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

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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

We made some progress last week adding new subscribers. But there’s more work to be done. If you like it, tell someone. If you don’t like it, then you’re probably not reading this. Either way, send to a friend and just have them click here and sign up. Remember, it’s free, and all we need is your email, nothing more.

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

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.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Jill MaddenMartin Pedroza122Andrew Lerner5-212,500
2Sassy AshleyEvin Roman120Richard Baltas5-112,500
3Honor MakerTyler Baze122Dean Greenman9-512,500
4ZanabTiago Pereira123Matthew Chew7-210,500
5Pattin for a DanceIgnacio Puglisi122Matthew Chew12-112,500
6Forthe Lovof PattyVinnie Bednar120Keith E. Craigmyle15-110,500
7It's Not So EasyEdwin Maldonado122Steven Miyadi6-112,500


1 1/16 Mile. Purse: $19,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $12,500-$10,500.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1SwissarellaBrayan Pena123Rafael Becerra5-112,500
2Swiss SkimmerSantiago Gonzalez123Adam Kitchingman4-112,500
3Desert MadamGary Stevens123William Spawr6-512,500
4Public HouseTyler Baze123Kristin Mulhall12-112,500
5BackintheacademySaul Arias123Felipe N Souza7-212,500
6SheswildnfreeEvin Roman118Andrew Lerner9-212,500


1 Mile Turf. Purse: $22,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $25,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Quinn MurphyEdwin Maldonado122Dallas E. Keen3-125,000
2LookinforadangerTyler Conner124George Papaprodromou5-225,000
3Wicked Old FashionRuben Fuentes115Edward R. Freeman15-125,000
4YaffeChantal Sutherland124Jeff Mullins7-225,000
5CarrieModesto Linares122Charles R. Stutts20-125,000
6Wishful WinkingFlavien Prat124Mike Puype3-125,000
7SapodillaEvin Roman119Martin F. Jones12-125,000
8D' PlatinumTyler Baze124Dean Greenman8-125,000


6 Furlongs. Purse: $28,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies. 2 year olds. Claiming Prices $50,000-$40,000. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Bless the CauseFelipe Martinez122Mike Harrington8-150,000
2Callie MesaTyler Baze120Tim Yakteen8-140,000
3Funny BeanVinnie Bednar122Robert A. Bean6-150,000
4Bragging RightsMartin Garcia122Bob Baffert5-250,000
5Fabian's SecretTyler Conner120George Papaprodromou8-140,000
6Put It On IceEvin Roman115Steven Miyadi6-140,000
7SpacerikaRuben Fuentes113Salvador Orozco30-140,000
8Miss PrettyIsrael Ocampo120Jeff Mullins8-140,000
9Streak of LuckIgnacio Puglisi122Matthew Chew3-150,000


About 6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $50,000. Maiden Special Weight. 2 year olds.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Eskimo RosesEdwin Maldonado120Mick Ruis7-2
2Captain N. BarronEvin Roman115Craig Anthony Lewis12-1
3ScrambledMartin Garcia120Philip D'Amato4-1
4Navajo Dreamer Tyler Conner117Richard Baltas6-1
5ShowstoneTyler Baze120Dan Blacker12-1
6Danny OMario Gutierrez120Doug F. O'Neill8-1
7Rockaway Israel Ocampo120Doug F. O'Neill8-1
8FengariFlavien Prat120John W. Sadler6-1
9Bartlett HallVictor Espinoza120John A. Shirreffs8-1
10Knight DisruptorJoseph Talamo120Neil D. Drysdale8-1
Also Eligible
11Good Guy Bad GuyTyler Baze120Philip D'Amato8-1
12Liberal LunacyEvin Roman115John W. Sadler6-1
13EroticGary Stevens120Richard E. Mandella6-1
14El AsesinoBrice Blanc120Mick Ruis12-1


6½ Furlongs. Purse: $53,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $62,500.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1CuyathyAustin Solis117William E. Morey12-1
2DemigoddessModesto Linares120Charles R. Stutts15-162,500
3Run for RettsEvin Roman119Steven Miyadi8-1
4AviciiFlavien Prat122William E. Morey5-262,500
5Bernina StarSantiago Gonzalez120James M. Cassidy2-1
6Dis Smart CatTyler Baze124Matthew Chew9-2
7Just a Little HopeGary Stevens120Dan L. Hendricks3-1


About 6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $51,000. Allowance. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Tiz Mi HainaTiago Pereira122Martin F. Jones12-1
2Hawk's JourneyJoseph Talamo124Jorge Periban12-1
3How About ZeroMario Gutierrez122Doug F. O'Neill7-2
4Lethal LegacySantiago Gonzalez122Gary Stute10-1
5WinemenowFlavien Prat124Mike Puype4-1
6WarrenscrystalizedIsrael Ocampo124Jorge Gutierrez9-2
7AflewencyGary Stevens122Neil French8-1
8PaschalitsaTyler Baze122Jack Carava10-1
9Bold At NightChantal Sutherland122Jeffrey Metz20-1
10Secret ThornEvin Roman119Dan Blacker4-1


6 Furlongs. Purse: $14,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $6,250.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Brave JulianTiago Pereira122Sally Rivera20-16,250
2Stoneys Mr CruiserStewart Elliott122Charles S. Treece6-16,250
3Golden AtlanticSasha Risenhoover124Gary Stute7-26,250
4Madelyn's Wild MaxBrayan Pena122Genaro Vallejo6-16,250
5Warren's ColeVinnie Bednar124Kelly Castaneda20-16,250
6Royal F JMartin Pedroza122Jack Carava4-16,250
7AjacRicardo Jaime122Marcelo Polanco10-16,250
8Hawk's Eyes Santiago Gonzalez124Lorenzo Ruiz4-16,250
9Cupid's BeauEvin Roman115Anthony K. Saavedra6-16,250
10Nagys Piggy BankBrandon Boulanger122Rosemary Trela12-16,250