Racing! Guess who’s returning to racing on Thursday?
Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter as we come to you from bad-weather Baltimore.
It’s difficult to believe that Saturday’s 143rd running of the Preakness Stakes can be run on anything but a wet track. There is rain scheduled every day the remainder of the week and it’s, at times, a relentless, weather-service-alert, kind of rain. And with the absence of any sun, the track will have no opportunity to dry out.
Still, it’s hard to believe that any horse but Justify can win this race. Good Magic, second in the Kentucky Derby, is the best of the rest, but was his tank emptied in Louisville? We know that Justify’s was not.
Justify has proved he can handle an off surface. In fact, there’s not a dirt surface he’s proved that he can’t handle. (Forgive the double negative, please.)
Since we last talked, a couple of stories have been posted at latimes.com and run in the print editions.
Here are your five storylines to this year’s Preakness Stakes. (Just click here.)
How Bob Baffert’s subterfuge got Justify to the Kentucky Derby on schedule. (Just click here.)
Baffert and Wayne Lukas seem have patched up old wounds. (Just click here.)
The Preakness draw, post positions and odds. (Just click here.)
Preakness draw analysis
As an added feature, Jeff Siegel and Aaron Vercruysse of xbtv.com offer up their exclusive analysis of Wednesday’s draw. It’s always good stuff and worth a watch. You won’t be disappointed. (Just click here.)
More Preakness news
The Preakness notes team was in full gear on Wednesday and are glad to share some of their information with you.
--Justify, Lone Sailor and Quip all arrived at the track between 3 and 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon after a plane ride from Louisville. They got a police escort from BWI Airport to Pimlico.
--Good Magic galloped over the muddy Pimlico surface on Wednesday morning, going about 1¼ miles. Assistant trainer Baldo Hernandez, said he was “very pleased” and categorized the effort as “excellent.” Trainer Chad Brown won’t get to Baltimore until Friday. He won last year’s Preakness with Cloud Computing.
--Bravazo and Sporting Chance, both for trainer Wayne Lukas, jogged once around the track and galloped clockwise on the second lap. “We didn’t do a lot with that track the way it was,” Lukas said. “If we’re going to do something serious on that racetrack we’ve got to get paid for it.”
--Quip galloped a mile at Keeneland on Wednesday morning before being vanned to Louisville for his flight to Baltimore. Trainer Rodolphe Brisset hasn’t settled on a training schedule yet. “I have no idea,” he said. “I have to take a good look at the track. It sounds like the weather hasn’t been nice over there.” He’s right.
--Tenfold had an easy day on Wednesday after a van ride from Louisville on Tuesday. He just walked the shedrow and is scheduled for a gallop on Thursday.
--Diamond King jogged a mile over a muddy track at Parx, near Philadelphia, before shipping to Pimlico on Wednesday afternoon and arriving about 3:15 p.m. “We got a lot of rain and the track was a little hard, so I just jogged him,” trainer John Servis said.
Santa Anita preview
I hinted at it at the top, but guess who’s back from an eight-month Club Med vacation? It’s 3-year-old colt Brave Helios, owned in part by my co-conspirator, back-up newsletter writer, Eric (Manny Mota) Sondheimer. His co-owner is newsletter contributor Jeff Siegel. (See above.) The horse is a son of Artie Schiller, one of Eric’s favorites.
Brave Helios is set for the first race at Santa Anita at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, 6½ furlongs down the hill. It’s an allowance/optional claimer for Cal-breds with only six horses in it. He’s at 5-1, so he’s not getting a lot of love from morning-line oddsmaker Jon White. That is, unless Jon has factored in the effect the newsletter might have on the colt’s odds, in which case he would be even longer.
Flavien Prat is aboard. Derek Lawson, Prat’s agent, used to be a high-school correspondent for Eric many years ago. So, there might have been some favors called in.
Let’s see if Santa Anita media czar Mike Willman has the courage to make that the featured race of the day in his daily news release or if he’ll choose the other 6½-furlong allowance race, which carries an equivalent $56,000 purse.
Oh, yeah. There are seven other races. Nothing special. There are three turf races, first, fifth and eighth. Here are the field sizes, in order: 6, 6, 8 (2 also eligible), 6, 8, 8, 8, 10 (1 AE).
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.
“This Friday and Saturday, the opening race at Golden Gate Fields will go off at a different time than the usual 12:45 p.m. The first of eight races on the Golden Gate Friday program will be at 1:15 p.m., with gates opening for simulcasting at 10 a.m. The first race on Saturday is 12:15 p.m., with the gates opening for simulcasting at 9 a.m.
“The feature race this week is Sunday’s $75,000 Alcatraz Stakes for 3-year-olds on turf. Among the probables are Afleet Ascent, who finished fourth in the Singletary Stakes at Santa Anita earlier this month, and stakes-placed colts Respect the Hustle and Unpossible. Tortosa and Bronze Warrior, the first and second in an allowance race on April 8, are also listed as ‘probable.’
“The late pick 4 on Friday’s card caught my eye. Races 5-8 has two maiden special weights, an allowance and a starter allowance filling the sequence. The allowance race is a 5-furlong turf dash, which appears to be a prep for the June 9 Albany Stakes, also a 5-furlong turf sprint. Among the entrants in Friday’s Albany prep are stakes winners (and stablemates) Kristo Skye and Tribal Storm, recent second level allowance winner Summersimage, ‘horse for course’ Swingshift Deputy and speed demon Aalsmeer.
“To end this week’s update, we offer a friendly reminder that every Sunday until the end of the meet on June 10, there will be a $50,000 guaranteed late pick 5 pool. It’s the last five races on every card.”
Bob Ike SA pick of the day
FIFTH RACE: No. 1 Armour Plate (3-1)
Sophomore colt makes his first start for top trainer Bill Spawr as he returns from a nearly six-month layoff. The son of Into Mischief showed good ability as a 2-year-old and ran the best race of his career over this course, plus the work pattern looks rock solid.
Sunday’s result: It's a New Year (3-1) made a clear lead but tired to third in the sixth race.
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).
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And now the star of the show, Thursday’s entries.
Santa Anita Entries for Thursday, May 17.
Santa Anita, Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, California. 19th day of a 42-day meet.
About 6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $56,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. 3 year olds. Claiming Price $50,000. State bred.
|1||Raven Creek||Tyler Baze||122||Jeff Mullins||2-1|
|2||Vutzak||Stewart Elliott||122||Mike Puype||5-2|
|3||Brave Helios||Flavien Prat||122||Michael Machowsky||5-1|
|4||Croissant||Mario Gutierrez||122||Doug F. O'Neill||4-1|
|5||Uh Oh Baby||Joseph Talamo||122||Craig Dollase||6-1|
|6||Drizzy||Victor Espinoza||122||Michael Machowsky||5-1|
1 Mile. Purse: $25,000. Claiming. Fillies. 3 year olds. Claiming Prices $20,000-$18,000.
|1||Sapphire Kid||Asa Espinoza||115||Rafael Becerra||5-2||20,000|
|2||Empress of Lov||Tiago Pereira||122||Gary Sherlock||2-1||20,000|
|3||Millie Joel||Geovanni Franco||122||Anthony K. Saavedra||6-1||20,000|
|4||Instinctual Kash||Tyler Baze||122||Jeffrey Metz||8-1||20,000|
|5||Mischievous Song||Martin Pedroza||120||Peter Miller||3-1||18,000|
|6||Wampus||Stewart Elliott||122||Art Sherman||5-1||20,000|
4½ Furlongs. Purse: $54,000. Maiden. Fillies. 2 year olds. State bred.
|1||Rolinga||Ruben Fuentes||122||Edward R. Freeman||9-2|
|2||Settle It||Mario Gutierrez||122||Doug F. O'Neill||8-5|
|3||Jellybeankristine||Joseph Talamo||122||Gary Sherlock||8-1|
|4||Derby Luck||Heriberto Figueroa||115||Ruben Gomez||10-1|
|5||Swing Thoughts||Tyler Conner||122||Ed Moger, Jr.||15-1|
|6||Awepollonia||Alonso Quinonez||122||Jorge Periban||6-1|
|7||Ron's Cat||Fernandez Rojas||122||Marcia Stortz||12-1|
|8||Six Pack Gal||Rafael Bejarano||122||Michael Machowsky||3-1|
|9||Takahiro's Dream||Martin Pedroza||122||Adam Kitchingman||5-1|
|10||Rejoyce and Sing||Franklin Ceballos||117||Steven Miyadi||5-1|
1 1/16 Mile. Purse: $16,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $12,500.
|1||Princess Leia||Asa Espinoza||118||Rafael Becerra||9-5||12,500|
|2||Asem||Stewart Elliott||120||Ryan Hanson||5-1||12,500|
|3||Atrevida||Tyler Baze||120||Michael W. McCarthy||7-2||12,500|
|4||Dizzy Diva||Joseph Talamo||125||David E. Hofmans||8-5||12,500|
|5||Lovely Linda||Franklin Ceballos||120||Antonio Garcia||12-1||12,500|
|6||Reinahermosa||Ruben Fuentes||125||Ricardo Zamora||10-1||12,500|
About 6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $56,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. 3 year olds. Claiming Price $75,000.
|1||Armour Plate||Rafael Bejarano||122||William Spawr||3-1|
|2||Axelrod||Flavien Prat||120||Michael W. McCarthy||4-1|
|3||Giddymeister||Ruben Fuentes||120||Paul G. Aguirre||20-1|
|4||Heartfullofstars||Corey Nakatani||122||Philip D'Amato||5-1|
|5||Graycaster||Tyler Conner||122||Jerry Hollendorfer||8-1|
|6||Calexman||Alonso Quinonez||122||Vladimir Cerin||4-1|
|7||Move Over||Tyler Baze||124||John W. Sadler||7-2|
|8||Crazy Uncle Rick||Edwin Maldonado||120||Jeff Bonde||10-1|
5½ Furlongs. Purse: $54,000. Maiden. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up.
|1||Smart Dorie||Kent Desormeaux||120||Robert B. Hess, Jr.||6-1|
|2||She Fox||Flavien Prat||120||Richard E. Mandella||10-1|
|3||Jest a Princess||Drayden Van Dyke||125||Bob Baffert||7-2|
|4||Now Blessed||Tyler Baze||125||John W. Sadler||5-2|
|5||The Innocent One||Tyler Conner||120||Jerry Hollendorfer||8-1|
|6||Mojgan||Asa Espinoza||113||Richard Baltas||5-1|
|7||Tandalicious||Tiago Pereira||120||Philip D'Amato||6-1|
|8||Angelic||Rafael Bejarano||120||Jerry Hollendorfer||6-1|
5½ Furlongs. Purse: $25,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $20,000-$18,000.
|1||Scathing||Corey Nakatani||123||Vladimir Cerin||9-2||20,000|
|2||Cioppino Pasadino||Stewart Elliott||123||Charles S. Treece||10-1||20,000|
|3||Sharona Sunset||Brayan Pena||118||Marcia Stortz||20-1||20,000|
|4||Time and Chance||Asa Espinoza||116||William E. Morey||4-1||20,000|
|5||Princess Ashlyn||Geovanni Franco||123||John F. Martin||3-1||20,000|
|6||Revenue Virginius||Rafael Bejarano||123||Jerry Hollendorfer||5-1||20,000|
|7||Adios Cali||Alonso Quinonez||123||Steve Knapp||12-1||20,000|
|8||Tangled Up in Ju||Edwin Maldonado||123||Dan Blacker||5-2||20,000|
About 6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $33,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $75,000.
|1||True Testament||Asa Espinoza||118||Jerry Hollendorfer||6-1||75,000|
|2||Navajo Dreamer||Flavien Prat||120||Richard Baltas||7-2||75,000|
|3||No Wine Untasted||Martin Pedroza||120||Ian Kruljac||12-1||75,000|
|4||Strengthinnumbers||Tiago Pereira||120||Philip D'Amato||12-1||75,000|
|5||She's Legit||Victor Espinoza||125||Peter Miller||5-1||75,000|
|6||Ladybug||Kent Desormeaux||120||John W. Sadler||3-1||75,000|
|7||Gia Lula||Tyler Conner||120||Mark Glatt||5-1||75,000|
|8||Tiz Goldilux||Rafael Bejarano||125||Martin F. Jones||12-1||75,000|
|9||One Upper||Stewart Elliott||120||Ryan Hanson||12-1||75,000|
|10||Convince||Mario Gutierrez||120||Peter Eurton||12-1||75,000|
|11||It's Alexus||Kyle Frey||120||Doug F. O'Neill||10-1||75,000|
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