Racing: The power of sports is always around us

Hello, my name is John Cherwa, and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter as the Breeders’ Cup countdown starts in earnest.

Every once in a while, you have to switch the order of your priorities from journalist first to human being first. That’s where I am as today’s newsletter comes together. How can I be doing something this unimportant after the horrific happenings in Las Vegas?

And yet I do.

Here’s why: Sports has this incredible ability to heal, to bring disparate folks together, to put them all on the same page. Horse racing isn’t a rooting sport in the traditional sense like the Dodgers or Lakers, but it is every bit as important as team sports when it comes to building unity.

You would be hard-pressed to tell me that people weren’t united when they watched Zenyatta run, especially when she won the Classic. Or how about when California Chrome was winning the hearts of most everyone. You had to love the Beholder-Songbird duel down the stretch in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff, regardless of who you bet on. Same with Chrome and Arrogate in the Classic.

So, let’s take the best of what sports has to offer and move forward and hope for a better day.

Q&A with Bob Baffert

One of the new things we are adding to the newsletter is a different question-and-answer session with some of the personalities who drive this sport. We’ll be asking the same variety of questions on a somewhat regular basis. If you think I’m going to ask about racing, you will be disappointed.

Here’s the first session with Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.

What’s your favorite TV show you are currently watching?

“Ray Donovan.” It takes place in L.A. Once you get into it … you say, “I wish I knew a Ray Donovan.” The acting is really good in there. It’s so interesting. That and the show “Narcos” are two great shows.

If you weren’t a trainer, what would you be?

I’d have to be directing something. Maybe I should have been a movie director. I like barking out orders.

What’s your all-time favorite movie?

That’s a tough one. I love “Dances With Wolves.” And I like “Gladiator.” Actually, loved “Gladiator.”

If you could have lunch or dinner with any person, living or dead, who would it be?

Charles Barkley. I love Charles Barkley. He’s the voice of reason.

What’s on the top of your bucket list?

Take my wife on a honeymoon that I’ve owed her forever.

(Here’s where wife Jill Baffert, interrupts: That’s a lie. That’s just a sound bite that he’s been regurgitating for 15 years.

(Back to Bob.) I’ve never given her a honeymoon. Poor thing.

What’s your favorite food?

I’m a steak guy. I like medium rare, and I like bone-in fillets. Anything that’s bone-in is good.

What’s your favorite type of music?

I like the old rock. I like stuff like Pink Floyd. I like Peter Frampton. Today, you don’t see the guitar; it’s all synthesizers. I like long guitar riffs. I play the guitar a little bit. I’m not very good, but I like to pretend I can play those songs.

Horses aplenty at Santa Anita

Don’t know if it was Tim Ritvo’s throwing down the gauntlet at trainers not running horses or if horsemen were fearful of the implementation of a three-day week, but it’s been awhile since you’ve seen such full fields at Santa Anita.

It’s actually a tremendous day for bettors because besides the full fields, including three turf races, there is a carryover of $80,091 on the pick six and the single-ticket jackpot is at $71,434. The estimated pick-six pool could reach half-a-mil.

Let’s take a look at what a card with full fields looks like.

First race: claimers, one mile on the turf, eight starters, six — yes six — also eligibles.

Second race: optional claimers, 6 furlongs, seven starters (and this is the lowest)

Third race: maiden claimers, 6.5 furlongs, 12 starters

Fourth race: allowance for Cal-breds, 7 furlongs, seven starters

Fifth race: claimers, 6.5 furlongs down the hill on the turf, 10 starters

Sixth race: maiden special weight for Cal-breds, 6 furlongs, 11 starters

Seventh race: allowance, 6.5 furlongs down the hill on the turf, 10 starters, four also eligibles

Eight race: maiden claiming, 6 furlongs, 13 starters


Jeff Nahill's SA spot play

Eighth race: No. 10 Decarchy Dawn (3-1)

Trainer Bob Hess Jr. is pulling out all the stops to get this 3-year-old to break his maiden. He is adding blinkers and gelded the horse since his last race. The son of Decarchy comes out of a key Del Mar race that has produced two winners and keeps jockey Kent Desormeaux aboard.

Jeff Nahill is a quality editor for the San Diego Union-Tribune. He can be reached at For other selections go to his blog:

Shameless plug

If you are a Dodgers fan — and you should be for the next few weeks — you need to sign up for our Dodgers Dugout newsletter, hosted by Houston Mitchell, an assistant sports editor at The Times. It’s the second-best sports newsletter we do. Just like this one, it’s an easy sign-up. (Just click here.)

After reading it for a few days, you’ll want to meet Houston and some guy who was once a Dodgers big shot. On Wednesday, Oct. 11 (no racing that day), Houston will be leading a discussion with former Dodgers GM Ned Colletti at Chevalier’s Books, at 126 N. Larchmont Blvd. in L.A. Colletti will be signing copies of his new book. Houston will be doing his best to look busy. For more click here.

Last thought

If you are still undecided whether you like this newsletter, but think you might, forward it to someone else and have them give it a try. Just have them click here and sign up. Remember, it’s free, and all we need is your email, nothing more.

Any thoughts, drop me an email at or feed my ego by following me on Twitter @jcherwa.

Now, the star of the show, Thursday’s entries. (Be sure to give yourself plenty of time, there are a ton of horses.)

Santa Anita Entries for Thursday, October 5.

Santa Anita, Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, California. 4th day of a 19-day meet.


1 Mile Turf. Purse: $22,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $25,000.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Billy Big Drayden Van Dyke 122 Philip D'Amato 3-1 25,000
2 Knight's Dream Brice Blanc 122 Mick Ruis 15-1 25,000
3 Sahara Storm Israel Ocampo 122 J. Keith Desormeaux 3-1 25,000
4 Cleanup Hitter Kent Desormeaux 125 Robert B. Hess, Jr. 8-1 25,000
5 South Americain Evin Roman 117 Neil D. Drysdale 8-1 25,000
6 A New Trend Tiago Pereira 125 Hector O. Palma 8-1 25,000
7 It's The Ice Jamie Theriot 125 Philip D'Amato 5-2 25,000
8 He Could Tyler Baze 125 Kenneth D. Black 8-1 25,000
Also Eligible
9 Have Some Pride Brayan Pena 122 Sean McCarthy 12-1 25,000
10 Curly's Waterfront Tyler Baze 122 Philip A. Oviedo 9-2 25,000
11 Hero Ten All Mario Gutierrez 125 Doug F. O'Neill 6-1 25,000
12 Ky. Colonel Mike Smith 122 Richard E. Mandella 4-1 25,000
13 Airlite Joseph Talamo 125 Richard E. Mandella 3-1 25,000
14 This Town Tyler Conner 122 Neil D. Drysdale 15-1 25,000


6 Furlongs. Purse: $30,000. Starter Optional Claiming. 2 year olds. Claiming Price $40,000.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Utah Ute Rafael Bejarano 120 Michael Machowsky 3-1 40,000
2 Bob's All In Tiago Pereira 120 Matthew Chew 6-1
3 She Can Too Vinnie Bednar 117 Mike Harrington 20-1 40,000
4 Hydrostatic Stewart Elliott 120 Mike Harrington 15-1 40,000
5 Psycho Dar Evin Roman 115 Steven Miyadi 3-1
6 Neighborhood Bully Drayden Van Dyke 120 Tim Yakteen 9-5
7 Get Em Up Scout Flavien Prat 120 Steven Miyadi 9-2


6½ Furlongs. Purse: $17,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $20,000.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Sooner Boomer Stewart Elliott 122 Anthony K. Saavedra 6-1 20,000
2 Mystic Grey Manuel Chaves 125 Howard L. Zucker 12-1 20,000
3 Humid Saul Arias 122 Victor Fernandez 30-1 20,000
4 Taste's Legend Brayan Pena 125 Marsha D. Schwizer 8-1 20,000
5 Southern Thunder Martin Pedroza 122 Jeff Mullins 8-1 20,000
6 Empire Ruler Rafael Bejarano 122 Ronald W. Ellis 3-1 20,000
7 Gato Dolce Norberto Arroyo, Jr. 125 Mark Glatt 5-1 20,000
8 Supreme Giant Ruben Fuentes 115 Sal Gonzalez 12-1 20,000
9 Orejas Sasha Risenhoover 122 Richard Baltas 4-1 20,000
10 Teamplayer Israel Ocampo 125 Val Brinkerhoff 30-1 20,000
11 Hill Croome Tyler Baze 122 Jeffrey Metz 20-1 20,000
12 Rolls Royce Deal Juan Ochoa 122 Gus Headley 12-1 20,000


7 Furlongs. Purse: $51,000. Allowance. 3 year olds and up. State bred.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 The Street Fighter Tiago Pereira 122 Bruce Headley 6-5
2 Fly to Mars Flavien Prat 120 Peter Miller 12-1
3 Getoffmyback Evin Roman 120 Peter Miller 6-1
4 Gigantis Mike Smith 123 Bruce Headley 5-2
5 Family Code Brayan Pena 123 William E. Morey 6-1
6 Desert Law Stewart Elliott 122 Carla Gaines 8-1
7 Overcomer Tyler Baze 123 Jeffrey Metz 10-1


About 6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $29,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $25,000-$22,500.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Wonderful Lie Evin Roman 118 Jerry Hollendorfer 9-2 25,000
2 Not too Shiny Martin Pedroza 123 Jack Carava 4-1 25,000
3 Just Be Held Tiago Pereira 118 Eddie Truman 12-1 22,500
4 Fabulous Lady Norberto Arroyo, Jr. 121 Peter Eurton 8-1 22,500
5 Macalla Victor Espinoza 123 John W. Sadler 8-1 25,000
6 Del Mar Ann Jamie Theriot 123 Richard Baltas 7-2 25,000
7 Comealongwithme Flavien Prat 121 Neil French 10-1 22,500
8 Red Livy Tyler Baze 120 Philip D'Amato 6-1 25,000
9 Hawk's Journey Drayden Van Dyke 123 Ed Moger, Jr. 10-1 25,000
10 Ryder's Starlight Stewart Elliott 123 Thomas Ray Bell, II 12-1 25,000


6 Furlongs. Purse: $50,000. Maiden Special Weight. Fillies. 2 year olds. State bred.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Helen's Tiger Mario Gutierrez 120 Doug F. O'Neill 5-1
2 Lucky Lula Brayan Pena 120 J. Eric Kruljac 15-1
3 My Claw Joseph Talamo 120 Gary Sherlock 6-1
4 Bella Style Rafael Bejarano 120 Hector O. Palma 8-1
5 Lucky Outcome Edwin Maldonado 120 Dan Blacker 6-1
6 Songofthedesert Drayden Van Dyke 120 Sean McCarthy 6-1
7 Carrie's Success Israel Ocampo 120 Philip D'Amato 7-2
8 X S Gold Victor Espinoza 120 James M. Cassidy 12-1
9 Smiling Tigress Tyler Baze 120 David Bernstein 6-1
10 Torazo San Evin Roman 115 Adam Kitchingman 15-1
11 Copper Cowgirl Stewart Elliott 120 Patricia Harrington 20-1


About 6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $51,000. Allowance. 3 year olds and up.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Dreams of Valor Edwin Maldonado 120 Craig Dollase 15-1
2 Mucho Chrome Gary Stevens 123 Alfredo Marquez 8-1
3 Bourque Tiago Pereira 120 Mick Ruis 8-1
4 Swinging Star Tyler Baze 120 Tim Yakteen 8-1
5 Trifecta Joseph Talamo 123 Mike Puype 6-1
6 Mr Vargas Evin Roman 115 Brian J. Koriner 3-1
7 Anatolian Heat Israel Ocampo 125 Peter Miller 6-1
8 Ready To Roc Santiago Gonzalez 120 Edward R. Freeman 12-1
9 Cheekaboomboom Flavien Prat 122 Peter Eurton 7-2
10 Stone Hands Mario Gutierrez 120 Doug F. O'Neill 12-1
Also Eligible
11 My Man Chuckles Edwin Maldonado 120 Doug F. O'Neill 8-1
12 Incensed Kent Desormeaux 123 Peter Miller 4-1
13 Caribou Club Drayden Van Dyke 122 Thomas F. Proctor 5-2
14 El Tovar Rafael Bejarano 125 Richard Baltas 6-1


6 Furlongs. Purse: $28,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $50,000-$40,000. State bred.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 French Trick Edgar Orozco 125 Jesus Nunez 30-1 50,000
2 Rmanie's Grey Suit Danielle Sorese 115 Samuel Nichols 8-1 50,000
3 Air Force Cadet Ignacio Puglisi 123 Joe Herrick 12-1 40,000
4 Downside Up Edwin Maldonado 122 Patricia Harrington 8-1 50,000
5 Reverend Al Evin Roman 117 Blake R. Heap 7-2 50,000
6 Cosmotivo Israel Ocampo 122 Jorge Gutierrez 15-1 50,000
7 June and Johnny Norberto Arroyo, Jr. 122 Michael Pender 12-1 50,000
8 Divulge Flavien Prat 120 Patrick Gallagher 6-1 40,000
9 Drum Roll Please Felipe Martinez 123 James F. Sayler 20-1 40,000
10 Decarchy Dawn Kent Desormeaux 120 Robert B. Hess, Jr. 3-1 40,000
11 Bob's Bad Boy Stewart Elliott 122 Mike Harrington 20-1 50,000
12 Easy Game Tyler Baze 122 Carla Gaines 12-1 50,000
13 Close to Midnight Martin Pedroza 122 Craig Anthony Lewis 8-1 50,000