Racing! Parx comes up with a new way to cancel a card


Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter as we look into some of the problems in Pennsylvania racing.

California racing gets its fair share of criticism. It always seems to be in a state of conflict. There’s a pretty vocal betting public that seems constantly at odds with stewards, which puts them at odds with the California Horse Racing Board.

As someone who would always rather think the best of people and be wrong occasionally then always think the worst of people and be right occasionally, I have this bit of cheery advice: It could be worse, you could have been in Pennsylvania on Tuesday.

Now, I have nothing against Pennsylvania, it’s a state of earnest hard-working people. And it also has a couple of really nice big cities. And without Allentown, we wouldn’t have one of Billy Joel’s standards, even though it’s not terribly uplifting. Listen here.

Tuesday brought a racing-card cancellation at Parx that I’ve never heard before. The jockeys refused to ride because the hot box was broken. First of all, you have to wonder about a jockey colony that is so dependent on a hot box, which is essentially a sauna jockeys use to lose weight. But, apparently, there was the concern that not enough jocks could make weight without the sanctioned torture chamber.

Apparently, it broke on Sunday, was fixed and then broke again on Tuesday.

Today’s breed of young jockeys is much more in tune with nutrition as a way to control their weight, rather than steaming the water out of your body. In fact, I recently spoke with Drayden Van Dyke and Flavien Prat and neither said they use the box. They control their weight through diet and exercise.

Now, the broken hot box can serve as a metaphor for the racing problems in Pennsylvania. Racing in the state has been under federal and state investigation for many years. In fact, earlier this week, two trainers were tagged for “rigging a publicly exhibited contest,” which in this case was doping horses. Ray Paulick of the the Paulick Report has more on that. Just click here.

It was reported last year that in federal court, a trainer at Penn National estimated that 95-98% of trainers used illegal drugs on their horses within 24 hours of a race.

The racing commission, facing a huge perception crisis, is trying to get tough. Earlier this month, jockey Angel Castillo was suspended 30 days for two instances where it was judged he did not give his best effort. The Paulick Report has more on that. Just click here.

By way of contrast, local jockey Kent Desormeaux was cited for the same “failure to give his best effort” in a single race and Del Mar stewards suspended him for three days.

Call me naïve but I do not think horse racing is overtly corrupt. (See above: “think the best of people and be wrong occasionally…”) But it does have more problems than I can count on my hands and feet.

Each week, I try and give you the inside details on all the stewards’ rulings. Now, I’ll admit, part of it is for comedic value, and I do get tired of typing “the trainer said he/she had no idea how the horse received that amount of (name the drug).” But, I believe that it gives you a window into the back and frontside that you don’t usually get and underscores some of the problems in the industry.

Sure, California has more than its share of issues it needs to address, but at least our hot boxes work.

Santa Anita preview

Not much to say about Santa Anita’s Thursday card. It’s eight races starting at 1 p.m. There are three turf races and five of the races are claimers. The feature, or at least the race with the biggest purse, is the fifth, 6 ½ furlongs down the hill for fillies and mares 3 and up.

The favorite is Dominating Woman, at 5-2, for trainer Peter Miller and jockey Prat. She won her last race at Los Alamitos and is four for seven lifetime. Swirling and Spin Me a Kiss are at 3-1.

Every day the track is going to push the Rainbow 6 jackpot carryover for a single winner. It’s currently at $512,057. The end game here is to hope no one hits the jackpot and there is a monster mandatory payout on the last day that will likely be worth in excess of $10 million in additional handle.

Here are the field sizes, in order: 6, 9, 7, 10, 8, 9, 6, 9 (2 also eligible).

Bob Ike’s SA play of the day

SECOND RACE: No. 7 Indygo Bo (6-1)

Comebacker from the Jerry Hollendorfer barn has been away for a year but comes back as a gelding and has shown the ability to freshen well in the past. He won his only start over the Santa Anita course (going long) and offers some value in this spot. Make a win bet and box in the exacta with favorite Forever Juanito.

Sunday’s result: Afleet Ascent ($6.00) was pounded in the wagering but prevailed by a desperate nose to close out the week.

Bob Ike is a Partner/VP of (here's a video) and the proprietor of (full-card picks, 3 Best Plays and betting strategy).

Golden Gate preview

It seems like he just left and now he’s back again. After a two-week racing holiday, we’re back with 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.

“The 32-day Golden Gate Fields fall meet begins Thursday runs through Sun., Dec. 9. First post is 12:45 p.m. with two exceptions; Breeders Cup Saturday, Nov. 3 goes at 11:40 a.m. while the first race on Thanksgiving, Nov. 22, will go off at 11:15 a.m.

“Eight stakes races are on the fall calendar, led by the $100,000 Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap for 3-year-olds and up. Four of the eight stakes races are for 2-year-olds: the Pike Place Dancer and Golden Gate Debutante for fillies, and the Golden Nugget and Gold Rush Stakes for colts and geldings.

“The 20-cent Golden Pick Six will, once again, be on the wagering menu. The Golden Pick Six is a jackpot wager, with the sequence coming in the last six races. The 50-cent early Pick 5 (Races 1-5 every day) will have a player friendly 14% takeout, and the $1 Rolling Super Five will be on the wagering menu as well. The Rolling High Five is only offered in races in which there are seven or more starters.

“The first week of racing has a handful of competitive allowance races, which came up both salty and competitive. The turf racing has attracted good field sizes this week. Golden Gate’s fifth race on Friday (2:53 p.m.) is the last leg of the Stronach 5 wager. The race, an allowance on turf for fillies and mares, has a field of 11. My top pick is Desert Smoke, who has tactical speed in a race that doesn’t draw a ton of speed. Desert Smoke has won three races in a row on this turf course, including a ¾-length win at this allowance level last month, and runs for high percentage trainer Jonathan Wong. Speakers is a Southern California shipper who last ran at GGF and finished second at this level and is a main contender to use. Qafilah has won two races in a row over this turf course, including last time when she scored a gate-to wire victory at the starter allowance level. She faces tougher company in this spot, but she may try to steal it on the lead and could get brave up front if nobody pressures her.

“A number of jockeys are joining the riding colony this meet: Ryan Barber, Julien Couton, Francisco Monroy, Kevin Orozco, and Austin Solis. Jose Valdivia Jr., who won 112 races at Arlington Park this year and finished atop the rider standings by a landslide, will be riding at Golden Gate Fields this Thursday and Friday. Valdivia rides I Will Rule in Thursday’s opener and will be aboard Synnin (Race 3) and Dutton’s Legend (Race 5) on Friday.”

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.

Santa Anita Entries for Thursday, October 18.

Santa Anita, Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, California. 12th day of a 22-day meet.


1 Mile. Purse: $21,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $16,000-$14,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Tee Em EyeAlonso Quinonez123Val Brinkerhoff5-116,000
2C. C. ZippRafael Bejarano123Jerry Hollendorfer8-516,000
3Road TestAssael Espinoza118Jack Carava5-216,000
4Lethal LegacyGeovanni Franco123Gary Stute8-116,000
5Midnight LillyTiago Pereira123Hector O. Palma5-216,000
6Copper CowgirlHeriberto Figueroa115Patricia Harrington12-116,000


About 6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $26,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $20,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1From the DistanceEdwin Maldonado118Steve Knapp12-120,000
2Reign On Heriberto Figueroa116Charles S. Treece12-120,000
3AllaboutmikeRafael Bejarano121Thomas Ray Bell, II4-120,000
4Forever JuanitoAssael Espinoza116Victor L. Garcia9-520,000
5CroissantEdgar Payeras115Kelly Castaneda20-120,000
6MonydontspenitselfJoseph Talamo121Mark Glatt5-120,000
7Indygo BoTyler Conner121Jerry Hollendorfer6-120,000
8Gonna Fly NowDrayden Van Dyke121Richard Baltas5-120,000
9TheycallhimthekidStewart Elliott121Craig Anthony Lewis10-120,000


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

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1ChapisRuben Fuentes120Paul G. Aguirre3-120,000
2HeloiseLuis Fuentes113Vladimir Cerin8-120,000
3EskenforadrinkHeriberto Figueroa115Peter Miller9-520,000
4Spectacular StormTyler Baze120Jorge Gutierrez12-120,000
5PeachyMario Gutierrez120George Papaprodromou5-220,000
6Stella SweeperEdgar Payeras118Jose G. Hernandez, Sr.8-120,000
7Princess NicoleTiago Pereira123Val Brinkerhoff8-120,000


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $22,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies. 2 year olds. Claiming Price $30,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Had Enough K PEdgar Payeras117Jeff Mullins8-130,000
2HininiBrayan Pena122Daniel Dunham8-130,000
3NorwegianFlavien Prat122Michael W. McCarthy2-130,000
4Frisky FoxSaul Arias122J. Keith Desormeaux12-130,000
5WarrensrollingdiceAlonso Quinonez122Craig Anthony Lewis15-130,000
6FilthyRuben Fuentes122Jeff Bonde12-130,000
7Disco TaleEswan Flores122Hector O. Palma8-130,000
8DiosaFranklin Ceballos122Michael Pender5-230,000
9Daddy's MistressHeriberto Figueroa117Steven Miyadi4-130,000
10Queen CarmelitaAgapito Delgadillo122Rafael DeLeon20-130,000


About 6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $53,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $62,500.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Zaffinah Rafael Bejarano123Jack Carava8-1
2Time for EbbyGeovanni Franco125Steve Knapp20-1
3Dominating WomanFlavien Prat123Peter Miller5-2
4Beau SquareTyler Baze125Jack Carava6-1
5SwirlingAssael Espinoza118John W. Sadler3-1
6Spin Me a KissEdwin Maldonado125Philip D'Amato3-1
7LadybugKent Desormeaux120John W. Sadler12-1
8Dis Smart CatEvin Roman125Doug F. O'Neill6-1


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $30,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $50,000-$40,000. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1CayateSantiago Gonzalez123Kristin Mulhall5-150,000
2All I Can SayAlonso Quinonez123Val Brinkerhoff4-150,000
3Bless His HeartRafael Bejarano120Hector O. Palma4-150,000
4Sunset Green FlashGary Stevens120Jeff Bonde3-150,000
5Git On Your PulpitMartin Pedroza118Kathy Walsh5-240,000
6Dynamic DuoTiago Pereira120Charles R. Stutts30-150,000
7Anziyan CatOctavio Vergara, Jr.121Javier Jose Sierra30-140,000
8According to BuddyLuis Fuentes113Hector O. Palma15-150,000
9El Senor de LatunaMinor Arana120Felix L. Gonzalez12-150,000


6½ Furlongs. Purse: $51,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $16,000. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Gem of a MarinaTyler Baze121Matthew Chew5-1
2Tribal DanceAssael Espinoza113Mark Glatt5-1
3Wonderful LieHeriberto Figueroa118Peter Miller9-516,000
4Pied N TrueLuis Fuentes114Matthew Chew12-1
5PowderDrayden Van Dyke123Andrew Lerner2-116,000
6JudicialEvin Roman118Mark Glatt4-1


1 Mile Turf. Purse: $50,000. Maiden Special Weight. Fillies. 2 year olds. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Shanghai BarbieAlonso Quinonez122Neil D. Drysdale5-1
2The PetRuben Fuentes122Edward R. Freeman12-1
3Kookie GalFlavien Prat122Peter Miller7-2
4Gotta Be LuckyEvin Roman122Carla Gaines5-1
5Perfect Ice StormMario Gutierrez122Peter Eurton6-1
6Hot MagistrateBrice Blanc122Sean McCarthy8-1
7SedamarMartin Garcia122Mick Ruis8-1
8Doc Yco CheeksRafael Bejarano122Peter Eurton4-1
9Stylin OceanAssael Espinoza117James M. Cassidy8-1
Also Eligible
10Tiny TapJoseph Talamo122Peter Miller20-1
11Great SalvationErick Garcia122Jesus Mendoza30-1