Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter as we wonder if Santa Anita is running too many races.
I know we just finished with the Los Alamitos stewards’ rulings but the Santa Anita adjudicators came flying out of the box with 13 rulings in the first week. But, none as interesting as that one from Los Al. (You know which one I’m talking about.)
--Jockey Jeff Catalan was fine $50 for jogging in front of the starting gate when it wasn’t allowed. Catalan said he was at fault. Fellow outrider Francisco Cardenas confirmed that Catalan was in error.
--East Coast-based jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. was suspended for three days (Jan. 4, 5, 6) for careless riding and causing interference in the 10th race on Dec. 26 while aboard Avalanche. In the stretch run, Ortiz, riding on the outside, allowed Avalanche to drift three spots to the inside, causing interference with Trojan Spirit. Avalanche finished fourth, Trojan Spirit finished eighth. Ortiz was also issued a warning in ninth race for causing a horse to alter their path. But he was not suspended for that incident. Ortiz served the penalty at Gulfstream.
--Owner Eduardo Venosa, who goes by Freedom Stables, was suspended Jan. 5 for failure to appear at a scheduled hearing dealing with an alleged debt of $5,535.15 to the Equine Medical and Surgical Group. The suspension is indefinite until the matter is cleared up.
--Owner-trainer Lance Hellum was reinstated after it was determined that he met his obligations to Angel’s Feed Inc. totaling $1,159.61. the ruling was issued on Nov. 18 at Del Mar. Hellum, as a trainer, was not listed as having any barn space at Santa Anita.
--Trainer Bill Spawr was fined $750 when Skye Diamonds tested positive for an overage of Methocarbamol, generally used as a muscle relaxer. His horse, Skye Diamonds, who won at Santa Anita on Oct. 7, had 6.05 ng/ml in her system. The allowable limit is 1 ng/ml. Spawr accepted responsibility and said the only thing he could figure is the possibility that medicated feed was not cleaned out before the next feeding. Steward Grant Baker wanted a $1,000 fine.
--Jockey Ruben Fuentes was fined $100 for using his riding crop more than three times in a row before letting his horse respond. The violation took place aboard Banze No Oeste on Dec. 28. The horse won the race by two lengths. Fuentes admitted guilt.
--Veterinarian Ted Simpson was fined $1,000 when Best of Me, a horse he treated, tested positive for dexamethasone on June 7 at Santa Anita. She won the race by 2 ¼ lengths. Dexamethasone has many uses but is generally used as an anti-inflammatory. Trained by Peter Miller, she had 52 pg/ml in her system as the allowable limit is 5 pg/ml. The vet report said the horse was given an injection of phenylbutazone on the morning of June 6, yet there was no presence of the non-steroid, anti-inflammatory in her system. Simpson concluded this odd combination occurred when the “temporary veterinarian assistant” filled the syringe with dexamethasone instead of phenylbutazone.
--Jockey Edwin Maldonado was fined $100 for using his riding crop more than three times in a row before allowing the horse to respond. His mount, Fahan Mura, won by ¾ lengths on Dec. 29.
--Trainer Brian Koriner was fined $3,000 and suspended 30 calendar days after his horse Mr. Vargas had a drug positive. However, the stewards stayed his suspension and placed Koriner on one year’s probation. If Koriner is not hit with another drug violation, he won’t have to serve his 30 days. Mr. Vargas, who won the race on Aug. 18 at Del Mar, had 2,932 ng/ml of procaine in his system. The allowable limit is 25 ng/ml. The horse was disqualified as far as purse money goes and the owner and jockey were forced to return their share of the money.
--Trainer Mike Puype was fined $200 when his horse, Kittyhawk Lass, showed up for the turf race with the wrong shoes. She finished seventh in the Dec. 30 race.
--Trainer Mike Pender was fined $100 for failure to show up and saddle Top Hat Tantrum on Dec. 30. She finished last in the six-horse race.
--Trainer Jose A. Flores was fined $100 for failure to show up and saddle Media Tone on Dec. 30. Media Tone threw jockey Evin Roman at the start and was not an official finisher.
--Trainer Faith Taylor was fined $100 for failure to show up and saddle More Power to Him on Dec. 31. More Power to Him finished last in the seven-horse race.
Santa Anita is certainly riding a high for its big handle increases, but the biggest factor in the increases is just more races. But more races come at a cost. Last week, I credited the racing office for getting ahead of the weather and changing the Sunday card to all dirt races to help handicappers in advance and eliminate a lot of scratches.
But, as I look at nine-race cards on both Thursday and Friday, I’m wondering if this is the smart play to make the horse inventory last as long as it needs to? Friday has its first five-horse non-stakes race. Long way to go.
This is the first week for new racing boss Steve Lym, who comes here from Woodbine. To paraphrase Dorothy, “Steve, I’ve a feeling you’re not in Toronto anymore.” (The base for this quote is often misspoken, but I tried to stay true to the accurate one.)
So, Steve, and top assistant Dan Eidson, have a formidable task to manage this always changing horse population and hopefully they have the authority to say more can sometimes be less.
That’s a pretty long windup to get the feature race on the nine-race card that starts at 12:30 p.m. And, it’s a six-horse (paying attention?), 6 ½ furlong allowance/optional claimer for Cal-bred fillies and mares 4 and up. S Y Sky is the 8-5 favorite for trainer Phil D’Amato and jockey Joe Talamo. She benefited from a DQ to win her last start and was third in the Betty Grable at Del Mar. She hasn’t missed the board in her life with four wins, two seconds and a third in seven starts.
The second favorite is Show It N Moe It at 5-2. Gary Sherlock trains and Rafael Bejarano rides. She is much more season with four wins in 17 starts. She was fifth in the Betty Grable. She hasn’t won since Feb. 18. Post time is around 4 p.m.
Here are the field sizes, in order: 7, 6, 7, 8, 8, 10, 8, 6, 10.
Bob Ike’s SA pick of the day
FOURTH RACE: No. 7 Emmy and I (6-1)
Competitive $25,000 claimer for fillies and mares going one mile on turf (rails at 30 feet) and I will try front-running Emmy and I for trainer Vann Belvoir. The 6-year-old mare stretched out around two turns for the initial time in her last start and set the pace before tiring to third vs. Cal-bred allowance runners. She catches a field with very little early foot and might get brave on the front end over a course that is kind to speed, especially when the auxiliary rails are way out.
Sunday’s result: Miss Unusual never got on track and disappointed after being bet down to 6/5 favoritism.
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
We’re back with our weekly look at the best racing going on at Golden Gate Fields. As with the last couple meetings, 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.
“Racing resumes at Thursday with a 12:45 p.m. post on the usual racing schedule. There is a carryover of $38,284 in the $0.50 late pick 5, which starts in the third race. At least $200,000 in new money is expected to be added.
“Trainer Larry Rivelli, who has won the Arlington Park training title five years in a row, recently shipped a string of 17 horses to Golden Gate and the Midwest horseman indicated he was ready to rumble with his string on the West Coast. Rivelli entered two horses on Thursday and five on Friday, with six of the seven runners to be ridden by Rivelli’s go-to rider in Chicago, Jose Valdivia Jr.
“Congrats to Golden Gate Debutante Stakes winner Tomlin, who ran third behind 3-year-old monsters Bellafina and Mother Mother in the Santa Ynez Stakes at Santa Anita on Sunday. The daughter of Distorted Humor is trained by well-respected Bay Area horsemen Steve Specht and has now earned a Grade 2 placing, which will help her status as a broodmare. Sueno, who won the Gold Rush Stakes over the Tapeta in December, ran a very credible second in Saturday’s Grade 3 Sham Stakes for 3-year-olds on the Kentucky Derby trail. It’s exciting to see Golden Gate stakes winners going on to at least make an impact in these major races. Well done to both horses and their connections.
“We mentioned Anothertwistafate in our last write-up: a horse with a ton of talent who was prepping for the El Camino Real Derby in Friday’s second race. A stakes run for the son of Scat Daddy is imminent, as he rolled once again to a convincing win, opening up down the stretch to win by five lengths. He has the pedigree that suggests he can run on any surface but runs like he will be best on the grass or synthetics. He’s a big, strapping horse who has an athletic body and a good way of moving and has shown no signs that more distance will be an issue. I’m excited to see what he will do in the ECR Derby, a race that offers the winner a free berth to the Preakness.
“Eight runners are signed on to go one mile in the fifth race on Friday, which is Leg E of the Stronach 5. Like most Stronach 5 wager races, it’s a competitive, deep field. I could make a strong case for Gray Gem, stretching back out to a route after an undesirable trip sprinting against open $25k claimers. Maxinamillion, for the Jonathan Wong barn, will go off favored. He has been competitive at this $20k level before and looks like he is up against a field he can handle.”
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And now the star of the show, Thursday’s entries.
Santa Anita Entries for Thursday, January 10.
Santa Anita, Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, California. 10th day of a 61-day meet.
1 Mile Turf. Purse: $33,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $35,000.
|1||Mraseel ||Ruben Fuentes||124||Richard Baltas||7-2||35,000|
|2||Halo Darlin||Tiago Pereira||124||Rafael Becerra||4-1||35,000|
|3||Speakers||Flavien Prat||124||Andrew Lerner||8-1||35,000|
|4||Subic Bay||Tyler Baze||124||Jeff Mullins||6-1||35,000|
|5||Quinnie||Rafael Bejarano||124||Carla Gaines||5-1||35,000|
|6||Goseecal||Edwin Maldonado||124||Vladimir Cerin||3-1||35,000|
|7||Wind Tartare ||Evin Roman||124||Vann Belvoir||4-1||35,000|
6 Furlongs. Purse: $55,000. Maiden Special Weight. 4 year olds and up.
|1||Pointed||Ruben Fuentes||124||Marsha D. Schwizer||10-1|| |
|2||Victory Element||Drayden Van Dyke||124||Bob Baffert||6-5|| |
|3||Deuce||Evin Roman||124||Vann Belvoir||12-1|| |
|4||Mantaray Island||Edwin Maldonado||124||Doug F. O'Neill||3-1|| |
|5||Somethintotapabout||Mario Gutierrez||124||Anna Meah||6-1|| |
|6||Candy Cornell||Mike Smith||124||John A. Shirreffs||5-2|| |
1 Mile. Purse: $55,000. Maiden Special Weight. Fillies. 3 year olds.
|1||Slewgoodtobetrue||Mike Smith||122||Peter Eurton||1-1|| |
|2||Suprema||Kent Desormeaux||122||J. Keith Desormeaux||20-1|| |
|3||Show Hostess||Tyler Baze||122||Tim Yakteen||8-1|| |
|4||Bellazano||Ruben Fuentes||122||Mick Ruis||12-1|| |
|5||Bev's Humor||Flavien Prat||122||Eoin G. Harty||8-1|| |
|6||Soothing||Rafael Bejarano||122||Robert B. Hess, Jr.||3-1|| |
|7||Claudelle||Joel Rosario||122||John W. Sadler||4-1|| |
1 Mile Turf. Purse: $33,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $25,000-$22,500.
|1||Girl Downstairs||Flavien Prat||124||Peter Miller||2-1||25,000|
|2||Lady Beware ||Luis Fuentes||117||Mick Ruis||8-1||25,000|
|3||Miss Boom Boom||Joel Rosario||122||Richard Baltas||5-2||25,000|
|4||War Moccasin||Brice Blanc||122||Javier Jose Sierra||12-1||25,000|
|5||Indypendent Deputy||Tyler Baze||120||Dallas E. Keen||15-1||22,500|
|6||Peach Cove ||Drayden Van Dyke||120||Mike Puype||4-1||22,500|
|7||Emmy and I||Assael Espinoza||117||Vann Belvoir||6-1||25,000|
|8||Award It||Geovanni Franco||120||Vladimir Cerin||10-1||22,500|
6½ Furlongs. Purse: $32,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds. Claiming Prices $50,000-$40,000.
|1||He's Zippin On By||Heriberto Figueroa||115||Michael Machowsky||12-1||40,000|
|2||Nice Work||Joel Rosario||122||John W. Sadler||3-1||50,000|
|3||Drink||Drayden Van Dyke||122||David E. Hofmans||5-2||50,000|
|4||Time N Money||Eswan Flores||122||Hector O. Palma||8-1||50,000|
|5||Gran Martillo||Ruben Fuentes||122||Paul G. Aguirre||5-1||50,000|
|6||Resident Liberal||Joseph Talamo||122||Thomas F. Proctor||10-1||50,000|
|7||Dyf||Flavien Prat||122||Leonard Powell||5-1||50,000|
|8||Ohtani||Tiago Pereira||122||William Spawr||5-1||50,000|
About 6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $36,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $40,000.
|1||Ladybug||Diego Sanchez||124||John W. Sadler||5-1||40,000|
|2||Sheza Chattykat||Flavien Prat||124||Leonard Powell||5-2||40,000|
|3||Ruby Trust||Octavio Vergara, Jr.||124||Howard L. Zucker||12-1||40,000|
|4||Favorite Trip||Joel Rosario||124||Peter Eurton||8-1||40,000|
|5||Saburai||Brice Blanc||124||Vladimir Cerin||6-1||40,000|
|6||Our Bold Princess||Ryan Barber||124||Eduardo L. Rich||15-1||40,000|
|7||Florista ||Rafael Bejarano||124||Mark Glatt||6-1||40,000|
|8||Silken Spy||Heriberto Figueroa||119||J. Eric Kruljac||6-1||40,000|
|9||Gone to Town||Mario Gutierrez||124||Anna Meah||8-1||40,000|
|10||Promnesia||Tyler Baze||124||Martin F. Jones||12-1||40,000|
6 Furlongs. Purse: $38,000. Claiming. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $40,000-$35,000.
|1||Jan's Reserve||Agapito Delgadillo||122||Victor L. Garcia||12-1||40,000|
|2||Adens Dream||Cerapio Figueroa||122||John W. Sadler||4-1||40,000|
|3||Kochees||Mario Gutierrez||122||Jerry Hollendorfer||3-1||40,000|
|4||Allaboutaction||Tyler Baze||124||Javier Jose Sierra||5-2||40,000|
|5||Italiano||Heriberto Figueroa||117||Jerry Hollendorfer||4-1||40,000|
|6||Bistraya||Joel Rosario||122||Robert Gilker||8-1||40,000|
|7||K Thirty Eight||Assael Espinoza||117||Karen Headley||8-1||40,000|
|8||Market Sentiment||Tiago Pereira||122||Steve Knapp||15-1||40,000|
6½ Furlongs. Purse: $67,000. Allowance. Fillies and Mares. 4 year olds and up. State bred.
|1||Isa Firecracker||Flavien Prat||122||Jamey R. Thomas||5-1|| |
|2||Coco Kisses||Heriberto Figueroa||117||Jeff Bonde||10-1|| |
|3||Smiling Tigress||Tyler Baze||122||David Bernstein||6-1|| |
|4||S Y Sky||Joseph Talamo||122||Philip D'Amato||8-5|| |
|5||Show It N Moe It||Rafael Bejarano||122||Gary Sherlock||5-2|| |
|6||Barbara Beatrice||Tiago Pereira||122||Philip D'Amato||7-2|| |
About 6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $55,000. Maiden Special Weight. Fillies and Mares. 4 year olds and up. State bred.
|1||La Guapa Velos||Heriberto Figueroa||119||Mike Puype||12-1|| |
|2||I'm Sassy||Tiago Pereira||124||Sam J. Scolamieri||8-1|| |
|3||Smoovie||Mario Gutierrez||124||Doug F. O'Neill||3-1|| |
|4||Smiling Annie||Joel Rosario||124||Mark Glatt||7-2|| |
|5||Oh Pretty Woman||Drayden Van Dyke||124||Martin F. Jones||4-1|| |
|6||Radish||Flavien Prat||124||Doug F. O'Neill||8-1|| |
|7||Eagle Ease||Edwin Maldonado||124||Michael Pender||20-1|| |
|8||Whoa Nessie||Rafael Bejarano||124||Doug F. O'Neill||8-1|| |
|9||Perfect Portrait||Brice Blanc||124||Neil French||15-1|| |
|10||Into Rissa||Joseph Talamo||124||Gary Sherlock||8-1|| |