Racing! The latest from Jon White and his Kentucky Derby poll

Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter as we start the Santa Anita spring meeting.

A lot to get to, so let’s start with the poll results.

Jon White’s Kentucky Derby Top 10

Jon White’s popular Kentucky Derby Top 10 is here in its usual Friday spot. Lots of changes, lots to talk about about, so Jon, take it away.

“Justify, who was ranked No. 1 on my Kentucky Derby Top 10 last week, now is widely recognized as the Kentucky Derby favorite following his sparkling victory in Saturday's $1-million Santa Anita Derby. The prodigious talent won by three lengths after repelling not one, but two serious challenges by the more seasoned, more battle-tested and classy Bolt d'Oro.

Bob Baffert, who trained American Pharoah to win the Triple Crown in 2015, has called Justify a phenomenal horse. Indeed, what Justify has done this year is nothing short of mind-boggling. In the span of just 48 days, he went from being an unraced maiden to a Santa Anita Derby winner and Kentucky Derby favorite.

“When betting in Churchill Downs' Kentucky Derby Future pool closed last Sunday, Justify was the 3-1 favorite, with Mendelssohn the 5-1 second choice. Justify currently is the 5-2 Kentucky Derby favorite at the Wynn Race Book in Las Vegas.

“Meanwhile, trainer Chad Brown was all smiles after Good Magic, who took last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile and was voted an Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old male of 2017, came through to win last Saturday's $1-million Blue Grass Stakes by 1 1/2 lengths at Keeneland. Good Magic rebounded after he had finished a disappointing third in the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park in his first 2018 start.

“In New York last Saturday, Vino Rosso became yet another Todd Pletcher-trained 3 year old to earn sufficient points to assure a spot in the Kentucky Derby field by winning the $750,000 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct by three lengths. Pletcher also will be represented in the May 5 Kentucky Derby by Louisiana Derby winner Noble Indy, Florida Derby winner Audible and Rebel Stakes winner Magnum Moon.

“Magnum Moon is the 8-5 morning-line favorite in Saturday's $1-million Arkansas Derby, a 1 1/8-mile race that has attracted a field of nine. As the final big race in the Road to the Kentucky Derby series, the Arkansas Derby offers 100-40-20-10 Kentucky Derby points to the top four finishers.

“Two other Arkansas Derby contenders are Solomini and Quip. Southern California-based Solomini, who hails from the powerful Baffert barn, finished second in Oaklawn's Rebel in his only 2018 start and ran second in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Quip, conditioned by Rodolphe Brisset, won the Tampa Bay Derby in his lone 2018 start so far.

“Saturday's $200,000 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland has 20-8-4-2 Kentucky Derby points up for grabs. The 5-2 morning-line favorite is Southern California-based My Boy Jack, winner of Oaklawn's Southwest Stakes in February and third in the Louisiana Derby last month.

“Also entered in the Lexington is SoCal-based Greyvitos, who will be making his first start since he won the Springboard Mile at Remington Park in Oklahoma last Dec. 17. Prior to the Springboard Mile, Greyvitos was one of the horses evacuated from San Luis Rey Downs, when a devastating fire engulfed the training facility on Dec. 7. After Greyvitos' victory at Remington, he underwent surgery for the removal of bone chips in a knee, the reason he has not raced this year prior to the Lexington Stakes. Greyvitos gained attention last fall at Del Mar when he won the Bob Hope Stakes in a 19-1 upset as a maiden."

Here are this week's rankings:

1. Justify (1)

2. Mendelssohn (3)

3. Bolt d'Oro (2)

4. Audible (4)

5. Magnum Moon (5)

6. Good Magic (6)

7. Vino Rosso (NR)

8. Solomini (7)

9. Enticed (9)

10. Quip (8)

Note: Last week's ranking in parentheses

Santa Anita preview

The spring meeting starts on Friday with an eight-race card starting at noon. There’s nothing to get real excited about, although the two best races are restricted for Cal-breds, both going down the 6 ½-furlong hillside course.

The third race, worth $54,000, is a state-restricted maiden special weight for fillies and mares 3 and up. The eighth race, worth a little more at $56,000, is an allowance/optional claimer for state breds 3 and up. There is one more turf race on the card, the fifth, a claimer also down the hill.

Here are the field sizes, in order: 6, 7, 8, 7, 8, 10, 7, 10.

Bob Ike’s SA play of the day

EIGHTH RACE: No. 6 All of a Sudden (4-1)

Sidelined since October, this filly by Grazen makes her first start for new trainer Phil D'Amato off a solid series of works. She has never run on grass before but has turf in her pedigree and might be able to stay close to what figures to be a modest early pace. Main threats look like favorite Promnesia and comebacker Halo Darlin.

Sunday Result: Dia de Pago was apparently rusty off the bench because he never picked up his feet in sixth 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 jockey standings

The Santa Anita winter meeting ended on Sunday with the spring meeting starting on Friday. Here are a couple of final standings.

Jockey, Starts, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Win%, $%, Purses

Evin Roman, 321, 46, 50, 52, 14, 46, $1,678,114

Flavien Prat, 238, 45, 47, 33, 19, 53, $2,558,691

Drayden Van Dyke, 180, 38, 23, 22, 21, 46, $2,304,504

Tyler Baze, 299, 35, 48, 43, 12, 42, $2,406,474

Kent Desormeaux, 167, 34, 18, 22, 20, 44, $1,760,816

Joseph Talamo, 223, 33, 26, 34, 15, 42, $1,572,904

Rafael Bejarano, 181, 29, 20, 33, 16, 45, $1,254,076

Geovanni Franco, 186, 28, 24, 24, 15, 41, $1,358,762

Mike Smith, 88, 21, 15, 9, 24, 51, $2,727,618

Tyler Conner, 142, 20, 10, 18, 14, 34, $664,809

Stewart Elliott, 175, 19, 16, 16, 11, 29, $741,557

Rajiv Maragh, 171, 18, 22, 18, 11, 34, $922,942

Corey Nakatani, 112, 18, 21, 13, 16, 46, $1,425,648

Tiago Josue Pereira, 179, 17, 26, 23, 9, 37, $829,945

Franklin Ceballos, 80, 13, 11, 12, 16, 45, $316,626

Mario Gutierrez, 123, 11, 17, 18, 9, 37, $883,117

Santiago Gonzalez, 114, 11, 7, 14, 10, 28, $385,591

Victor Espinoza, 84, 10, 11, 10, 12, 37, $1,182,913

Alonso Quinonez, 101, 10, 11, 5, 10, 26, $330,575

Martin Pedroza, 102, 8, 11, 15, 8, 33, $351,453

Final trainer standings

Trainer Starts, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Win%, $%, Purses

Bob Baffert, 116, 37, 19, 14, 32, 60, $2,798,258

Peter Miller, 143, 30, 33, 19, 21, 57, $1,611,009

Richard Baltas, 177, 30, 27, 19, 17, 43, $1,645,277

Philip D'Amato, 142, 21, 26, 20, 15, 47, $1,800,550

Jerry Hollendorfer, 137, 20, 16, 20, 15, 41, $1,231,568

Vladimir Cerin, 76, 19, 14, 7, 25, 53, $544,815

Doug O'Neill, 149, 18, 23, 19, 12, 40, $1,097,777

John Sadler, 136, 17, 17, 21, 13, 40, $1,570,028

Mark Glatt, 91, 13, 13, 13, 14, 43, $587,120

William Morey, 40, 11, 3, 12, 28, 65, $464,483

Robert Hess, Jr., 75, 10, 11, 7, 13, 37, $367,931

Keith Desormeaux, 49, 10, 7, 9, 20, 53, $357,684

Steven Miyadi, 77, 9, 16, 10, 12, 45, $477,320

Jeff Mullins, 67, 9, 9, 9, 13, 40, $749,620

Hector Palma, 53, 9, 8, 6, 17, 43, $332,965

Mike Puype, 64, 9, 6, 8, 14, 36, $444,971

Richard Mandella, 73, 8, 13, 12, 11, 45, $622,875

Michael Machowsky, 53, 8, 9, 5, 15, 42, $242,505

Michael W. McCarthy, 50, 8, 6, 9, 16, 46, $734,970

Neil Drysdale, 43, 8, 4, 8, 19, 47, $419,230

Golden Gate weekend preview

Now a look at the best racing coming up at Golden Gate. Race caller and all-around good guy Matt Dinerman is our host to previews and other musings. So, take it away Matt.

“Live racing continues on Friday, with first post time at 12:15 p.m. This week and next, Golden Gate will offer three-day race weeks (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), mimicking Santa Anita’s schedule.

“For Friday’s card, we have a carryover in the $0.20 Golden Pick 6 wager of $11,345. It starts with race two. We also have a $1 rolling Super High Five of $23,144 heading into the seventh race. The Golden Gate has a rolling Super High Five in every race in which there are seven or more starters.

“The feature on Friday is the sixth race, a fun allowance on the turf for older fillies and mares. Featured in the race is stakes placed Coachwhip and stakes performers Turkish Tabby and Dreamarcher, both trained by Jerry Hollendorfer.

“A big congratulations goes out to trainer Holly Evans. Last week, Evans won with three of her trainees, all of whom went off at double digit odds (13-1, 16-1 and 34-1). The trio of victories came within 24 hours. Two of her three winners (Sing In The Wind and Ride Into The Sky) broke their maidens while the third (Back Sheared Anvil) won a $3,200 claimer in his first start since March of last year.

“Evans also reported that her stable star, multiple stakes winner Fast and Foxy, has been retired and was recently bred to California stallion Idiot Proof. Fast and Foxy won 16 times all at Golden Gate and made more than $514,000 in career earnings. Notable wins for Fast and Foxy came in last year’s Camilla Urso stakes and both the 2016 and 2017 Bear Fan Stakes.

“Finally, best of luck to Golden Gate jockeys Rocco Bowen, Lucas Gutierrez, Aaron Gryder, Kevin Orozco and Edgar Velasco. Bowen, Gutierrez, Orozco and Velasco will ride at the Emerald Downs spring/summer meet while Gryder will be riding under contract for owner/trainer Glen Todd at Hastings Racecourse in British Columbia.”

Los Alamitos weekend preview

This weekly segment is in the hands of Orlando Gutierrez, marketing and media maven at Los Al. So, the floor is yours, Orlando.

“Jockey Cesar De Alba begins the racing week at Los Alamitos one win shy of 1,000 career quarter-horse victories. De Alba, the leading quarter-horse jockey at Los Alamitos in 2016, will have a chance to reach the mark on Friday with four mounts on the eight-race card.

“De Alba’s first chance comes in the fifth race aboard Bookofmatches at 5-2 morning-line odds. He’ll also ride the 7-2 shot Unnleashed in the sixth, the 4-1 shot Capitol Grille in the seventh, and Im Rocket Man, at 6-1, in the eighth. De Alba rode the multiple champion Moonist to 21 victories including Grade 1 wins in the Los Alamitos Invitational Championship and Los Alamitos Winter Championship plus a track record of four derbies victories in 2014.

“The 2-year-old season is now in full effect at Los Alamitos with races 5 and 7 each featuring nine juvenile fillies and race eight having eight colts and geldings. All three races are 300 yards. Steve McIntyre and Marin Jones’ Cole Man 47 is one of the 2-year-olds to watch in the eighth race on Friday night.

“’We foal shared in the breeding of this horse,’ trainer Paul Jones said. ‘I had the breeding to the stallion Stel Corona and it’s Steve’s mare. Stel Corona crosses well with mares by Royal Quick Dash. It’s a similar breeding that we used with [millionaire champion] Foose.’

“There are two races for 2-year-olds on Saturday night with filly Wicked Affair among the promising runners in action. Trained by Terry Knight, the One Sweet Jess filly will start in the sixth race.

“After two runaway allowance wins at Los Alamitos, Big Champion is the 125 pound co-high weight when he makes his stakes debut when he faces seven others in the $20,000 Wheatland Handicap at 870 yards. Ed Allred’s Bound To Bet, winner of the Truly A Pleasure Handicap at 870 yards last year, has also been assigned 125 pounds. The Snowbound gelding enters this race following a 4 ¾ length win in March.”

Ed Burgart’s LA play of the day

SIXTH RACE: No. 6 Fire The Senator (5-2)

Since her troubled eight-place outing as the favorite vs. tougher field in last start 13 weeks ago, she has been privately purchased and her new trainer Valentin Zamudio does exceptionally well with first-out acquisitions. In a very good solo 12.2 gate drill three months ago, she broke super and reached out with a nice stride under a hand ride when allowed to drift inward. She was competitive vs. much better fields last summer.

Final thought

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And now the star of the show, Friday’s entries.

Santa Anita Entries for Friday, April 13.

Santa Anita, Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, California. 1st day of a 42-day meet.


1 Mile. Purse: $14,000. Claiming. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $6,250.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1HarrovianCesar Franco114Dennis Givens20-16,250
2Southern FreedomGeovanni Franco121David Jacobson4-16,250
3OrejasFranklin Ceballos116Richard Baltas9-56,250
4HackletonEdwin Maldonado121Robert B. Hess, Jr.8-16,250
5Roman TizzyEvin Roman121Vladimir Cerin2-16,250
6AweTyler Baze121Sean McCarthy3-16,250


1 Mile. Purse: $21,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds. Claiming Price $30,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1MinistertomyheartEvin Roman122Steven Miyadi3-130,000
2Write Me a SongTyler Baze122Sean McCarthy2-130,000
3I'm AmoreAlex Jimenez122Anthony DeMarco20-130,000
4Sharp RulerStewart Elliott122Mike Harrington20-130,000
5When Jesus WalkedFranklin Ceballos117Jose Antonio Moreno30-130,000
6TreDrayden Van Dyke122Vann Belvoir6-130,000
7Dare to EnterKent Desormeaux122Michael Pender6-530,000


About 6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $54,000. Maiden Special Weight. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Bad and BougieJoseph Talamo120Michael Machowsky5-1
2PaprikaJulien Couton120Leonard Powell5-2
3Full CourtFranklin Ceballos115Jorge Gutierrez15-1
4I Adore YouBrayan Pena120Anthony K. Saavedra20-1
5Whoa NessieMario Gutierrez120Doug F. O'Neill3-1
6Bella SierraEvin Roman126Javier Jose Sierra6-1
7PulpacheeksEdwin Maldonado120Peter Eurton4-1
8And CountingTyler Baze120Kenneth D. Black6-1


1 Mile. Purse: $29,000. Claiming. 3 year olds. Claiming Prices $25,000-$22,500.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Time for CioppinoKyle Frey122Gary Sherlock7-225,000
2Kaleidoscope KidEvin Roman122Robert B. Hess, Jr.3-125,000
3Studly PerfectionFranklin Ceballos117Richard Baltas4-125,000
4LipsterAlonso Quinonez122Jorge Periban5-125,000
5Mac McLovinTyler Baze122Jorge Periban8-125,000
6Elevated KnightTiago Pereira122Philip D'Amato4-125,000
7ShackalovJoseph Talamo122Gary Sherlock6-125,000


About 6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $33,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $40,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1An Eddie SurpriseMario Gutierrez120Doug F. O'Neill8-140,000
2Zero ZeeTyler Baze126Philip D'Amato3-140,000
3Dr. AnnDiego Sanchez120Doug F. O'Neill8-140,000
4Neon GypsyKent Desormeaux120Robert B. Hess, Jr.6-140,000
5GoseecalEdwin Maldonado126Vladimir Cerin6-140,000
6Midnight LillyGeovanni Franco126Hector O. Palma20-140,000
7CynthianaAlonso Quinonez126Richard Baltas5-240,000
8Looking At ThelakeEvin Roman126John W. Sadler4-140,000


5 Furlongs. Purse: $18,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $20,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Biscotti GalBrayan Pena126Jorge Gutierrez10-120,000
2Lake Shore LadyMatt Garcia126Lance Hellum50-120,000
3Tengs WonderAsa Espinoza113Vann Belvoir15-120,000
4Heather's WishDiego Sanchez120Caesar F. Dominguez20-120,000
5Tengas Best GirlFranklin Ceballos121Jeff Mullins5-120,000
6Blame the WeatherEdwin Maldonado126Jeff Bonde2-120,000
7Topaz TimeKyle Frey126Matthew Chew4-120,000
8Creative SparkTiago Pereira120Daniel Dunham12-120,000
9Dee Way to GoEvin Roman120Jorge Periban3-120,000
10SpacerikaRuben Fuentes120Salvador Orozco12-120,000


6 Furlongs. Purse: $22,000. Claiming. Fillies. 3 year olds. Claiming Price $16,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Cinnamon TwistJoseph Talamo122Simon Callaghan5-216,000
2CondiTyler Baze122John W. Sadler9-216,000
3Mama's KidAsa Espinoza115Sal Gonzalez15-116,000
4All NetGeovanni Franco122David Jacobson4-116,000
5InnyminniemineymoeDrayden Van Dyke122Vann Belvoir7-216,000
6EstherfourfourteenFranklin Ceballos117Steven Miyadi6-116,000
7Cow DogEvin Roman122Steven Miyadi4-116,000


About 6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $56,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $16,000. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Li'l GrazenDrayden Van Dyke124Eddie Truman15-1
2Easydoes It PleaseFranklin Ceballos113Steven Miyadi15-1
3Ashley's CharmsAlonso Quinonez124Peter Eurton10-1
4Wonderful LieGeovanni Franco126Ryan Hanson5-116,000
5Silverspun PickupMartin Pedroza118Michael Machowsky8-1
6All of a SuddenJoseph Talamo124Philip D'Amato4-1
7Halo DarlinStewart Elliott124Mike Puype9-2
8PromnesiaKent Desormeaux124Martin F. Jones3-1
9Queen Bee to YouEvin Roman124Michael Pender8-1
10Lady EspionageTyler Baze124Michele Dollase15-1