Hello, my name is John Cherwa, and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter. Here’s special thanks to Eric (Manny) Sondheimer for filling in for me while I was back East.
We had planned to do the next installment of our sometimes weekly Q&A, which will run Saturday, but we’ve got breaking and important news. So you’ll have to wait a day to find out what Michael Wrona and the Arctic Monkeys have in common.
This is a slightly longer version of what appeared in the print and online editions of The Times.
First shakeup at Santa Anita
In the first big management move at Santa Anita since Tim Ritvo took over, Joe Morris is leaving his post as senior vice president of West Coast operations for the Stronach Group. The track said his resignation was effective immediately.
The management tree at Santa Anita had gotten a little crowded with Ritvo’s arrival. Morris had been serving as a general manager and chief operating officer. That’s pretty much the role that Ritvo had assumed.
Ritvo said there are no current plans to replace his position.
“We will evaluate the current staff to see if anyone could succeed him in that position,” Ritvo told The Times. “But there is no decision on that. In the meantime, I’ll facilitate some of his duties and send off some of his other duties to others on staff.”
Morris, when reached by The Times, said his statement, released by Santa Anita, covered everything.
“At this time of my life, it’s going to be good to get back to my [breeding] farm in Lexington,” Morris said in the statement. “My wife has been running the operation back there and my family has been spread over several thousand miles for quite a few years now and we’re looking forward to spending more time together in a place we all love.”
The speculation was that with Ritvo’s arrival there was a glut of senior managers. Among that group is also Keith Brackpool, whose title is chairman of West Coast operations for the Stronach Group.
“I’m sure there were a few different reasons [for Morris leaving],” Ritvo said. “Whether it be the direction we were headed or too many cooks in the kitchen. The one thing in our opinion is that Joe was an upstanding guy that has worked really hard.
“We were kind of similar in the things we got involved in. Might have been a little bit of crossover.”
Morris also had responsibility for Golden Gate Fields in Northern California.
Morris has been around racing for most of his life. He has run tracks as small as a harness track in Hinsdale, N.H., and as large as Santa Anita. He was the past president of the Thoroughbred Owners of California and at one time was the publisher of Thoroughbred Times.
Ritvo reiterated that California remains the top priority of the Stronach Group. Frank Stronach, founder and honorary chairman, is scheduled to visit Tuesday and Wednesday.
The biggest issue that Ritvo said he needed to fix was the field sizes. With bigger fields comes more betting opportunities, which means bigger handles. The track has had a robust number of starters this meeting compared to the last meet.
“It’s been pleasant to see,” Ritvo said. “[Racing Secretary] Rick [Hammerle] has done a real good job putting the programs together. There have been very few complaints. It’s great to see these field sizes in a 19-day meet, but it’s more important to see big fields in the extended meeting.”
Santa Anita preview
The field sizes for Friday’s card are starting to squeeze down a bit but not to the crisis point of the summer. It’s a pretty average card with no stakes races and one allowance. There are three turf races: the third, fifth and eighth. The number of horses in each race, in sequential order, are 7, 6, 7, 7, 8, 9, 9, 10 (4 also eligible).
Now, as a service, if the infield videoboard is still not fixed or works intermittently. Here are the horses in the one post, whose odds you may not get to see. First race: Gunslinger (15-1). Second: Exhuberance (9-5). Third: Cordiality (5-2). Fourth: Rossmoor Way (10-1). Fifth: Gift Of A Star (4-1). Sixth: Heart Of The Nile (5-1). Seventh: Secret Touch (4-1). Eighth: Air On Fire (10-1).
In case you missed it
We ran an explainer earlier this week on how the new Treasury and IRS rules will affect bettors. It leads with the story of when friends of the newsletter and all-around good guys Bob Ike and Kurt Hoover hit a single pick-six ticket at Santa Anita last year. You can read it here.
Jeff Nahill’s SA Pick
Third race: #6 Earring (2-1)
I don't normally like betting favorites, but the way I look at this filly is that she can be a single in the Pick 5 and a single to start off your Pick 6. Trainer Tom Proctor is one of the best with turf horses. This 4-year-old finished third to better at Saratoga. Proctor is 21% with shippers and good turf jockey Drayden Van Dyke rides like he normally does for Glen Hill Farm/Proctor.
Monday’s result: New Karma finished fifth at 12-1 in the fourth race.
Ed Burgart’s LRC Pick
Eighth race: #1 Designs By Dynasty (9-2)
This 3-year-old filly turned her head while breaking very slow in her last race and also had a rough prior Derby trip.
Los Alamitos Preview
Sunday is the big day at Los Al this weekend with the $125,000 Robert Boniface Los Alamitos Individual Championship (which takes about as long to say as it does to run the race). It’s a 440-yard race, with defending champion Heza Dasha Fire hoping to become the first back-to-back winner since 2010. The trainer is Jose Flores with Cruz Mandez in the saddle. He Looks Hot, for track owner Ed Allred, and Bodacious Eagle should serve as the top competition.
The winner of the race gets a pass into the $750,000 Champion of Champions on Dec. 17. Robert Boniface was the former president of the Horsemen’s Quarter Horse Racing Assn. that had the winter meeting at Los Al for many years.
I need to get this off my chest and complain about the length of baseball games. And, by the way, go Dodgers and read Houston Mitchell’s Dodgers newsletter — sign up here. I started watching Monday’s Game 3 while I was somewhere over the Gulf of Mexico and finished the game at my apartment in Pasadena. And it was a 3-1 game. Yeah, that’s long.
And speaking of newsletters, coming up soon, joining the Dodgers as the second-, third- and fourth-best sports newsletters, will be ones devoted to the Lakers and Clippers. Sign up for the Lakers here. And the Clippers here.
Anyway, if you like what you see in this bit of disposable literature, tell someone and have them click here and sign up. Remember, it’s free, and all we need is your email address, nothing more.
Now, the star of the show, Friday’s entries.
Santa Anita Entries for Friday, October 13.
Santa Anita, Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, California. 9th day of a 19-day meet.
1 Mile. Purse: $19,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $16,000-$14,000.
|2||Dukes Up||Austin Solis||118||Philip D'Amato||8-5||16,000|
|3||Rafter One||Martin Pedroza||122||Michael Pender||10-1||16,000|
|4||Sindys Luck||125||Hector O. Palma||7-2||16,000|
|5||Special Story||Tyler Conner||125||Mark Glatt||9-2||16,000|
|6||To the Bar||Santiago Gonzalez||125||Ronald W. Ellis||5-2||16,000|
|7||Rim Ditch||Saul Arias||120||Victor Fernandez||12-1||14,000|
1 Mile. Purse: $50,000. Maiden Special Weight. Fillies. 2 year olds.
|1||Exuberance||Tyler Baze||120||Ian Kruljac||9-5|
|2||Johansson||Santiago Gonzalez||120||Scott ||12-1|
|3||Shezaspanishdancer||Drayden Van Dyke||120||4-1|
|4||Dr. Ann||120||Doug F. O'Neill||2-1|
|5||Our Slick Chick||120||Jerry Hollendorfer||5-1|
|6||D D's Lute||Joseph Talamo||120||Gary Sherlock||5-1|
1 1/8 Mile Turf. Purse: $53,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $62,500.
|1||Cordiality||Tyler Baze||123||Mark Glatt||5-2|
|2||How Unusual||125||Michael Pender||5-1|
|3||Dynamic Mizzes K||123||Mark Glatt||10-1|
|4||Laseen||123||James M. Cassidy||4-1|
|5||Ginga||Norberto Arroyo, Jr.||123||Felipe N Souza||12-1|
|6||Earring||Drayden Van Dyke||123||Thomas F. Proctor||2-1|
|7||Space Cadet||Kent Desormeaux||123||Richard Baltas||6-1|
1 Mile. Purse: $28,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies. 2 year olds. Claiming Prices $50,000-$40,000.
|1||Rossmoor Way||Austin Solis||113||Mike Harrington||10-1||40,000|
|2||Unchanged||Santiago Gonzalez||122||Patrick Gallagher||5-1||50,000|
|3||Winsinfashion||Joseph Talamo||122||Robert B. Hess, Jr.||6-1||50,000|
|4||Stylitude||Kent Desormeaux||122||J. Keith Desormeaux||8-5||50,000|
|5||Sauce On Side||Evin Roman||117||5-2||50,000|
|6||Cee Sam's Girl||Ruben Fuentes||115||George Papaprodromou||6-1||50,000|
|7||Happy Maggie||Felipe Martinez||120||Mike Harrington||10-1||40,000|
About 6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $36,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $40,000-$35,000.
|1||Gift of a Star||Flavien Prat||123||Jack Carava||4-1||40,000|
|2||Pleasant as Pie||Drayden Van Dyke||123||Ronald W. Ellis||4-1||40,000|
|3||Warm Endowment||Tiago Pereira||123||Ed Moger, Jr.||5-1||40,000|
|4||Little Bit Lovely||Evin Roman||116||Adam Kitchingman||7-2||35,000|
|5||Wedding Blush||Tyler Baze||123||Kristin Mulhall||3-1||40,000|
|6||Allsquare||Joseph Talamo||123||Philip D'Amato||6-1||40,000|
|7||Summertimemischief||Santiago Gonzalez||121||Kathy Walsh||12-1||35,000|
|8||Gogoula||Tyler Conner||120||George Papaprodromou||20-1||40,000|
6½ Furlongs. Purse: $50,000. Maiden Special Weight. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up.
|1||Heart of the Nile||Kent Desormeaux||122||Hector O. Palma||5-1|
|2||Complimenti||Tyler Baze||122||Michael W. McCarthy||8-1|
|3||Lovely Linda||Tyler Conner||122||Eoin G. Harty||12-1|
|4||Duranga||Flavien Prat||122||Jerry Hollendorfer||6-1|
|5||Kentan Road||Evin Roman||117||John W. Sadler||9-2|
|6||Hansen Tale Blues||Ruben Fuentes||115||Victor L. Garcia||15-1|
|7||Ransomed||Juan Ochoa||125||Sal Gonzalez||12-1|
|8||Miss Ricochet||Joseph Talamo||122||Mark Glatt||8-5|
|9||Starlet Storm||Rafael Bejarano||122||Bob Baffert||8-1|
1 1/16 Mile. Purse: $30,000. Starter Allowance. 3 year olds and up.
|1||Secret Touch||Mario Gutierrez||120||Peter Eurton||4-1|
|2||Kona Dreams||Tiago Pereira||120||William Spawr||8-1|
|3||Popular Kid||Kent Desormeaux||120||J. Keith Desormeaux||5-1|
|4||Mercer Island||Martin Garcia||125||Peter Miller||5-1|
|5||Trustworthy||Norberto Arroyo, Jr.||120||Clifford W. Sise, Jr.||6-1|
|6||Desert General||Tyler Baze||123||Sean McCarthy||7-2|
|7||Trapalanda||Flavien Prat||120||Mike Puype||12-1|
|8||Rings of Jupiter||Drayden Van Dyke||120||Richard Baltas||12-1|
|9||Quality Line||Evin Roman||118||Victor L. Garcia||6-1|
About 6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $28,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $50,000-$40,000.
|1||Air On Fire||Rafael Bejarano||122||Richard E. Mandella||10-1||50,000|
|2||Bourbonmademedoit||Gary Stevens||122||Dan Blacker||15-1||50,000|
|3||Member State||Evin Roman||117||Simon Callaghan||5-1||50,000|
|4||Wit and Wisdom||Tyler Baze||122||Michael W. McCarthy||12-1||50,000|
|5||Beloved Holiday||Victor Espinoza||122||John W. Sadler||6-1||50,000|
|6||Saldamente||Joseph Talamo||122||Brian J. Koriner||9-2||50,000|
|7||Bombshell Tonight||Drayden Van Dyke||122||Mike Puype||12-1||50,000|
|8||Milhaud||Flavien Prat||125||Richard E. Mandella||5-2||50,000|
|9||Awesome Heights||Corey Nakatani||122||Neil D. Drysdale||5-1||50,000|
|10||Captain Walker||Mario Gutierrez||123||Richard Rosales||12-1||40,000|
|11||Unnamed Source||Mario Gutierrez||120||Antonio Garcia||20-1||40,000|
|12||Californium||Austin Solis||113||Michele Dollase||20-1||40,000|
|13||Sixes||Saul Arias||123||Doug F. O'Neill||12-1||40,000|
|14||Malibu d'Oro||Juan Ochoa||120||Sal Gonzalez||20-1||40,000|