Racing! Catching up on a boycott, an injury and a horse sticking around

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.

Jeff Nahill is a quality editor for the San Diego Union-Tribune. He can be reached at For other selections go to his blog:

Final thought

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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.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
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.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
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.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
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.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
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.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
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
Also Eligible
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.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
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.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
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.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
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