Hello, my name is John Cherwa, welcome back to our horse racing newsletter and here’s hoping the Dodgers can win it all. (I know it has nothing to do with horse racing.)
Let’s catch up on some news from early in the week.
--The bettors boycott at Keeneland is reaching its third week after the track upped its takeout on most wagers. Matt Hegarty of the Daily Racing Forum did some excellent reporting on this and you can find his story here. I’m just going to try and summarize his findings.
After eight days the Keeneland total handle was down 8.6%, or from $71.5 million to $65.3 million. Most of the declines have been on weekends. One Sunday card was besieged by rain with everything off the turf. However, the declines have started to slow down.
Bob Elliston, VP of racing and sales at Keeneland, had his own spin: He said the handle was down four of the days, three were up, and one was about the same. One of the cards where the handle was up had one more race than the corresponding day last year.
Chris Rossi, a racing consultant, told DRF that overall industry handles, excluding Keeneland, are up 5.1% with 88 fewer races from last year. He also reported that Santa Anita, Laurel Park, Gulfstream Park West (Calder) and Belmont have all shown increases since Keeneland opened.
Andy Asaro, an influential bettor advocate, said that sentiment is growing to extend this boycott to the next meeting with a goal of getting a 25% decrease to send a message to the track.
--Irap, the 3-year-old colt for trainer Doug O’Neill and owner Paul Reddam, is doing what best could be described as OK after surgery for two fractured sesamoids and other complications. He finished second to the talented West Coast in the Pennsylvania Derby before being pulled up after the race.
“We know many of you have been asking about Irap, and we appreciate the inquiries,” O’Neill said on his Facebook page earlier this week. [Doctors are] happy with Irap's progress but we are always cautious when reporting on long term recoveries, Irap is having a good day today and again we want to thank you for your concern.”
The surgery went well but both O’Neill and Reddam told me a couple weeks ago that a subsequent fever was very concerning.
Here’s why it matters in horses. A fever can be of little concern to a person — and horses, too— but it’s one of the only ways a horse can communicate to their trainer that something may be wrong, unless that horse, of course, is Mr. Ed.
A fever can be especially troubling if it is in the feet area as it can be a sign of laminitis.
“Laminitis is one of the most common causes of untimely death in all horses, but race horses are less prone than others,” said Dr. Rick Arthur, equine director at both the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and the California Horse Racing Board.
“You have to remember that horses are basically standing on their fingernails. When they get a fever, there is a tendency of the laminae to lose its holding power and the coffin bone can separate.”
The laminae is like a shock absorber in the foot and any inflammation can be painful and cause a horse to favor another foot, which can lead to weight-bearing laminitis. It’s why Barbaro didn’t survive after what looked like a successful recovery.
Here’s hoping this is information you have no need to know and you can store it at the back of your brain. And, of course, hoping for the best with Irap and all horses that are injured or distressed.
--Always Dreaming, winner of this year’s Kentucky Derby, will race as a 4 year old. He was recently turned out to WinStar Farms in Kentucky after being treated for what was described as a bad case of stomach ulcers. After the Derby he finished eighth in the Preakness, third in the Jim Dandy and ninth in the Travers Stakes.
He will join West Coast as one of two exceptional 3 year olds who will not be sent to the breeding shed right away.
I ran into one of his colorful owners at the Kentucky Derby and wrote this about him. (Read here.)
--And on the other side, Classic Empire, the second favorite in the Kentucky Derby who finished fourth, is being retired to Coolmore America’s Ashford Stud, where he will become a stallion. After winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile the colt has had a troubled campaign from injuries to a failure to work. His last race was the Preakness, where he finished second.
I wrote about this colt at the Preakness. (Read here.)
Santa Anita Preview
Field sizes for Thursday’s card are still OK, although there are some less than full fields early in the eight-race card. Five of the races are some type of claiming race, and three races are on the turf (the third, fifth and seventh). Here are the number of horses in each race, in order: 7, 6, 8, 9, 10 (4 also eligible), 7, 10 and 10. The feature is an allowance race, the seventh, down the hill at 6½ furlongs on the turf. It’s restricted to Cal breds.
Jeff Nahill spot SA play
SEVENTH RACE: #7 Aflewency (8-1)
Big jockey switch on the turf here are Hall of Famer Gary Stevens takes over for apprentice Evin Roman. This filly broke her maiden down the hill with Stevens in the irons and he is 3 for 10 with trainer Neil French. Look for an improved effort in this spot.
Sunday’s result: Camino Del Paraiso finished fifth as the 4-1 second choice in the first race.
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Now, the star of the show, Thursday’s entries.
Santa Anita Entries for Thursday, October 19.
Santa Anita, Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, California. 12th day of a 19-day meet.
1 Mile. Purse: $15,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $12,500-$10,500.
|1||Jill Madden||Martin Pedroza||122||Andrew Lerner||5-2||12,500|
|2||Sassy Ashley||Evin Roman||120||Richard Baltas||5-1||12,500|
|3||Honor Maker||Tyler Baze||122||Dean Greenman||9-5||12,500|
|4||Zanab||Tiago Pereira||123||Matthew Chew||7-2||10,500|
|5||Pattin for a Dance||Ignacio Puglisi||122||Matthew Chew||12-1||12,500|
|6||Forthe Lovof Patty||Vinnie Bednar||120||Keith E. Craigmyle||15-1||10,500|
|7||It's Not So Easy||Edwin Maldonado||122||Steven Miyadi||6-1||12,500|
1 1/16 Mile. Purse: $19,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $12,500-$10,500.
|1||Swissarella||Brayan Pena||123||Rafael Becerra||5-1||12,500|
|2||Swiss Skimmer||Santiago Gonzalez||123||Adam Kitchingman||4-1||12,500|
|3||Desert Madam||Gary Stevens||123||William Spawr||6-5||12,500|
|4||Public House||Tyler Baze||123||Kristin Mulhall||12-1||12,500|
|5||Backintheacademy||Saul Arias||123||Felipe N Souza||7-2||12,500|
|6||Sheswildnfree||Evin Roman||118||Andrew Lerner||9-2||12,500|
1 Mile Turf. Purse: $22,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $25,000.
|1||Quinn Murphy||Edwin Maldonado||122||Dallas E. Keen||3-1||25,000|
|2||Lookinforadanger||Tyler Conner||124||George Papaprodromou||5-2||25,000|
|3||Wicked Old Fashion||Ruben Fuentes||115||Edward R. Freeman||15-1||25,000|
|4||Yaffe||Chantal Sutherland||124||Jeff Mullins||7-2||25,000|
|5||Carrie||Modesto Linares||122||Charles R. Stutts||20-1||25,000|
|6||Wishful Winking||Flavien Prat||124||Mike Puype||3-1||25,000|
|7||Sapodilla||Evin Roman||119||Martin F. Jones||12-1||25,000|
|8||D' Platinum||Tyler Baze||124||Dean Greenman||8-1||25,000|
6 Furlongs. Purse: $28,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies. 2 year olds. Claiming Prices $50,000-$40,000. State bred.
|1||Bless the Cause||Felipe Martinez||122||Mike Harrington||8-1||50,000|
|2||Callie Mesa||Tyler Baze||120||Tim Yakteen||8-1||40,000|
|3||Funny Bean||Vinnie Bednar||122||Robert A. Bean||6-1||50,000|
|4||Bragging Rights||Martin Garcia||122||Bob Baffert||5-2||50,000|
|5||Fabian's Secret||Tyler Conner||120||George Papaprodromou||8-1||40,000|
|6||Put It On Ice||Evin Roman||115||Steven Miyadi||6-1||40,000|
|7||Spacerika||Ruben Fuentes||113||Salvador Orozco||30-1||40,000|
|8||Miss Pretty||Israel Ocampo||120||Jeff Mullins||8-1||40,000|
|9||Streak of Luck||Ignacio Puglisi||122||Matthew Chew||3-1||50,000|
About 6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $50,000. Maiden Special Weight. 2 year olds.
|1||Eskimo Roses||Edwin Maldonado||120||Mick Ruis||7-2|
|2||Captain N. Barron||Evin Roman||115||Craig Anthony Lewis||12-1|
|3||Scrambled||Martin Garcia||120||Philip D'Amato||4-1|
|4||Navajo Dreamer||Tyler Conner||117||Richard Baltas||6-1|
|5||Showstone||Tyler Baze||120||Dan Blacker||12-1|
|6||Danny O||Mario Gutierrez||120||Doug F. O'Neill||8-1|
|7||Rockaway||Israel Ocampo||120||Doug F. O'Neill||8-1|
|8||Fengari||Flavien Prat||120||John W. Sadler||6-1|
|9||Bartlett Hall||Victor Espinoza||120||John A. Shirreffs||8-1|
|10||Knight Disruptor||Joseph Talamo||120||Neil D. Drysdale||8-1|
|11||Good Guy Bad Guy||Tyler Baze||120||Philip D'Amato||8-1|
|12||Liberal Lunacy||Evin Roman||115||John W. Sadler||6-1|
|13||Erotic||Gary Stevens||120||Richard E. Mandella||6-1|
|14||El Asesino||Brice Blanc||120||Mick Ruis||12-1|
6½ Furlongs. Purse: $53,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $62,500.
|1||Cuyathy||Austin Solis||117||William E. Morey||12-1|
|2||Demigoddess||Modesto Linares||120||Charles R. Stutts||15-1||62,500|
|3||Run for Retts||Evin Roman||119||Steven Miyadi||8-1|
|4||Avicii||Flavien Prat||122||William E. Morey||5-2||62,500|
|5||Bernina Star||Santiago Gonzalez||120||James M. Cassidy||2-1|
|6||Dis Smart Cat||Tyler Baze||124||Matthew Chew||9-2|
|7||Just a Little Hope||Gary Stevens||120||Dan L. Hendricks||3-1|
About 6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $51,000. Allowance. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. State bred.
|1||Tiz Mi Haina||Tiago Pereira||122||Martin F. Jones||12-1|
|2||Hawk's Journey||Joseph Talamo||124||Jorge Periban||12-1|
|3||How About Zero||Mario Gutierrez||122||Doug F. O'Neill||7-2|
|4||Lethal Legacy||Santiago Gonzalez||122||Gary Stute||10-1|
|5||Winemenow||Flavien Prat||124||Mike Puype||4-1|
|6||Warrenscrystalized||Israel Ocampo||124||Jorge Gutierrez||9-2|
|7||Aflewency||Gary Stevens||122||Neil French||8-1|
|8||Paschalitsa||Tyler Baze||122||Jack Carava||10-1|
|9||Bold At Night||Chantal Sutherland||122||Jeffrey Metz||20-1|
|10||Secret Thorn||Evin Roman||119||Dan Blacker||4-1|
6 Furlongs. Purse: $14,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $6,250.
|1||Brave Julian||Tiago Pereira||122||Sally Rivera||20-1||6,250|
|2||Stoneys Mr Cruiser||Stewart Elliott||122||Charles S. Treece||6-1||6,250|
|3||Golden Atlantic||Sasha Risenhoover||124||Gary Stute||7-2||6,250|
|4||Madelyn's Wild Max||Brayan Pena||122||Genaro Vallejo||6-1||6,250|
|5||Warren's Cole||Vinnie Bednar||124||Kelly Castaneda||20-1||6,250|
|6||Royal F J||Martin Pedroza||122||Jack Carava||4-1||6,250|
|7||Ajac||Ricardo Jaime||122||Marcelo Polanco||10-1||6,250|
|8||Hawk's Eyes||Santiago Gonzalez||124||Lorenzo Ruiz||4-1||6,250|
|9||Cupid's Beau||Evin Roman||115||Anthony K. Saavedra||6-1||6,250|
|10||Nagys Piggy Bank||Brandon Boulanger||122||Rosemary Trela||12-1||6,250|