Racing! The Pegasus is starting to form a clearer picture
Hello, my name is John Cherwa, and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter as we welcome a new feature to the newsletter.
You’ve asked for it, and now you’ve got a small taste of it. Our Northern California readers have been asking for Golden Gate news in this newsletter. It’s not a lot, but we’ll be doing a brief weekend preview once a week, much like we do for Los Alamitos quarter horses. So just scroll down and you’ll find it.
On to the big race.
The post-position draw for the Pegasus World Cup did its best to create a little more interest for a race that most have already conceded to presumptive Eclipse Horse of the Year Gun Runner.
Now, we’re not at all saying the post position draw had the validity of a World Cup draw run by the disgraced Sepp Blatter. But, Gulfstream and Stronach officials had to be quietly delighted when the horse drew the 10, not the worst but not what the horse’s connections hoped.
The reason is it’s a very short run to the first turn at the distance of 1 1/8 miles. It’s just the way the course was constructed. Only thing you could do to fix it would have been to make the race 1 3/16 miles. Why didn’t they? Who knows.
Anyway, what it does is make Gun Runner a 4-5 favorite instead of 3-5 if he had drawn the 3-7 posts.
Here’s the lineup, with trainer, jockey and morning-line odds:
- Singing Bullet, Dale Romans, Robby Albarado, 30-1
- West Coast, Bob Baffert, Javier Castellano, 8-1
- Stellar Wind, Chad Brown, Joel Rosario, 30-1
- Sharp Azteca, Jorge Navarro, Irad Ortiz Jr., 6-1
- Collected, Bob Baffert, Mike Smith, 8-1
- Gunnevera, Antonio Sano, Luis Saez, 15-1
- Fear the Cowboy, Efren Loza Jr., Tyler Gaffalione, 30-1
- War Story, Jorge Navarro, Jose Ortiz, 25-1
- Toast of New York, Jamie Osborne, Frankie Dettori, 20-1
- Gun Runner, Steve Asmussen, Florent Geroux, 4-5
- Seeking the Soul, Dallas Stewart, John Velazquez, 25-1
- Giant Expectations, Peter Eurton, Gary Stevens, 30-1
Now, there is every expectation that Gun Runner can overcome his post. The 6-9 posts do not have a lot of early speed, meaning a little encouragement from jockey Florent Geroux could easily have the horse no worse than sixth entering the first turn. In fact, Gun Runner may even be closer, since he is comfortable being on or near the lead.
The speed should come from Sharp Azteca and Collected, who will be breaking next to each other in the 4 and 5. What happens after that will have to happen in a hurry as the turn approaches.
Bob Baffert, who is returning to the country after accepting the World’s Best Racehorse Award in London on behalf of Arrogate, is likely pleased with the draw of Collected and while West Coast being in the 2 isn’t ideal, it’s a lot better than many other posts. He generally doesn’t break on top but can be comfortable stalking.
The other Southern California horse is Giant Expectations, winner of the San Antonio at Santa Anita on Dec. 26. He generally does not hustle out of the gate, although he did that in the five-horse San Antonio. But from the 12 he’ll be running a race longer than most other horses unless he’s immediately taken back and brought to the rail.
The race is designed so that about four connections make money, four of them break even and four lose money. By that design here’s our guesses. Any of you who view this as any form of handicapping are strongly encouraged to ignore.
Winners: Gunnevera, Gun Runner, Sharp Azteca, West Coast.
Break even: Collected, Seeking the Soul, Stellar Wind, War Strong.
Losers: Fear The Cowboy, Giant Expectations, Singing Bullet, Toast Of New York.
The results are announced tonight starting around 5 PST. Last year the program was on the NBC Sports Network (that’s the minor one, not the big boy) but tonight it’s on TVG. Thanks to TVG for stepping up, but if NBC really has a commitment to racing, couldn’t they pick a West Coast hockey game to show after the Eclipse rather than showing an East Coast game during it? I mean is a Blackhawks-Red Wings regular-season game that important? Or is racing’s awards show that unimportant?
Santa Anita preview
It’s an eight-race card starting at 1 p.m. There are three turf races, the third, sixth and eighth. But the story we’ll be watching will be the field sizes. Last week things started to go, shall we say, to the slightly thinner side. Thursday’s card isn’t too bad with a average field size of 8.1. Here are the numbers, in order, 7, 6, 9, 7, 11, 9, 6 10. That’s OK for a Thursday, especially before a big Cal Cup Saturday.
The feature is the sixth, 6½ furlongs down the hillside turf course. It’s an allowance/optional claimer (only one has a for sale sign on her) for fillies and mares 4 and up. The purse is $58,000.
Now, apologies if we fixate on these numbers over the growing weeks. We would much rather it not to be a factor. But if fields aren’t filling, and if the track has to cancel a race card, much like they did a few times last year, a three-day racing week is back on the table. Stay tuned.
Golden Gate preview
Like we mentioned above, we’re adding a weekend preview of the best racing at Golden Gate on the start of each racing week. Sparing no expense — and the operative phrase here is no expense — we enlisted the help of their new race caller and all-around good guy Matt Dinerman. Now, the fact that I have clothes older than Matt shouldn’t diminish my confidence in his vast racing knowledge. He knows his stuff. So take it away, Matt.
“To kick things off, we’ll quickly recap last Saturday’s $100,000 California Derby. Choo Choo, who went off at even money, won for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, jockey Juan Hernandez and owner-breeder Calumet Farm. He came out of the race in good shape, according to assistant trainer Juan Arriaga, and may show up next in the El Camino Real Derby on Feb. 17. That said, no plans are certain. Hollendorfer has owned this race in recent years. The 71-year-old horseman has won eight of the last 12 runnings of this Derby.
“Cal Cup Day is this Saturday at Santa Anita and Golden Gate is represented in the Cal Cup Turf Sprint with two runners from the Andy Mathis barn. Vutszak, in post 4, broke his maiden at Golden Gate two starts ago before finishing off the board in his first start against winners, the Golden Nugget Stakes, won by Southern California shipper Runaway Ghost. The other Mathis entrant, Sunrise Journey, smoked maiden special weight competition at GGF on Jan. 1. The third and sixth place finishers in that race came back to complete the exacta in a maiden special weight event this past Sunday.
“Sunrise Journey drew post 10 of 13. Country Road, another Golden Gate runner, is entered to run in the Cal Cup Sprint on Saturday for trainer John Martin, but he may scratch. He is also entered in an allowance race at Golden Gate. My guess is he stays home and runs in the allowance, which will be much easier than shipping and running against the likes of Edwards Going Left and Masochistic.
“The racing week starts Thursday with a seven-race card. The feature on Friday is an allowance event for older sprinters. The trio of runners to beat are Country Road, Southern California allowance winner Junior Gilliam and Castle, a well-regarded Cal-bred colt by Slew’s Tiznow, who comes off a big win against maiden special weight company on Dec. 9. Saturday’s program will have a 12:30 p.m. post led by a solid allowance race for older fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles. The main contenders include recent allowance winner Please Do and Nicarra, who is owned and trained by So Cal connections DP Racing and James Cassidy.”
Bob Ike’s SA play of the day
SIXTH RACE: No. 5 Spin Me a Kiss (3-1)
Filly from Phil D'Amato stable has been freshened for nearly three months but appears to be training well for her return and likes the downhill turf course (one win, two seconds and one third from four starts). She has good tactical speed to set the pace or lay right off and gets a big rider switch to Corey Nakatani. She figures to fire a big shot as the likely favorite, with potential exacta partners hailing from the Richard Mandella barn (Blame It On Alphie and Greta G).
Sunday’s Result: Forbidden Command did not transfer her form to turf and stopped badly.
Bob Ike is a Partner/VP of Horsebills.com and the proprietor of BobIkePicks.com (full-card picks, 3 Best Plays and betting strategy).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or feed my ego by following me on Twitter @jcherwa
And now the star of the show, Thursday’s entries.
Santa Anita Entries for Thursday, January 25.
Santa Anita, Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, California. 17th day of a 59-day meet.
1 Mile. Purse: $16,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $12,500.
|1||Blondy's Reward||Ruben Fuentes||123||Paula S. Capestro||4-1||12,500|
|2||Dixie Crystal||Tiago Pereira||123||Marcelo Polanco||12-1||12,500|
|3||Reinahermosa||Efrain Hernandez||123||Ricardo Zamora||20-1||12,500|
|4||Lovely Linda||Tyler Conner||123||Eoin G. Harty||5-2||12,500|
|5||Yaffe||Kyle Frey||123||Jeff Mullins||4-5||12,500|
|6||Tizno's Dilemma||Brayan Pena||123||Sean McCarthy||6-1||12,500|
|7||It's Not So Easy||Geovanni Franco||123||Steven Miyadi||8-1||12,500|
5½ Furlongs. Purse: $29,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds. Claiming Prices $50,000-$40,000.
|1||Charming Gent||Tiago Pereira||122||Jack Carava||4-1||50,000|
|2||Gray Admiral||Ruben Fuentes||122||Victor L. Garcia||8-1||50,000|
|3||Sharon's Fury||Tyler Conner||122||Jeff Bonde||6-1||50,000|
|4||Joejoe's Kingdom||Drayden Van Dyke||122||Craig Anthony Lewis||7-2||50,000|
|5||Alternate Rhythm||Martin Pedroza||122||Jeff Mullins||5-2||50,000|
|6||Honeymoonz Over||Kyle Frey||122||Doug F. O'Neill||2-1||50,000|
1 Mile Turf. Purse: $28,000. Claiming. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $32,000.
|1||Clever Royal||Geovanni Franco||123||David Jacobson||6-1||32,000|
|2||Crown the Kitten||Kent Desormeaux||123||J. Keith Desormeaux||3-1||32,000|
|3||Bourbon Soul||Tyler Baze||123||Jeff Mullins||8-1||32,000|
|4||Buymeabond||Tiago Pereira||123||Jack Carava||15-1||32,000|
|5||Pound Piece||Brice Blanc||123||Patrick Gallagher||15-1||32,000|
|6||Preacher Roe||Stewart Elliott||123||Mike Puype||6-1||32,000|
|7||Conquest Daddyo||Flavien Prat||123||John W. Sadler||6-1||32,000|
|8||Street Moxie||Santiago Gonzalez||123||Jonathan Wong||7-2||32,000|
|9||Southern Freedom||Rafael Bejarano||123||Jerry Hollendorfer||5-1||32,000|
1 Mile. Purse: $54,000. Maiden Special Weight. Fillies. 3 year olds.
|1||Tea for Tam||Victor Espinoza||122||John A. Shirreffs||8-1|
|2||Mapit||Mario Gutierrez||122||Jerry Hollendorfer||6-1|
|3||Dancing Belle||Kent Desormeaux||122||J. Keith Desormeaux||9-5|
|4||Secret Causeway||Santiago Gonzalez||122||Dan L. Hendricks||20-1|
|5||Two Steps Faster||Tyler Conner||122||Jerry Hollendorfer||5-2|
|6||Candy Coated World||Edgar Payeras||115||Ruben Gomez||30-1|
|7||Tequila Sunrise||Rafael Bejarano||122||Richard Baltas||2-1|
5½ Furlongs. Purse: $18,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $20,000.
|1||Shining Armada||Ruben Fuentes||122||Paul G. Aguirre||4-1||20,000|
|2||Saddle Club||Saul Arias||122||Clifford W. Sise, Jr.||15-1||20,000|
|3||Feeling the Heat||Matt Garcia||122||Manuel Calvario||15-1||20,000|
|4||Outa Here||Tyler Baze||122||Jeffrey Metz||6-1||20,000|
|5||Angela's Rose||Brayan Pena||122||Sal Gonzalez||15-1||20,000|
|6||Crimsoned N Clover||Kyle Frey||122||Mark Rheinford||6-1||20,000|
|7||Molinita||Santiago Gonzalez||122||Jorge Gutierrez||30-1||20,000|
|8||Dressed in Prada||Alonso Quinonez||122||Lloyd C. Wicker||7-2||20,000|
|9||Our Bright Star||Cesar Franco||115||G. F. Almeida||30-1||20,000|
|10||Yalla||Tiago Pereira||122||Alfredo Marquez||6-1||20,000|
|11||Topaz Time||Joseph Talamo||122||Matthew Chew||4-1||20,000|
About 6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $58,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $62,500.
|1||Blame It On Alphie||Drayden Van Dyke||122||Richard E. Mandella||6-1|
|2||Miss Southern Miss||Kent Desormeaux||122||J. Keith Desormeaux||6-1|
|3||Zaffinah||Rafael Bejarano||122||Jack Carava||10-1|
|4||Mistressofthenight||Victor Espinoza||122||Richard Baltas||15-1|
|5||Spin Me a Kiss||Corey Nakatani||124||Philip D'Amato||3-1|
|6||Lake Time||Joseph Talamo||122||J. Eric Kruljac||6-1|
|7||Snow Cloud||Tiago Pereira||124||James M. Cassidy||15-1||62,500|
|8||Greta G||Flavien Prat||122||Richard E. Mandella||7-2|
|9||Angel Allie||Tyler Baze||122||Mark Glatt||9-2|
6½ Furlongs. Purse: $30,000. Starter Optional Claiming. Fillies. 3 year olds. Claiming Price $40,000.
|1||Line Drive||Kyle Frey||121||Doug F. O'Neill||6-5|
|2||Sugaratsundown||Ruben Fuentes||121||Antonio Garcia||30-1||40,000|
|3||Kiss of Dahpespe||Joseph Talamo||121||Gary Sherlock||3-1|
|4||Uno Trouble Maker||Flavien Prat||121||Peter Miller||5-2|
|5||Fracas||Rafael Bejarano||123||Alfredo Marquez||9-2||40,000|
|6||La Chepis||Saul Arias||121||J. Keith Desormeaux||10-1|
About 6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $30,000. Starter Allowance. Fillies and Mares. 4 year olds and up.
|1||Party Hostess||Mario Gutierrez||121||Jerry Hollendorfer||6-1|
|2||Tiffany Diamond||Geovanni Franco||121||Michael Machowsky||15-1|
|3||Coalinga Hills||Santiago Gonzalez||121||Martin F. Jones||8-1|
|4||Looking At Thelake||Rafael Bejarano||121||John W. Sadler||4-1|
|5||Chay Up and Away||Ignacio Puglisi||121||Paul G. Aguirre||12-1|
|6||Resilient Humor||Martin Pedroza||123||Jack Carava||6-1|
|7||Khaleesi||Tiago Pereira||123||Michael Machowsky||7-2|
|8||Pirate Flag||Brice Blanc||121||Clifford W. Sise, Jr.||30-1|
|9||Lori's Attitude||Tyler Baze||123||Carla Gaines||5-1|
|10||Midnight Swinger||Kyle Frey||121||Doug F. O'Neill||6-1|
Get our high school sports newsletter
Prep Rally is devoted to the SoCal high school sports experience, bringing you scores, stories and a behind-the-scenes look at what makes prep sports so popular.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.