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 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
“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.
“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
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
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 Horsebills.com (here’s a video) and the proprietor of BobIkePicks.com (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.
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
THIRD RACE: #4 AJAC (5-2)
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.
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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.
|1||Gray Admiral||Tyler Baze||118||Victor L. Garcia||8-1|
|2||Saratoga Morning||Kent Desormeaux||118||J. Keith Desormeaux||10-1|
|3||It's a New Year||118||12-1|
|4||Gosilently||124||Robert N. Falcone, Jr.||7-2|
|5||Dark Energy||Joseph Talamo||124||John A. Shirreffs||6-1|
|6||Ya Gotta Wanna||Tiago Pereira||124||Philip D'Amato||4-1|
|7||Lauren's Ladd||Tyler Conner||124||Richard Baltas||4-1|
|8||Winning Element||Flavien Prat||124||Doug F. O'Neill||3-1|
1 Mile. Purse: $16,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $12,500.
|1||Dizzy Diva||Joseph Talamo||123||David E. Hofmans||7-2||12,500|
|2||Reinahermosa||Ruben Fuentes||123||Ricardo Zamora||6-1||12,500|
|3||Del Mar Diva||Tyler Conner||123||Michael Machowsky||4-1||12,500|
|4||Albeit||Franklin Ceballos||118||Sal Gonzalez||6-5||12,500|
|5||Quiet No More||Kyle Frey||123||Doug F. O'Neill||3-1||12,500|
1 Mile. Purse: $18,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $20,000.
|1||Smart Little Devil||Martin Garcia||120||David E. Hofmans||8-1||20,000|
|2||Curlina Curlina||Edgar Payeras||119||Mike Harrington||6-1||20,000|
|3||Empire Zone||Diego ||126||George Papaprodromou||30-1||20,000|
|4||Stella Sweeper||Brayan Pena||126||David Bernstein||20-1||20,000|
|5||Misty Slew||Evin Roman||120||Vann Belvoir||9-2||20,000|
|6||Angel On Point||Ruben Fuentes||126||Librado Barocio||5-1||20,000|
|7||Wampus||Stewart Elliott||120||Art Sherman||4-1||20,000|
|8||Solar Corona||Franklin Ceballos||121||Jose Hernandez, Jr.||6-1||20,000|
|9||Whacked||Asa Espinoza||113||Dan Blacker||7-2||20,000|
|10||Eye of the River||Felipe Martinez||126||Martine Bellocq||15-1||20,000|
|11||Dadlani||Alonso Quinonez||126||Leonard Powell||5-1||20,000|
|12||Mariana's Girl||Geovanni Franco||120||Hector O. Palma||8-1||20,000|
6 Furlongs. Purse: $58,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $62,500.
|1||Time for Ebby||Evin Roman||126||Steve Knapp||10-1|
|2||Yuvetsi||Tiago Pereira||124||John W. Sadler||4-1|
|3||Surrender Now||Victor Espinoza||118||Peter Miller||3-1|
|4||Citizen Kitty||Geovanni Franco||126||Jeffrey Metz||12-1||62,500|
|5||Phantom Proton||Joseph Talamo||124||Neil D. Drysdale||8-1|
|6||Marley's Freedom||Drayden Van Dyke||124||Robert B. Hess, Jr.||4-5|
About 6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $54,000. Maiden Special Weight. 3 year olds and up. State bred.
|1||Sidepocket Action||Tiago Pereira||126||Philip D'Amato||3-1|
|2||Bob's Bad Boy||Stewart Elliott||126||Mike Harrington||6-1|
|3||Sir Eddie||Flavien Prat||120||Dan Blacker||4-1|
|4||Stay Golden||Edgar Payeras||113||Louis A. Bradvica||30-1|
|5||Black Storm||Brayan Pena||126||Lloyd C. Wicker||8-1|
|6||Dreamer's Reality||Drayden Van Dyke||120||Mike Puype||5-2|
|7||Golden Gladiator||Asa Espinoza||113||Kenneth E. Nettles||50-1|
|8||Hit the Seam||Tyler Conner||120||Edward R. Freeman||6-1|
|9||Animo||Evin Roman||126||Martin F. Jones||15-1|
|10||Clem Dela Clem||Brice Blanc||120||Neil D. Drysdale||15-1|
|11||Famous Rock Star||Tyler Baze||120||Jeff Mullins||8-1|
|12||Ultimate Bango||Ruben Fuentes||120||Blake R. Heap||6-1|
|13||Schooley||Martin Pedroza||126||Peter Miller||10-1|
|14||Royal Seeker||Tiago Pereira||126||Marcelo Polanco||30-1|
5½ Furlongs. Purse: $21,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds. Claiming Price $30,000.
|1||Chiquilin||Matt Garcia||122||Victor Fernandez||20-1||30,000|
|2||Man O Work||Edgar Payeras||115||Leandro Hernandez||8-1||30,000|
|3||Moon Juice||Martin Pedroza||122||Philip A. Oviedo||6-1||30,000|
|4||Sierra Echo||Geovanni Franco||122||Hector O. Palma||4-1||30,000|
|5||American All Star||Tyler Baze||122||Simon Callaghan||9-5||30,000|
|6||St. Simeon||Tiago Pereira||122||Paula S. Capestro||20-1||30,000|
|7||Trojan Time||Stewart Elliott||122||Eddie Truman||7-2||30,000|
|8||Nova||Evin Roman||122||Rafael DeLeon||6-1||30,000|
|9||Evening Reward||Santiago Gonzalez||122||Manuel Landeros||20-1||30,000|
1 Mile. Purse: $14,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $6,250.
|1||I'm No Patsy||Santiago Gonzalez||121||Javier Jose Sierra||30-1||6,250|
|2||Briartic Gal||Geovanni Franco||121||Reed Saldana||8-1||6,250|
|3||Gift of a Star||Juan Ochoa||121||Jack Carava||3-1||6,250|
|4||Anita G.||Franklin Ceballos||116||Steven Miyadi||7-2||6,250|
|5||Where's the D||Juan Sanchez||123||Rosemary Trela||9-2||6,250|
|6||Veronica Bay||Tiago Pereira||121||Marcelo Polanco||12-1||6,250|
|7||Jill Madden||Martin Pedroza||121||Matthew Chew||8-1||6,250|
|8||Just Bookin||Edgar Payeras||114||Jesus Nunez||5-1||6,250|
|9||Paschalitsa||Tyler Baze||121||Jack Carava||10-1||6,250|
|10||Fruity||Asa Espinoza||114||Mark Glatt||15-1||6,250|
About 6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $33,000. Claiming. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $40,000.
|1||Awesome Heights||Corey Nakatani||123||Neil D. Drysdale||6-1||40,000|
|2||Curly's Waterfront||Asa Espinoza||118||Reed Saldana||15-1||40,000|
|3||Dreams of Valor||Edwin Maldonado||123||Craig Dollase||6-1||40,000|
|4||R Cha Cha||Franklin Ceballos||118||Richard Baltas||6-1||40,000|
|5||General Mach Four||Kyle Frey||123||Doug F. O'Neill||12-1||40,000|
|6||Dr. Troutman||Evin Roman||123||George Papaprodromou||5-1||40,000|
|7||In My Sight||Matt Garcia||123||John Casey Selvester||12-1|
|8||Cats Blame||Joseph Talamo||123||Mike Puype||6-1||40,000|
|9||Swinging Star||Flavien Prat||123||Tim Yakteen||7-2||40,000|
|10||Smuggler Union||Geovanni Franco||123||Howard L. Zucker||6-1||40,000|
5½ Furlongs. Purse: $21,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds. Claiming Price $30,000.
|1||Quad||Joseph Talamo||122||Gary Sherlock||12-1||30,000|
|2||Alternate Rhythm||Franklin Ceballos||117||Peter Miller||9-5||30,000|
|3||North County Guy||Martin Pedroza||122||David Jacobson||4-1||30,000|
|4||Bonaventure||Modesto Linares||122||Dean Greenman||5-1||30,000|
|5||Our Tiger's Boy||Edwin Maldonado||122||Jeff Bonde||6-1||30,000|
|6||Doheny Beach||Tiago Pereira||122||Ruben Gomez||50-1||30,000|
|7||Powerful Thirst||Geovanni Franco||122||Andrew Lerner||10-1||30,000|
|8||Giddymeister||Ruben Fuentes||122||Paul G. Aguirre||8-1||30,000|
|9||Bohan||Martin Garcia||122||Ryan Hanson||8-1||30,000|
|10||Tandy Ride||Edgar Payeras||115||Jesus Nunez||20-1||30,000|