Racing! More stewards’ rulings

Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter as the American Pharoah Stakes at Santa Anita got less interesting.

It’s the last week of the Fair meeting at Los Alamitos and then on to Santa Anita, which opens with a great Saturday card filled with Grade 1s. However, two 2-year-olds you wanted to see won’t be there. Instagrand, for Jerry Hollendorfer and Roadster for Bob Baffert had been put on the sidelines for a while. It also has Breeders’ Cup Juvenile implications and a lot of wasted money for those who played future pool bets on them.

But there’s plenty of time to talk about that in the coming days and weeks. Now, let’s get back to the latest set of stewards’ rulings from Los Alamitos. It took the CHRB a while to make the minutes public, so some of these seem outdated.

--Jockey Brice Blanc was fined $100 for using the riding crop more than three times without giving his mount, Copper Cowgirl, a chance to respond. She finished second. Blanc accepted the fact he violated the rule.

--Trainer Brian Koriner was fined $500 because Steph Being Steph had too much flunixin (also known as Banamine) in her system (37 ng/ml, allowable limit is 20 ng/ml) on July 19 at Del Mar. Flunixin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory. Steph Being Steph finished second. The vet report said she received the medicine on July 17 at 9:35 a.m. Koriner thought the vet gave the injection later than that but that was “only an assumption.” Koriner was given the minimum fine because he has not had a medication violation in more than 18 months.

--Jockey Diego Sanchez was suspended for three days (Sept. 16, 20 and 21) for failing to keep a straight course in the stretch aboard Mr. Class on Sept. 8. The horse was disqualified from first to second. Steward Tom Ward dissented in the decision.

--Jockey Matt Garcia was fined $100 for using the riding crop more than three time without giving his mount, Canada, a chance to respond on Sept. 7. Canada, at 35-1, finished second. Garcia pleaded guilty.

--Jockey Cesar Franco was fined $200 for failing to arrive in time to ride Proudtobesiciliain on Sept. 8. Brayan Pena picked up the mount and finished last in the six-horse race. Franco said his 11:30 a.m. appointment with immigration did not allow him enough time to make the 1 p.m. first race.

Breaking the gate

I continued to get reader opinions on what to do when a horse goes through the front of the gate before the race starts. Making a rough guess, about two-thirds of you think the horse should be scratched and the other third think, if all is OK with the vet, they should be allowed to run.

Personally, I think if the horse breaks through and unseats their rider, they should be scratched. If they break through with the rider and don’t run off, I think they should be scratched as a betting entry and be allowed to run for purse money only.

Now, that could cost the tracks some money, so they probably wouldn’t like it. But this way, if the horse gets to run, the owner, trainer and jockey aren’t penalized. And, with a scratch, no bettor is disadvantaged.

Los Alamitos preview

It’s a pretty good card for a Los Alamitos on Thursday. There is only one five-horse field and that is the $48,000 allowance/optional claimer feature.

The feature is the fifth, a mile for fillies and mares going a mile. The favorite is Dominating Woman at 6-5. She is three-of-six lifetime but was off for nine months before returning for a fourth-place finish in an allowance at Del Mar last month. Peter Miller trains and Heriberto Figueroa rides.

The second favorite at 3-1 is Life’s Blessings. She is one for seven this year with her only win coming five races back at Santa Anita. Joe Talamo rides the Baffert-trained filly.

There are two maiden special weights on the card with a purse of $40,000.

Here are the field sizes, in order: 6, 7, 7, 6, 5, 10, 9, 10 (1 also eligible).

Golden Gate preview

Here’s 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.

“Trainer Andy Mathis had a banner day on Saturday, winning with all four of his starters at Golden Gate.

“Mathis began his four-win day with a $12,500 claiming victory from Cylinders, a filly who had competed at Del Mar twice this summer. Two races later, Mathis had Vutzak perfectly spotted for the same claiming tag, where the California-bred went straight to the front and never looked back for his second lifetime victory. Later, Cool Hunter posted a strong performance to give Mathis a hat trick on the day, and Aztec Warrior finished things with a mid-pack burst to the lead in deep stretch to win the Saturday nightcap, a starter allowance on turf.

“Mathis spent his summer at Del Mar and had three winners on closing week: Mike’s Tiznow, Silky Slew and The Spiral Jetter. Mathis said all three will be ready to race at the Golden Gate fall meet, which runs from Oct. 18 to Dec. 9.

“With two weeks remaining at the current meeting, Irving Orozco has a one-win lead over Juan Hernandez in the jockey standings. Jonathan Wong has surged ahead in the trainer standings with two wins more than Victor Trujillo. The Golden Pick Six Jackpot was hit last Friday for $24,599. Don’t worry: we still have a two-day carryover of $6,013 heading into Thursday’s card.

“The $50,000 .50-cent late pick 5 guaranteed pool will be in play once again this Sunday. Last Sunday, over $66,000 was bet into the late pick 5 and the payout returned $12,617.60. From four guaranteed late pick 5’s on Sundays this meet, the average payout is $8,322.

“Golden Gate Fields is extremely excited to a part of the new Stronach 5 wager, a low 10% takeout wager that will feature five Stronach Group track races every Friday. All five races will be run within one hour of each other and Golden Gate will always have a race in the sequence (that is, when Golden Gate is running.) Other tracks included in the wager are Gulfstream, Laurel and Santa Anita.

“Live racing resumes this Thursday afternoon with a seven-race card, followed by an eight-race card on Friday and two nine-race cards over the weekend.”

Jose Contreras LRC play of the day

SIXTH RACE: No.6 Stay in Yo Lane (5-1)

He makes his debut against a field that lacks consistent form. The workouts seem to be right on schedule with no big gaps in between and the latest gate workout at Santa Anita is solid for this type of group. His full sister broke her maiden here at Los Alamitos in 2016 sprinting against maiden claimers. A hustling rider is listed to ride for a barn that likes to pick up wins over this track and they might try to steal this race on the front end.

Sunday’s result: Arrowsphere tried to win it from the front but the long Los Alamitos stretch was too much and she was passed in deep stretch and finished third.

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 20.

Los Alamitos Race Course, Los Alamitos, California. 9th day of a 12-day meet.


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

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Swallows Inn GalEdgar Payeras113Robert J. Lucas6-110,500
2We Will Re JoyceAssael Espinoza115Doug F. O'Neill8-512,500
3AtrevidaHeriberto Figueroa115Doug F. O'Neill3-112,500
4MyrcellaEfrain Hernandez120Rosemary Trela9-510,500
5Chiefs Lil PearlMartin Pedroza120Patricia Harrington12-112,500
6Baytown JulietMatt Garcia120Kenneth E. Nettles15-112,500


7 Furlongs. Purse: $18,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $40,000-$35,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Bank WalkerHeriberto Figueroa113Peter Miller3-135,000
2Street to IndyTyler Baze124Thomas Ray Bell, II5-240,000
3Malibu MagicAlonso Quinonez124Bobby Wayne Grayson15-140,000
4Silver FuryAssael Espinoza115Blake R. Heap4-140,000
5Dude's DudeTiago Pereira124Bobby Wayne Grayson15-140,000
6Git On Your PulpitMartin Pedroza120Kathy Walsh4-140,000
7Tequila BlancoLuis Fuentes115Steven Miyadi7-235,000


6 Furlongs. Purse: $40,000. Maiden Special Weight. 2 year olds.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Mucho GustoJoseph Talamo122Bob Baffert5-2
2Two Fifty CoupRafael Bejarano122Doug F. O'Neill4-1
3Haydens HavocHeriberto Figueroa117Peter Miller3-1
4VantasticTyler Conner122Peter Eurton5-1
5Weekly CallEvin Roman122Doug F. O'Neill5-1
6NorskiTiago Pereira122Hector O. Palma15-1
7Platinum NightsMario Gutierrez122Peter Eurton6-1


6 Furlongs. Purse: $25,000. Starter Allowance. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Revenue VirginiusGeovanni Franco122Jerry Hollendorfer5-1
2C. C. ZippAssael Espinoza117Jerry Hollendorfer5-2
3PowderRuben Fuentes124Andrew Lerner4-1
4Naughty SophieTyler Baze120Peter Miller2-1
5No Wine UntastedMartin Pedroza120J. Eric Kruljac6-1
6Be a LadyStewart Elliott122Neil French6-1


1 Mile. Purse: $48,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $62,500.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Dominating WomanHeriberto Figueroa116Peter Miller6-562,500
2Tizway That WayAlonso Quinonez124Val Brinkerhoff8-1
3Life's BlessingsJoseph Talamo121Bob Baffert3-1
4RoomsMario Gutierrez124Peter Eurton7-2
5Morning DanceSantiago Gonzalez121Philip D'Amato4-1


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

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Handsome JohnEvin Roman122Robert B. Hess, Jr.9-250,000
2Peter AlanBarrington Harvey122Michael A. Curtis8-150,000
3Street PunkVinnie Bednar122Robert A. Bean20-150,000
4Principe CarloLuis Fuentes115Marcelo Polanco6-150,000
5Bonsail TreasureMario Gutierrez122Lloyd C. Wicker12-150,000
6Stay in Yo LaneAgapito Delgadillo122Doug F. O'Neill5-150,000
7Nutty SierraErick Garcia122Marcia Stortz12-150,000
8Bob's SniperAlonso Quinonez122Val Brinkerhoff20-150,000
9I Belong to BeckyTiago Pereira122Hector O. Palma3-150,000
10Calder ValeRuben Fuentes122Ricardo Zamora4-150,000


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $40,000. Maiden Special Weight. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Gone SkywardMartin Garcia120Dean Pederson6-1
2Lovely FinishStewart Elliott120Joe Herrick5-1
3Monaco GirlKellie McDaid115Jerry Wallace, II20-1
4Great Ma NeriAlonso Quinonez120Lorenzo Ruiz6-1
5Slew the WatersJohn Jude124Gail E. Ruffu20-1
6RocketannMartin Pedroza124Marcia Stortz6-1
7EnvyHeriberto Figueroa115Anthony K. Saavedra8-1
8Coco KissesRuben Fuentes120Jeff Bonde5-2
9I'm SassyTiago Pereira124Sam J. Scolamieri7-2


5 Furlongs. Purse: $15,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $20,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Chocolate MessAlonso Quinonez120Lin Melton4-120,000
2Billy the HottKellie McDaid115Martin F. Jones10-120,000
3For a Good CauseCesar Franco113Mike Harrington5-120,000
4The ChadinatorErick Garcia120Jerry Wallace, II20-120,000
5Clifton BeachAssael Espinoza119John W. Sadler2-120,000
6Eleazar WarriorLuis Fuentes117Jose G. Hernandez, Sr.7-220,000
7Lucky WallyEvin Roman120Val Brinkerhoff12-120,000
8E Bradley CooperVinnie Bednar124Jesus J. Enriquez10-120,000
9Sonic BoyEdgar Payeras119Robert J. Lucas20-120,000
10Crimson ChargerBarrington Harvey124Louis A. Bradvica30-120,000
Also Eligible
11Serve Me a DoubleGeovanni Franco124George Papaprodromou9-220,000