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 Horsebills.com (here's a video) and the proprietor of BobIkePicks.com (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.”
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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.
|1||Tee Em Eye||Alonso Quinonez||123||Val Brinkerhoff||5-1||16,000|
|2||C. C. Zipp||Rafael Bejarano||123||Jerry Hollendorfer||8-5||16,000|
|3||Road Test||Assael Espinoza||118||Jack Carava||5-2||16,000|
|4||Lethal Legacy||Geovanni Franco||123||Gary Stute||8-1||16,000|
|5||Midnight Lilly||Tiago Pereira||123||Hector O. Palma||5-2||16,000|
|6||Copper Cowgirl||Heriberto Figueroa||115||Patricia Harrington||12-1||16,000|
About 6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $26,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $20,000.
|1||From the Distance||Edwin Maldonado||118||Steve Knapp||12-1||20,000|
|2||Reign On||Heriberto Figueroa||116||Charles S. Treece||12-1||20,000|
|3||Allaboutmike||Rafael Bejarano||121||Thomas Ray Bell, II||4-1||20,000|
|4||Forever Juanito||Assael Espinoza||116||Victor L. Garcia||9-5||20,000|
|5||Croissant||Edgar Payeras||115||Kelly Castaneda||20-1||20,000|
|6||Monydontspenitself||Joseph Talamo||121||Mark Glatt||5-1||20,000|
|7||Indygo Bo||Tyler Conner||121||Jerry Hollendorfer||6-1||20,000|
|8||Gonna Fly Now||Drayden Van Dyke||121||Richard Baltas||5-1||20,000|
|9||Theycallhimthekid||Stewart Elliott||121||Craig Anthony Lewis||10-1||20,000|
1 Mile. Purse: $18,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $20,000.
|1||Chapis||Ruben Fuentes||120||Paul G. Aguirre||3-1||20,000|
|2||Heloise||Luis Fuentes||113||Vladimir Cerin||8-1||20,000|
|3||Eskenforadrink||Heriberto Figueroa||115||Peter Miller||9-5||20,000|
|4||Spectacular Storm||Tyler Baze||120||Jorge Gutierrez||12-1||20,000|
|5||Peachy||Mario Gutierrez||120||George Papaprodromou||5-2||20,000|
|6||Stella Sweeper||Edgar Payeras||118||Jose G. Hernandez, Sr.||8-1||20,000|
|7||Princess Nicole||Tiago Pereira||123||Val Brinkerhoff||8-1||20,000|
5½ Furlongs. Purse: $22,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies. 2 year olds. Claiming Price $30,000.
|1||Had Enough K P||Edgar Payeras||117||Jeff Mullins||8-1||30,000|
|2||Hinini||Brayan Pena||122||Daniel Dunham||8-1||30,000|
|3||Norwegian||Flavien Prat||122||Michael W. McCarthy||2-1||30,000|
|4||Frisky Fox||Saul Arias||122||J. Keith Desormeaux||12-1||30,000|
|5||Warrensrollingdice||Alonso Quinonez||122||Craig Anthony Lewis||15-1||30,000|
|6||Filthy||Ruben Fuentes||122||Jeff Bonde||12-1||30,000|
|7||Disco Tale||Eswan Flores||122||Hector O. Palma||8-1||30,000|
|8||Diosa||Franklin Ceballos||122||Michael Pender||5-2||30,000|
|9||Daddy's Mistress||Heriberto Figueroa||117||Steven Miyadi||4-1||30,000|
|10||Queen Carmelita||Agapito Delgadillo||122||Rafael DeLeon||20-1||30,000|
About 6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $53,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $62,500.
|1||Zaffinah||Rafael Bejarano||123||Jack Carava||8-1|
|2||Time for Ebby||Geovanni Franco||125||Steve Knapp||20-1|
|3||Dominating Woman||Flavien Prat||123||Peter Miller||5-2|
|4||Beau Square||Tyler Baze||125||Jack Carava||6-1|
|5||Swirling||Assael Espinoza||118||John W. Sadler||3-1|
|6||Spin Me a Kiss||Edwin Maldonado||125||Philip D'Amato||3-1|
|7||Ladybug||Kent Desormeaux||120||John W. Sadler||12-1|
|8||Dis Smart Cat||Evin Roman||125||Doug F. O'Neill||6-1|
5½ Furlongs. Purse: $30,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $50,000-$40,000. State bred.
|1||Cayate||Santiago Gonzalez||123||Kristin Mulhall||5-1||50,000|
|2||All I Can Say||Alonso Quinonez||123||Val Brinkerhoff||4-1||50,000|
|3||Bless His Heart||Rafael Bejarano||120||Hector O. Palma||4-1||50,000|
|4||Sunset Green Flash||Gary Stevens||120||Jeff Bonde||3-1||50,000|
|5||Git On Your Pulpit||Martin Pedroza||118||Kathy Walsh||5-2||40,000|
|6||Dynamic Duo||Tiago Pereira||120||Charles R. Stutts||30-1||50,000|
|7||Anziyan Cat||Octavio Vergara, Jr.||121||Javier Jose Sierra||30-1||40,000|
|8||According to Buddy||Luis Fuentes||113||Hector O. Palma||15-1||50,000|
|9||El Senor de Latuna||Minor Arana||120||Felix L. Gonzalez||12-1||50,000|
6½ Furlongs. Purse: $51,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $16,000. State bred.
|1||Gem of a Marina||Tyler Baze||121||Matthew Chew||5-1|
|2||Tribal Dance||Assael Espinoza||113||Mark Glatt||5-1|
|3||Wonderful Lie||Heriberto Figueroa||118||Peter Miller||9-5||16,000|
|4||Pied N True||Luis Fuentes||114||Matthew Chew||12-1|
|5||Powder||Drayden Van Dyke||123||Andrew Lerner||2-1||16,000|
|6||Judicial||Evin Roman||118||Mark Glatt||4-1|
1 Mile Turf. Purse: $50,000. Maiden Special Weight. Fillies. 2 year olds. State bred.
|1||Shanghai Barbie||Alonso Quinonez||122||Neil D. Drysdale||5-1|
|2||The Pet||Ruben Fuentes||122||Edward R. Freeman||12-1|
|3||Kookie Gal||Flavien Prat||122||Peter Miller||7-2|
|4||Gotta Be Lucky||Evin Roman||122||Carla Gaines||5-1|
|5||Perfect Ice Storm||Mario Gutierrez||122||Peter Eurton||6-1|
|6||Hot Magistrate||Brice Blanc||122||Sean McCarthy||8-1|
|7||Sedamar||Martin Garcia||122||Mick Ruis||8-1|
|8||Doc Yco Cheeks||Rafael Bejarano||122||Peter Eurton||4-1|
|9||Stylin Ocean||Assael Espinoza||117||James M. Cassidy||8-1|
|10||Tiny Tap||Joseph Talamo||122||Peter Miller||20-1|
|11||Great Salvation||Erick Garcia||122||Jesus Mendoza||30-1|