Racing! New horse racing newsletter is off and running, featuring entries and results

Michael Wrona
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome to the very first edition of our horse racing newsletter, which we so cleverly call “Racing!”

A tip of the hat to Santa Anita race caller Michael Wrona, whose signature opening call is now a promotion for this newsletter. He’s not starting a race; he’s saying sign up and tell your friends. Thanks, Michael. (Note: Legally I’ve got to say Wrona is not really endorsing this newsletter. In fact, I’m not even sure he’s signed up.)

So I bet you’re wondering what possessed the Los Angeles Times to start this newsletter, especially after the print edition dropped the entries and results earlier this year.

First of all, the entries and results are back in our print edition. And all of you helped reverse the decision by contacting either the sports department or our (but think of her as your) readers rep, Deirdre Edgar.

So why get the newsletter? Well, we’ll go much farther than any other publication, with full charts and trip comments. Before you ask, the newsletter is not going to replace what we do in print.

So, here’s how this happened. When the entries and results were first removed from the newspaper, Sports Editor Angel Rodriguez believed the horse racing community needed to be served in some way. So we got together with Jon Schleuss, one of our data journalists, Houston Mitchell, our sports newsletter editor, and Scott Sandell, the newspaper’s newsletter editor, and made a plan.

And now, months later, we’re birthing this baby.

(Notice I put one of those blue things on each of their names in case you want to click on them and email thanks, especially Angel, because he’s my boss, and Deirdre, because she listened and carried your message forward.)

Now, we’ll need your help to shape this thing. So send along ideas and thoughts. It may look entirely different in a day, week or month. I’m sure Thomas Edison (no known email) didn’t get the light bulb right the first time.

For now, we’ll try to pull together the best of local racing with small recaps and previews, but the real star of this endeavor will be the entries and results.

I’ll be your tour guide most of the time, although Eric Sondheimer will also contribute his years of racing knowledge and days of knowledge of being a horse owner. (More on that in days to come.)

This is end of my second year on this beat, but I’ve been a fan of the sport forever. I’m not an expert in handicapping, so we’ll leave that to you.

Just so you know the prism through which I view the sport, here are 10 things I think about horse racing:

1. Santa Anita is the most picturesque — and my favorite — racetrack in America. We’ll be watching to see if Tim Ritvo, a pretty smart guy, can fix it.

2. I hate the drive to Del Mar — a lot. And the backup off I-5. And parking on big days. But the climate is great.

3. Ed Burgart is the Vin Scully, Chick Hearn and Bob Miller of quarter-horse racing. The best in his sport — ever.

4. I have no desire to ever ride or own a thoroughbred.

5. Larry Collmus is a good announcer, but our guys — Trevor Denman, Frank Mirahmadi and Michael Wrona — are all better. Listening NBC?

6. Bob Baffert and Mike Smith make up the best trainer-jockey combination in recent memory. And both are exceedingly generous with their time to promote the sport.

7. I hate covering the Kentucky Derby. Too big, too pretentious and then there is the near windowless media bunker.

8. I love covering the Preakness, although I know Pimlico may fall apart because of age and lack of upkeep. Hope I’m not there that day.

9. Any horse, on any day, no matter how good, can be beat. Horses, just like newsletter hosts, have bad days.

10. Bridge jumpers aren’t very smart (see item 9).

Interview with Ritvo

Had a chance to talk to Santa Anita boss Ritvo. You shouldn’t expect big changes until the winter meet, but he did declare war on trainers who use Santa Anita just as a training track, and if field sizes don’t improve, three-day-a-week racing is a very real possibility. For more on Ritvo’s thoughts, check out the story here.

Eddie D. Stakes highlights SA card

Today’s opening day card at Santa Anita has nine races, three of them on the turf — the first, seventh and ninth. Ritvo says he’s going to run more turf races because fans like them and they attract fuller fields.

For example, the first has 10 horses in a maiden claimer; the seventh has 10 fillies and mares in an allowance optional claimer and the feature in the ninth is called the Eddie D. Stakes, about 6 ½ furlongs down the hill, with 11 currently entered. Last year, the Eddie D had so many entries, they ran it in two divisions.

The Times did a story on the mystery of the downhill course earlier this year. If you haven’t read it, it might be worth a look here. Eddie Delahoussaye gives tips on how to win the race. (Hint: It’s cutting the corner.)

Om, running for Dan Hendricks, is the morning-line favorite at 8-5, having hit the board 15 out of 18 times, 14 of those races on turf. But he hasn’t won in eight starts, mostly at a mile, since Dec. 26, 2015. But a lot of seconds and thirds. He’s 3-3-1 over the Santa Anita turf. Most impressive was second by a nose in the Breeders Cup Turf Sprint last November. (Watch here.)

Om is switching up riders from Gary Stevens to Drayden Van Dyke. He’s in the four.

Tribalist is the second favorite at 4-1, including four wins in a row, the last three at five furlongs. Blake Heap is the trainer and Victor Espinoza is aboard. Guns Loaded for Doug O’Neill and Rafael Bejarano is at 6-1.

Races 1-6 are all claimers, three of them for maidens. The seventh is the aforementioned allowance optional claimer and the eighth is a maiden special weight.

There are 76 horses entered, or an average of 8.44 a race. Not a bad start.

Last thought

Before I get out of here, if you know someone who might enjoy this little resource, forward it to them and have them click here and sign up. Remember, it’s free, and all we need is your email, nothing more.

Also, no need to worry: It’s doubtful this newsletter will ever be this long again.

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

Now, the star of the show, Friday’s entries. (If the entries look strange on your phone, take a look on a tablet or desktop for a more traditional view.)

Santa Anita Entries for Friday, September 29.

Santa Anita, Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, California. 1st day of a 19-day meet.


1 1/8 Mile Turf. Purse: $28,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $50,000-$40,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Brilliant LightSantiago Gonzalez125James M. Cassidy15-150,000
2InsubordinationTyler Baze125Kenneth D. Black7-250,000
3KinematicoFlavien Prat122Mike Puype4-150,000
4Odyssey ExplorerBrayan Pena122Hector O. Palma12-150,000
5SirariNorberto Arroyo, Jr.122Jr. Clifford W. Sise,10-150,000
6Warren's FandangoRafael Bejarano122Jorge Gutierrez5-150,000
7Kinsale WarriorEvin Roman117Peter Eurton15-150,000
8Perfection TaleManuel Chaves125Howard L. Zucker30-150,000
9Amazon CryTiago Pereira122Philip D'Amato3-150,000
10BacoliIsrael Ocampo122Mick Ruis6-150,000


1 Mile. Purse: $21,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $16,000-$14,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Over AchieverRafael Bejarano123William E. Morey5-216,000
2Freddies DreamEvin Roman118Jeff Mullins8-516,000
3Image of JoplinAustin Solis116Mick Ruis3-116,000
4Seal SixIsrael Ocampo121Michael Machowsky6-114,000
5Saint DermotSantiago Gonzalez123Mark Glatt4-116,000


6 Furlongs. Purse: $16,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $8,000-$7,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Golden AtlanticSasha Risenhoover125Gary Stute4-18,000
2Royal F JMartin Pedroza123Jack Carava7-28,000
3G. A. BettingBrayan Pena123Hector O. Palma6-18,000
4Changing KarmaBrandon Boulanger121Steve Knapp20-17,000
5Rough PassageGallyn Mitchell123Thomas J. Bazley12-18,000
6Heir of StormAustin Solis116Mick Ruis5-28,000
7AirfoilEvin Roman118Mark Glatt2-18,000


1 Mile. Purse: $25,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $40,000-$35,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1John and MontanStewart Elliott122Ronald W. Ellis10-140,000
2LatitudeMartin Pedroza125Dan L. Hendricks6-140,000
3DivisorSantiago Gonzalez122Philip D'Amato9-240,000
4InhibitionVictor Espinoza125James M. Cassidy6-140,000
5FregosiDrayden Van Dyke122Leonard Powell4-140,000
6Super Duper CooperTyler Baze122Michael W. McCarthy3-140,000
7ConquerorFlavien Prat125Vladimir Cerin5-240,000


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $28,000. Maiden Claiming. 2 year olds. Claiming Prices $50,000-$40,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Warrior's LullabyEdwin Maldonado122Mick Ruis7-250,000
2Salsa KingEvin Roman117Ruben Gomez10-150,000
3ColormemoneyVictor Espinoza122Jr. Robert B. Hess,5-250,000
4American CurrencyGary Stevens122Eddie Truman4-150,000
5Quoting HawkTiago Pereira120Michael Machowsky8-140,000
6First BallotBrayan Pena122Richard Baltas8-150,000
7Haulin' FreightMario Gutierrez122Doug F. O'Neill10-150,000
8Ridgefield RocketTyler Conner122Mark Glatt8-150,000
9SandbedNorberto Arroyo, Jr.122Jr. Clifford W. Sise,12-150,000


6½ Furlongs. Purse: $29,000. Claiming. 3 year olds. Claiming Prices $25,000-$22,500.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Iron AlexSasha Risenhoover120Dallas E. Keen8-122,500
2Pick OneTiago Pereira120Jack Carava8-122,500
3Mystical ImageRafael Bejarano122Jr. Ed Moger,6-125,000
4Red Carpet CatDrayden Van Dyke122Vann Belvoir9-225,000
5Tell Me a StoryFlavien Prat122Peter Miller4-125,000
6Cupid's BeauStewart Elliott120Anthony K. Saavedra8-122,500
7GentrifiedJoseph Talamo122John W. Sadler3-125,000
8One I'm Running ToEvin Roman115Mark Glatt9-222,500


1 Mile Turf. Purse: $51,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $40,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Ok DollRafael Bejarano123Richard Baltas9-2
2SalsitaEvin Roman120Jerry Hollendorfer7-240,000
3LindezaTyler Conner123John W. Sadler12-1
4Mrs. NorrisFlavien Prat123Eoin G. Harty6-1
5Domestic VintageJoseph Talamo120Neil D. Drysdale10-1
6Khaleesi Austin Solis116Felipe N Souza20-1
7Lucy DeKent Desormeaux125Richard Baltas5-1
8Arethusa Israel Ocampo123Jeff Mullins4-1
9BombilateGary Stevens123James M. Cassidy6-1
10HacktivismMario Gutierrez125Ben D. A. Cecil20-1


1 Mile. Purse: $50,000. Maiden Special Weight. 2 year olds.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Major CabbieDrayden Van Dyke120Dan L. Hendricks8-1
2Unlawful ActVictor Espinoza120G. F. Almeida20-1
3Extrordinary JerryRafael Bejarano120Doug F. O'Neill12-1
4Gran FiestaFlavien Prat120Jerry Hollendorfer8-1
5Jungle WarfareMike Smith120Jerry Hollendorfer2-1
6XtenTyler Baze120Tim Yakteen5-2
7Holy GhostKent Desormeaux120J. Keith Desormeaux6-1
8Blended CitizenTiago Pereira120Doug F. O'Neill10-1
9Canadian GameMario Gutierrez120Doug F. O'Neill8-1


About 6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $100,000. 'Eddie D Stakes'. 3 year olds and up.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Prize Exhibit Santiago Gonzalez120James M. Cassidy10-1
2TribalistVictor Espinoza121Blake R. Heap4-1
3California DiamondKent Desormeaux118Peter Miller15-1
4OmDrayden Van Dyke121Dan L. Hendricks8-5
5Rocket HeatEvin Roman121Vann Belvoir8-1
6Forever JuanitoJoseph Talamo121Victor L. Garcia8-1
7Guns LoadedRafael Bejarano121Doug F. O'Neill6-1
8CoastlineFlavien Prat121John W. Sadler12-1
9Krsto SkyeBrice Blanc121Ari Herbertson20-1
10Zarqa StarMartin Pedroza121George Papaprodromou50-1
11Mr. RoaryTyler Conner121George Papaprodromou12-1