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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.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Billy Big Drayden Van Dyke122Philip D'Amato3-125,000
2Knight's Dream Brice Blanc122Mick Ruis15-125,000
3Sahara StormIsrael Ocampo122J. Keith Desormeaux3-125,000
4Cleanup HitterKent Desormeaux125Robert B. Hess, Jr.8-125,000
5South AmericainEvin Roman117Neil D. Drysdale8-125,000
6A New TrendTiago Pereira125Hector O. Palma8-125,000
7It's The Ice Jamie Theriot125Philip D'Amato5-225,000
8He CouldTyler Baze125Kenneth D. Black8-125,000
Also Eligible
9Have Some PrideBrayan Pena122Sean McCarthy12-125,000
10Curly's WaterfrontTyler Baze122Philip A. Oviedo9-225,000
11Hero Ten AllMario Gutierrez125Doug F. O'Neill6-125,000
12Ky. ColonelMike Smith122Richard E. Mandella4-125,000
13AirliteJoseph Talamo125Richard E. Mandella3-125,000
14This TownTyler Conner122Neil D. Drysdale15-125,000


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

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Utah UteRafael Bejarano120Michael Machowsky3-140,000
2Bob's All InTiago Pereira120Matthew Chew6-1
3She Can TooVinnie Bednar117Mike Harrington20-140,000
4HydrostaticStewart Elliott120Mike Harrington15-140,000
5Psycho DarEvin Roman115Steven Miyadi3-1
6Neighborhood BullyDrayden Van Dyke120Tim Yakteen9-5
7Get Em Up ScoutFlavien Prat120Steven Miyadi9-2


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

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Sooner BoomerStewart Elliott122Anthony K. Saavedra6-120,000
2Mystic GreyManuel Chaves125Howard L. Zucker12-120,000
3HumidSaul Arias122Victor Fernandez30-120,000
4Taste's LegendBrayan Pena125Marsha D. Schwizer8-120,000
5Southern ThunderMartin Pedroza122Jeff Mullins8-120,000
6Empire RulerRafael Bejarano122Ronald W. Ellis3-120,000
7Gato DolceNorberto Arroyo, Jr.125Mark Glatt5-120,000
8Supreme GiantRuben Fuentes115Sal Gonzalez12-120,000
9OrejasSasha Risenhoover122Richard Baltas4-120,000
10TeamplayerIsrael Ocampo125Val Brinkerhoff30-120,000
11Hill CroomeTyler Baze122Jeffrey Metz20-120,000
12Rolls Royce DealJuan Ochoa122Gus Headley12-120,000


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

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1The Street FighterTiago Pereira122Bruce Headley6-5
2Fly to MarsFlavien Prat120Peter Miller12-1
3GetoffmybackEvin Roman120Peter Miller6-1
4GigantisMike Smith123Bruce Headley5-2
5Family CodeBrayan Pena123William E. Morey6-1
6Desert LawStewart Elliott122Carla Gaines8-1
7OvercomerTyler Baze123Jeffrey Metz10-1


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

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Wonderful LieEvin Roman118Jerry Hollendorfer9-225,000
2Not too ShinyMartin Pedroza123Jack Carava4-125,000
3Just Be HeldTiago Pereira118Eddie Truman12-122,500
4Fabulous LadyNorberto Arroyo, Jr.121Peter Eurton8-122,500
5MacallaVictor Espinoza123John W. Sadler8-125,000
6Del Mar AnnJamie Theriot123Richard Baltas7-225,000
7ComealongwithmeFlavien Prat121Neil French10-122,500
8Red Livy Tyler Baze120Philip D'Amato6-125,000
9Hawk's JourneyDrayden Van Dyke123Ed Moger, Jr.10-125,000
10Ryder's StarlightStewart Elliott123Thomas Ray Bell, II12-125,000


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

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Helen's TigerMario Gutierrez120Doug F. O'Neill5-1
2Lucky LulaBrayan Pena120J. Eric Kruljac15-1
3My ClawJoseph Talamo120Gary Sherlock6-1
4Bella StyleRafael Bejarano120Hector O. Palma8-1
5Lucky OutcomeEdwin Maldonado120Dan Blacker6-1
6SongofthedesertDrayden Van Dyke120Sean McCarthy6-1
7Carrie's SuccessIsrael Ocampo120Philip D'Amato7-2
8X S GoldVictor Espinoza120James M. Cassidy12-1
9Smiling TigressTyler Baze120David Bernstein6-1
10Torazo SanEvin Roman115Adam Kitchingman15-1
11Copper CowgirlStewart Elliott120Patricia Harrington20-1


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

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Dreams of ValorEdwin Maldonado120Craig Dollase15-1
2Mucho ChromeGary Stevens123Alfredo Marquez8-1
3BourqueTiago Pereira120Mick Ruis8-1
4Swinging StarTyler Baze120Tim Yakteen8-1
5TrifectaJoseph Talamo123Mike Puype6-1
6Mr VargasEvin Roman115Brian J. Koriner3-1
7Anatolian HeatIsrael Ocampo125Peter Miller6-1
8Ready To Roc Santiago Gonzalez120Edward R. Freeman12-1
9CheekaboomboomFlavien Prat122Peter Eurton7-2
10Stone HandsMario Gutierrez120Doug F. O'Neill12-1
Also Eligible
11My Man ChucklesEdwin Maldonado120Doug F. O'Neill8-1
12IncensedKent Desormeaux123Peter Miller4-1
13Caribou ClubDrayden Van Dyke122Thomas F. Proctor5-2
14El TovarRafael Bejarano125Richard Baltas6-1


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

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1French TrickEdgar Orozco125Jesus Nunez30-150,000
2Rmanie's Grey SuitDanielle Sorese115Samuel Nichols8-150,000
3Air Force CadetIgnacio Puglisi123Joe Herrick12-140,000
4Downside UpEdwin Maldonado122Patricia Harrington8-150,000
5Reverend AlEvin Roman117Blake R. Heap7-250,000
6CosmotivoIsrael Ocampo122Jorge Gutierrez15-150,000
7June and JohnnyNorberto Arroyo, Jr.122Michael Pender12-150,000
8DivulgeFlavien Prat120Patrick Gallagher6-140,000
9Drum Roll PleaseFelipe Martinez123James F. Sayler20-140,000
10Decarchy DawnKent Desormeaux120Robert B. Hess, Jr.3-140,000
11Bob's Bad BoyStewart Elliott122Mike Harrington20-150,000
12Easy GameTyler Baze122Carla Gaines12-150,000
13Close to MidnightMartin Pedroza122Craig Anthony Lewis8-150,000


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