Racing! A look at how what impact sports betting had on Monmouth handle

Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter as we start to worry about field size at Los Alamitos.

Ran across an interesting article in the Thoroughbred Daily News by Bill Finley saying that sports betting has no apparent impact on the handle at Monmouth. You can read it here.

Now, admittedly, it’s way too early to draw any definitive conclusions. This is more of an anecdotal snapshot. Finley dug down deep to find comparable dates to 2017. He found 35 and saw a 4% decline in on-track handle from $445,524 to $427,701. Now, what factor did all the rain and having 80 grass races moved to the dirt play on it?

No less than Joe Harper, the big guy at Del Mar, said that part of their 7% all sources handle increase was due to bad weather in the East.

But, perhaps, the real harbinger is this past weekend, when the NFL opened its schedule and college was well under way, there was a 29% decrease in handle. With bad weather at the track, the average on-track handle on Saturday and Sunday went from $435,808 to $308,558. Was it the weather or the NFL?

Now, this is not an issue for Californians any time soon. Sports betting still has to pass as a ballot initiative (and it’s not on this year’s ballot) and then it goes to the legislature where we’ll see who has the biggest lobby with lots of people trying to get in on it. Lots to work out.

It’s not even a 100% certainty that racing will get any piece of it, although it would be beyond shocking if it didn’t. One thing is for sure, betting on what the legislature will or won’t do is sucker bet.

Los Alamitos preview

Los Al starts its new 2 p.m. start time, thus assuring more people get caught in rush hour. OK, I’ll concede that just about every hour in L.A. is rush hour. As for the eight-race card, it’s grim with two races with only five horses, one with six horses and five with seven. The track has shown a giant phobia to potential minus show pools (which would be eliminated by penny breakage), so we’ll be counting how many races don’t have show betting. We’re still scratching our head over the six-horse Beverly J. Lewis Stakes on Saturday, which did not have show betting.

Not sure which race is the feature, but there are three $40,000 races. The second is a mile maiden special weight for horses 3 and up. The fourth is a 5 ½ furlong maiden special weight for Cal-bred fillies who are 2-years-old. And, the sixth is a one-mile maiden special weight for fillies and mares 3 and up.

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

Golden Gate preview

He’s back and we’ve got him. We resume our weekly look at the best racing going on at Golden Gate Fields. As with the last meeting, we’re delighted to have race caller and all-around good guy Matt Dinerman as our host for previews and other musings. So, take it away, Matt.

“For racing fans, the summer and fall months are always a fun time to be on the lookout for future stars. Golden Gate Fields has already had its share of 2-year-olds display talent with room for improvement. This past week, three 2-year-olds caught the eyes of handicappers and horsemen alike.

“Two-year-old filly Tomlin showed that her three-length maiden victory at Santa Rosa was no fluke when winning an allowance by four lengths on Friday. Tomlin has always been well regarded. By Distorted Humor, she was purchased for $200,000 at Keeneland in 2017 and is out of a Grade 2 winning dam. Tomlin is also a half sibling to Grade 3 winner Strike It Rich and stakes placed Sumptuous. In the seventh race on Saturday, 2-year-old filly Silk Ransom defeated a field of maidens by four lengths. Silk Ransom, is a half sibling to Grade I winner Joking, who won the Vosbourgh Handicap at Belmont Park in 2016. Spun Silk, the dam of Silk Ransom, was a minor stakes winner herself. A day later, 2-year-old colt The White Shadow finished ahead of six other rivals in good time. The White Shadow, purchased for just $6,000 in the winter, is by Grade 1 winner Graydar and out of a Johannesburg mare who never raced.

Two-year-olds race in Thursday’s second race, where they look to prove they have what it takes to compete against stakes company later this year. The morning-line favorite is Cooney, a Willam E. Morey trainee he has won both career starts (a maiden race and starter allowance) with great ease at low odds. Also entered are a quartet of recent maiden special weight winners: Arcadia Calls, Peppers Ace, Rey Coliman and Tap It Champ.

“Arcadia Calls is a well-regarded colt from the Blaine Wright barn who was purchased for $215,000 as a yearling and broke his maiden at Pleasanton on June 30. Peppers Ace made his first trip to the winner’s circle at Sacramento in July and, like the aforementioned rival, also freshens up for his first start against winners. Rey Coliman scored a 58-1 shocker on August 26 and faces tougher company in this spot while Tap It Champ, from the Faith Taylor stable, was on the “Horses to Watch” list on our first News and Notes of the summer meet and looks to stay unbeaten after a sharp debut win at Santa Rosa.

“Our nine-race Saturday card is solid, featuring two allowance races and a maiden special weight. A field of 11 (one being an also-eligible) goes five furlongs on the turf in the seventh race, a first-level allowance for older fillies and mares that is sure to be competitive. The other allowance race is another turf event, a mile for second-level allowance fillies and mares. The main contenders are stakes placed Pyscho Sister, Del Mar allowance winner Tammy’s Window and stakes performers Mon Petite and Savannah Slew. The maiden special weight, for Cal-bred 2-year-old fillies, drew a field of seven and is led by recent second-place finisher Boomchicaboom, conditioned by Winter/Spring meet leading trainer Jonathan Wong.”

Jose Contreras LRC play of the day

FIFTH RACE: No.2 Bob’s All In (5-2)

He found himself with too much to do after getting shuffled back to second last down the backstretch last time out against a solid field of claimers. He made wide move around the turn and never quit while just missing second by a head while finishing well clear of the third-place finisher. He did everything but win two starts back when just missing by a neck against fellow rival Our Tiger’s Boy. I like his consistent form in his last three starts and I think he’s going to love this long stretch while also taking a drop in class.

Sunday’s result: Take Charge Lucky had a slow start, got into a nice stalking position but weakened in the stretch.

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

Still looking to jump the circulation of this newsletter. Can’t beat the price. If you like it, tell someone. If you don’t like it, then you’re probably not reading this. Either way, send to a friend and just have them click here and sign up. Remember, it’s free, and all we need is your email, nothing more.

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 star of the show, Thursday’s entries.

Los Alamitos Race Course Entries for Thursday, September 13.

Los Alamitos Race Course, Los Alamitos, California. 4th day of a 12-day meet.


1 Mile. Purse: $17,000. Maiden Claiming. 2 year olds. Claiming Prices $30,000-$28,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1No New FriendsRuben Fuentes122Jeff Bonde3-130,000
2Easy KeeperHeriberto Figueroa117Doug F. O'Neill9-530,000
3Red ClemAssael Espinoza117Tim Yakteen5-230,000
4R B EyeEvin Roman122Vann Belvoir3-130,000
5Flashy ShaqBrayan Pena122Scott Rollins6-130,000


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

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1ImpressionMartin Pedroza124William E. Morey7-525,000
2Stylistics UnitedHeriberto Figueroa116Louis A. Bradvica15-125,000
3GracidaMario Gutierrez117Doug F. O'Neill8-525,000
4AccreditationRuben Fuentes124Hector O. Palma4-125,000
5Jersey's HeatAgapito Delgadillo120Rafael Becerra4-125,000


1 Mile. Purse: $40,000. Maiden Special Weight. 3 year olds and up.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Trojan SpiritGeovanni Franco124Patrick Gallagher4-1
2CroatianJoseph Talamo120Bob Baffert4-1
3Cold Brew KidMatt Garcia120Margie Cantrell20-1
4Irish SpiritTyler Conner120Michael W. McCarthy5-1
5SellwoodAgapito Delgadillo120Jeff Mullins5-2
6Mr ClassicalAssael Espinoza119Doug F. O'Neill6-1
7CapallHeriberto Figueroa115Peter Miller3-1


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $40,000. Maiden Special Weight. Fillies. 2 year olds. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Perfect Ice StormMario Gutierrez122Peter Eurton3-1
2Cause WhyTiago Pereira122John Cisneros12-1
3SuperhotamollyEfrain Hernandez122J. Eric Kruljac5-1
4Blueberry PrincessAlonso Quinonez122Hector O. Palma4-1
5HotitudeMartin Pedroza122Kristin Mulhall9-5
6The PetRuben Fuentes122Edward R. Freeman6-1
7Queen CarmelitaAssael Espinoza117Rafael DeLeon12-1


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $17,000. Claiming. 3 year olds. Claiming Prices $12,500-$10,500.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Mr CruzeEdwin Maldonado120Luis Mendez4-112,500
2Bob's All InAgapito Delgadillo120Matthew Chew5-212,500
3Zippy GroomEvin Roman120Robert B. Hess, Jr.4-112,500
4Our Tiger's BoyRuben Fuentes122Jeff Bonde4-112,500
5Fender BenderBrayan Pena120Molly J. Pearson8-112,500
6Hollywood DancerEulices Gomez122James W. Glenn, Jr.20-112,500
7NovaFranklin Ceballos120Rafael DeLeon7-212,500


1 Mile. Purse: $40,000. Maiden Special Weight. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Tequila SunriseAssael Espinoza115Richard Baltas5-2
2ConvinceMario Gutierrez120Peter Eurton9-5
3Journal EntryStewart Elliott120Carla Gaines10-1
4She FoxTyler Conner120Richard E. Mandella8-1
5Sensible ThoughtsRuben Fuentes120Richard Baltas4-1
6Now BlessedJoseph Talamo124John W. Sadler7-2


6½ Furlongs. Purse: $18,000. Starter Allowance. 3 year olds and up.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Monterey ShaleSantiago Gonzalez124Mark Glatt9-2
2Stormin MonarchoJuan Sanchez124James A. Davis, III8-1
3Isee It in HiseyesAgapito Delgadillo120Rafael DeLeon12-1
4Tasunke WitcoTiago Pereira124Charles S. Treece5-1
5Fast PassRuben Fuentes124Librado Barocio5-2
6Lambo LuxxGeovanni Franco124George Papaprodromou7-2
7New KarmaHeriberto Figueroa119Genaro Vallejo3-1


1 Mile. Purse: $15,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $8,000-$7,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Sought More PepEdwin Maldonado122Eddie Truman3-17,000
2Generous PourEdgar Payeras119Craig Dollase2-18,000
3Princess LeiaStewart Elliott124Rafael Becerra12-18,000
4Dizzy DivaAssael Espinoza119David E. Hofmans5-18,000
5ZuzannaAlonso Quinonez124Steve Knapp6-18,000
6If You Like ItHeriberto Figueroa119Andrew Lerner5-28,000
7Callie MesaErick Garcia115Jesus Mendoza20-17,000