Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter as we get ready for a big weekend at Santa Anita.
Believe it or not, the L. A. Times horse racing newsletter is a year old. The actual anniversary is Saturday, Sept. 29, but we’re going to treat it more like Thanksgiving, where it’s on a different date every year. We’re marking it as being the first day of the Santa Anita fall meeting. And that’s today.
This is the 280th one of these. And our subscriber base is about 5,000. When it was started the goal was 2,000.
Some of you didn’t trust us and thought it would soon be a pay model or we would use your email as a marketing tool. Well, you were wrong. It’s just about Racing.
The two people that made this happen and remain strong supporters are Angel Rodriguez, the Times sports editor who came up with the idea for the newsletter. And Houston Mitchell, an assistant sports editor and Times sports newsletter editor. Houston has had the misfortune of editing almost every one of these. If you want to thank Angel or Houston or both for keeping this around, just click on their names as we have email links set up.
Thanks also go to Eric (Manny Mota) Sondheimer, who is the best pinch-hitter in the world when I’m not available to write this. And, Times contributor Mike Tierney, and San Diego sports editor Jay Posner, who are always available to help.
We’ve assembled a brilliant slate of contributors. Jon White’s road to the Triple Crown series remains one of the most popular things we do. And then there is our regular handicappers Ed Burgart, Jose Contreras, Rob Henie and Bob Ike. And before them we had Jeff Nahill and Mark Ratsky. And we get video tips from Jeff Siegel and Aaron Vercruysse of XBTV.
Our weekly preview to Los Alamitos is penned by Orlando
There are many more to thank, especially those who help with our Answer Man segments. And, of course, Michael Wrona, whose signature call of “Racing,” became the name of the newsletter.
I’m sure I’ve forgotten someone, so their names will appear in the next edition of “Who goofed? I’ve got to know.”
But most of all, we need to thank you. I receive a lot of positive emails from those of you who say they start the day with this little tome. That’s why we do this for you.
I was talking to Rob Henie in the press box at
So, with all that said, it’s on to year two.
Santa Anita preview
There are nine races on Friday’s opening day card starting at 1 p.m. The field sizes, except for one race, are good and the day is highlighted by the Grade 3 $100,000 Eddie D. Stakes, a 6 ½ furlong turf race down the hill. It’s one of four turf races on the day. Since it’s a short meeting, you can expect the newly renovated turf course to get quite a workout.
For more on the opening of the meeting, I wrote this story for online and print. Just click here.
Stormy Liberal is the 2-1 morning-line favorite. The 6-year-old gelding is a strong competitor, having won his last two races. He’s 10 of 28 lifetime and won last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.
The second favorite is also a Miller trainee. Conquest Tsunami is at 5-2, coming off a 12th place finish in the Wickerr Stakes at Del Mar. The 6-year-old gelding is well traveled and eight of 25 race lifetime. He won his last two races down the hill at Santa Anita including the Grade 3 Daytona Stakes. Flavien Prat is aboard.
Post time is about 3:30 p.m.
Here are the field sizes, in order: 10, 7, 5, 11 (1 also eligible), 7, 9, 8, 9, 11 (2 AE).
Bob Ike’s SA play of the day
SIXTH RACE: No. 9 Touching Rainbows (6-1)
Although he will have to turn the tables on Stormy Liberal (who beat him last time and one of my favorite horses on the circuit), the Phil D'Amato-trained gelding offers good value in here. He broke slowly before finishing full of run in a five-furlong dash at Del Mar and should relish the downhill course. Make a Win Bet on 'Rainbows and box him in exactas with the two Peter Miller runners Stormy Liberal and Conquest Tsunami.
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
This is our weekly look at the best racing going on at Golden Gate Fields. And to give us that information we go to Matt Dinerman, track race caller and all-around good guy. So, take it away, Matt.
“Three more racing days to go at our summer meet, a meet that has been very successful all around. On Sunday’s closing day, Golden Gate Fields will have mandatory payouts in the 20 cent Golden Pick Six Jackpot wager, the early and late Pick 5s and the $1 rolling Super High Five. Track officials expect six-figure new money to be added into the Golden Pick Six pool on closing day if the jackpot continues to carry over until Sunday.
“Friday, Golden Gate Fields is proud to be a part of the Stronach 5 wager, a $1 minimum and industry low 12% takeout wager featuring five races from four Stronach Group tracks: Laurel, Gulfstream, Santa Anita and Golden Gate. Race 4 at Golden Gate is leg four of the Stronach 5 wager. The race, a $40,000 claimer for fillies and mares sprinting six furlongs on the Tapeta, attracts a salty group of runners. My top pick is #5 Bako Sweets, coming off a nice allowance score over this track last month. The William E. Morey trainee should be fairly close to the pace in a race that lacks front running speed, which means she is certain to get the first jump on the midpack and closer types that are signed on. The likely favorite will be Snow Cloud, claimed last time out by trainer Jonathan Wong from trainer James
“After this week, the Northern California racing circuit will shift over to Fresno for their two-week meet, with live racing resuming at Golden Gate on Thursday, Oct. 18. The GGF fall meet runs through Sunday, Dec. 9. Turf and stakes action highlights the 32-day fall meet, with projected good-sized fields and more competitive racing.”
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.
“This weekend at Los Alamitos Race Course will have several high caliber runners in competitive allowance events. Friday’s eight-race card will feature two allowance events with Chickakid, the runner-up in the 2017 Way Maker Handicap, heading the eighth-race allowance for fillies. Perfect Louisiana, a finalist in the Golden State Derby earlier this year, will also run in this 330-yard dash. Friday's other allowance will be headed by Jess Pretending, a finalist to the 2017 La Primera Del Ano Derby. Saturday’s allowance events will have Twenty One Gunz, One Hot Habit, and Ms Jess Knockout – all major quarter-horse stakes finalists. Twenty One Gunz has run in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby and Grade 2 Golden State Derby this year and will be in the eighth race. One Hot Habit, who competed in the 2017 Grade 1 Ruidoso Derby, will be going after her first win of the year after finishing second in four previous allowance races. Ms Jess Knockout, a two-time graded stakes participant, will lead a field of seven fillies and mares on Saturday.
“Saturday’s action will also feature the riding debut of 17-year-old Oscar Andrade Jr., the son of record setting jockey Oscar Andrade Sr. and graded stakes winning trainer Elena Andrade. Andrade Jr. will pilot My Friend Cindy in the seventh race on Saturday. The night will be an emotional one for Elena, who conditions My Friend Cindy.
“’All he wanted to do for his birthday was to ride [for the first time],’ she said. ‘It’s just a tad late, but (Sept. 27) also marked 17 years that Oscar had his accident. It’s a lot to take in this week.”
“Andrade Sr. set a Los Alamitos record with seven quarter-horse wins during a single night. Ten days after the birth of his son, Andrade Sr. was injured in a riding accident that left him paralyzed from the chest down. Through the ups and downs that followed, the Andrades have always remained deeply involved with racing. Their decorated mare Corona Mas Fina produced multiple stakes winner Uno Corona Mas for the family and is also the dam of 2018 Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap third-place finisher Jess Mas.
“Oscar Jr. has now completed his dream of following on his father’s legacy as a jockey at Los Alamitos.
“’I think I’ll be fine if I can just have half the talent that my dad had,’ Andrade Jr. said. ‘My dad left me some big shoes to fill.’”
Ed Burgart’s LA play of the day
EIGHTH RACE: No. 4 Perfect Louisiana (3-1)
She has scored her two lifetime wins under leading jockey Jesus Ayala, who climbs aboard for the first time in her three starts this year. She was a respectable sixth in last Golden State Derby outing and has upside while only making third start since November. Plus, Chickakid, the 5-2 morning-line favorite who has been second in six of 14 starts while victorious twice, finds ways to lose.
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Now, the star of the show, Friday’s entries.
Santa Anita Entries for Friday, September 28.
Santa Anita, Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, California. 1st day of a 22-day meet.
1 Mile Turf. Purse: $25,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $25,000.
|1||Iron Alex||Geovanni Franco||123||Dallas E. Keen||10-1||25,000|
|2||Earnednevergiven||Tiago Pereira||120||Michael Machowsky||15-1||25,000|
|3||Hoover Tower||Kent Desormeaux||123||Robert B. Hess, Jr.||10-1||25,000|
|4||Gray Admiral||Ruben Fuentes||120||Vann Belvoir||30-1||25,000|
|5||Point Guard||Drayden Van Dyke||120||Richard Baltas||7-2||25,000|
|6||Honeymoonz Over||Heriberto Figueroa||115||Doug F. O'Neill||5-1||25,000|
|7||Ashley's Big Guy||Edwin Maldonado||120||Peter Eurton||5-1||25,000|
|8||Jersey's Heat||Agapito Delgadillo||120||Rafael Becerra||8-1||25,000|
|9||Original Intent||Flavien Prat||120||5-1||25,000|
|10||Glorious Crown||Assael Espinoza||118||William E. Morey||4-1||25,000|
5½ Furlongs. Purse: $28,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $40,000-$35,000.
|1||Wild Verse||Heriberto Figueroa||113||Peter Miller||3-1||35,000|
|2||Molaf||Agapito Delgadillo||120||Richard Baltas||6-1||40,000|
|3||Fast Cotton||Ruben Fuentes||120||Brian J. Koriner||4-1||40,000|
|4||Getaloadofthis||Flavien Prat||120||Jerry Hollendorfer||4-1||40,000|
|5||Salutelute||Stewart Elliott||120||Mike Puype||8-1||40,000|
|6||I Am the Danger||123||Doug F. O'Neill||5-2||40,000|
|7||Fleetwood||Diego ||120||J. Keith Desormeaux||10-1||40,000|
6 Furlongs. Purse: $21,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $16,000-$14,000.
|1||Empress of Lov||Heriberto Figueroa||117||Genaro Vallejo||5-2||16,000|
|2||Bobbie Lincoln||Evin Roman||125||Ronald W. Ellis||5-2||16,000|
|3||Tee Em Eye||Alonso Quinonez||125||Val Brinkerhoff||4-1||16,000|
|4||Li'l Grazen||Edwin Maldonado||125||Eddie Truman||6-1||16,000|
1 Mile Turf. Purse: $51,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. Fillies. 3 year olds. Claiming Price $75,000.
|1||Movie Moment||Gary Stevens||121||John A. Shirreffs||6-1|
|2||Sappho||Geovanni Franco||121||Philip D'Amato||6-1|
|3||Streak of Luck||124||Matthew Chew||8-1|
|4||Don't Blame Judy||Joseph Talamo||121||J. Eric Kruljac||10-1|
|5||Sea Sensation||Assael Espinoza||116||James M. Cassidy||12-1|
|6||K P Pergoliscious||Stewart Elliott||121||Jeff Mullins||8-1|
|7||Nonna Gianna||Rafael Bejarano||121||Patrick Gallagher||15-1|
|8||Mongolian Window||Alonso Quinonez||121||Peter Miller||12-1|
|9||Tinabud||Tyler Conner||121||Jeff Mullins||8-1|
|10||Hot Autumn||Tyler Baze||121||Ian Kruljac||5-1|
|11||Miraculously||Flavien Prat||124||Richard Baltas||7-2||75,000|
|12||Lexington Grace||Kent Desormeaux||124||Leonard Powell||6-1||75,000|
6 Furlongs. Purse: $28,000. Maiden Claiming. 2 year olds. Claiming Price $40,000.
|1||Alvaaro||Tyler Conner||122||Mike Puype||6-1||40,000|
|2||Mayan Warrior||Geovanni Franco||122||Doug F. O'Neill||5-2||40,000|
|3||After You||Alonso Quinonez||122||Neil D. Drysdale||6-1||40,000|
|4||Agronomo||Octavio Vergara, Jr.||122||Sal Gonzalez||6-1||40,000|
|5||Mr. Class||Diego Sanchez||122||J. Keith Desormeaux||4-1||40,000|
|6||Baja Warrior||Martin Garcia||122||Juan Carlos Lopez||20-1||40,000|
|7||Mo Dinero||Assael Espinoza||117||Jerry Hollendorfer||2-1||40,000|
About 6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $100,000. 'Eddie D Stakes'. 3 year olds and up.
|1||Law Abidin Citizen||Tiago Pereira||121||Mark Glatt||12-1|
|2||Caribou Club||Joseph Talamo||125||Thomas F. Proctor||6-1|
|3||Stormy Liberal||Drayden Van Dyke||123||Peter Miller||2-1|
|4||Threefiveindia||Geovanni Franco||121||Philip D'Amato||15-1|
|5||He Will||Kent Desormeaux||121||Jerry Hollendorfer||15-1|
|6||Cistron||Tyler Baze||121||John W. Sadler||8-1|
|7||Kenjisstorm||Rafael Bejarano||121||Philip D'Amato||10-1|
|8||Conquest Tsunami||Flavien Prat||123||Peter Miller||5-2|
|9||Touching Rainbows||Gary Stevens||121||Philip D'Amato||6-1|
1 Mile. Purse: $50,000. Maiden Special Weight. 2 year olds.
|1||Street Class||Flavien Prat||122||Michael W. McCarthy||8-1|
|2||Magnificent McCool||Rafael Bejarano||122||Doug F. O'Neill||5-2|
|3||Union Station||Tyler Conner||122||Eoin G. Harty||12-1|
|4||Yak||Kent Desormeaux||122||J. Keith Desormeaux||12-1|
|5||Dueling||Mike Smith||122||Jerry Hollendorfer||9-5|
|6||Lead Star||Assael Espinoza||117||J. Keith Desormeaux||15-1|
|7||Extra Hope||Drayden Van Dyke||122||Richard E. Mandella||4-1|
|8||Istanbul||Santiago Gonzalez||122||James M. Cassidy||6-1|
6½ Furlongs. Purse: $32,000. Starter Allowance. 3 year olds and up.
|1||Hoss Cartwright||Tyler Baze||120||Jack Carava||20-1|
|2||Saratoga Morning||Kent Desormeaux||120||J. Keith Desormeaux||8-1|
|3||Captivate||Drayden Van Dyke||123||Mike Puype||7-2|
|4||Buck Duane||Assael Espinoza||115||Steve Knapp||20-1|
|5||Bear Chum||Tyler Conner||125||Sean McCarthy||20-1|
|6||Duke of Fallbrook||Mario Gutierrez||123||Antonio Garcia||30-1|
|7||Blame Joe||Stewart Elliott||123||Peter Miller||4-1|
|8||Sequentially||Tiago Pereira||123||Mark Glatt||15-1|
|9||Kershaw||Rafael Bejarano||120||Philip D'Amato||5-2|
|10||Extreme Heat||Joseph Talamo||123||Michele Dollase||15-1|
|11||Buckys Pick||Agapito Delgadillo||125||Victor L. Garcia||15-1|
|12||It Makes Sense||Evin Roman||120||Carlos Cruz Lopez||6-1|
About 6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $30,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $50,000-$40,000.
|1||Queens Wild||Tiago Pereira||120||Jeffrey Metz||15-1||50,000|
|2||Sweet Congrats||Heriberto Figueroa||113||Dan Blacker||12-1||40,000|
|3||My Midnight Affair||Geovanni Franco||120||Mick Ruis||20-1||50,000|
|4||Turing Machine||Flavien Prat||118||William Spawr||4-1||40,000|
|5||Unusual Gold||Drayden Van Dyke||120||Mark Glatt||20-1||50,000|
|6||Tandalicious||Martin Garcia||120||Philip D'Amato||7-2||50,000|
|7||Social Etiquette||Assael Espinoza||113||Dan Blacker||8-1||40,000|
|8||Token Vow||Rafael Bejarano||120||Philip D'Amato||4-1||50,000|
|9||Super Good||Tyler Conner||120||Matthew Chew||8-1||50,000|
|10||Untouched Elegance||Gary Stevens||120||Richard Baltas||5-1||50,000|
|11||Lucky Knickers||Evin Roman||123||Dallas E. Keen||12-1||50,000|
|12||Crackling Bread||Heriberto Figueroa||113||Jorge Periban||15-1||40,000|
|13||Exes N Ohs||Tyler Baze||118||Dean Greenman||20-1||40,000|