Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome to the very first edition of our horse racing newsletter, which we so cleverly call “Racing!”
A tip of the hat to Santa Anita race caller Michael Wrona, whose signature opening call is now a promotion for this newsletter. He’s not starting a race; he’s saying sign up and tell your friends. Thanks, Michael. (Note: Legally I’ve got to say Wrona is not really endorsing this newsletter. In fact, I’m not even sure he’s signed up.)
So I bet you’re wondering what possessed the Los Angeles Times to start this newsletter, especially after the print edition dropped the entries and results earlier this year.
First of all, the entries and results are back in our print edition. And all of you helped reverse the decision by contacting either the sports department or our (but think of her as your) readers rep, Deirdre Edgar.
So why get the newsletter? Well, we’ll go much farther than any other publication, with full charts and trip comments. Before you ask, the newsletter is not going to replace what we do in print.
So, here’s how this happened. When the entries and results were first removed from the newspaper, Sports Editor Angel Rodriguez believed the horse racing community needed to be served in some way. So we got together with Jon Schleuss, one of our data journalists, Houston Mitchell, our sports newsletter editor, and Scott Sandell, the newspaper’s newsletter editor, and made a plan.
And now, months later, we’re birthing this baby.
(Notice I put one of those blue things on each of their names in case you want to click on them and email thanks, especially Angel, because he’s my boss, and Deirdre, because she listened and carried your message forward.)
Now, we’ll need your help to shape this thing. So send along ideas and thoughts. It may look entirely different in a day, week or month. I’m sure Thomas Edison (no known email) didn’t get the light bulb right the first time.
For now, we’ll try to pull together the best of local racing with small recaps and previews, but the real star of this endeavor will be the entries and results.
I’ll be your tour guide most of the time, although Eric Sondheimer will also contribute his years of racing knowledge and days of knowledge of being a horse owner. (More on that in days to come.)
This is end of my second year on this beat, but I’ve been a fan of the sport forever. I’m not an expert in handicapping, so we’ll leave that to you.
Just so you know the prism through which I view the sport, here are 10 things I think about horse racing:
1. Santa Anita is the most picturesque — and my favorite — racetrack in America. We’ll be watching to see if Tim Ritvo, a pretty smart guy, can fix it.
2. I hate the drive to Del Mar — a lot. And the backup off I-5. And parking on big days. But the climate is great.
3. Ed Burgart is the Vin Scully, Chick Hearn and Bob
4. I have no desire to ever ride or own a thoroughbred.
5. Larry Collmus is a good announcer, but our guys — Trevor Denman, Frank Mirahmadi and Michael Wrona — are all better. Listening NBC?
6. Bob Baffert and
7. I hate covering the Kentucky Derby. Too big, too pretentious and then there is the near windowless media bunker.
8. I love covering
9. Any horse, on any day, no matter how good, can be beat. Horses, just like newsletter hosts, have bad days.
10. Bridge jumpers aren’t very smart (see item 9).
Interview with Ritvo
Had a chance to talk to Santa Anita boss Ritvo. You shouldn’t expect big changes until the winter meet, but he did declare war on trainers who use Santa Anita just as a training track, and if field sizes don’t improve, three-day-a-week racing is a very real possibility. For more on Ritvo’s thoughts, check out the story here.
Eddie D. Stakes highlights SA card
Today’s opening day card at Santa Anita has nine races, three of them on the turf — the first, seventh and ninth. Ritvo says he’s going to run more turf races because fans like them and they attract fuller fields.
For example, the first has 10 horses in a maiden claimer; the seventh has 10 fillies and mares in an allowance optional claimer and the feature in the ninth is called the Eddie D. Stakes, about 6 ½ furlongs down the hill, with 11 currently entered. Last year, the Eddie D had so many entries, they ran it in two divisions.
The Times did a story on the mystery of the downhill course earlier this year. If you haven’t read it, it might be worth a look here. Eddie Delahoussaye gives tips on how to win the race. (Hint: It’s cutting the corner.)
Om, running for Dan Hendricks, is the morning-line favorite at 8-5, having hit the board 15 out of 18 times, 14 of those races on turf. But he hasn’t won in eight starts, mostly at a mile, since Dec. 26, 2015. But a lot of seconds and thirds. He’s 3-3-1 over the Santa Anita turf. Most impressive was second by a nose in the Breeders Cup Turf Sprint last November. (Watch here.)
Om is switching up riders from
Tribalist is the second favorite at 4-1, including four wins in a row, the last three at five furlongs. Blake Heap is the trainer and
Races 1-6 are all claimers, three of them for maidens. The seventh is the aforementioned allowance optional claimer and the eighth is a maiden special weight.
There are 76 horses entered, or an average of 8.44 a race. Not a bad start.
Before I get out of here, if you know someone who might enjoy this little resource, forward it to them and have them click here and sign up. Remember, it’s free, and all we need is your email, nothing more.
Also, no need to worry: It’s doubtful this newsletter will ever be this long again.
Now, the star of the show, Friday’s entries. (If the entries look strange on your phone, take a look on a tablet or desktop for a more traditional view.)
Santa Anita Entries for Friday, September 29.
Santa Anita, Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, California. 1st day of a 19-day meet.
1 1/8 Mile Turf. Purse: $28,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $50,000-$40,000.
|1||Brilliant Light||Santiago Gonzalez||125||15-1||50,000|
|2||Insubordination||Tyler Baze||125||Kenneth D. Black||7-2||50,000|
|3||Kinematico||Flavien Prat||122||Mike Puype||4-1||50,000|
|4||Odyssey Explorer||122||Hector O. Palma||12-1||50,000|
|5||Sirari||Norberto Arroyo, Jr.||122||Jr. Clifford W. Sise,||10-1||50,000|
|6||Warren's Fandango||Rafael Bejarano||122||Jorge ||5-1||50,000|
|7||Kinsale Warrior||Evin Roman||117||Peter Eurton||15-1||50,000|
|8||Perfection Tale||Manuel Chaves||125||Howard L. Zucker||30-1||50,000|
|9||Amazon Cry||Tiago Pereira||122||Philip D'Amato||3-1||50,000|
|10||Bacoli||Israel Ocampo||122||Mick Ruis||6-1||50,000|
1 Mile. Purse: $21,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $16,000-$14,000.
|1||Over Achiever||Rafael Bejarano||123||William E. Morey||5-2||16,000|
|2||Freddies Dream||Evin Roman||118||8-5||16,000|
|3||Image of Joplin||Austin Solis||116||Mick Ruis||3-1||16,000|
|4||Seal Six||Israel Ocampo||121||Michael Machowsky||6-1||14,000|
|5||Saint Dermot||Santiago Gonzalez||123||Mark Glatt||4-1||16,000|
6 Furlongs. Purse: $16,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $8,000-$7,000.
|1||Golden Atlantic||Sasha Risenhoover||125||Gary Stute||4-1||8,000|
|2||Royal F J||Martin Pedroza||123||Jack Carava||7-2||8,000|
|3||G. A. Betting||Brayan Pena||123||Hector O. Palma||6-1||8,000|
|4||Changing Karma||Brandon Boulanger||121||Steve Knapp||20-1||7,000|
|5||Rough Passage||Gallyn Mitchell||123||Thomas J. Bazley||12-1||8,000|
|6||Heir of Storm||Austin Solis||116||Mick Ruis||5-2||8,000|
|7||Airfoil||Evin Roman||118||Mark Glatt||2-1||8,000|
1 Mile. Purse: $25,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $40,000-$35,000.
|1||John and Montan||Stewart Elliott||122||Ronald W. Ellis||10-1||40,000|
|2||Latitude||Martin Pedroza||125||Dan L. Hendricks||6-1||40,000|
|3||Divisor||Santiago Gonzalez||122||Philip D'Amato||9-2||40,000|
|4||Inhibition||Victor Espinoza||125||James M. Cassidy||6-1||40,000|
|5||Fregosi||Drayden Van Dyke||122||Leonard Powell||4-1||40,000|
|6||Super Duper Cooper||Tyler Baze||122||Michael W. McCarthy||3-1||40,000|
|7||Conqueror||Flavien Prat||125||Vladimir Cerin||5-2||40,000|
5½ Furlongs. Purse: $28,000. Maiden Claiming. 2 year olds. Claiming Prices $50,000-$40,000.
|1||Warrior's Lullaby||Edwin Maldonado||122||Mick Ruis||7-2||50,000|
|2||Salsa King||Evin Roman||117||Ruben Gomez||10-1||50,000|
|3||Colormemoney||Victor Espinoza||122||Jr. Robert B. Hess,||5-2||50,000|
|4||American Currency||Gary Stevens||122||Eddie Truman||4-1||50,000|
|5||Quoting Hawk||Tiago Pereira||120||Michael Machowsky||8-1||40,000|
|6||First Ballot||Brayan Pena||122||Richard Baltas||8-1||50,000|
|7||Haulin' Freight||Mario Gutierrez||122||Doug F. O'Neill||10-1||50,000|
|8||Ridgefield Rocket||Tyler Conner||122||Mark Glatt||8-1||50,000|
|9||Sandbed||Norberto Arroyo, Jr.||122||Jr. Clifford W. Sise,||12-1||50,000|
6½ Furlongs. Purse: $29,000. Claiming. 3 year olds. Claiming Prices $25,000-$22,500.
|1||Iron Alex||Sasha Risenhoover||120||Dallas E. Keen||8-1||22,500|
|2||Pick One||Tiago Pereira||120||Jack Carava||8-1||22,500|
|3||Mystical Image||Rafael Bejarano||122||Jr. Ed Moger,||6-1||25,000|
|4||Red Carpet Cat||Drayden Van Dyke||122||Vann Belvoir||9-2||25,000|
|5||Tell Me a Story||Flavien Prat||122||Peter Miller||4-1||25,000|
|6||Cupid's Beau||Stewart Elliott||120||Anthony K. Saavedra||8-1||22,500|
|7||Gentrified||Joseph Talamo||122||John W. Sadler||3-1||25,000|
|8||One I'm Running To||Evin Roman||115||Mark Glatt||9-2||22,500|
1 Mile Turf. Purse: $51,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $40,000.
|1||Ok Doll||Rafael Bejarano||123||Richard Baltas||9-2|
|3||Lindeza||Tyler Conner||123||John W. Sadler||12-1|
|4||Mrs. Norris||Flavien Prat||123||Eoin G. Harty||6-1|
|5||Domestic Vintage||Joseph Talamo||120||Neil D. Drysdale||10-1|
|6||Khaleesi||Austin Solis||116||Felipe N Souza||20-1|
|7||Lucy De||Kent Desormeaux||125||Richard Baltas||5-1|
|8||Arethusa||Israel Ocampo||123||Jeff Mullins||4-1|
|9||Bombilate||Gary Stevens||123||James M. Cassidy||6-1|
|10||Hacktivism||Mario Gutierrez||125||Ben D. A. Cecil||20-1|
1 Mile. Purse: $50,000. Maiden Special Weight. 2 year olds.
|1||Major Cabbie||Drayden Van Dyke||120||Dan L. Hendricks||8-1|
|2||Unlawful Act||Victor Espinoza||120||G. F. Almeida||20-1|
|3||Extrordinary Jerry||Rafael Bejarano||120||Doug F. O'Neill||12-1|
|4||Gran Fiesta||Flavien Prat||120||Jerry Hollendorfer||8-1|
|5||Jungle Warfare||Mike Smith||120||Jerry Hollendorfer||2-1|
|6||Xten||Tyler Baze||120||Tim Yakteen||5-2|
|7||Holy Ghost||Kent Desormeaux||120||J. Keith Desormeaux||6-1|
|8||Blended Citizen||Tiago Pereira||120||Doug F. O'Neill||10-1|
|9||Canadian Game||Mario Gutierrez||120||Doug F. O'Neill||8-1|
About 6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $100,000. 'Eddie D Stakes'. 3 year olds and up.
|1||Prize Exhibit||Santiago Gonzalez||120||James M. Cassidy||10-1|
|2||Tribalist||Victor Espinoza||121||Blake R. Heap||4-1|
|3||California Diamond||Kent Desormeaux||118||Peter Miller||15-1|
|4||Om||Drayden Van Dyke||121||Dan L. Hendricks||8-5|
|5||Rocket Heat||Evin Roman||121||Vann Belvoir||8-1|
|6||Forever Juanito||Joseph Talamo||121||Victor L. Garcia||8-1|
|7||Guns Loaded||Rafael Bejarano||121||Doug F. O'Neill||6-1|
|8||Coastline||Flavien Prat||121||John W. Sadler||12-1|
|9||Krsto Skye||Brice Blanc||121||Ari Herbertson||20-1|
|10||Zarqa Star||Martin Pedroza||121||George Papaprodromou||50-1|
|11||Mr. Roary||Tyler Conner||121||George Papaprodromou||12-1|