Racing! Readers weigh in on the sound of the racetrack


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 One can’t make out the call of the races because the audio system is obsolete.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.”

Hank Foresta

(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.”

Bruce Graybiel


“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.”

Robert Williams


“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.”

Hank Ortiz


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.

Final thought

Still looking to jump the circulation of this newsletter. Can’t beat the price. 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 my new address or feed my ego by following me on Twitter @jcherwa

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.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Lucky PegasusJuan Ochoa122Sal Gonzalez10-132,000
2Handsome SwedeTyler Conner122Michael Machowsky5-132,000
3Getin GreadyBrandon Boulanger120Jose G. Hernandez10-128,000
4Walk On WaterEvin Roman115Steven Miyadi5-228,000
5American CurrencyTyler Baze122Eddie Truman8-532,000
6Get Em Up ScoutGeovanni Franco122Steven Miyadi3-132,000


1 1/16 Mile. Purse: $17,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $12,500-$10,500.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Roman TizzyEvin Roman114Vladimir Cerin3-110,500
2UcanthankmelaterDrayden Van Dyke119Jeffrey Metz7-212,500
3El SuperTyler Baze121Kristin Mulhall2-112,500
4LindanteSasha Risenhoover121Gary Stute5-112,500
5Tasunke WitcoTiago Pereira121Steve Knapp5-212,500


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $32,000. Claiming. Fillies. 3 year olds. Claiming Prices $40,000-$35,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Sly HumorKent Desormeaux120Vladimir Cerin5-240,000
2BetdesilvergoldTyler Conner120Tim Yakteen5-140,000
3Freedom JourneyTyler Baze122Hector O. Palma5-240,000
4Resilient HumorSantiago Gonzalez120Jesus Mendoza15-140,000
5Moon KittyEvin Roman113Peter Miller2-135,000
6Adios CaliTiago Pereira120Steve Knapp6-140,000


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $21,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $20,000-$18,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Miss BlissTiago Pereira122Ed Moger, Jr.10-120,000
2Rizzi's HonorsTyler Baze122Mark Glatt7-220,000
3DissensionStewart Elliott122Peter Miller3-120,000
4PicaEvin Roman119Eddie Truman5-220,000
5Sally SimpsonEdwin Maldonado120Patricia Harrington5-120,000
6Devil's BeautyGeovanni Franco124Steven Miyadi5-120,000
7Back BeautyVinnie Bednar122Elmer January10-118,000


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $21,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $50,000-$40,000. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1King DariusVinnie Bednar118Jesus Nunez15-140,000
2Royal RebelGeovanni Franco120J. Buenaventura Vargas12-140,000
3Am I BlueEdgar Payeras114Mike Harrington10-150,000
4SawbuckEvin Roman117John W. Sadler5-250,000
5Bob's Bad BoyStewart Elliott122Mike Harrington4-150,000
6Anziyan CatRuben Fuentes115Javier Jose Sierra20-150,000
7Path of ExileIgnacio Puglisi122Michael W. McCarthy5-150,000
8GosofarBrayan Pena124Adam Kitchingman9-550,000


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $40,000. Maiden Special Weight. 2 year olds. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Bright Autism MindSantiago Gonzalez122Marcia Stortz15-1
2Our Tiger's BoyAlonso Quinonez122Jeff Bonde9-2
3Raven CreekTyler Baze122Jeff Mullins3-1
4ShayminMario Gutierrez122Ben D. A. Cecil20-1
5Fire When ReadyEdwin Maldonado122Patricia Harrington8-1
6Tiger MarkGeovanni Franco122William E. Morey8-1
7Heck YeahDrayden Van Dyke122Bob Baffert7-2
8Jump the TracksKyle Frey122Jeff Mullins8-1
9Sunrise JourneyRafael Bejarano122Andy Mathis6-1
10Yes I'm ReadyStewart Elliott122Art Sherman12-1


1 Mile. Purse: $45,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $40,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Got EvenEvin Roman119Peter Miller7-240,000
2Sheer FlatteryMike Smith120Jerry Hollendorfer5-2
3Mr. OpportunistEdwin Maldonado122Craig Dollase10-140,000
4Image of JoplinDrayden Van Dyke124William Spawr4-140,000
5Friendly OutthedorRuben Fuentes115Peter Eurton20-1
6DonworthRafael Bejarano122Peter Miller4-140,000
7AdornedTyler Baze120Eddie Truman20-1
8Lucky J LaneTiago Pereira122Steve Knapp9-240,000


1 Mile. Purse: $40,000. Maiden Special Weight. Fillies. 2 year olds.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1JohanssonSantiago Gonzalez122Scott Hansen6-1
2Turing MachineStewart Elliott122Ben D. A. Cecil12-1
3Thirteen SquaredTyler Baze122Bob Baffert6-1
4Dr. AnnKyle Frey122Doug F. O'Neill8-1
5Two Steps FasterTyler Conner122Jerry Hollendorfer12-1
6Summer's IndyDrayden Van Dyke122Philip D'Amato3-1
7Mischievious LassEvin Roman117Jerry Hollendorfer6-1
8Dancing BelleKent Desormeaux122J. Keith Desormeaux5-2
9Mandy's GraceMario Gutierrez122Doug F. O'Neill12-1