Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter. Let’s take a look in our digital mailbag.
The note the other day about the sound at Los Alamitos prompted several readers to weigh in mostly on noise and Los Al. I didn’t know it was such a hot-button topic. Let’s see what else is in the mailbag.
“Tim Ritvo wants to make Santa Anita a better place to come, and he thinks that changing the betting system is going to do that. He is wrong. Making the experience better is the way to go.
“Changing the audio system is one of my pet peeves. One can’t make out the call of the races because the audio system is obsolete. Change it.
“Making the atmosphere better is the answer. People like the old nature of things, but more modern. They want the conveniences too.”
(My note: Ritvo has spoken at length about creating a better experience and making SA an entertainment complex, so you’re both on the same page.)
“For me, handicapping the horses is the ultimate intellectual challenge. It requires analysis, deep thought and reflection. Any outside noise is a distraction. It interferes with the process, and so, should be avoided if and when possible.
“I go so far as to mute the moments leading up to post time, especially when I’m watching through TwinSpires or TVG on TV, so I won’t have to hear the constant chatter (noise) of other handicappers. In so doing, I have occasionally missed the start of a race.
“Don’t know how all the noise found its way into the racing picture, but I’m pretty sure it’s not helping the overall health of horse racing.
“One of the reasons I like playing at home as opposed to at the track is I can somewhat control and limit the noise.”
“Los Alamitos’ best selling point is their customer service. Starting in the parking lot and continuing to admission, buying a program, then the windows. Now I need a beer and a hot dog, same deal. Live racing has been good this time around. Los Al is good.”
“The audio at Los Al is a joke. It sounds like that joke about a train station where you are trying to listen for your boarding number. It’s ridiculous. I just try and tune it out and handicap in my zone. There are times when I would like to hear what the local handicappers have to say, but is it’s so muffled/distorted that I just give up trying to listen.
“You can also go down and listen to them before the races in the parade circle after the horses come out of the paddock, live, so there’s that. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Los Alamitos. It’s an old track that is run-down and trying to hold on. They have low purses and low-class horses, with a few big stakes races with big trainers and big 2-year-olds.
“I love it and can easily put up with bad audio. You just have to take it for what it is. Take all of its great things and not worry about the not so great things.”
In the news since we last talked
— Stellar Wind, one the best runners for trainer John Sadler and the Hronis Brothers, is back in training for her new owners. The Pegasus may be in her future. Mike Welsch of the Daily Racing Form has more. (Read here.)
— Give Frank Stronach credit. He said he was going to send good stock to California, and he is. Shaman Ghost, one of his best older runners, is going to stand stud in California next year. A nice boost for the California breeding industry. Eric Mitchell of the Bloodhorse has more. (Read here.)
Los Alamitos preview
A pretty average card for a Thursday at Los Alamitos. There are five claiming races, with the first three having small fields of 6, 5, 6. The seventh race is the feature, a mile allowance optional claiming race for horses 3 and up. Mike Smith, riding for Jerry Hollendorfer, is on Sheer Flattery, the 5-2 favorite. It’s Smith’s only mount of the day, make of that what you will. The purse is $45,000.
Mark Ratzky’s LRC play of the day
THIRD RACE: No. 5 Moon Kitty (2-1)
There is a $33,000 carryover in the Pick 6, and this Peter Miller trainee would appear to be a good way to get things started. She’s been testing deeper waters on the turf and shows up with a claiming tag for the first time since the spring diploma earner.
Sunday’s result: Midnight Pleasure finished sixth as the second favorite.
Mark Ratzky worked for 22 years for the Daily Racing Form and has been the simulcast announcer/publicity at Los Alamitos for the past 19 years.
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And now the star of the show, Thursday’s entries.
Los Alamitos Race Course Entries for Thursday, December 7.
Los Alamitos Race Course, Los Alamitos, California. 5th day of a 12-day meet.
5½ Furlongs. Purse: $30,000. Claiming. 2 year olds. Claiming Prices $32,000-$28,000.
|1||Lucky Pegasus||Juan Ochoa||122||Sal Gonzalez||10-1||32,000|
|2||Handsome Swede||Tyler Conner||122||Michael Machowsky||5-1||32,000|
|3||Getin Gready||Brandon Boulanger||120||Jose G. Hernandez||10-1||28,000|
|4||Walk On Water||Evin Roman||115||Steven Miyadi||5-2||28,000|
|5||American Currency||Tyler Baze||122||Eddie Truman||8-5||32,000|
|6||Get Em Up Scout||Geovanni Franco||122||Steven Miyadi||3-1||32,000|
1 1/16 Mile. Purse: $17,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $12,500-$10,500.
|1||Roman Tizzy||Evin Roman||114||Vladimir Cerin||3-1||10,500|
|2||Ucanthankmelater||Drayden Van Dyke||119||Jeffrey Metz||7-2||12,500|
|3||El Super||Tyler Baze||121||Kristin Mulhall||2-1||12,500|
|4||Lindante||Sasha Risenhoover||121||Gary Stute||5-1||12,500|
|5||Tasunke Witco||Tiago Pereira||121||Steve Knapp||5-2||12,500|
5½ Furlongs. Purse: $32,000. Claiming. Fillies. 3 year olds. Claiming Prices $40,000-$35,000.
|1||Sly Humor||Kent Desormeaux||120||Vladimir Cerin||5-2||40,000|
|2||Betdesilvergold||Tyler Conner||120||Tim Yakteen||5-1||40,000|
|3||Freedom Journey||Tyler Baze||122||Hector O. Palma||5-2||40,000|
|4||Resilient Humor||Santiago Gonzalez||120||Jesus Mendoza||15-1||40,000|
|5||Moon Kitty||Evin Roman||113||Peter Miller||2-1||35,000|
|6||Adios Cali||Tiago Pereira||120||Steve Knapp||6-1||40,000|
5½ Furlongs. Purse: $21,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $20,000-$18,000.
|1||Miss Bliss||Tiago Pereira||122||Ed Moger, Jr.||10-1||20,000|
|2||Rizzi's Honors||Tyler Baze||122||Mark Glatt||7-2||20,000|
|3||Dissension||Stewart Elliott||122||Peter Miller||3-1||20,000|
|4||Pica||Evin Roman||119||Eddie Truman||5-2||20,000|
|5||Sally Simpson||Edwin Maldonado||120||Patricia Harrington||5-1||20,000|
|6||Devil's Beauty||Geovanni Franco||124||Steven Miyadi||5-1||20,000|
|7||Back Beauty||Vinnie Bednar||122||Elmer January||10-1||18,000|
5½ Furlongs. Purse: $21,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $50,000-$40,000. State bred.
|1||King Darius||Vinnie Bednar||118||Jesus Nunez||15-1||40,000|
|2||Royal Rebel||Geovanni Franco||120||J. Buenaventura Vargas||12-1||40,000|
|3||Am I Blue||Edgar Payeras||114||Mike Harrington||10-1||50,000|
|4||Sawbuck||Evin Roman||117||John W. Sadler||5-2||50,000|
|5||Bob's Bad Boy||Stewart Elliott||122||Mike Harrington||4-1||50,000|
|6||Anziyan Cat||Ruben Fuentes||115||Javier Jose Sierra||20-1||50,000|
|7||Path of Exile||Ignacio Puglisi||122||Michael W. McCarthy||5-1||50,000|
|8||Gosofar||Brayan Pena||124||Adam Kitchingman||9-5||50,000|
5½ Furlongs. Purse: $40,000. Maiden Special Weight. 2 year olds. State bred.
|1||Bright Autism Mind||Santiago Gonzalez||122||Marcia Stortz||15-1|
|2||Our Tiger's Boy||Alonso Quinonez||122||Jeff Bonde||9-2|
|3||Raven Creek||Tyler Baze||122||Jeff Mullins||3-1|
|4||Shaymin||Mario Gutierrez||122||Ben D. A. Cecil||20-1|
|5||Fire When Ready||Edwin Maldonado||122||Patricia Harrington||8-1|
|6||Tiger Mark||Geovanni Franco||122||William E. Morey||8-1|
|7||Heck Yeah||Drayden Van Dyke||122||Bob Baffert||7-2|
|8||Jump the Tracks||Kyle Frey||122||Jeff Mullins||8-1|
|9||Sunrise Journey||Rafael Bejarano||122||Andy Mathis||6-1|
|10||Yes I'm Ready||Stewart Elliott||122||Art Sherman||12-1|
1 Mile. Purse: $45,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $40,000.
|1||Got Even||Evin Roman||119||Peter Miller||7-2||40,000|
|2||Sheer Flattery||Mike Smith||120||Jerry Hollendorfer||5-2|
|3||Mr. Opportunist||Edwin Maldonado||122||Craig Dollase||10-1||40,000|
|4||Image of Joplin||Drayden Van Dyke||124||William Spawr||4-1||40,000|
|5||Friendly Outthedor||Ruben Fuentes||115||Peter Eurton||20-1|
|6||Donworth||Rafael Bejarano||122||Peter Miller||4-1||40,000|
|7||Adorned||Tyler Baze||120||Eddie Truman||20-1|
|8||Lucky J Lane||Tiago Pereira||122||Steve Knapp||9-2||40,000|
1 Mile. Purse: $40,000. Maiden Special Weight. Fillies. 2 year olds.
|1||Johansson||Santiago Gonzalez||122||Scott Hansen||6-1|
|2||Turing Machine||Stewart Elliott||122||Ben D. A. Cecil||12-1|
|3||Thirteen Squared||Tyler Baze||122||Bob Baffert||6-1|
|4||Dr. Ann||Kyle Frey||122||Doug F. O'Neill||8-1|
|5||Two Steps Faster||Tyler Conner||122||Jerry Hollendorfer||12-1|
|6||Summer's Indy||Drayden Van Dyke||122||Philip D'Amato||3-1|
|7||Mischievious Lass||Evin Roman||117||Jerry Hollendorfer||6-1|
|8||Dancing Belle||Kent Desormeaux||122||J. Keith Desormeaux||5-2|
|9||Mandy's Grace||Mario Gutierrez||122||Doug F. O'Neill||12-1|