Racing! Final thoughts on the Santa Anita race caller
Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter as we look at who’s in front after one round of Kentucky Derby futures wagering.
Most of you have probably already heard that on Monday, Frank Mirahmadi was named the new race caller at Santa Anita, replacing Michael Wrona. To read the story that I wrote about it on Monday, just click here. And, if you want to know more about Frank, here’s a very long story I did on him when he was at Golden Gate in March, 2017. Just click here.
Thanks to all of you who sent along your thoughts on the change. I would say it’s about 70-30 in favor of keeping Wrona, which is different than a who-would-you-want poll between Wrona and Mirahmadi. The mail was mostly about if Wrona should have been let go, not about the replacement.
If race calling were like any other business, Wrona would already have been snapped up with a great job, but it’s a very small community with very few openings. Here’s hoping that Aqueduct has the smarts to see what Wrona could bring to its track, but I got to thinking, has New York ever had a caller with a non-U.S.-based accent? We can hope.
The bottom line is they are both excellent race callers. No one has told me this, but if I can read between the lines, a factor that may have worked in Mirahmadi’s favor is that he is a handicapper, having served time (and I don’t mean that in a bad way) at TVG. Wrona, who no doubt would do whatever was asked of him, did not have that background or opportunity.
If you look at Santa Anita’s decision to change programs, which is under discussion for the upcoming meeting, Stronach racing boss Tim Ritvo wanted to get more betting information in front of the public. The more you think you know, the more you might bet, the more you bet, the more the track makes.
I think you can expect to see Frank at handicapping seminars, meeting, greeting and talking with customers about picking winners. Although, as we reported on Monday, he says particulars about what his marketing role will be is not yet defined.
Wrona has lost jobs before and always rebounded. I can name a lot of tracks where he would be a significant upgrade, although it’s probably better not to name them. Here’s wishing Michael all the best in the world, and here’s wishing a warm welcome back to Frank.
Derby future pool
This last weekend was the first Kentucky Derby futures pool. Now, I do happen to think that the futures pool is one of the biggest sucker bets out there, given that you are betting on a horse more than five months before a race.
Last year’s first futures pool listed eight horses that made it to the Derby: Bolt d’Oro (finished 12th), Enticed (14), Firenze Fire (11), Free Drop Billy (16), Good Magic (2), Lone Sailor (8), Mendelssohn (20), Solomini (10). You’re thinking, hey, Good Magic finished second. Well, if you bet him in the futures pool, you got him at 11-1, if you bet him the day of the race, you got about 10-1 ($9.70 to be exact). Woo hoo.
As for me, I just like looking at the list, so I know who to pay attention to in the coming months.
Here are the odds after the first pool.
1. Cairo Cat, 59-1
2. Code of Honor, 18-1
3. Coliseum, 10-1
4. Dunph, 72-1
5. Epic Dreamer, 88-1
6. Game Winner, 5-1
7. Gunmetal Gray, 76-1
8. Improbable, 17-1
9. Instagrande, 10-1
10. King for the Day, 53-1
12. Magic on Tap, 43-1
13. Maximus Mischief, 26-1
14. Mucho, 44-1
15. Mucho Gusto, 47-1
16. Network Effect, 59-1
17. Preamble, 99-1
18. Roadster, 32-1
19. Signalman, 30-1
20. Tale of the Union, 46-1
21. Uncle Benny, 53-1
22. Vekoma, 36-1
23. All other 3-year-old fillies, 66-1
24. All other 3-year-old males, 6-5
Del Mar preview
It’s a pretty average eight-race card on Thursday at Del Mar. First post is 12:30 p.m. There are two races for a purse of $53,000, both written strictly for Cal-breds. The second, an allowance/optional claimer, is for 2-year-olds going six furlongs. It has six starters.
We’ll call the fifth the feature, though, a mile on the turf for 2-year-old maidens. The favorite, at 3-1, comes with a big price tag of $390,000 owned by the business couple of Jerry and Ann Moss. Mobou is trained by John Shirreffs and will be ridden by
The 7-2 second choice is Unusual Rider for Mike Puype and Drayden Van Dyke. He is winless in two starts, but has two third-place finishes.
Here are the field sizes, in order, with all the odd numbered races on the turf: 8, 6, 9 (2 also eligible), 8, 11 (1 ae), 7, 11 (1 ae), 10.
Bob Ike’s SA play of the day
SEVENTH RACE: No. 1 Wilshire Dude (8-1)
New face from the Bill Spawr barn ships in from Florida where he made his last start in June. He has decent form on turf, dirt and slop, so if the expected rain hits and this race is moved off the grass, he should feel right at home. Solid works for a barn that does very well with fresh horses, so tab at a solid price.
Sunday’s result: The Hunted ($5.80) made it two straight, stepping up to easily handle Cal-bred allowance runners in the eighth race.
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
We are back with our weekly look at the best racing going on at Golden Gate Fields. Race caller and all-around good guy Matt Dinerman is our host for previews and other musings. So, take it away, Matt.
“We have two more weeks and eight race days left to go at the current fall meet. An eight-race card on Thursday, a nine-race program on Friday and two 10-race overnights on Saturday and Sunday to make our week an eventful one.
“The feature race of the week is the $75,000 Gold Rush Stakes for 2-year-olds going one mile on the main track. Leading the list of local contenders is the
“A trio of Southern California shippers travel north to compete in the Gold Rush. The Creep, who won a starter allowance at Golden Gate two races ago, recently finished fourth in a salty allowance race at Del Mar for trainer Doug O’Neill and returns to the bayside track for his stakes debut. Meanwhile, Spin Lightning, from the
“William Antongeorgi III sits atop the jockey standings with 23 victories, three ahead of Abel Cedillo. Jonathan Wong has run away with the trainer standings. The 2018 winter/spring and summer meet leading trainer has won 23 trips to the winners circle, 13 more than Hollendorfer.
“An $88,000 carryover in the Stronach 5 this Friday guarantees a terrific pool size. Luckily, Golden Gate Fields offers two races in the Stronach 5 sequence: Races 2 and 3 on Friday. Also, the 20 Cent Golden Pick Six jackpot carryover has increased to over $15,000 heading into Thursday’s card
“Good field sizes and competitive racing have been a trend over the past few weeks and, based on the overnights, appears to be a trend that continues heading into this week. Good luck!”
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If you have any thoughts, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also feed my ego by following me on Twitter @jcherwa
And now the star of the show, Thursday’s entries.
Del Mar Entries for Thursday, November 29.
Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Del Mar, California. $2 Win, Place and Show; $1 Exacta, $2 Quinella, 50-cent Trifecta, $2 Rolling Double, 50-cent rolling Pick 3; 10-cent Superfecta; 50-cent Pick 4 last 4 races; 50-cent Players Pick 5 first 5 races; $2 Pick 6 last 6 races; $1 Place Pick All; $1 Super High Five last race. Trifecta needs 4 betting interests; Superfecta needs 6. 12th day of a 16-day meet.
5 Furlongs Turf. Purse: $56,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $62,500.
|1||Moon Kitty||Evin Roman||122||Jack Carava||8-1|
|2||Luminoso||Geovanni Franco||120||Doug F. O'Neill||10-1|
|3||Ippodamia's Girl||Drayden Van Dyke||118||William E. Morey||5-1|
|4||Sensible Myth||Flavien Prat||120||George Weaver||7-2|
|5||S Y Sky||Joseph Talamo||120||Philip D'Amato||3-1|
|7||Nine Point Nine||Edwin Maldonado||120||Vladimir Cerin||8-1||62,500|
|8||Easy Grader||Tiago Pereira||120||Eddie Truman||15-1||62,500|
|9||Swirling||Heriberto Figueroa||115||John W. Sadler||12-1|
6 Furlongs. Purse: $53,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. 2 year olds. Claiming Price $80,000. State bred.
|1||Square Peggy||Tiago Pereira||117||Brian J. Koriner||4-1|
|2||Luck's Royal Flush||Mike Smith||123||Jeff Bonde||5-2||80,000|
|3||Kid Cantina||Geovanni Franco||120||Librado Barocio||10-1|
|4||Bea's Boy||Tyler Baze||120||Steven Miyadi||4-1||80,000|
|5||Rickey B||Franklin Ceballos||123||Steven Miyadi||7-2||80,000|
|6||Midnight Special||Kent Desormeaux||120||Robert B. Hess, Jr.||3-1|
5 Furlongs Turf. Purse: $34,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $32,000-$28,000.
|1||Short of Ez||Drayden Van Dyke||120||Mike Puype||6-1||32,000|
|2||Incensed||Evin Roman||118||Adam Kitchingman||12-1||28,000|
|3||Doc Curlin||Kent Desormeaux||118||Robert B. Hess, Jr.||7-2||28,000|
|4||R Cha Cha||Heriberto Figueroa||117||Doug F. O'Neill||4-1||32,000|
|5||Allaboutmike||Tyler Baze||118||Thomas Ray Bell, II||12-1||28,000|
|6||Autism Is Here||Edgar Payeras||115||Marcia Stortz||30-1||32,000|
|7||Cats Blame||Assael Espinoza||115||Steve Knapp||8-1||32,000|
|8||Forest Chatter||Geovanni Franco||120||Clifford W. Sise, Jr.||3-1||32,000|
|9||Aristocratic||Flavien Prat||120||Peter Miller||9-2||32,000|
|10||P Club||Tiago Pereira||120||Ryan Kenney||15-1||32,000|
6½ Furlongs. Purse: $30,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $50,000. State bred.
|1||Checks in the Mail||Tiago Pereira||124||William Spawr||5-1||50,000|
|2||Leroy Pegasus||Keiber Coa||122||Salvador Orozco||15-1||50,000|
|3||Emotional Ride||Edgar Payeras||117||Jeff Mullins||8-1||50,000|
|4||Bless His Heart||Heriberto Figueroa||117||Hector O. Palma||3-1||50,000|
|5||Sidepocket Action||Assael Espinoza||119||Steve Knapp||5-1||50,000|
|6||Lil Milo||Rafael Bejarano||122||Alfredo Marquez||4-1||50,000|
|7||Perfect Tale||Franklin Ceballos||122||Mark Rheinford||8-1||50,000|
|8||Captain Buzzkill||Flavien Prat||122||Gary Mandella||7-2||50,000|
1 Mile Turf. Purse: $53,000. Maiden Special Weight. 2 year olds. State bred.
|1||Mobou||Mike Smith||120||John A. Shirreffs||3-1|
|2||Tank Team||Kent Desormeaux||120||J. Keith Desormeaux||8-1|
|3||Unusual Rider||Drayden Van Dyke||120||Mike Puype||7-2|
|4||Red Clem||Geovanni Franco||120||Tim Yakteen||8-1|
|5||Peedie||Assael Espinoza||115||Ben D. A. Cecil||20-1|
|6||He Be Mojo Risin||Rafael Bejarano||120||Richard Baltas||20-1|
|7||Unusual Angel||Brice Blanc||120||Alexis Barba||6-1|
|8||Brix||Flavien Prat||120||Richard Baltas||10-1|
|9||Offshore Affair||Tyler Baze||120||Carla Gaines||4-1|
|10||Shanghai Barbie||Alonso Quinonez||117||Neil D. Drysdale||20-1|
|11||M C Burkey||Heriberto Figueroa||115||Doug F. O'Neill||20-1|
1 Mile. Purse: $32,000. Starter Allowance. 3 year olds and up.
|1||Ayacara||Flavien Prat||122||Vladimir Cerin||4-1|
|2||Tidal Effect||Geovanni Franco||119||William E. Morey||3-1|
|3||Oh Man||Heriberto Figueroa||114||Richard Baltas||5-1|
|4||Smokin B||Tyler Baze||119||Jack Carava||10-1|
|5||Goodwillambassador||Aaron Gryder||119||Philip D'Amato||7-2|
|6||It's Tiz Time||Brice Blanc||121||Ronald L. McAnally||10-1|
|7||Mongolian Groom||Rafael Bejarano||122||Enebish Ganbat||5-2|
1 Mile Turf. Purse: $25,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $32,000.
|1||Wilshire Dude||Tiago Pereira||122||William Spawr||6-1||32,000|
|2||Hoover Tower||Evin Roman||124||Robert B. Hess, Jr.||8-1||32,000|
|3||Stylistics United||Felipe Martinez||124||Louis A. Bradvica||30-1||32,000|
|4||All I Can Say||Alonso Quinonez||124||Val Brinkerhoff||15-1||32,000|
|5||Hot American||Tyler Baze||122||Neil D. Drysdale||9-2||32,000|
|6||Gray Admiral||Ruben Fuentes||122||Vann Belvoir||8-1||32,000|
|7||Rinse and Repeat||Rafael Bejarano||124||Doug F. O'Neill||9-2||32,000|
|8||Camino de Estrella||Heriberto Figueroa||119||Tim Yakteen||8-1||32,000|
|9||Offshore||Flavien Prat||124||Richard Baltas||7-2||32,000|
|10||Facts Matter||Assael Espinoza||117||Jerry Hollendorfer||8-1||32,000|
|11||Comma Sister||Edwin Maldonado||124||George Papaprodromou||4-1||32,000|
5½ Furlongs. Purse: $22,000. Maiden Claiming. 2 year olds. Claiming Prices $32,000-$28,000.
|1||Mad At Money||Heriberto Figueroa||115||Thomas Ray Bell, II||20-1||32,000|
|2||Concord Jet||Alonso Quinonez||120||Brian J. Koriner||6-1||32,000|
|3||Suite Alonso||Angel Cruz||120||Doug F. O'Neill||8-1||32,000|
|4||Ministersdon'tlie||Aaron Gryder||120||Michael Machowsky||20-1||32,000|
|5||Tanker||Geovanni Franco||120||Vladimir Cerin||7-2||32,000|
|6||Bull Fighter||Eswan Flores||120||Hector O. Palma||20-1||32,000|
|7||Violent Behavior||Tyler Baze||120||Dan Blacker||3-1||32,000|
|8||Shake N Fries||Drayden Van Dyke||118||Tim Yakteen||5-2||28,000|
|9||Magic Bro||Agapito Delgadillo||120||Hector O. Palma||20-1||32,000|
|10||Thin Line||Tiago Pereira||120||Doug F. O'Neill||8-1||32,000|
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