Racing! Cast your vote for Horse of the Year


Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter as we catch up with a few Santa Anita stewards’ rulings.

Yes, we know all the votes have been counted and the big reveal won’t come until next Thursday. But, we’re adding a new poll feature to the newsletter and if there is enough interest, we’ll keep rolling them out, but not inundate you with them.

It makes sense that the first one should be on Horse of the Year. If American Pharoah had not won the Triple Crown a couple years ago, it would be a slam dunk that Justify would be a unanimous choice. But, have we grown ever so slightly bored with another Triple Crown winner so soon? We’ll see if that’s factor in HOY voting. Plus, Justify’s short career, subsequent rush to the breeding shed and the fact he never raced anyone but 3-year-olds has left some people with a sour taste.

So, a groundswell started for Accelerate who won all but one race and looked great winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Is it a vote for horse of the year or does 112 days constitute a year? Like I said, the Eclipse Award voters (of which I am one) voted already. The votes are counted, but it’s not too late for you to vote your opinion.

Unlike a lot of polls, we’re keeping the tabulations to ourselves until the end. It keeps people from stuffing the ballot box (maybe) because they don’t know how far behind they are. You’re an honest group, mostly, so I’ll trust you will treat the poll in the manner in which it is intended. So, here you go. To vote, just click here.

I’ll give you the results next Thursday.

Stewards rulings

Because of the strange racing schedule over the holidays, the latest version of the stewards’ minutes didn’t cover a lot of days. So, we just have a few rulings for this week. Let’s get right to them.

--Apprentice jockey Luis Fuentes was suspended four days for careless riding. His suspension days were Jan. 11, 12, 13, and 17. In the 10th race on Jan. 1, he was riding Principe Carlo but failed to keep a straight course in the stretch, according to the stewards. Principe Carlo finished ninth in the 12-horse field. Because it was his second offense in the last 60 days, he received four days instead of the usual three.

--Jockey Alex Jimenez was fined $200 for disorderly conduct. On Nov. 7 of last year, Jimenez was said to have used inappropriate hand gestures and that he threatened Cesar Hernandez, a parking attendant at Santa Anita. Jimenez, who was leaving the track, was upset at Hernandez for reporting him to security for disorderly conduct on Oct. 28, resulting in a fine. Jimenez must also be evaluated by the Winners’ Foundation for anger management issues.

--Exercise rider Gabino Gutierrez was fined $100 for possession of marijuana. There was a random Santa Anita security check when a strong odor was said to be coming from Gutierrez’s tack room. They found a small black vial in Gutierrez’s tack room which contained marijuana. Gutierrez admitted he was smoking but thought it was permitted in the stable area. Gutierrez will be tested and must also enroll in the Winners’ Foundation.

Santa Anita preview

All the rain has taken its toll and Santa Anita punted the two turf races it had in its condition book and has come up with an eight-race all dirt card starting at 1 p.m. Like we’ve said in the past, the racing office should be credited for anticipating heavy-scratch racing when surfaces are switched because of the weather. Now, what’s left for Thursday isn’t much to look at, and the weather is supposed to be lousy, but if you really want to play it, go for it.

There are five claiming races and one starter allowance, which is essentially a claiming race where horses can’t be claimed. There is one maiden special worth $55,000 with five starters and one allowance/optional claimer for 3-year-old Cal-breds fillies worth $57,000. Six of the races are six furlongs, one at 5 ½ and one at 6 ½.

We’ll call the Cal-bred the feature and it’s the 6 1/2-furlong race. Mucho Unusual is the favorite at 6-5 for trainer Tim Yakteen and jockey Joel Rosario. The filly is coming off a black type win in the Golden State Juvenile Fillies Stakes. She won by 2 ¼ lengths. Third in that race was Hotitude, who is the 8-5 second choice for Kristin Mulhall and Martin Pedroza. Her last race was a second in the Soviet Problems Stakes at Los Alamitos. Only five horses in the race. Post time will be about 4 p.m.

Here are the field sizes, in order: 6, 5, 9, 6, 8, 10, 5, 10.

Bob Ike’s SA pick of the day

SEVENTH RACE: No. 3 Tiz a Master (4-1)

Cal-bred allowance/optional claiming sprint for sophomores and this improving filly from the Billy Morey might be sharp enough to run down the speedy favorites drawn to her inside. She's won two straight with an improving pattern on numbers and should fall into the right spot behind the inside two that both want the lead for their best.

Sunday’s result: Poor analysis, poor handicapping and poor efforts from my exacta partners who faded to fourth and fifth when the real running began in the third race.

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 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.

“Golden Gate Fields offers five live racing days this week with an added Monday card on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. All five-race days have a scheduled first post of 12:45 p.m.

“Jockeys Abel Cedillo and Juan Hernandez have pulled clear of the other Bay Area riders in the jockey standings, with both journeymen having won 19 races heading into Week 4 of the winter/spring meet. In the trainer standings, Jonathan Wong has surged four wins ahead, with 11 victories. Bill Delia and Blaine Wright sit in second with seven wins each.

“We mentioned last week that top Arlington Park trainer Larry Rivelli brought a string of 17 horses to Golden Gate recently. He ran his first 12 starters at GGF and won with four of them, including synthetic monster Richiesinthehouse, a son of Sidney’s Candy who is now eight for 11 lifetime. He defeated Oakland Stakes 1-2 finishers Touched by Autism and Sunset Dragunn and appeared to win pretty easily finishing in good-looking fashion. It looks as if Rivelli is primed for a big meet and Richiesinthehouse will surely be running against stakes company if he stays healthy.

“And speaking of stakes, we’ll note that Awesome Anywhere, who finished third as the favorite in the Oakland Stakes last November, is marked down as a runner in the $200,000 Grade 2 Palos Verdes at Santa Anita on Saturday for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith picks up the mount, according to the Santa Anita Stable Notes.

“Finally, we’ve got a treat for on-track fans on Sat., Jan. 26. Golden Gate is happy to offer fans a chance to ‘Win A Bet’ on the Pegasus World Cup Invitational. Each fan that is drawn to compete will be randomly assigned one horse that is racing in the Pegasus, which will be run that day. A $100 win wager will then be placed on each horse. After the race, whichever fan is assigned to the winning horse will get to cash their $100 win bet. All participants will be escorted to the turf club before the race and will get to cheer on their horses there.

“If anyone on track is interested in signing up for the ‘Win A Bet’ sweepstakes, please visit ‘B-deck’ Level 2 customer service by Sat., Jan. 26 and fill out the sign-up sheet. Registry for the contest concludes at 2 p.m. on Pegasus race day. Five racing days this week. I’m ready. I hope the newsletter readers are too.”

Final thought

Always 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, January 17.

Santa Anita, Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, California. 14th day of a 61-day meet.


6 Furlongs. Purse: $33,000. Starter Allowance. 4 year olds and up.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1ConcurFlavien Prat124Philip D'Amato4-1
2ChillJoel Rosario122William E. Morey2-1
3CaptivateDrayden Van Dyke122Mike Puype5-2
4Crazy Uncle RickKent Desormeaux122Jeff Bonde8-1
5Shane ZainHeriberto Figueroa117Richard Baltas3-1
6Bad Boy LeroyTyler Baze122Mark Glatt8-1


6 Furlongs. Purse: $55,000. Maiden Special Weight. Fillies and Mares. 4 year olds and up.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Scattering MinkFlavien Prat124Richard E. Mandella9-5
2Gold ArrowJoel Rosario124Jerry Hollendorfer8-5
3Ria MunkAlonso Quinonez124Michael Machowsky2-1
4RancorEvin Roman124Jerry Hollendorfer6-1
5Stormy SunsetEdgar Payeras124Marcia Stortz15-1


6 Furlongs. Purse: $20,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds. Claiming Price $20,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Silent AlarmTiago Pereira122Michael Machowsky5-220,000
2Friday's At ShadyRuben Fuentes122Jeff Bonde12-120,000
3Redrock TrailHeriberto Figueroa117John W. Sadler5-120,000
4WarrensdirtydancerAaron Gryder122Craig Anthony Lewis20-120,000
5ContagionMario Gutierrez122Doug F. O'Neill4-120,000
6Small Town BoyTyler Baze122Sean McCarthy15-120,000
7A Salute to Lt DanMartin Pedroza122Andrew Lerner12-120,000
8Shake N FriesDrayden Van Dyke122Tim Yakteen2-120,000
9TankerAssael Espinoza117Vladimir Cerin12-120,000


6 Furlongs. Purse: $33,000. Claiming. Fillies. 4 year olds. Claiming Prices $25,000-$22,500.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1D D's LuteJoseph Talamo124Gary Sherlock3-125,000
2Empress of LovRuben Fuentes122Andrew Lerner6-125,000
3Uno Trouble MakerTiago Pereira120William Spawr4-122,500
4Easter DreamRafael Bejarano120Robert B. Hess, Jr.3-122,500
5AmersHeriberto Figueroa117Jonathan Wong5-222,500
6Naughty SophieEdwin Maldonado124Javier Jose Sierra5-125,000


6 Furlongs. Purse: $18,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $12,500.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Tiz Mi HainaEvin Roman124Martin F. Jones12-112,500
2Majestic AuthorityOctavio Vergara, Jr.124Sal Gonzalez15-112,500
3Don'teatmycookiesSaul Arias124J. Keith Desormeaux2-112,500
4Mi PajaritoHeriberto Figueroa119Jorge Periban4-112,500
5Blissful LadyEdgar Payeras124Charles S. Treece20-112,500
6Lucky ValEswan Flores124Kathy Walsh6-112,500
7London HotelJoseph Talamo124Ronald W. Ellis5-212,500
8K P's SmokinAssael Espinoza119Steve Knapp5-112,500


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $23,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies. 3 year olds. Claiming Price $30,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Miss Lady AnnTyler Baze122Jack Carava12-130,000
2Rather NosyJoel Rosario122Simon Callaghan8-530,000
3Sharp ImageEdgar Payeras122Mike Harrington12-130,000
4WarrensrollingdiceAaron Gryder122Craig Anthony Lewis20-130,000
5ReachreachreachHeriberto Figueroa117Doug F. O'Neill4-130,000
6Glitter GulchGeovanni Franco122Genaro Vallejo12-130,000
7GoodtingscominpinkEvin Roman122Adam Kitchingman3-130,000
8Curryforthree BangOctavio Vergara, Jr.122Joe Herrick5-130,000
9A Dime for MeMartin Pedroza122Kristin Mulhall4-130,000
10Your Royal CoilEdwin Maldonado122Paul G. Aguirre8-130,000


6½ Furlongs. Purse: $57,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. Fillies. 3 year olds. Claiming Price $80,000. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1HotitudeMartin Pedroza122Kristin Mulhall8-5
2Mucho UnusualJoel Rosario122Tim Yakteen6-5
3Tiz a MasterHeriberto Figueroa115William E. Morey4-1
4All Tea All ShadeEvin Roman120Robert B. Hess, Jr.5-180,000
5Time for SuzzieTyler Baze120Jorge Periban12-180,000


6 Furlongs. Purse: $20,000. Maiden Claiming. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $20,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Spanish BayJoseph Talamo124Richard E. Mandella5-220,000
2Silver BadgeEvin Roman124Bobby Wayne Grayson20-120,000
3Bless His HeartEswan Flores124Hector O. Palma5-120,000
4Casual ReplyJohn Jude124Lloyd C. Wicker20-120,000
5Jimmy the BullEdgar Payeras124Gary Sherlock30-120,000
6PastorelliOctavio Vergara, Jr.124Richard Baltas5-120,000
7Moon JuiceGeovanni Franco124Philip A. Oviedo6-120,000
8Shanghai BillyTyler Baze124Mike Harrington7-220,000
9Victor's ShowRafael Bejarano124Eoin G. Harty6-120,000
10Pig IronRuben Fuentes124Jorge Gutierrez12-120,000