Newsletter: Racing! Santa Anita Derby draw and other Kentucky Derby news

Hello, my name is John Cherwa, and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter as we get ready for Saturday’s big card at Santa Anita.

First off, Santa Anita has a 13-race card on Saturday that starts at 11:30 a.m. You don’t see a race card that big unless you are at Gulfstream or a dog track.

The ninth is the big deal, even though there are a lot of other big races, with the running of the $1-million Santa Anita Derby. You can read more about the draw. (Just click here.) The big headline from there is that Jon White, the morning-line maker, predicts that Justify will bring more betting action than Bolt d’Oro. He has Justify at 4-5 and Bolt d’Oro at 6-5. Still pretty close.

It’ll be interesting to see how Jon ranks the two horses, as well as Audible, when he provides the newsletter with his weekly rankings on Friday. Can’t wait.

No doubt this is a huge viability check for Justify. He has to finish no worse than second if he hopes to qualify for the big race. Lots more coverage coming on the Santa Anita Derby, both online and in print. We’ll link to the stories from here.

McKinzie update

Trainer Bob Baffert all but ruled out McKinzie being ready for the Kentucky Derby. He was originally scheduled to run in the Santa Anita Derby but was pulled from the race because of a slight injury. This allowed him to enter Justify in Saturday’s race. Baffert was not going to run his two best 3-year-olds against each other before the Kentucky Derby.

“Actually, he is fine,” Baffert said about McKinzie. “The X-rays were all clean. He did something in his hock, and the nuke scan had it a little lit up in that area, so I think he jammed it. So, we’re going to wait another 10 days and re-scan him. We’re just being very cautious. Every day that he doesn’t go to the track, it’s obviously not in his favor [to go to the Kentucky Derby]. …

“I can’t see him making it because I’m going to have to back off on him. And even though he looks fine, I don’t want to do anything that jeopardizes his health. We’ll know more in probably a couple weeks. The Preakness would be a long shot, but the Derby, I just can’t see it happening.”

Locals in the Blue Grass

Saturday’s Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland will have three Southern California-based horses in the 14-horse, 170-pont prep.

Kanthaka, for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, will be breaking from the fourth spot and is 10-1 on the morning line. He was third in the San Felipe behind Bolt d’Oro and McKinzie. He has 10 Kentucky Derby points, so he’ll need at least a second to qualify. Julien Leparoux will ride.

Blended Citizen is one of two Doug O’Neill horses in the race. He’s 15-1 but with 20 Derby points, so a third would land him a spot in Louisville. He won the Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway by a neck. Kyle Frey will break the colt from the seven.

Arawak, who joined O’Neill’s barn before the Jeff Ruby, has a bad post in the 14 and only four points after a third in the Jeff Ruby. Fernando de la Cruz will ride the 30-1 shot.

Good Magic, who had a disappointing third in the Fountain of Youth after winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Del Mar, is the 2-1 morning-line favorite.

Santa Anita preview

Thursday’s card is eight races starting at noon. Nothing really stands out, but there are three turf races, two of them down the hill. Five of the races are claimers, with the seventh being the feature, one mile on the turf for Cal-bred fillies and mares 3 and up. The purse is $56,000.

The field sizes, in order: 10, 7, 6, 7,10 (4 also eligible), 8, 10 (3 AE), 11. All in all, not a bad betting card.

Golden Gate weekend preview

Now a look at the best racing coming up at Golden Gate. Race caller (I think we can stop calling him new) and all-around good guy Matt Dinerman is our host to previews and other musings. So, take it away, Matt:

“We begin our racing week with a late pick 5 carryover of $40,132. The late pick 5, a 50-cent wager, will go as races 3-7 on the Thursday afternoon card. Thirty-nine horses have been entered this sequence, which averages 7.8 horses a race. Two of the five races are on the turf. Track officials predict that about $150,000 new-money will be added into the pool.

“California racing fans surely will be excited to see Paved return this weekend. The 3-year-old filly, who defeated boys in the El Camino Real Derby, makes her first since then in the Providencia Stakes on turf this Saturday at Santa Anita. Michael McCarthy trains and Drayden Van Dyke retains the mount. Also scheduled against stakes competition on Sunday is Northern California’s Noble Nick, who will be carrying the Golden Gate Fields flag in the Tokyo City Cup. Northern California conditioner Ari Herbertson trains and Bay Area resident Billy Antongeorgi III will fly down to ride.

“Of course, it is going to be a big day throughout the country, with monster cards and final derby prep races at Aqueduct, Keeneland and Santa Anita. Golden Gate Fields offers a 10-race program on Saturday, one more race than usual.

“A big shoutout goes to Flamboyant, who was terrific last week in the San Francisco Mile when defeating Berkeley Handicap winner Editore and local longshot Many Roses in a thrilling stretch run. Flamboyant, a 7-year-old trained by Paddy Gallagher and ridden by Julien Couton, became racing’s newest millionaire with last week’s Grade 3 victory. Congratulations to Flamboyant and his connections.”

Bob Ike SA pick of the day

FIRST RACE: No. 10 Boy Howdy (7-2)

Class dropper from the sharp Bill Spawr barn dueled vs. much stronger last time and understandably gave way. He is fast early, drawn well outside and wins races but he is trying turf for the first time in his 12-race career, so that is a question mark.

Sunday Result: Bartlett Hall raced wide on the far turn but didn't offer much stretch punch and wound up fourth in the ninth 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, April 5.

Santa Anita, Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, California. 57th day of a 59-day meet.


About 6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $29,000. Claiming. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $25,000-$22,500.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1KocheesMario Gutierrez120Jonathan Wong4-122,500
2Banze No Oeste Tiago Pereira122Steve Knapp5-125,000
3Pick OneKellie McDaid113Daniel Azcarate50-122,500
4True ValorFlavien Prat122J. Keith Desormeaux12-125,000
5CoastlineKent Desormeaux122Jack Carava3-125,000
6Reign On Diego Sanchez122Doug F. O'Neill6-125,000
7Rate for MeEvin Roman122Adam Kitchingman6-125,000
8Red Wine and DineRuben Fuentes122Rafael DeLeon20-125,000
9BourqueJuan Ochoa122Mick Ruis20-125,000
10Boy HowdyMartin Pedroza122William Spawr7-225,000


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $18,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $20,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1LookingforthewireDiego Sanchez122Sal Gonzalez30-120,000
2YallaMartin Pedroza122Alfredo Marquez7-520,000
3Sonnet's JoyBarrington Harvey122Kenneth E. Nettles15-120,000
4Madera JubileeEdgar Orozco122Louis A. Bradvica12-120,000
5MagicalchicEdgar Payeras115Louis A. Bradvica8-120,000
6Radio ChatterRuben Fuentes122Melissa Saldana7-220,000
7Veiled HeatAsa Espinoza112Nestor M. Capitaine8-520,000


1 1/16 Mile. Purse: $22,000. Claiming. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $16,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Here and ThereTyler Baze121Jeffrey Metz3-116,000
2City SteelJoseph Talamo121Robert B. Hess, Jr.2-116,000
3I'll Wrap It UpEdwin Maldonado121Steven Miyadi5-216,000
4Roaring RuleBrayan Pena121John F. Martin6-116,000
5Shackleford BanksKyle Frey121Jerry Hollendorfer6-116,000
6SanaviTiago Pereira121Anthony K. Saavedra6-116,000


6 Furlongs. Purse: $30,000. Starter Allowance. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Donut GirlGeovanni Franco118Hector O. Palma5-2
2Royal AstronomerJoseph Talamo124John E. Cortez10-1
3An Eddie SurpriseMario Gutierrez120Doug F. O'Neill8-1
4Tiny TinaStewart Elliott118Richard Baltas2-1
5Mixed EmotionsVictor Espinoza118J. Eric Kruljac5-1
6AvailTiago Pereira118Brian J. Koriner5-2
7Baytown JulietBarrington Harvey118Kenneth E. Nettles30-1


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

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1California BreezeGeovanni Franco126Philip D'Amato4-150,000
2Biscotti GalAlonso Quinonez126Jorge Gutierrez20-150,000
3FoxtailTyler Baze126John W. Sadler6-150,000
4Himmah Flavien Prat120Mark Glatt7-250,000
5Western MongoliaStewart Elliott126Enebish Ganbat20-150,000
6Tanda's JoyDrayden Van Dyke126Mike Puype10-150,000
7Gia LulaTyler Conner120Mark Glatt8-150,000
8Diva La MousseEvin Roman126Bob Baffert2-150,000
9Sea GlassRajiv Maragh120Ian Kruljac15-150,000
10Izzys ExpressJoseph Talamo126Mike Puype12-150,000
Also Eligible
11EurasiaEdwin Maldonado120Dan Blacker20-150,000
12Topaz TimeKyle Frey124Matthew Chew20-140,000
13On a TootBarrington Harvey124Kenneth E. Nettles50-140,000
14Trophy BridleTyler Conner120Patrick Gallagher8-150,000


6 Furlongs. Purse: $16,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $8,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1My Project GirlChristian Aragon121LaTorre III Jose L. De12-18,000
2Tiz DelitefulTyler Baze121Jeffrey Metz6-18,000
3Where's the DEfrain Hernandez123Rosemary Trela4-18,000
4Tuscany BeautyTyler Conner121Jack Carava12-18,000
5Pomp and PartyEvin Roman121Philip D'Amato3-18,000
6Foxy FreshAsa Espinoza111James M. Cassidy5-28,000
7RockantharosBrayan Pena121Antonio Garcia8-18,000
8Jill MaddenMartin Pedroza121Matthew Chew5-18,000


1 Mile Turf. Purse: $56,000. Allowance. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1SpeakersDrayden Van Dyke126Patrick Gallagher5-1
2My Aunt TillieCorey Nakatani124Mike Puype4-1
3Mizzen GloryEvin Roman124Ed Moger, Jr.12-1
4LostintranzlationGeovanni Franco126Richard Baltas7-2
5Dreamy GalTyler Baze124Jeff Mullins5-1
6Streak of LuckKyle Frey118Matthew Chew10-1
7BatiquitosMartin Pedroza124William Spawr8-1
8Almost RealityFlavien Prat126Neil D. Drysdale20-1
9X S GoldKent Desormeaux120James M. Cassidy5-1
10Inland EmpireMike Smith120Peter Eurton12-1
Also Eligible
11SugaratsundownMatt Garcia118Antonio Garcia50-1
12Princess DorianGeovanni Franco124Reed Saldana20-1
13Silverspun PickupMartin Pedroza118Michael Machowsky15-1


6 Furlongs. Purse: $54,000. Maiden Special Weight. 3 year olds and up. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Seattle EncounterGeovanni Franco120Ian Kruljac12-1
2Perfect WagerTyler Baze120Jeff Mullins4-1
3Going Away PartyTom Lefranc113Bruce Headley20-1
4LeroyFlavien Prat126Philip A. Oviedo7-2
5NovaRuben Fuentes120Rafael DeLeon12-1
6Poco DiabloStewart Elliott126Mike Harrington6-1
7FlynnEvin Roman120Steven Miyadi5-1
8Soul OwnerDrayden Van Dyke120Vann Belvoir8-1
9CayateRajiv Maragh126Kristin Mulhall5-1
10Powerful ThirstTiago Pereira120Andrew Lerner6-1
11AdvantageousAlonso Quinonez120Bruce Headley20-1