Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter as we give you a notebook of odds and ends.
Let’s catch up on a few things since the last time we talked.
--Javier Castellano flew west to work Bolt D’Oro earlier this week in anticipation of next week’s start in the San Felipe at Santa Anita. The San Felipe should be great race and start to separate who is the West Coast favorite for the Derby. Jay Privman of the Daily Racing Form tells you more about it here.
--Justify turned a lot of heads with his debut performance, winning by 9 ½ lengths and a 104 Beyer speed figure. Trainer Bob Baffert even talked about getting him ready for the Derby. His next race might be the Sunland Derby. Bill Finley of the Thoroughbred Daily News makes the case that Justify shouldn’t be rushed. You can read his commentary here.
--In what could be a very interesting breeding, Songbird and Arrogate met in the breeding shed at Juddmonte Farm the other day. Things went well. They were both at their racing peak about the same time, not that it means anything. But both the connections of the stallion and mare seem excited. Read more about it here in the Paulick Report.
--Veteran jockey Jose Ferrer won the George Wolf Memorial Jockey Award in a vote of his peers. The annual award is for a jockey who is both a great rider and an all-around good person. Also nominated were Alex Birzer, Javier Castellano, Rodney Prescott and Joe Talamo. Here’s Santa Anita’s press release on it.
--There’s a new Kentucky Derby media poll out, this one by Horse Racing Nation. It’s assembled by Jonathan Lintner, who used to be the turf writer at the Louisville Courier-Journal. The poll was originally started by Jennie Rees, the legendary turf writer at the C-J and occasional contributor to this newsletter. No real surprises at the top, but take a look here. (Note: Of course, we recognize the weekly Top 10 by Jon White as the official poll of this newsletter. But this poll is good for discussion.)
A handicapping postscript
One of our handicapping gurus, Rob Henie, wanted to point out this little play of his from last Saturday’s card at Santa Anita. Rob, of course, is the author of the WCHR (West Coast Handicapping Report) and the ECHR (East Coast Handicapping Report).
The play is called backing a runner first time off a voided claim. This was the second race at Santa Anita. So, let’s put this one in reverse and see Rob’s thinking in this excerpt.
“This is a $16,000 claimer at a mile. Top selection is ROSIE MY ROSIE (#5). First off, we’ll start with the unwritten rule, okay, we invented this train of thought, but DO believe it to be true, and that is, when a trainer has a claim voided, he brings the horse back to his barn, gets the horse right, and next time out comes back with a good effort. Why is this? I truly think it’s a matter of not wanting to be known as a trainer who’s sending out a sore horse, thus the desire to return with a strong effort. Following the freshening, Bob Hess returns this one at a lower level, with the understanding some trainers simply won’t wanna claim a horse who was voided last time out, especially with the further drop muddling the picture. A good effort is likely.”
Rosie My Rosie won the race and returned $5.60 to win.
Santa Anita starts its penultimate week of 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. posts before moving them back as Daylight Savings Time arrives. Thursday, with a 1 p.m. post, has the usual weekday card of eight races, three of them on the turf.
You could claim a horse out of all of the races, although the second race, an allowance/optional claiming, has only one of the five horses with a tag. It’s the feature of the day for 3-year-old fillies going 7 furlongs. The purse is $56,000.
The field sizes are OK, and, in order: 9 (1 also eligible), 5, 6, 8, 9, 6, 9, 9 (1AE). The first, fifth and eighth are on the grass.
Golden Gate weekend preview
Now a look at the best racing coming up at Golden Gate. New race caller and all-around good guy Matt Dinerman is our host to previews and other musings. So, take it away, Matt.
“Two weeks ago we saw jockey Billy Antongeorgi III pick up his 1,000th career win. This past week, Francisco Duran won for the 1,500th time aboard Declassified on Friday. Francisco, well liked among the Bay Area racing community, has been riding since 2001. Well done, Francisco!
“Last week, first post was moved from 12:45 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. This week, it’s back to 12:45 p.m., with four racing days scheduled. The forecast calls for rain on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, but it’s the “all-weather” Tapeta here. Due to the all-weather surface, there are no “off-tracks” and rarely are there scratches related to the surface.
“Looking at the entries, I noticed we have a pretty competitive card Saturday. Two races catch my eye. The first leg of the Golden Pick 6 wager, the fourth race is a maiden special weight event for 3-year-old fillies. Among the list of entries is Swak, a daughter of Scat Daddy shipping up north from the Richard Mandella barn. Swak was purchased for $320,000 as a yearling and is owned by LNJ Foxwoods. Also entered is A Walk in the Park, a filly I like quite a bit. A Walk in the Park had fast workouts leading up to her career debut earlier this month for Ed Moger Jr., a trainer who doesn’t often work his horses quickly. Those AM drills told me this filly had some early speed and probably some talent, too. She ended up showing that projected speed, heading to the lead from the opening of the gate, but was on the inside of a speed duel, tired in the final furlong and wound up fourth. Second time out she gets a good outside draw and now she has a race under her belt, which means she could be more fit this time around. She is my best bet of the day.
“The last of nine races on the Saturday card is a nine-horse allowance race for older colts and geldings going a mile. Among the main contenders is talented Cal-bred Castle and speedy gelding River of Champagne.
“Nominations close for the biggest race of the Winter/Spring meet, the San Francisco Mile, on March 22. It’s a Grade 3 event for 4 year olds and upward, has an increased purse of $200,000 and will be run on Saturday, March 31.”
Bob Ike’s SA play of the day
FIFTH RACE: No. 7 Candy Ruler (3-1)
Filly from Mark Glatt barn takes a big class drop into this restricted claimer (non-winners of two lifetime) after competing against stronger Cal-bred allowance runners. She is drawn well outside, switches to Hall of Famer Kent Desormeaux and figures to get an ideal stalking trip off the two-month layoff. “Single” in all horizontal wagers.
Sunday Result: Particleacelerator (first race) made his anticipated clear lead but jumped the dirt crossing and lost his action before fading in the lane. Let's call the effort inconclusive.
Bob Ike is a Partner/VP of Horsebills.com (here’s a video) and the proprietor of BobIkePicks.com (full-card picks, 3 Best Plays and betting strategy).
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And now the star of the show, Thursday’s entries.
Santa Anita Entries for Thursday, March 1.
Santa Anita, Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, California. 37th day of a 59-day meet.
1 Mile Turf. Purse: $29,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $50,000-$40,000.
|1||Swallows Inn Gal||Vinnie Bednar||118||Robert J. Lucas||30-1||40,000|
|2||Flammetta||Alonso Quinonez||120||Richard Baltas||5-1||50,000|
|3||Baby Beauty||Fernandez Rojas||120||Rafael DeLeon||30-1||50,000|
|4||Turing Machine||Mario Gutierrez||120||Ben D. A. Cecil||6-1||50,000|
|5||Pure Sugar||Kyle Frey||118||Mike Puype||15-1||40,000|
|6||On a Toot||Barrington Harvey||124||Kenneth E. Nettles||30-1||40,000|
|7||Unlucky Hillary||Stewart Elliott||126||Mick Ruis||3-1||50,000|
|8||Brandon's Law||Franklin Ceballos||115||Vladimir Cerin||4-1||50,000|
|9||Tell Me More||Corey Nakatani||126||Peter Miller||8-5||50,000|
|10||Grace Hopper||Maria Falgione||114||Thomas Ray Bell, II||30-1||40,000|
7 Furlongs. Purse: $56,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. Fillies. 3 year olds. Claiming Price $75,000.
|1||Cognitive||Drayden Van Dyke||122||Bob Baffert||8-5|| |
|2||Fracas||Rafael Bejarano||120||Craig Dollase||8-1||75,000|
|3||First Dudette||Rajiv Maragh||122||Brian J. Koriner||6-1|| |
|4||Poetic||Mike Smith||122||Richard E. Mandella||5-2|| |
|5||Emboldened||Joseph Talamo||122||Bob Baffert||9-5|| |
6½ Furlongs. Purse: $21,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds. Claiming Price $30,000.
|1||Bourbon Dude||Rajiv Maragh||122||Dan Blacker||4-1||30,000|
|2||Infuriated Gary||Brayan Pena||122||Philip D'Amato||6-1||30,000|
|3||Your Grace||Felipe Martinez||122||Louis A. Bradvica||4-1||30,000|
|4||The Italian||Franklin Ceballos||117||Mick Ruis||3-1||30,000|
|5||Fabrication||Tyler Baze||122||Kristin Mulhall||5-2||30,000|
|6||Sharon's Fury||Edwin Maldonado||122||Jeff Bonde||4-1||30,000|
5 Furlongs. Purse: $18,000. Maiden Claiming. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $20,000.
|1||Milhaud||Flavien Prat||122||Richard E. Mandella||5-2||20,000|
|2||Life's Way||Mario Gutierrez||122||Patrick Gallagher||12-1||20,000|
|3||Awesome E K||Brayan Pena||122||George Papaprodromou||6-1||20,000|
|4||Sonic Boy||Vinnie Bednar||122||Robert J. Lucas||30-1||20,000|
|5||Pure Pursuit||Geovanni Franco||122||John W. Sadler||6-1||20,000|
|6||Capes Hot Rocket||Edwin Maldonado||122||Vladimir Cerin||4-1||20,000|
|7||Contento||Cesar Franco||115||Javier Jose Sierra||20-1||20,000|
|8||Towards the Light||Evin Roman||117||Philip D'Amato||8-5||20,000|
About 6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $33,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $40,000.
|1||Paddy Jean||Joseph Talamo||123||Vann Belvoir||9-2||40,000|
|2||Briartic Gal||Tyler Baze||123||Melissa Saldana||12-1||40,000|
|3||Zero Zee||Flavien Prat||123||Philip D'Amato||7-2||40,000|
|4||Lori's Attitude||Evin Roman||118||Carla Gaines||9-2||40,000|
|5||Tiffany Diamond||Geovanni Franco||123||Michael Machowsky||6-1||40,000|
|6||No Comparison||Alonso Quinonez||123||Kenneth D. Black||10-1||40,000|
|7||Candy Ruler||Kent Desormeaux||123||Mark Glatt||3-1||40,000|
|8||Looking At Thelake||Rafael Bejarano||123||John W. Sadler||10-1||40,000|
|9||Coalinga Hills||Santiago Gonzalez||123||Martin F. Jones||6-1||40,000|
6½ Furlongs. Purse: $29,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $25,000-$22,500.
|1||Scathing||Kent Desormeaux||121||Vladimir Cerin||9-2||25,000|
|2||Princess Kendra||Ruben Fuentes||119||Reed Saldana||12-1||22,500|
|3||Parasail||Joseph Talamo||121||Blake R. Heap||6-1|| |
|4||Sturdy One||Tyler Conner||121||Ian Kruljac||5-2||25,000|
|5||Pica||Rafael Bejarano||121||Eddie Truman||5-2||25,000|
|6||Wedding Blush||Evin Roman||116||Jerry Hollendorfer||2-1||25,000|
1 1/16 Mile. Purse: $16,000. Claiming. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $12,500.
|1||Reverend Al||Ruben Fuentes||123||Blake R. Heap||10-1||12,500|
|2||Big Day Tomorrow||Evin Roman||118||Blake R. Heap||9-2||12,500|
|3||Moonlight Blue||Franklin Ceballos||118||Vladimir Cerin||7-2||12,500|
|4||Moonman||Santiago Gonzalez||123||J. Keith Desormeaux||12-1||12,500|
|5||Super Echelon||Geovanni Franco||123||Craig Anthony Lewis||6-1||12,500|
|6||Squared Squared||Asa Espinoza||113||John W. Sadler||12-1||12,500|
|7||Dominant Don||Joseph Talamo||123||John W. Sadler||3-1||12,500|
|8||Yo La Tengo||Cesar Franco||116||Charles S. Treece||15-1||12,500|
|9||Seau||Tyler Conner||123||Jerry Hollendorfer||4-1||12,500|
1 Mile Turf. Purse: $29,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $50,000-$40,000.
|1||Tim's Girl||Santiago Gonzalez||126||Philip D'Amato||9-2||50,000|
|2||Cee Sam's Girl||Rajiv Maragh||120||George Papaprodromou||6-1||50,000|
|3||Christmas Carol||Rafael Bejarano||126||Richard Baltas||7-2||50,000|
|4||Topaz Time||Alonso Quinonez||124||Matthew Chew||15-1||40,000|
|5||Silverado Mist||Edwin Maldonado||120||Ryan Hanson||5-1||50,000|
|6||Majestic Design||Franklin Ceballos||121||Richard Baltas||30-1||50,000|
|7||Bee Sweet||Tyler Baze||126||Neil D. Drysdale||5-2||50,000|
|8||All Net||Geovanni Franco||120||David Jacobson||4-1||50,000|
|9||Sunset Melody||Tiago Pereira||118||Marcia Stortz||50-1||40,000|
|10||Feeling the Heat||Asa Espinoza||114||Manuel Calvario||30-1||40,000|