Racing! Los Alamitos gets going with its fair meet

Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter as we look at more stewards’ rulings.

Los Alamitos cranks up with its three-week, 12-day meet. It’s the L.A. County Fair Meet. I don’t know about you but I love to ride the Ferris Wheel overlooking everything and the roller coaster that goes to the Katella Deli and back.

What? No fair?

Oh yeah, that’s right. This is one of those Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim deals.

Well, it’s important to note that fair meets have different mutuel handle percentages. For example, on win, place and show it goes from 15.43% to 16.77%. Exactas and doubles go from 22.68% and 24.02%. The rest of the exotics, except one, goes from 23.68% to 25.02%. There is a 50-cent Players’ Pick 5 that is only 14%.

Of course, there is no turf course at Los Alamitos and no graded stakes races this meeting.

This Saturday there is the $75,000 Beverly J. Lewis Stakes for 3-year-old fillies going six furlongs and the $75,000 E.B. Johnston Stakes for Cal-breds going a mile. Next weekend is the $100,000 Barretts Debutante on Sat., Sept. 15 for 2-year-old fillies that were bought at a Barretts sale going 6 ½ furlongs. On Sun., Sept. 16, is the new $100,000 Los Alamitos Special for horses going 1 ¼ miles.

On Sat., Sept. 22 there will be the $100,000 Barretts Juvenile for colts and gelding that were also bought at the Barretts sale. It’s 6 ½ furlongs.

Stewards rulings

We’re going to do the stewards’ rulings in two parts. One today and one tomorrow. We’ll start with the week of Aug. 21-26.

--Jockey Drayden Van Dyke was fined $100 for using the riding crop more than three times in a row without waiting for Triple Shot to respond in the fourth race on Aug. 19. The horse won the race. Van Dyke admitted responsibility.

--Jockey Tyler Gaffalione was suspended for three days for his ride on Fly to Mars on Aug. 19. It was ruled he altered course without enough clearance causing interference. Fly to Mars was disqualified from second to third. He served those days Aug. 29, 30 and 31. He was also fined $100 for using his riding crop more than three times. It was a unanimous decision by the stewards.

--Exercise rider Benjamin M. Monnier was fined $50 for galloping a horse during a worker only period. He said he was wrong and it wouldn’t happen again.

--Jockey Assael Espinoza was fined $100 for using his riding crop on Aug. 22 more than three times without waiting for his mount, Ike Walker, to respond. Espinoza admitted he used the crop four times. Ike Walker finished third in a four-horse race.

--Jockey Brayan Pena was fined $100 for use of his crop more than three times on Shirl’s Ready on Aug. 25. The horse finished second. Pena admitted to using the crop more than allowed.

--Jockey Kent Desormeaux was fined $200 for using the riding crop more than three times without waiting for a response. It was the second offense in the past 60 days. (Desormeaux was later suspended three days for not riding this horse to the finish.)

--Jockey Assael Espinoza was fined $300 for over using his riding crop when his mount Fantastic Chloe was out of contention on Aug. 25. The horse finished 10th of 11 horses. Espinoza could not give an explanation for his actions.

The stewards also issue traffic violations. There is no elaboration. (Seems like this could be someone else’s problem.)

--Agent Ricky Agarie was fined $10.

--Exercise rider Nery Cano was fined $10.

--Stable employee Carlos Lopez was fined $10.

--Stable foreman Antonio Orantes was fined $10.

--Stable employee Vidal Cano was fined $10.

--Trainer Val Brinkerhoff was fined $10.

--Jockey Lidio Barrientos was fined $10.

--Vendor Don Lockwood was fined $10.

Now, some bigger fines…

--Stable employee Ezequiel Garcia was fined $20.

--Stable employee Gerson Mendez was fined $20.

--Exercise rider Sal Morfin was fined $20.

--Stable employee Alfonso Valente was fined $20.

--Exercise rider Jacinto Munoz was fined $35.

And …

--Stable employee Peighton Hall was fined $10 for a dog violation. (Not sure what that was about but hope the dog is OK.)

Los Alamitos preview

Opening day is pretty typical for a Thursday at Los Alamitos with eight races starting at 1 p.m. (We don’t miss those 2 p.m. Del Mar starts, for sure.) There are two allowance/optional claimers, to maiden special weights and four claimers.

The feature is the fourth, an allowance with horses going six furlongs. Aristocratic is the 8-5 favorite for trainer Peter Miller and jockey Heriberto Figueroa. He’s zero for five this year but been running allowance races and the Phoenix Gold Cup Handicap at Turf Paradise. He’s two for 15 lifetime.

The second favorite is Street Vision at 2-1. He runs for Joe Herrick and Martin Pedroza. He’s three for five this year, winning an allowance at Belmont Park and two claimers at Santa Anita. He’s six for 20 lifetime.

Here are the field sizes, in order: 6, 6, 6, 5, 8, 7, 9, 10.

Jose Contreras LRC play of the day

THIRD RACE: No. 2 Sunrise Royale (3-1)

He broke fast, dueled early, settled mid-pack and then made a four-wide move around the turn to get up for the win in the final strides. The second-place finisher Coco Kisses was one of the favorites in that race she finished over three lengths clear of the third place runner. I like the improvement that Sunrise Royale showed last time out and this long stretch drive should be up for her liking. Heriberto Figueroa had a nice season riding this track in July and he will be looking to start the season on a good note.

Jose Contreras is an excellent handicapper and well known on social media and familiar to racing fans watching on TVG. You can follow him on Twitter at @losponies or check him out at his website.

Final thought

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If you have any thoughts, you can reach me at You can also feed my ego by following me on Twitter @jcherwa

And now the stars of the show, Thursday’s entries.

Los Alamitos Race Course Entries for Thursday, September 6.

Los Alamitos Race Course, Los Alamitos, California. 1st day of a 12-day meet.


1 Mile. Purse: $15,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $20,000-$18,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Copper CowgirlBrice Blanc120Patricia Harrington5-120,000
2Exes N OhsJoseph Talamo120Bob Baffert9-520,000
3Take Charge GalAssael Espinoza115John W. Sadler8-520,000
4Solar CoronaVinnie Bednar122Jose Hernandez, Jr.5-118,000
5Cheyenne DancerHeriberto Figueroa117Joe Herrick10-118,000
6Curlina CurlinaMartin Pedroza122Mike Harrington8-118,000


6 Furlongs. Purse: $40,000. Maiden Special Weight. 3 year olds and up.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Goldie's HillsBarrington Harvey124Louis A. Bradvica8-1
2Justin's QuestEdwin Maldonado120Richard Baltas5-2
3Dre DanJoseph Talamo124Bob Baffert9-5
4AcedMario Gutierrez120Peter Eurton3-1
5ExultationTyler Conner120Peter Eurton6-1
6Boiler PlateBrayan Pena120Scott Rollins8-1


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $45,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $20,000. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1AlpenhornEulices Gomez124Peter Eurton4-120,000
2Sunrise RoyaleHeriberto Figueroa115J. Eric Kruljac3-1
3Lady KrishnaVinnie Bednar122Marcia Stortz10-1
4MagicalchicEdgar Payeras117Louis A. Bradvica15-1
5Hailey RacheleTiago Pereira122Sam J. Scolamieri9-5
6Happy IssueAssael Espinoza117Vann Belvoir5-2


6 Furlongs. Purse: $48,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $62,500.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Stylistics UnitedEdgar Payeras117Louis A. Bradvica20-1
2LomboMartin Garcia118Philip D'Amato4-1
3Street VisionMartin Pedroza122Joe Herrick2-1
4AristocraticHeriberto Figueroa117Peter Miller8-5
5ConquerorJoseph Talamo122Vladimir Cerin5-2


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $21,000. Maiden Claiming. 2 year olds. Claiming Prices $50,000-$40,000. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Street PunkChris Russell122Robert A. Bean20-150,000
2Calder ValeRuben Fuentes122Ricardo Zamora5-150,000
3Kid KoilMartin Pedroza118Adam Kitchingman2-140,000
4Bean StreetBarrington Harvey122Robert A. Bean20-150,000
5LifesbeengoodsofarTiago Pereira122Michael Machowsky4-150,000
6New SaluteHeriberto Figueroa113Ruben Gomez20-140,000
7ForestationEfrain Hernandez122J. Eric Kruljac5-150,000
8Just Hit PlaySantiago Gonzalez122Steven Miyadi5-250,000


1 Mile. Purse: $40,000. Maiden Special Weight. 2 year olds.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1DinesenMartin Garcia122Philip D'Amato3-1
2HerdsmanAlonso Quinonez122Dan Blacker20-1
3Rain CrowStewart Elliott122Dan Blacker20-1
4EarnestTiago Pereira122O. J. Jauregui6-1
5Dark PrinceJoseph Talamo122Bob Baffert2-1
6Magnificent McCoolRafael Bejarano122Doug F. O'Neill5-2
7Seven ScentsGeovanni Franco122Craig Anthony Lewis4-1


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $12,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $6,250.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Stately CommandEfrain Hernandez124Jesus Nunez20-16,250
2Bella RaquellaEdgar Orozco124Jesus Nunez15-16,250
3NazarethTiago Pereira124Molly J. Pearson6-16,250
4Blooming HannahBarrington Harvey124Robert A. Bean15-16,250
5Kristie's HeartHeriberto Figueroa119Anthony K. Saavedra5-26,250
6ScathingSantiago Gonzalez124James A. Davis, III6-16,250
7Alpha PegasusBrayan Pena124Raymond C. Bryner6-16,250
8RockantharosRuben Fuentes124Antonio Garcia5-16,250
9Princess AreniMartin Pedroza120Simon Callaghan3-16,250


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $17,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $16,000-$14,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Topaz TimeRuben Fuentes124Paul G. Aguirre4-116,000
2Coalinga HillsSantiago Gonzalez124Martin F. Jones7-216,000
3Majestic AuthorityFranklin Ceballos120Sal Gonzalez12-116,000
4Creative SparkTiago Pereira120Daniel Dunham12-116,000
5Ciao LunaHeriberto Figueroa115Steve Knapp8-116,000
6Dashin AshenEvin Roman124Carlos Cruz Lopez8-116,000
7Sharona SunsetErick Garcia120Marcia Stortz6-116,000
8Lady's War DressJuan Sanchez124Bobby Wayne Grayson20-116,000
9JeweledAssael Espinoza119John W. Sadler3-116,000
10FellinaEdgar Payeras117Bobby Wayne Grayson20-114,000