Racing! Can’t wait for Saturday’s showdown

Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter as we float an idea that will never happen.

The countdown begins to Saturday, the best day of racing this year at Santa Anita. It’s not hyperbole when I say this is a fantastic card. If you love great racing with legitimate stars, this is your day.

The main event is not the storied Santa Anita Handicap but the 3-year-old Kentucky Derby prep, the San Felipe. And it has star power. Bolt D’Oro, from the barn of Mick Ruis, and McKinzie, trained by Bob Baffert, are 1-2 in almost every Derby poll.

The race was elevated even more when Good Magic, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and former No. 1 ranked, turned in a lackluster race and finished third in the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream last weekend.

Since the foundation of the sport is based on gambling, this weekend offers you the third of four installments of the Kentucky Derby Futures pool. Bolt D’Oro is listed at 6-1 and McKinzie is 8-1. You can look at those like morning-line odds, but two months early.

The odds you will actually receive will be determined when the pool closes Sunday at 3 p.m. PDT. (It opens on Friday at 9 a.m., PST) So, why oh why, would anyone place their bet before seeing the San Felipe? (Or Gotham or Tampa Bay Derby, for that matter?) It’s pretty much guaranteed that neither Bolt D’Oro nor McKinzie will be close to their projected odds unless they run stride-for-stride across the finish line in a photo.

But wouldn’t it be fun if you could do it like the British bookmakers do at the track, where you get the odds given when you make the bet? It would eliminate the grumbling that goes on when your 2-1 at post, ends up 4-5 halfway through the race when all the off-track and ADW wagering is counted in the pools. Most of all, though, is it would allow some significant betting numbers because people would be trying to grab a huge overlay price on whomever goes on to win the prep.

Providing the technology is there (note to tracks: don’t hire the people who do photo finishes) it would make running a race track a lot more risky (as if there isn’t enough already). Or it could make it even more profitable.

It would create utter chaos and most betting would have to be turned over to hand-held or tablet devices. It would be like buying on Ticketmaster: “You have 60 seconds to complete this transaction.”

Sort of like a game of Uber, trying to avoid the surge pricing and getting the best deal.

It's doubtful we’ll ever see that at a track in the U.S., although that concept is what happens when you play non-pari-mutuel sports in Las Vegas. But if you were to try this experiment, wouldn’t the future pools be a good place to experiment? After all, it is kind of a sucker bet. Let’s see, how about making a bet on a horse, months in advance, before knowing if they will even run? Hmmmm.

Time to shut down that dream and take a look at the projected starting odds going into Future Pool 3.

6-1: Bolt D’Oro, all horses not listed

8-1: Audible, McKinzie, Promises Fulfilled

15-1: Free Drop Billy, Good Magic, Justify (off one race), Solomini, Strike Power

20-1: Kanthaka

30-1: Bravazo, Catholic Boy, Flameaway, Gold Town, Instilled Regard, Magnum Moon, Mendelssohn, My Boy Jack, Sporting Chance

50-1: Combatant, Noble Indy, Vino Rosso

Santa Anita preview

It’s funny how expectations can warp your sensibilities. After Sunday’s terrible card, I was braced for the worst on Thursday. Instead, it’s a pretty robust slate of races with three on turf and decent-sized fields except in the second, where the track always puts its low-sized fields.

Granted, four of eight races, starting at 1 p.m., are for maidens, but it’s a Thursday. Cut ’em a break. Five of the races are at 1 1/16 miles. Three of the races have purses at $54,000 or greater. The turf races are the first, fifth and eighth.

Here are the field sizes, in order: 10 (1 also eligible), 5, 8, 7, 10 (1 AE), 8, 7, 10 (3 AE).

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.

“We’ll kick things off with an important announcement: beginning Sunday, first post will change from 12:45 p.m. to 12:15 p.m. Also, nominations close Thursday for the $50,000 Camilla Urso Stakes for older fillies and mares. The race is a 6 furlongs and will be run on Sat., March 17.

“Congratulations to jockey Juan Hernandez, who won five races on Sunday. Juan, who has finished atop the jockey standings at four meets since the retirement of Russell Baze in 2015, is only three wins shy of leading rider Abel Cedillo in the jockey standings. It was also Juan’s 26th birthday on Wednesday.

“Four racing days [Thursday-Sunday] once again this week. There is a great card Thursday with seven races, all competitive with good field sizes. I would have to say it’s the best Thursday card since the meet started in December.

“The feature is the fourth race, a second-level allowance for older colts and geldings going one mile. We can expect a couple of the horses entered to run back in the San Francisco Mile on March 31. Among the top contenders in this ‘Mile prep are 2015 San Francisco Mile winner G. G. Ryder, 2017 El Camino Real Derby victor Zakaroff, stakes performer Grecian Fire and talented geldings Sixes and Dano’s Dream.”

Bob Ike’s SA play of the day

FOURTH RACE: No. 3 Two Thirty Five (7-2)

Tagged by top trainer Richard Baltas nearly two months ago and getting a confident class boost to be protected in this starter allowance spot off a string of solid works, we get the feeling 'Five is very live in this spot under hustling bug boy Franklin Ceballos. He has been showing speed in sprints, so expect him to try to wire this field in his first try around two turns.

Sunday Result: Vasilika (7-1) ran well but came up a neck short when finishing second in the 9th race.

Bob Ike is a Partner/VP of (here’s a video) and the proprietor of (full-card picks, 3 Best Plays and betting strategy).

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.

Santa Anita Entries for Thursday, March 8.

Santa Anita, Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, California. 41st day of a 59-day meet.


About 6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $29,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $50,000-$40,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Zoomin InVictor Espinoza120James M. Cassidy12-150,000
2Black StormBrayan Pena124Lloyd C. Wicker20-140,000
3KopitarEvin Roman121John W. Sadler7-250,000
4Anziyan CatBrice Blanc126Javier Jose Sierra50-150,000
5Big Bad GarySantiago Gonzalez120Ruben Gomez12-150,000
6Cats BlameJoseph Talamo126Mike Puype5-150,000
7Papa GulfRafael Bejarano124John W. Sadler8-140,000
8ImpressionMike Smith126Richard E. Mandella8-550,000
9Hoover TowerKent Desormeaux126Robert B. Hess, Jr.6-150,000
10Street to IndyTyler Baze126Thomas Ray Bell, II12-150,000
Also Eligible
11You'll Be LuckyDrayden Van Dyke124Vann Belvoir30-140,000


1 1/16 Mile. Purse: $54,000. Maiden Special Weight. 3 year olds.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Core BeliefsMike Smith122Peter Eurton5-2
2Draft PickRafael Bejarano122Peter Eurton7-2
3RegulateJoseph Talamo122Bob Baffert3-1
4Longden Drayden Van Dyke122Bob Baffert9-5
5American All StarTyler Baze122Simon Callaghan5-1


1 1/16 Mile. Purse: $18,000. Maiden Claiming. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $20,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Second GearFranklin Ceballos117Sal Gonzalez3-120,000
2Warren's FandangoTyler Baze122Jorge Gutierrez4-120,000
3Tequila BlancoSaul Arias122Philip D'Amato6-120,000
4Western WarriorRuben Fuentes122Blake R. Heap20-120,000
5Beloved HolidayTiago Pereira122Edward R. Freeman10-120,000
6Perfection TaleEdwin Maldonado122Howard L. Zucker7-220,000
7Spend ItGeovanni Franco122Rafael Becerra5-120,000
8SawbuckJoseph Talamo122John W. Sadler9-220,000


1 1/16 Mile. Purse: $30,000. Starter Allowance. 3 year olds and up.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Kaleidoscope KidEvin Roman113Robert B. Hess, Jr.15-1
2Arch PrinceAlonso Quinonez124Val Brinkerhoff10-1
3Two Thirty FiveFranklin Ceballos119Richard Baltas7-2
4Super Duper CooperRajiv Maragh124Michael W. McCarthy5-2
5Old School IkeTyler Baze118Peter Miller5-1
6Spokane EagleTyler Conner124Neil D. Drysdale7-2
7TrustworthyJoseph Talamo124Clifford W. Sise, Jr.3-1


1 Mile Turf. Purse: $58,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $62,500.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Pantsonfire Rajiv Maragh122Richard Baltas3-1
2Fizzy Friday Flavien Prat120Philip D'Amato7-2
3CordialityTyler Baze120Mark Glatt6-1
4PricedtoperfectionTiago Pereira122James M. Cassidy5-1
5ShazaraRafael Bejarano122Gary Sherlock10-1
6Starlite StyleEvin Roman119Hector O. Palma20-1
7Beautiful BeccaMario Gutierrez120Jerry Hollendorfer12-1
8Nodiac Geovanni Franco120Philip D'Amato10-1
9Just a Little HopeDrayden Van Dyke120Dan L. Hendricks8-1
10Do the DanceKyle Frey124Gary Sherlock8-162,500
Also Eligible
11Citizen KittyGeovanni Franco124Jeffrey Metz12-162,500


1 1/16 Mile. Purse: $18,000. Maiden Claiming. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $20,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Is Trevor CleverAsa Espinoza112Peter Miller7-220,000
2Lighthouse PointRajiv Maragh122Robert B. Hess, Jr.8-120,000
3Vegas ItchBrayan Pena122George Papaprodromou5-120,000
4Path of ExileIgnacio Puglisi122Michael W. McCarthy4-120,000
5Royal RebelTiago Pereira122J. Buenaventura Vargas30-120,000
6Wise CurlinMartin Pedroza122Peter Eurton8-120,000
7Lucky StaxxRuben Fuentes122Paul G. Aguirre3-120,000
8Defense MinisterEvin Roman117Jerry Hollendorfer4-120,000


1 1/16 Mile. Purse: $56,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $16,000. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1DrouillardGeovanni Franco122Jonathan Wong4-1
2Rolls Royce DealJuan Ochoa120Gus Headley6-1
3Plain WrapAsa Espinoza112Javier Jose Sierra12-1
4Preacher RoeStewart Elliott124Mike Puype3-116,000
5TrapalandaRafael Bejarano120Doug F. O'Neill8-1
6Desert GeneralTyler Baze120Sean McCarthy7-2
7Popular KidKent Desormeaux124J. Keith Desormeaux5-216,000


1 Mile Turf. Purse: $23,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $25,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Wicked Old FashionRuben Fuentes123Edward R. Freeman6-125,000
2DurangaFlavien Prat123Jerry Hollendorfer7-225,000
3Tizno's DilemmaTyler Baze123Sean McCarthy10-125,000
4Empress RulesFelipe Martinez123Cheryl Lankford12-125,000
5Road TestMario Gutierrez123Jack Carava9-225,000
6So GoldenVictor Espinoza123James M. Cassidy6-125,000
7Hotsy DotsyEvin Roman118Hector O. Palma8-125,000
8Subic BayAsa Espinoza113Jeff Mullins4-125,000
9Christy JacksonCesar Franco116Kenneth D. Black15-125,000
10Pirate FlagStewart Elliott123Clifford W. Sise, Jr.12-125,000
Also Eligible
11Agent Nine T NineTiago Pereira123Dan Blacker5-125,000
12CarrieCesar Franco116Charles R. Stutts20-125,000
13Oh Scatty OhFranklin Ceballos118Steven Miyadi15-125,000