Racing! Magnum Moon wins, but drops in Jon White’s Kentucky Derby poll

Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter as we’ve got two weekends to get through before it’s Derby time.

With the short week, let’s get right to 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. Things should stabilize going forward but still lots to talk about about, so Jon, take it away.

“The 35-race series in which horses earn qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby is over. It concluded with last Saturday's $1-million Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park and $200,000 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland.

“Magnum Moon registered a four-length victory in the 1 1/8-mile Arkansas Derby to remain undefeated in four career starts. My Boy Jack won the 1 1/16-mile Lexington Stakes by a head.

“I had Magnum Moon ranked No. 5 last week. I have moved him down to No. 7 this week. I am sure there are those who feel that I should be fitted for one of those jackets with the sleeves in the back for dropping Magnum Moon two notches after such an emphatic Arkansas Derby win. No doubt many are of the opinion that he should have moved up this week, not down.

“I just did not care to see Magnum Moon drifting out to the middle of the track during the stretch run of the Arkansas Derby. But I also readily concede that I might be nitpicking. Magnum Moon obviously is a seriously talented colt. The 1915 Kentucky Derby winner was Regret. And when the 2018 Kentucky Derby is over, I might regret not respecting Magnum Moon more than I do.

“Meanwhile, someone I do like more and more is My Boy Jack. I think he has a good chance to finish 1-2-3 on the first Saturday in May. Consequently, I have him ranked No. 3.

“Yes, My Boy Jack comes from way off the pace. But the key with My Boy Jack is he has demonstrated an ability to move early enough in a race to possibly be first or second with a furlong to go in the Kentucky Derby. Because of the Kentucky Derby's 1 1/4-mile distance and Churchill Downs' long stretch, it would seem to be a good thing for a horse to be rallying in the final furlong.

“But Kentucky Derby history shows that it is important for a horse to be able to make their move before they reach the final furlong. That's because 52 of the last 55 Kentucky Derby winners have been first or second with a furlong to go.

“It is not hard at all to envision Justify being first or second with a furlong to run. I believe the undefeated Santa Anita Derby winner is the horse most likely to be draped in a garland of roses on May 5. That's why I have him ranked No. 1. But it is a concern that he has made only three lifetime starts and did not race as a 2 year old.

“I have Mendelssohn ranked No. 2. All he did when racing on dirt for the first time was to win the UAE Derby in isolated splendor by 18 1/2 lengths. But a concern for him is the woeful record in the Kentucky Derby by UAE Derby participants. Master of Hounds finished fifth in the 2011 Kentucky Derby, the best any UAE Derby starter has done.

“Will sheer talent enable either Justify or Magnum Moon to become the first horse to win the Kentucky Derby without having raced at 2 since Apollo in 1882? Can Mendelssohn become the first UAE Derby starter to win the Kentucky Derby? If Magnum Moon doesn't come through for Todd Pletcher, will one of the trainer's other three starters — Audible, Vino Rosso or Noble Indy — become a Kentucky Derby winner? Can 2-year-old male champ Good Magic join Street Sense and Nyquist as a winner of both the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and Kentucky Derby? Will Bolt d'Oro put it all together and get a W? Is an upset in store? These are but some of the many questions to be asked and answered on May 5.”

Here are this week's rankings:

1. Justify (1)

2. Mendelssohn (2)

3. My Boy Jack (NR)

4. Audible (4)

5. Bolt d'Oro (3)

6. Good Magic (6)

7. Magnum Moon (5)

8. Vino Rosso (7)

9. Quip (10)

10. Flameaway (NR)

Note: Last week's ranking in parentheses

More Derby

If you haven’t heard, Rob Gronkowski bought part of the horse that was named for him. If you want to know more, our web provocateur Chuck Schilken wrote this, so just click here. Personally, I can’t bring myself to write about a New England Patriot. It’s not that I dislike the team, it’s the loud-mouth Boston fans that I don’t like. I know, that’s not all of you, just some of you.

Santa Anita preview

Santa Anita is adding some extra races over the next two days. There are nine (instead of eight) on Friday and 11 (instead of nine) on Saturday. The extra races are no doubt a result of a three-day racing week. The track goes back to four days next week.

The thing to notice on Friday is there are two races with identical conditions: 3-year-old maiden claimers for $30,000 going 5 ½ furlongs for an identical purse of $21,000. What that means is that 19 horses entered that condition. Tells you a lot about what races are needed. The extra maiden race was added when another race on the card didn’t fill.

There are three turf races on the card, six races are claimers and four of the races are for maidens. Here’s a look at the field size, in order: 8, 5, 10 (2 also eligible), 6, 10 (4 AE), 9, 10, 10, 10. Not too bad for bettors.

Bob Ike’s SA play of the day

FIRST RACE: Exacta Box 4-6

Let's start the abbreviated week with an exacta box in the opener. Gosilently (7-2) finally broke his maiden in start 13 and those type often come right back and win again after the lightbulb goes on. Ya Gotta Wanna (4-1) overcame a very wide trip on the far turn to beat maidens in his first start as a gelding.

Sunday Result: Going For The Win was fanned extremely wide into the stretch but didn't offer much rally while finishing off the board.

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

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.

“Golden Gate Fields offers a nine-race card on Friday, the first of three racing days this coming week. Heading into Friday, there is a $0.20 pick 6 jackpot carryover of $26,098. It begins in Race 4.

“The feature is the eighth, a second-level allowance for older colts and geldings, including Camino Del Paraiso, who comes off a fourth-place finish in the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile. Other top contenders include stakes winners G.G. Ryder and Zakaroff, recent allowance winner Lovenseek and the hard-knocking gelding Sixes.

“The seveth race, the second leg of the $0.50 late pick 4, attracts eight 3-year-old allowance fillies. The group of sophomores will travel one mile on turf. The 2-1 morning line favorite is Tinabud, who ran second in the California Oaks three starts ago but has finished second in a duo of allowance races since then. Other main contenders include Sweetsongofthenile, who ran fourth in the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel Stakes at Santa Anita, California Oaks participant Bornonvalentineday and recent allowance winner Seaside Song.

“The feature race on Saturday’s 10-race card is the eighth, an allowance for older colts and geldings sprinting six furlongs. Southern California invaders Big League and Portando figure to go off favored along with stakes placed rival Ninety Nine Proof and the Tim McCanna trained Sweet River Baines.

“Start ‘capping!”

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.

“Seventeen 2 year olds, including 13 eligible to compete in the trials to the Grade 2 Robert Adair Kindergarten Futurity on May 6, will be in action in races four and five on Friday night. The Kindergarten hopefuls are headed by Salvador Pimienta’s homebred One Berry, an Arizona-bred filly out of Blackberry Czech, who won the Kindergarten Futurity for Pimienta in 2012. The One Sweet Jess filly will headline the fifth race on Friday. Trained by Felix Gonzalez, One Berry posted a :12.50 work on March 6, which was the eighth fastest of 25 drills. She came back to post the bullet drill of :12.10 from 57 works on March 24. Jaime Gomez’s First Class Cartel, a half-sister to last year’s champion 2-year-old J Fire Up, will also make her career debut in race five on Friday.

Ed Allred’s Pull The Trigger and Denny and Sandy Weigt’s Racies Favorite are among the 2 year olds set to compete on Saturday night. Ridden by Eulices Gomez for trainer Scott Willoughby, Pull The Trigger will enter the sixth race after posting the fourth fastest of 37 works on March 31. Meanwhile, Racies Favorite will head the fourth race after posting the second fastest of 37 drills on April 7. Monty Arrossa, who saddled a trio of 2 year olds to victory last weekend, trains Racies Favorite.

“BH Lisas Boy, winner of the Grade 1 Brad McKinzie Winter Championship at Los Alamitos in February, topped the first AQHA Racing National Poll for 2018 released earlier this week. The rankings are for 3 year olds and up that have made at least one start this year. The poll for 2 year olds will begin in two weeks. Bred, owned and trained by Bill Hoburg, the 6-year-old gelding by Mighty Invictus has been a consistent presence in the poll over the past two years and was No. 4 in the final poll for 2017. The Idaho-bred kicked off his 2018 campaign with a third-place effort in his Winter Championship trial before earning a berth in December’s Grade 1 Champion of Champions with a victory in the final. BH Lisas Boy finished second last time out in the Moonist Handicap at Los Alamitos to Zoomin For Spuds, who checked in at No. 5 in the poll. Three other Los Alamitos-based horses appeared in the poll. KVN Corona, last year’s champion 2-year-old colt who won this year’s El Primero del Ano Derby to run his lifetime record to a perfect eight-for-eight, is tied for the second spot. Jess My Kiss, winner of the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby is ranked sixth, while Grade 1 Charger Bar Handicap winner Kiddy Up Cowgirl is seventh.”

Ed Burgart’s LA play of the day


He is the favorite after having speed sharpened when fourth against much tougher rivals in last 870-yard race against recent $6,250 runner-up Soduko. Was third three outs ago vs. repeat Santa Anita $6,250 runner-up Four Gaels. Has the class edge.

Final thought

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

Santa Anita Entries for Friday, April 20.

Santa Anita, Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, California. 5th day of a 42-day meet.


1 Mile Turf. Purse: $35,000. Starter Allowance. 3 year olds and up.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Gray AdmiralTyler Baze118Victor L. Garcia8-1
2Saratoga MorningKent Desormeaux118J. Keith Desormeaux10-1
3It's a New YearVictor Espinoza118Peter Miller12-1
4GosilentlyCorey Nakatani124Robert N. Falcone, Jr.7-2
5Dark EnergyJoseph Talamo124John A. Shirreffs6-1
6Ya Gotta WannaTiago Pereira124Philip D'Amato4-1
7Lauren's LaddTyler Conner124Richard Baltas4-1
8Winning ElementFlavien Prat124Doug F. O'Neill3-1


1 Mile. Purse: $16,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $12,500.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Dizzy DivaJoseph Talamo123David E. Hofmans7-212,500
2ReinahermosaRuben Fuentes123Ricardo Zamora6-112,500
3Del Mar DivaTyler Conner123Michael Machowsky4-112,500
4AlbeitFranklin Ceballos118Sal Gonzalez6-512,500
5Quiet No MoreKyle Frey123Doug F. O'Neill3-112,500


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

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Smart Little DevilMartin Garcia120David E. Hofmans8-120,000
2Curlina CurlinaEdgar Payeras119Mike Harrington6-120,000
3Empire ZoneDiego Sanchez126George Papaprodromou30-120,000
4Stella SweeperBrayan Pena126David Bernstein20-120,000
5Misty SlewEvin Roman120Vann Belvoir9-220,000
6Angel On PointRuben Fuentes126Librado Barocio5-120,000
7WampusStewart Elliott120Art Sherman4-120,000
8Solar CoronaFranklin Ceballos121Jose Hernandez, Jr.6-120,000
9WhackedAsa Espinoza113Dan Blacker7-220,000
10Eye of the RiverFelipe Martinez126Martine Bellocq15-120,000
Also Eligible
11DadlaniAlonso Quinonez126Leonard Powell5-120,000
12Mariana's GirlGeovanni Franco120Hector O. Palma8-120,000


6 Furlongs. Purse: $58,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $62,500.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Time for EbbyEvin Roman126Steve Knapp10-1
2YuvetsiTiago Pereira124John W. Sadler4-1
3Surrender NowVictor Espinoza118Peter Miller3-1
4Citizen KittyGeovanni Franco126Jeffrey Metz12-162,500
5Phantom ProtonJoseph Talamo124Neil D. Drysdale8-1
6Marley's FreedomDrayden Van Dyke124Robert B. Hess, Jr.4-5


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

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Sidepocket ActionTiago Pereira126Philip D'Amato3-1
2Bob's Bad BoyStewart Elliott126Mike Harrington6-1
3Sir EddieFlavien Prat120Dan Blacker4-1
4Stay GoldenEdgar Payeras113Louis A. Bradvica30-1
5Black StormBrayan Pena126Lloyd C. Wicker8-1
6Dreamer's RealityDrayden Van Dyke120Mike Puype5-2
7Golden GladiatorAsa Espinoza113Kenneth E. Nettles50-1
8Hit the SeamTyler Conner120Edward R. Freeman6-1
9AnimoEvin Roman126Martin F. Jones15-1
10Clem Dela ClemBrice Blanc120Neil D. Drysdale15-1
Also Eligible
11Famous Rock StarTyler Baze120Jeff Mullins8-1
12Ultimate BangoRuben Fuentes120Blake R. Heap6-1
13SchooleyMartin Pedroza126Peter Miller10-1
14Royal SeekerTiago Pereira126Marcelo Polanco30-1


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $21,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds. Claiming Price $30,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1ChiquilinMatt Garcia122Victor Fernandez20-130,000
2Man O WorkEdgar Payeras115Leandro Hernandez8-130,000
3Moon JuiceMartin Pedroza122Philip A. Oviedo6-130,000
4Sierra EchoGeovanni Franco122Hector O. Palma4-130,000
5American All StarTyler Baze122Simon Callaghan9-530,000
6St. SimeonTiago Pereira122Paula S. Capestro20-130,000
7Trojan TimeStewart Elliott122Eddie Truman7-230,000
8NovaEvin Roman122Rafael DeLeon6-130,000
9Evening RewardSantiago Gonzalez122Manuel Landeros20-130,000


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

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1I'm No PatsySantiago Gonzalez121Javier Jose Sierra30-16,250
2Briartic GalGeovanni Franco121Reed Saldana8-16,250
3Gift of a StarJuan Ochoa121Jack Carava3-16,250
4Anita G.Franklin Ceballos116Steven Miyadi7-26,250
5Where's the DJuan Sanchez123Rosemary Trela9-26,250
6Veronica BayTiago Pereira121Marcelo Polanco12-16,250
7Jill MaddenMartin Pedroza121Matthew Chew8-16,250
8Just BookinEdgar Payeras114Jesus Nunez5-16,250
9PaschalitsaTyler Baze121Jack Carava10-16,250
10Fruity Asa Espinoza114Mark Glatt15-16,250


About 6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $33,000. Claiming. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $40,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Awesome HeightsCorey Nakatani123Neil D. Drysdale6-140,000
2Curly's WaterfrontAsa Espinoza118Reed Saldana15-140,000
3Dreams of ValorEdwin Maldonado123Craig Dollase6-140,000
4R Cha ChaFranklin Ceballos118Richard Baltas6-140,000
5General Mach FourKyle Frey123Doug F. O'Neill12-140,000
6Dr. TroutmanEvin Roman123George Papaprodromou5-140,000
7In My SightMatt Garcia123John Casey Selvester12-1
8Cats BlameJoseph Talamo123Mike Puype6-140,000
9Swinging StarFlavien Prat123Tim Yakteen7-240,000
10Smuggler UnionGeovanni Franco123Howard L. Zucker6-140,000


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $21,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds. Claiming Price $30,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1QuadJoseph Talamo122Gary Sherlock12-130,000
2Alternate RhythmFranklin Ceballos117Peter Miller9-530,000
3North County GuyMartin Pedroza122David Jacobson4-130,000
4BonaventureModesto Linares122Dean Greenman5-130,000
5Our Tiger's BoyEdwin Maldonado122Jeff Bonde6-130,000
6Doheny BeachTiago Pereira122Ruben Gomez50-130,000
7Powerful ThirstGeovanni Franco122Andrew Lerner10-130,000
8GiddymeisterRuben Fuentes122Paul G. Aguirre8-130,000
9BohanMartin Garcia122Ryan Hanson8-130,000
10Tandy RideEdgar Payeras115Jesus Nunez20-130,000