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Newsletter: Racing! What to do when we are away

Hello, my name is John Cherwa, and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter as we remember the life of legendary Southern California sportswriter John Hall.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that after 50½ weeks of five-day-a-week newsletters, I’m looking forward to the one week off a year those of us in Southern California get from the daily drumbeat of racing. And, to be fair, that is one more week off than the horsemen who care for the horses.

This summer, I was in the press box at Del Mar talking with our weekly handicapping professor Rob Henie. Rob does a handicapping sheet 52 weeks a year, as he continues on with Gulfstream next week. Although, to him, doing only one track instead of two a day is his version of time off.

The word that came up is “relentless,” and even those of you who play the races every day, and love racing like we do, get a form of fatigue. I don’t know about you, but I don’t plan to watch one minute of TVG, between Monday and Dec. 26. And, with Los Alamitos finishing up, I don’t have to listen to my wife say, (and I paraphrase), “Why does that annoying man say, ‘Hello, Neuman,’ before every race?” OK, maybe I’m projecting my thoughts on her, although she did say it once. And, yes, I watched “Seinfeld.”

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So, with all that in mind, for those of you going through Santa Anita/Del Mar/Los Alamitos/Golden Gate withdrawal, I’ve prepared my Degenerates List of Racing while we are away. And I mean “degenerates” only in the most loving and caring way.

And, I’m only listing U.S. tracks. (All times are PST and (H) means harness. Times and location subject to my screw ups.)

Monday, Dec. 17: 9:25 a.m.-Monticello (H); 9:25 a.m.-Parx; 9:45 a.m.-Mahoning Valley; 10:05 a.m.-The Meadows (H); 11 a.m.-Zia Park; 11:15 a.m.-Dayton (H); 11:40 a.m.-Turf Paradise; 1:30 p.m.-Dover Downs (H); 3 p.m.-Northfield Park (H); 3:15 p.m.-Western Fair (H); 4 p.m.-Mountaineer; 4:10 p.m.-Mohawk Park (H); 4:20 p.m.-Pompano (H).

Tuesday, Dec. 18: 9:25 a.m.-Monticello (H); 9:25 a.m.-Parx; 9:45 a.m.-Mahoning Valley; 10:05 a.m.-The Meadows (H); 11 a.m.-Zia Park; 11:15 a.m.-Dayton (H); 11:40 a.m.-Turf Paradise; 12:00 p.m.-Portland Meadows; 1:30 p.m.-Dover Downs (H); 3 p.m.-Northfield Park (H); 3:15 p.m.-Western Fair (H); 4 p.m.-Mountaineer; 4:10 p.m.-Mohawk Park (H); 4:20 p.m.-Pompano (H).

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Wednesday, Dec. 19: 9:25 a.m.-Monticello (H); 9:35 a.m.-Gulfstream Park; 9:35 a.m.-Tampa Bay; 9:45 a.m.-Mahoning Valley; 10:05 a.m.-The Meadows (H); 11 a.m.-Zia Park; 11:40 a.m.-Turf Paradise; 1:30 p.m.-Dover Downs (H); 3 p.m.-Northfield Park (H); 3:05-Penn National; 3:15 p.m.-Turfway Park; 4 p.m.-Mountaineer; 4:20 p.m.-Pompano (H).

Thursday, Dec. 20: 9:25 a.m.-Monticello (H); 9:35 a.m.-Gulfstream Park; 9:50 a.m.-Aqueduct; 10:30 a.m.-Fair Grounds; 1:30 p.m.-Dover Downs (H); 3:05-Penn National; 3:15 p.m.-Dayton (H); 3:15 p.m.-Turfway Park; 3:25 p.m.-Delta Downs; 3:35 p.m.-Flamboro Downs (H); 4 p.m.-Charles Town; 4:10 p.m.-Mohawk Park (H); 4:15 p.m.-Meadowlands; 4:20 p.m.-Pompano (H).

Friday, Dec. 21: 9:20 a.m.-Aqueduct; 9:25 a.m.-Monticello (H); 9:30 a.m.-Laurel; 9:30 a.m.-Freehold (H); 9:35 a.m.-Gulfstream Park; 9:35 a.m.-Tampa Bay; 10:30 a.m.-Fair Grounds; 10:55 a.m.-Hawthorne; 2:30 p.m.-The Meadows (H); 3:05-Penn National; 3:10 p.m.-Turfway Park; 3:15 p.m.-Dayton (H); 3:25 p.m.-Delta Downs; 3:15 p.m.-Dayton (H); 4 p.m.-Charles Town; 7 p.m.-Fraser Downs (H); 4:10 p.m.-Mohawk Park (H); 4:15 p.m.-Meadowlands.

Saturday, Dec. 22: 9 a.m.-Gulfstream; 9:15-Mahoning Valley; 9:20 a.m.-Aqueduct; 9:25 a.m.-Parx; 9:30 a.m.-Laurel Park; 9:30 a.m.-Freehold (H); 9:35 a.m.-Tampa Bay; 10:05 a.m.-The Meadows (H); 10:15 a.m.-Western Fair (H); 10:30 a.m.-Fair Grounds; 10:55 a.m.-Hawthorne; 11:40 a.m.-Turf Paradise; 3 p.m.-Northfield Park (H); 3:05 p.m.-Penn National; 3:10 p.m.-Turfway Park; 3:15 p.m.-Dayton (H); 3:25 p.m. Delta Downs; 4 p.m.-Charles Town; 4:10 p.m.-Mohawk Park (H); 4:15 p.m.- Meadowlands (H).

Sunday, Dec. 23: 9:20 a.m.-Aqueduct; 9:30 a.m.-Laurel Park; 9:35 a.m.-Tampa Bay; 11:40 a.m.-Turf Paradise; 12 p.m.-Portland Meadows; 12:45 p.m.-Fraser Downs (H); 3 p.m.-Northfield Park (H); 3:35 p.m.-Flamboro Downs (H); 4:20 p.m.-Pompano (H).

Monday, Dec. 24: Nothing. Nada. Lots of classic replays on TVG.

Tuesday, Dec. 25: Nothing. C’mon. Get a life. It’s Christmas.

And then, racing returns in a big way.

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Remembering the past

I know this has nothing to do with horse racing, but the guy who delighted so many readers on Page 3 of The Times has died. John Hall was 90. Here’s a brief look at his life.

Los Alamitos thoroughbred review

Friday’s feature was an allowance race for older horses going five furlongs for a purse of $55,000. St. Joe Bay was the winner by a head over Richard’s Boy, the second favorite. It broke a 12-race losing streak for the gelding, who runs for trainer John Sadler and jockey Tyler Baze. The jockey was able to win despite losing his whip near the wire.

Even though there was a field of six, there was no show wagering. St. Joe Bay paid $6.40 and $3.60. Distinctive B was third.

Los Alamitos thoroughbred preview

The feature on the penultimate day of the meeting is the $100,000 Soviet Problem Stakes for Cal-bred 2-year-old fillies going a mile. It only has six starters. The favorite is Creative Instinct, at 9-5, for Peter Miller and Tyler Baze. She is two-for-four winning her first two races but then finishing out of the money in minor stakes. She was eighth in the Jimmy Durante at Del Mar.

The second favorite is Kookie Gal at a very close 2-1. She is one-for-two lifetime, winning her maiden race and finishing fifth in the Jimmy Durante. Flavien Prat rides for Miller.

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Big races preview

A look at graded stakes or races worth more $100,000 or more on Saturday. All times PST.

10:18 Aqueduct (3): $150,000 New York Stallion Series (Fifth Avenue Division), N.Y.-bred 2-year-olds, 6 furlongs. Favorite: Sassy Agnes (1-1)

10:52 Tampa Bay (4): $125,000 FTBOA City of Ocala Florida Sire Stakes, Fla.-bred fillies 3-years-old, 7 furlongs. Favorite: Florida Fuego (5-2)

11:01 Gulfstream (5): Grade 3 $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday Stakes, 3 and up, 1 1/16 miles. Favorite: Audible (2-5)

11:52 Tampa Bay (6): $100,000 Inaugural Stakes, 2-year-olds, 6 furlongs. Favorite: Dazzling Truths (3-1)

12:22 Tampa Bay (7): $125,000 FTBOA Marion County Florida Sire Stakes, Fla.-bred 3-years-old, 7 furlongs. Favorite: World of Trouble (1-1)

12:34 Gulfstream (8): Grade 3 100,000 Rampart Stakes, fillies and mares 3 and up, 1 mile. Favorite: Tweeting (8-5)

1:05 Gulfstream (9): Grade 3 $100,000 My Charmer Stakes, fillies and mares 3 and up, 1 mile on turf. Favorite: Capla Temptress (7-2)

1:22 Tampa Bay (9): $100,000 Sandpiper Stakes, fillies 2-years-old, 6 furlongs. Favorite: Lovesick (5-2)

1:36 Gulfstream (10): Grade 3 $100,000 Sugar Swirl Stakes, fillies and mares 3 and up, 6 furlongs. Favorite: Awestruck (2-1)

2:06 Gulfstream (11): Grade 2 $200,000 Fort Lauderdale Stakes, 3 an up, 1 1/8 miles on turf. Favorite: Projected (4-1)

2:28 Los Alamitos (5): $100,000 Soviet Problem Stakes, Cal-bred fillies 2-years-old, 1 mile. Favorite: Creative Instinct (9-5)

Jose Contreras LRC play of the day

FIFTH RACE: No. 1 Hotitude (3-1)

She chased a solid pace for the distance last time out and could only hold on for third after making the lead in the stretch. She’s got plenty of speed and that is her main weapon from this inside post. There is a short run into the first turn, and I expect her to try to steal the race on the front end with a good start.

Friday’s result: Waze Ready never really threatened and finished fourth in the third race.

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.

Ed Burgart’s LA play of the day

SIXTH RACE: No. 6 One Last Thought (4-1)

Trainer Yanet Rodriguez joins forces with leading jockey Jesus Ayala on a horse she claimed for $8,000 six weeks ago. She brings the filly back at the same level and has enjoyed good results with first-out claims over recent years. Two outs ago, she was second in a fast race won by Unrestrained, who since finished fourth versus allowance company. Filly draws the comfortable outside post here.

Final thought

Always looking to add more subscribers to 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.

Any thoughts, you can reach me at johnacherwa@gmail.com. You can also feed my ego by following me on Twitter @jcherwa.

And now the stars of the show, Friday’s results and Saturday’s entries.


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