Racing! Del Mar gets ready for its biggest fall meeting ever

Hello, my name is John Cherwa, welcome back to our horse racing newsletter. I’m on the ground at Del Mar.

One of the crazy things about covering big events such as the Breeders’ Cup is if you are a lazy journalist you get fed enough information that you can fake your way through it without doing much work.

That’s going to be me today, but only today. By the time I made the 14-hour drive from Pasadena to here it was too late. OK, so I exaggerate, only three hours, just felt like 14.

Del Mar opens today with a nine-race card, nothing compared with what’s coming Friday and Saturday. The highlight is the seventh race (about 3:30 p.m.), the $75,000 Let It Ride Stakes for 3-year- olds going a mile on the turf. In some future newsletter we’ll do a deconstruct of the movie Let It Ride, one of the all-time greats.

Back to Del Mar and its $75,000 feature. Do you know what they call a $75,000 race in New York? A dark day. OK, cheap shot.

View from the experts

Remember, if you watch one video today about horse racing, it should be our preview of the Breeders’ Cup, starring Jeff Siegel and Aaron Vercruysse of xbtv. Today’s is your preview of the four races on Friday. (watch here.) And if you want to catch up on some others, here’s one on horses that are under the radar (watch here). And, there’s also one on European horses (watch here), or discussing the pre-entries to the Classic and Turf (watch here), and the popular Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies (watch here) races.

Now, thanks to the wonderful notes team at the Breeders’ Cup, here are some bits and pieces of information.

Classic Notes

Here’s the post positions for Saturday’s big race:

Horse, trainer, odds

1. Arrogate, Bob Baffert, Mike Smith, 2-1

2. War Decree, Aidan O'Brien, Seamie Heffernan, 30-1

3. Win the Space, George Papaprodromou, Joe Talamo, 30-1

4. War Story, Jorge Navarro, Jose Ortiz, 30-1

5. Gun Runner, Steve Asmussen, Florent Geroux, 9-5

6. Mubtaahij (IRE), Bob Baffert, Drayden Van Dyke, 12-1

7. Churchill (IRE), Aidan O'Brien, Ryan Moore, 15-1

8. West Coast, Bob Baffert, Javier Castellano, 6-1

9. Gunnevera, Antonio Sano, Edgard Zayas, 30-1

10. Pavel, Doug O'Neill, Mario Gutierrez, 20-1

11. Collected, Bob Baffert, Martin Garcia, 6-1

-- Bob Baffert can’t be too happy with the most inside and outside posts. He shipped 16 horses, 11 of which should run in the Breeders’ Cup races, from Santa Anita to Del Mar at 2 a.m. Tuesday morning. They just arrived. Kidding, took a little over two hours.

-- Churchill, the Irish horse — although shouldn’t he be a British horse? — arrived on Monday and is scheduled to get through quarantine on Thursday.

-- Gunnevera, the only horse in the Classic that ran in a Triple Crown race, galloped 1½ miles Tuesday. The exercise rider said he likes the track. “My horse is in 100% condition, very fresh,” said trainer Antonio Sano.

-- Gun Runner had his final breeze on Monday of 49 2/5 for four furlongs. On Tuesday, he just walked.

-- Pavel, who has run only four races, is ready according to Leandro Moro, Doug O’Neill’s chief assistant. “He’s been training well here at Del Mar just as he did this summer before going east to run in some stakes races,” Moro said.

Distaff notes

Here’s the post positions for Friday’s big race:

Horse, trainer, jockey, odds

1. Champagne Room, Peter Eurton, Mario Gutierrez, 15-1

2. Stellar Wind, John Sadler, Victor Espinoza, 5-2

3. Mopotism, Doug O'Neill, Frankie Dettori, 30-1

4. Abel Tasman, Bob Baffert, Mike Smith, 4-1

5. Elate, Bill Mott, Jose Ortiz, 3-1

6. Forever Unbridled, Dallas Stewart, John Velazquez, 4-1

7. Paradise Woods, Richard Mandella, Flavien Prat, 9-2

8. Romantic Vision, Rusty Arnold, Brian Hernandez Jr., 15-1

-- Champaign Room jogged on Tuesday with exercise rider Eddie India. Trainer Peter Eurton was still lamenting his horse drawing the one. “It is what it is,” Eurton said. “[From the one] she can get aggressive when she feels the pressure around her. I would love to switch with Paradise Woods [in the seven] and be able to control things.”

-- Paradise Woods galloped once around the track on Tuesday. “She likes to be on the lead but she can also come from a bit off the pace so we’ll just have to wait and see how it all shakes out,” said trainer Richard Mandella.

-- Stellar Wind, the morning-line favorite, galloped 1¼ on Tuesday. “Going early has been her routine here for three years so I didn’t want to change it, trainer John Sadler said. “We gave her a nice gallop, leaning toward being a strong gallop toward the end.”

Juvenile notes

Here’s the post positions for Saturday’s race that wil establish the early favorite to win the Kentucky Derby:

Horse, trainer, jockey, odds

1. U S Navy Flag, Aidan O'Brien, Ryan Moore, 8-1

2. Solomini, Bob Baffert, Flavien Prat, 6-1

3. Firenze Fire, Jason Servis, Irad Ortiz Jr., 6-1

4. Givemeaminit, Dallas Stewart, Javier Castellano, 20-1

5. Free Drop Billy, Dale Romans, Robby Albarado, 5-1

6. Good Magic, Chad Brown, Jose Ortiz, 8-1

7. The Tabulator, Larry Rivelli, Jose Valdivia Jr., 20-1

8. Bahamian, Simon Callaghan, Mario Gutierrez, 30-1

9. Hazit, Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez, 20-1

10. Golden Dragon, Mikhail Yanakov, Evin Roman, 30-1

11. Bolt d'Oro, Mick Ruis, Corey Nakatani, 9-5

12. Hollywood Star, Dale Romans, Joel Rosario, 15-1

-- It was travel day for favored Bolt d’Oro as he left the barn at 3 a.m. and came down to Del Mar. “He relaxed in the stall here for a couple hours and then went to the track,” owner and trainer Mick Ruis said. “Nothing bothers him and he’s just a 2-year-old. It’s pretty cool.”

-- Free Drop Billy is the better of two 2-year-olds that trainer Dale Romans has brought to Del Mar. “He’s a push button horse,” Romans said. “He’s one of the horses that you know you have to deal with the least. He’s sound. He’s smart. He always does everything right.”

Jeff Nahill’s DM spot play

NINTH RACE: No. 1 Channel Crossing (8-1)

The circuit moves to Del Mar and the turf course rails will be at 30 feet the first two days of the meet waiting for Friday and Saturday's Breeders' Cup races. When the rails are that far out speed seems to do well. Channel Crossing has that and comes out of a key Santa Anita maiden race where four of the first five to run back have won. Good stat. However, No. 4 Martin Riggs and No. 8 Arch Anthem also come out of that race. I recommend an exacta box of 1-4-8. I also recommend an exacta of 10 with 1-4-8. No. 10 Kazan gets the great Frankie Dettori to ride and I might have picked on top but that post is tough in this race. But just in case, I recommend the aforementioned exacta as a saver.

Sunday’s result: Midnight Swinger finished second in Sunday's third 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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Any thoughts, drop me an email at or feed my ego by following me on Twitter @jcherwa.

Now, the star of the show, Wednesday’s entries.

Del Mar Entries for Wednesday, November 1.

Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Del Mar, California. $2 Win, Place and Show; $1 Exacta, $2 Quinella, 50-cent Trifecta, $2 Rolling Double, 50-cent rolling Pick 3; 10-cent Superfecta; 50-cent Pick 4 last 4 races; 50-cent Players Pick 5 first 5 races; $2 Pick 6 last 6 races; $1 Place Pick All; $1 Super High Five last race. Trifecta needs 4 betting interests; Superfecta needs 6. 1st day of a 16-day meet.


5 Furlongs Turf. Purse: $53,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $40,000.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Rocket Heat Evin Roman 119 Vann Belvoir 2-1 40,000
2 Student Body Left Drayden Van Dyke 121 Scott Hansen 15-1
3 Green With Eddie Mario Gutierrez 122 Doug F. O'Neill 6-1
4 Incensed Paco Lopez 121 Peter Miller 4-1
5 Brandothebartender Tyler Baze 124 Blake R. Heap 7-2
6 Mr Vargas Joseph Talamo 119 Brian J. Koriner 5-2


1 Mile. Purse: $24,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $20,000-$18,000.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Pioneerof the West Stewart Elliott 120 Vladimir Cerin 12-1 20,000
2 Beaumarchais Evin Roman 115 Dan Blacker 4-1 20,000
3 Cannes Drayden Van Dyke 120 Jerry Hollendorfer 8-1 20,000
4 Tribal Jewel Martin Pedroza 120 William Spawr 5-2 20,000
5 Out of Patience Joseph Talamo 120 Jerry Hollendorfer 3-1 20,000
6 Gunslinger Brayan Pena 118 Antonio Garcia 30-1 18,000
7 Muchos Besos Saul Arias 120 Javier Jose Sierra 20-1 20,000
8 Kristo Kyle Frey 120 John W. Sadler 4-1 20,000


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $52,000. Maiden Special Weight. 3 year olds and up.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Insubordination Tyler Baze 124 Kenneth D. Black 4-1
2 Wild Lando Evin Roman 117 Philip D'Amato 2-1
3 Hollywood Square Mario Gutierrez 122 Doug F. O'Neill 7-2
4 Eighty and Sunny Corey Nakatani 122 Edward R. Freeman 20-1
5 Unnamed Source Brayan Pena 122 Antonio Garcia 20-1
6 Duke of Fallbrook Norberto Arroyo, Jr. 122 Antonio Garcia 12-1
7 Hardcore Troubador Ruben Fuentes 115 Edward R. Freeman 5-2
8 Dream On Brother Ignacio Puglisi 122 Paul G. Aguirre 12-1


1 Mile. Purse: $18,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $16,000-$14,000.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Handful of Stripes Paco Lopez 124 Peter Miller 7-2 16,000
2 Excavation Martin Garcia 122 Philip D'Amato 3-1 16,000
3 My Golden One Ruben Fuentes 115 Edward R. Freeman 15-1 14,000
4 Alpha Uno Brayan Pena 120 Gerard Piccioni 20-1 14,000
5 Special Story Tyler Conner 124 Mark Glatt 4-1 16,000
6 Harrovian Tyler Baze 122 Simon Callaghan 6-1 16,000
7 Rings of Jupiter Drayden Van Dyke 122 Richard Baltas 6-1 16,000
8 I Crushed It Edwin Maldonado 122 Tim Yakteen 20-1 16,000
9 Pick One Tiago Pereira 122 Daniel Azcarate 20-1 16,000
10 Bow and Arrow Evin Roman 117 Doug F. O'Neill 6-1 16,000


1 1/16 Mile Turf. Purse: $53,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $40,000.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Dominating Woman Flavien Prat 119 Peter Miller 6-1
2 West Coast Bias Drayden Van Dyke 121 Thomas F. Proctor 5-2
3 La Premiere Etoile Mario Gutierrez 124 Doug F. O'Neill 6-1
4 Mrs. Norris William Buick 121 Eoin G. Harty 8-1
5 Sugary Santiago Gonzalez 121 Martin F. Jones 8-1
6 Phantom Opening Julien Leparoux 119 Brian A. Lynch 6-1
7 Tweeting Gary Stevens 119 William Spawr 3-1
8 Cash Prize Joseph Talamo 119 Brian J. Koriner 20-1
9 Utana Tyler Baze 121 John A. Shirreffs 20-1


6½ Furlongs. Purse: $52,000. Maiden Special Weight. 3 year olds and up.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Sigur Ros Tyler Baze 120 Carla Gaines 8-1
2 Pure Pursuit Victor Espinoza 120 John W. Sadler 5-2
3 Dodgertown Martin Garcia 122 Scott Hansen 12-1
4 Momma's Baby Boy Joel Rosario 120 Jerry Hollendorfer 4-1
5 Emphatic Flavien Prat 122 Peter Eurton 3-1
6 Boogalute Drayden Van Dyke 120 Mike Puype 20-1
7 Lighthouse Point Kent Desormeaux 120 Robert B. Hess, Jr. 6-1
8 Steely Resolve Mario Gutierrez 120 Doug F. O'Neill 9-2


1 Mile Turf. Purse: $75,000. 'Let It Ride Stakes'. 3 year olds.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Van Cortlandt Stewart Elliott 118 Vladimir Cerin 10-1
2 Holiday Stone Flavien Prat 118 George Weaver 3-1
3 Kitten's Cat Julien Leparoux 120 Michael J. Maker 7-2
4 Dangerfield Kyle Frey 118 Doug F. O'Neill 15-1
5 Harbour Master Kent Desormeaux 118 James M. Cassidy 7-2
6 Master Merion John Velazquez 122 Wesley A. Ward 5-2
7 Monydontspenitself Rafael Bejarano 118 Mark Glatt 10-1
8 Curly's Waterfront Edwin Maldonado 118 Reed Saldana 20-1


6 Furlongs. Purse: $53,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $20,000.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Candy Ruler Drayden Van Dyke 119 Mark Glatt 20-1
2 Meet and Greet Evin Roman 114 Philip D'Amato 3-1
3 Be a Lady Brayan Pena 124 Antonio Garcia 20-1 20,000
4 Dreamy Gal Tyler Baze 119 Jeff Mullins 7-2
5 Jenna's Faith Flavien Prat 124 William E. Morey 6-1 20,000
6 Red Stich Joseph Talamo 121 Kristin Mulhall 8-1
7 Haveiture Way Martin Pedroza 124 J. Eric Kruljac 15-1 20,000
8 Princess Kendra Edwin Maldonado 124 Reed Saldana 12-1 20,000
9 Pied N True Tiago Pereira 121 Matthew Chew 8-1
10 Gotham Desire Rafael Bejarano 119 Ed Moger, Jr. 5-1


1 Mile Turf. Purse: $52,000. Maiden Special Weight. 2 year olds.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Channel Crossing Drayden Van Dyke 120 Jerry Hollendorfer 8-1
2 Formal Dude Joseph Talamo 120 Philip D'Amato 8-1
3 Choo Choo Flavien Prat 120 Jerry Hollendorfer 6-1
4 Martin Riggs Gary Stevens 120 Mark Glatt 8-1
5 Knight Disruptor Evin Roman 115 Neil D. Drysdale 8-1
6 Big Buzz Corey Nakatani 120 Tim Yakteen 9-2
7 Sandbed Norberto Arroyo, Jr. 120 Clifford W. Sise, Jr. 12-1
8 Arch Anthem Tyler Baze 120 Richard E. Mandella 6-1
9 Dark Vader Rafael Bejarano 120 Peter Eurton 12-1
10 Kazan Lanfranco Dettori 120 Simon Callaghan 7-2

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