY remained perfect in three U.S. starts with an authoritative win in the Cinema.

On Friday: A riding triple for Talamo and training double for Mike Harrington…ITSALLGREEKTOU made it three straight since joining the Paul Aguirre barn, this time switching to turf and winning very nicely…AREYOUTALKINTOME dropped in class and ended a nine-race losing streak by outrunning game WIND WATER in an exciting sprint.

Wednesday begins a six-day racing week, highlighted by Saturday’s Hollywood Gold Cup.

To View Free Samples of Friday, Saturday and Sunday Premium Plays, click on the links below: Premium Plays for June 22Â Â Â Â Â Â Premium Plays for June 23Â Â Â Â Â Â Premium Plays for June 24

There were a number of very close results over the past two days, with the photo finishes deciding seven of the 18 races. Trainer Cliff Sise was the beneficiary of two tight wins on Wednesday, narrowly prevailing with SOCIAL SATIRE (who had dead-heated for his maiden win) in the 3rd and DOUBLE MAJOR in the 7th. On the wrong end of a couple photos was trainer Julio Canani, who lost heartbreakers with BIG BERTHA on Wednesday and CIGAR PAL on Thursday, both turf sprints.

Eight different winning riders on Wednesday and again on Thursday. In fact, only Joe Talamo, Isaias Enriquez and Richard Migliore were able to win on back-to-back days…Thursday was Get Off the Schneid Day for jockeys Joel Rosario (his first ever win at HP) and Joy Scott, who won the nightcap aboard longshot THUNDERING RHYTHM ($44.20) for trainer Richard Bellasis. Trainer Ted West won just his second of the meet (from 25 starters) with first-timer NENE in the opener…Clinton Potts has been on a lot of live stock lately for hot trainer Jeff Mullins—these two combined to take the 5th with MISS JOSIEY WALES…betting owner John Liviakis scored again on Wednesday when his YOUNG THOMAS overcame a horrible start to graduate in a very slow juvenile event (2nd race). This guy kills his own price in the Win and Double pools but he’s crushed ‘em at this meet…BIG PICTURE ran off the sceen when winning the 5th by seven lengths. No claims on the suspicious class dropper, who looked plenty healthy here [Note: Just found out on June 23 that 'PICTURE had to be vanned off after the winner's cirlce picture...guess he didn't look so healthy after all].

You positively have to believe that some horses have a will to win, while others are pack animals with an aversion to winning. Exhibit A: DOUBLE MAJOR winning for the third time in seven starts and ONLY ONE WAY splitting horses and getting his seventh career win from 14 starts . Exhibit B: VICE ADMIRAL refusing to by in the stretch and finishing second for the seventh straight time and UNBRIDLED HARMONY doing everything in his power NOT to break his maiden, running his record to zero-for-20 (with 10 second- or third-place finishes). These trial maidens are always worth trying to beat…when they finally do graduate, who cares? They are always over-bet, and look at all the money you’ve saved in the long run.

Today’s Last Word comes from reader Penny B: “I agree with your June 18th comments. All the good races at HP, CD and Belmont were going off about the same time. Is anyone responsible for coordinating this? I was at DM Satellite, so I did at least get to watch everything. My youbet account does not carry Churchill Downs or Colonial Downs—both of which I wanted to bet on Saturday. Unless and until the various tracks and owners can work for the good of the sport and not themselves, they are losing a lot of money and shooting themselves in the foot.”

Amen, Penny.

To view Free Samples of Wednesday and Thursday Premium Plays, click on the link below: Premium Plays for June 20Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Premium Plays for June 21

Yes, we all like the horses and pageantry and the thrill of a good stretch run, but take away the gambling aspect of horse racing and already small on-track crowds would be nonexistant. Since the name of the game is money, let’s take a look at what’s happened the last few days at Hollywood Park.

Over $32.5 million in total handle over the last three racing cards ($7.9M on Friday night, $13M on Saturday, and $11.6M on Sunday). Pick Six pools of $216,000, $462,000 and $329,00. And combined Pick 4 pools (early and late, which usually more than doubles the early one) of around three quarters of a million dollars on the weekends and $650,000 on Friday night.

And what about the payoffs? One winning Pick 6 ticket on Friday night for $120,000; 3 tickets on Saturday for $85,000; and no winners on Sunday for a carryover of more than $183,000 heading into the Wednesday card. In the Pick 4, all six of them over the past three days paid over than $1,000. Despite smaller field sizes in races 1-4, the early Pick 4 paid better than its more popular counterpart on both Saturday and Sunday. Despite just 27 horses in Saturday’s sequence, the early P4 paid $2,234; and on Sunday 31 entrants produced a payoff of $5,974. It seems that a case can be made that beating favorites in shorter fields can produce larger payoffs since most gamblers have zeroed in on the logical contenders, especially in small fields.

The Jeff Mullins barn went crazy with five winners over the three days to move up to second in the trainers standings, only trailing leading man Doug O’Neill by five. Where have we seen this script before? These two have battled it out at many recent meets but O’Neill has too much horsepower to not win the title at a long meet like this one. Mullins will likely have a higher win percentage, but O’Neill is hurt in that department because he is often times running two horses in the same race.

On Sunday: Scottsbluff again showed his fondness for the HP turf course by taking a restricted stakes in the 1st…DESERT CODE took a very lackluster Affirmed. Small field, slow time—the local 3-year-old colts leave a lot to be desired…two winners for Joe Talamo, who remains 10 behind leading jock Michael Baze…Owner Jerry Jamgotchian, a thorn in the side of CHRB officials, must have gotten a good laugh when his INGRID THE GAMBLER won the last. A less-than-subtle poke at CHRB Executive Director Ingrid Fermin…and what about the call of the 6th race when announcer Vic Stauffer told us that QUEST VENTURE had been “caught” at the top of stretch? That was right before ‘VENTURE re-broke to win by nearly four lengths in a sizzling 1:39.3. Mr. Anticipation strikes again.

On Saturday: STORMIN AWAY won the inaugural 1 3/4-miles Round Table on turf but runner-up SPRING HOUSE ran the best race. ‘HOUSE ran off with Michael Baze going into the first turn, opened up a daylight lead, then got run down late…’AWAY was one of three Mullins winners on the card…two wins each by Victor Espinoza and Talamo. Why Racing Is So Dumb Department: With an outstanding card from Churchill Downs (six stakes races including the Grade I Stephen Foster and Grade II Fleur De Lis), many local fans and simulcast players were interested in watching (let alone playing…that’s a blog for another day. You now need three online accounts if you want to play any track in the country). But with Churchill’s and Hollywood Park’s races basically running on top of each other, it was not possible to watch many of both tracks’ races in their entirety. This is so aggravating and yet so easily avoidable, but racing just can’t get it together. Why can’t one of these A-B-C-D organizations step up and mandate staggered post times for the major tracks, so that we can actually watch (and wager) without flipping back and forth to watch parts of races from different tracks? It seems so simple.

On Friday: Riding doubles for Isaias Enriquez and M.Baze…Tyler Baze got his first winner since returning from his six-week sabbatical aboard LEGENDARY MUD as red-hot trainer Ron Ellis ran one-two in the 3rd…back-to-back training wins for underrated Richard Matlow as RIDINGWITHTHEKING and MR. KATZ rallied from last to win races 6 and 7.

My Best Bet picks hit four straight days (NOOTKA ISLAND $18.80, MR. BIG $6.40, MR. KATZ $17.60 and ENTER ANON $5.20). The streak ended on Sunday when TOUR DA BRONX ran second.

One of the enjoyable parts of my day is listening to Stockton track announcer Frank Mirahmadi call the last race. He does an impersonation (list includes Ed Burgart, Marv Albert, Michael Wrona, Rodney Dangerfield, etc.) that is spot-on and often times hilarious. Yesterday he did the late, great Harry Henson, who I had the pleasure of listening to a thousand times growing up near Del Mar. Brought back a lot of great memories.

To View Free Samples of Friday, Saturday and Sunday Premium Plays, click on the links below: Premium Plays for June 15Â Â Â Â Â Â Premium Plays for June 16Â Â Â Â Â Â Premium Plays for June 17

The weekday cards tend to be pretty quiet out at Hollywood Park, with predictably small fields in the early races. Personally, I almost always pass the first three or four on the card because I rarely find value in wagering on those races. But I try to make up for my lack of early participation by jumping in the last four, including the Pick 4. Although field sizes are up from last year’s meet, the day would be much more interesting and bettable if the racing office could bolster the first half of the card.

On Wednesday: Riding doubles by Isaias Enriquez, Michael Baze and Clinton Potts. Since agent Nick Cosato represents both Baze and Potts, that means he pocketed half the wins on the card. Let’s just say it should be a pretty good Christmas around the Cosato household this year…trainer Jeff Mullins won a pair. As we mentioned in the last posting, the Mullins barn is starting to heat up. The guy is way too high percentage to not get rolling at some point…nice turf win by improving ISIPINGO for Craig Dollase. This gelded son of Horse Chestnut might turn out to be a serious turf marathoner…once again one winning ticket in the Pick Six, worth over $121,000. There sure have been a lot of single-ticket holders during this meet.

On Thursday: Eight different jockeys and trainers won on today’s card. RIVER’S PRAYER overcame a terrible start to win the opening-race stakes. She is now three-for-three this season and is perfect in four lifetime turf sprints…Enriquez nailed his father-in-law (Tommy Town Thoroughbreds) right on the money when MIGHTY FINE WINE ran down debuting I DIG HER in a slow juvenile filly maiden claimer (4th race)…CELTIC DREAMIN remained unbeaten in three starts when getting the best of hard-knocking SCANDALOUS in the 7th…LEAD STEALER returned at the bottom ($8,000) to win again for big-betting owner John Liviakis and trainer Melody Conlon. He ended up going off at a fat 2-1 but won like a 1/5 shot.

Parting shot: I’ve held my tongue (and keyboard) all meet long but I finally snapped when listening to announcer Vic Stauffer call yesterday’s 2nd race. It took 330 races but he finally got to me—and once again confirmed why I can’t take him seriously as a race caller: “He’s [Eagle Ridge] fourth now…but about to get into second if he stays on the rail.” No, Vic, actually he was about to get shut off and shuffled back to last when forced to take up inside tiring Awesome Graf. Why not just call the race as it happens, without (incorrectly) trying to anticipate what is going to happen? Sidenote: There’s a horse running in Sunday’s 7th race named Pick Vic. My newspaper/website comment in graded handicap? “Rather pick Wrona”.

I had a very good day on my Premium Play sheet with 5 top choice winners; 7th race trifecta for $254 on a $54 ticket; and late Pick 4 for $131 on a $36 sheet (after two scratches in 5th race).

To View Free Samples of Wednesday and Thursday Premium Plays, click on the links below: Premium Plays for June 13Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Premium Plays for June 14

With the filly Rags to Riches barely getting the best of Curlin through a scintillating Belmont Stakes stretch run, this year stood out as one of the best in memory for the sheer excitment of the Triple Crown races. I think you have to go back 10 years to the Silver Charm-Captain Bodgit-Free House rivalry to find a sequence of races equal to this year’s. As it turned out, the Derby was the blowout race, with Street Sense coming away from Hard Spun, who was well clear of Curlin. The Preakness was one for the ages, with Curlin coming back on to nail Street Sense on the wire. And yesterday’s Belmont was a classic, with two champion-quality 3-year-olds unwilling to give an inch as they dueled down to the wire.

Now that the monkey is off Todd Pletcher’s back, look for him to win many more of these Triple Crown events. As an NBA assistant coach once told me before Shaquille O’Neal had won his first NBA championship: “If he ever learns how to win one, look out, he’ll win a bunch of them.” Four rings later and those words look prophetic. Pletcher is a great trainer who gets great stock and has great help. Those ingredients will add up to numerous Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup wins before his Hall of Fame career is over.

The win by Rags to Riches had to be excruciatingly painful for Garrett Gomez and his agent Ron Anderson. Gomez had been aboard for all four of her wins but took the mount on Hard Spun when it appeared the filly may not run. And when trainer Larry Jones wouldn’t release him from his commitment, Gomez could only watch as the big chestnut filly ranged up outside of him and left him for dead at the top of stretch. Winning rider Johnny Velasquez was released from an earlier commitment on Slew’s Tizzy, who wound up nowhere. Now the interesting question becomes, who gets the the mount on ‘Riches next time? Gomez or Velasquez?

On Sunday: TOUGH TIZ’S SIS easily handled favorite SILVER SWALLOW in a very weak five-horse (after three program scratches) Hollywood Oaks field. Another year like this and the Oaks will drop to Grade 3 status…two wins each by Corey Nakatani, Victor Espinoza and Joe Talamo…Barry Abrams sent out a pair of winners, including impressive comebacker MEDZENDEEKRON, who was very sharp winning at a distance that’s way too short for him…lightly-raced 7-year-old BILO got back on the winning track with a front-running victory, his fifth from 13 lifetime starts…VAQUELIN dropped into the allowance ranks and outclassed his foes in the 4th.

With another dead-heat (9th race), we are once again shown the unfairness of the current rules for Pick 4 and Pick 6 payoffs. When SPRIGGZEE (8-1) and PLAN FOR FUN (37-1) hit the wire together, here’s what happened to pari-mutuel payoffs: the win prices, daily doubles and Pick 3 payoffs were correctly halved for both runners. However, here’s where it all goes haywire. In the Pick 4, the projected payoff for Spriggzee was $617, which dropped to $539 (13% reduction) after the dead-heat. However, the projected payoff on ‘FUN was $4,237, which means the winning payoff was reduced by a whopping 87%. And it gets worse in the Pick Six, where there was a single ticket holder alive to ‘FUN. Win the photo and collect a life-changing $192,000. But because of the dead-heat, that payoff was sliced to $24,058. This is sheer insanity. The correct way to handle these situations is to split the pool in half and treat each horse separately. Since there were seven live tickets to SPRIGGZEE then simply divide $96,000 by seven for a payout of $13,714. And the single ticket that was alive to ‘FUN gets the remaining $96,000.

On Saturday: Eleven races and four stakes made for a great betting card, with $21.2 million pushed through the windows. This represented the third-highest Belmont Day handle ever at Hollywood Park—and highest ever without the Triple Crown on the line. Business is way up over the corresponding 37 days from last year. The featured Whittingham Memorial was a terrific race, with AFTER MARKET outkicking LAVA MAN for the win. I loved AFTER MARKET going in, but I was equally impressed with ‘LAVA, who I felt would not fire his best shot coming back from the Dubai debacle. He fired all right, and this race should serve as a perfect prep as he tries to win the Gold Cup for the third straight year. I have to give Alex Solis credit for a couple of perfect rides yesterday aboard VALBENNY and ‘MARKET. Yes, he was on the best horses both times but he saved ground and rode perfectly. I have been very critical of Solis here over the past few months but you have to give credit where credit is due…SOMETHINABOUTLAURA and DANCING EDIE put on a good show in the Redondo Beach. Talk about a classy pair of Cal-breds. And how about 10-year gelding AGGRESSIVE coming back off a layoff to win the 7th? Great job by trainer Jeff Mullins, who is starting to come to life after a slow first half of the meet.

More pari-mutuel lunacy: Before the 10th race, it was announced that there were two late scratches in the final race. So those who wager without betting cards that allow alternate selections—like everyone with phone and online accounts—are stuck with the favorite, who they most likely already have. When a friend who was playing from out of state was confused about the rules on Pick 4 consolation payoffs (and who wouldn’t be? We have consolations for scratched horses in the Pick 3 but NOT the Pick 4), he called the Hollywood tote room for an explanation. He was told that, yes, there would be consolation payoffs. Not even they know the rules! The good news is that this situation is going to be addressed by the Pari-Mutuel Operations Committee in July and most likely will be changed in the near future. Amen.

To View Free Samples of Friday, Saturday and Sunday Premium Plays, click on the links below: Premium Plays for June 8Â Â Â Â Â Â Premium Plays for June 9Â Â Â Â Â Premium Plays for June 10

If you didn’t get a chance to see Barbaro on Wednesday’s first showing on HBO, make sure to catch one of the replays. This hour-long show is simply outstanding, covering the horse and his connections from the beginning of his life to the sad end. The writing (done by Frank Deford of Sports Illustrated fame) and interviews are excellent, to go along with some terrific behind-the-scenes footage. We all know how the story ends but the show is compelling from the start.

Anyone who believes owners Roy and Gretchen Jackson were trying to save Barbaro only for breeding purposes is way too cynical for my taste. When you see the anguish on their faces and raw emotion in thier voices (along with veterinarian Dr. Dean Richardson) at the news conference announcing that Barbaro had been put down, you understand that this horse was much more to them than a $30 million breeding prospect. Gretchen, in particular, eloquently articulates her love for the horse and why they went to such steps to try to save him. As she says, they didn’t even know if Barbaro was fertile, yet spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to keep him alive.

I thought the best part of the program was when they spoke about the tug of war of emotions when weighing the options of whether to put him down or try more treatment. At one point after laminitis had set in, all parties gathered at the New Bolton Center with the thought that it might be time. However, Barbaro, with that gorgeous eye of his, stood in front of the stall eating peppermints from them, ears pricked while looking alert and comfortable, indicating to them that he still had the will to live.

I felt all along that the horse would tell them if he didn’t want to go on, and that’s exactly what happened. Near the very end there is a scene of Barbaro in the back of the stall, head down, eyes dim, obviously not the same horse who had shown so much class and fighting spirit throughout the eight-month ordeal. Great subject, great show. Makes me realize why I fell in love with this sport.

On Thursday: Two more wins by Michael Baze, who is running away with the jockey race…trainer Paulo Lobo continues his fantastic meet, getting another winner with first-time starter KNEELING’S PRIDE…CAPTAIN KURT came off the bench to impressively win the 7th for Melody Conlon…one winning ticket in the Pick Six for $103,522.

On Wednesday:Â A three-bagger for Baze, two wins for David Flores…eight different trainers went to the winner’s circle…bug boy Tom Foley let another horse get away from him as CHARM N BROAD carved out a suicidal pace before getting run down by odds-on IMAGINE in the 7th. Any kind of rating job and ‘BROAD wins the race at 14-1…it was announced that Darley has purchased the breeding rights to both STREET SENSE and HARD SPUN. Enjoy them while you can, they undoubtedly will be off to the breeding shed at the end of this year. Someone will have to explain to me the logic of retiring these talented horses (like Bernardini) after their 3-year-old seasons. What for? To try to produce more talented horses that can be retired after their sophomore years? At this rate we will never see any of these star 3-year-olds get a chance to develop into great older horses. Makes you appreciate the old geldings like LAVA MAN and THE TIN MAN. We get a chance to follow them and become fans for more than than just a year and a half.

Excellent 11-race card on Saturday (four stakes) and the Belmont Stakes. Should make for a great day of racing. I will be giving a free handicapping seminar at Del Mar’s Surfside Race Place at 11:00 a.m. at the Sports Club Patio on the second floor. Hope to see you there.

To View Free Samples of Wednesday and Thursday Premium Plays, click on the links below: Premium Plays for June 6Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Premium Plays for June 7

Sunday’s fifth race marked the halfway point of Hollywood Park’s 63-day spring-summer meet. The racing, for the most part, has been good and field sizes are averging 8.6 starters per race. There have been a number of impressive winners at the meet, but perhaps none as impressive as Milady winner NASHOBA’S KEY. After winning her first three starts on turf, the Carla Gaines- trained filly switched to the Cushion Track and unleashed an awesome late kick to run down Grade I winner HYSTERICALADY in 1:42.16. After racing wide most of the way and looking like there was no way she could catch the leader, the daughter of Silver Hawk-Nashoba rallied furiously through the final 1/16th (coming home in under six seconds) before blowing by late and galloping out like a locomotive. She got a late start the but 4-year-old is truly something special. Someone asked me what happened to Grade I winner BALANCE, who finished a distant third. She might not have run her “A” race but it wouldn’t have mattered. At least at a mile and a sixteenth, she has no chance of beating the top two, who are simply more talented runners. And I can’t see her beating the winner no matter how far they run.

On Sunday: GOTAGHOSTOFACHANCE got back on the winning track for trainer Roger Stein while giving Jon Court the first of his two winners today…Doug O’Neill, who despite being the leading trainer, has had a slow meet by his standards. But that ended today when he saddled three winners to move out to a three-length lead over red-hot Ron Ellis. Ellis sent out very impressive winner GLORIFIED, who scored for fun despite being wrapped up on through the final furlong…three more winners for Michael Baze, who now holds a 41-32 lead over Joe Talamo. The combined age for these two up-and-coming riding stars? Would you believe 37 years? Pretty remarkable…SALUTE THE SARGE reported home in the finale, with Nick “Sarge” Hines draped in the Red, White and Blue while joining winning trainer Eric Guillot in the winner’s circle.

On Saturday: Thrilling edition of The Californian, with perfect tripper BUZZARDS BAY holding off longshot SUN BOAT by a desperate nose…in the undercard feature, SINDY WITH AN S got back on the winning track with a nice win the Manhattan Beach while trying turf for the initial time…two more winners for Baze…hot trainers continue to burn white hot with Paulo Lobo (VISAYAS), Vladimir Cerin (BELTLINE JACK) and Ellis (BUZZARDS BAY) each winning a race…very impressive debut win by EVER SO PRETTY (for Bill Currin), who held off equally well-meant TASHA’S MIRACLE in the finale. The latter will be a short price to break her maiden next time out.

I had an excellent day on the Premium Play sheet, hitting four top choice winners, including Pick 4 “single” JOHNNY EVES ($15.80); the 8th race trifecta for $598 ($40 investment after scratch); and the late Pick 4 for $439 ($60 ticket after scratch). Of course, if 25-1 shot SUN BOAT gets up to beat ‘BAY, the trifecta turns into about $1,200 and the Pick 4 shoots up to at least $2,500. Sometimes even when you win, you lose.

To View Free Samples of Friday, Saturday and Sunday Premium Plays, click on the links below: Premium Plays for June 1Â Â Â Â Â Â Premium Plays for June 2Â Â Â Â Premium Plays for June 3

On Thursday two New Zealand invaders made their first starts in this country and won in very good style. CROSSING THE LINE, a 5-year-old making his U.S. debut for John Sadler (who sent out impressive Australian import Parmar Day two weeks ago), won as impressively as any turf sprinter I’ve seen. He lagged early, angled wide into the stretch and exploded through the lane before winning under wraps in 1:07.4, which is by far the fastest time at this distance since the course was reconfigured. He went by professional racehorse FETE like that one was tied to a post, so he goes right to the front of the line as the best turf sprinter on this circuit. Two races later ANDREA blew by her opponents in a first-level allowance race for trainer Roger Stein. Looks like these Down Under imports need to be taken very seriously around here.

Four riding wins for Michael Baze, who rattled off three straight in races 2-4 and naield down the finale with first-time starter LIVIA LA VIDA LOCA. He opened his lead back up to six over nearest rival Joe Talamo, who was aboard ‘LINE for the armchair ride…DEPUTY LAD made it three straight over Cushion Track when wheeling back in 11 days to win on the double jump for Mike Mitchell. Expect him to move up another level or two for his next start….unconfirmed rumor has it that the auxiliary rail may have been moved out too far on the first turn yesterday when odds-on favorite DANCING GENERAL took a crazy step and completely lost her action (and about five lengths) before getting the worst of the head bob at the wire. According to the program, the rail was out 20 feet but I’ve been told by a reliable source that it may have been out more like 25 at that point on the turn. We’ll try to get a comment from Hollywood Park management.

On Wednesday, two winners for Alex Solis as he took down the early Daily Double…EL GREGO responded to a perfect trip/ride by Richard Migliore to win the 3rd after being moved way too soon last time…what got into SILVER Z? He ran off and won by 8 1/2 in the 7th after going very fast early as the Brian Koriner barn continues to sizzle…bug boy Tom Foley was on the right horse in the 8th but went way too fast and paid the price at the wire as LESLIE LILL got run down late. Slow down, young buck. This is Cushion Track, not the paved highways that we used to see in Southern California…the new California results line, which replaces individual lines at each track, debuted on Wednesday. The toll free number is 888-338-RACE (7223).

To View Free Samples of Wednesday and Thursday Premium Plays, click on the links below: Premium Plays for May 30Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Premium Plays for May 31

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