Racing! Stewards rulings and other stuff

Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter as we dry out and catch up from the weekend.

Lots of odds and ends today, so let’s get started with the stewards’ rulings.

--Jockey Rafael Bejarano was fined $100 for using the riding crop more than three times in succession without giving his mount, Royal Trump, a chance to respond in the ninth race on Jan. 21. Bejarano did not want to contest the ruling. Royal Trump finished second.

--Owner Eduardo Venosa (known as Freedom Stables) is restored to good standing having met his financial responsibility of $5,535.15 to Equine Medical and Surgical Group. The original ruling was on Dec. 29.

--Trainer Richard Baltas was fined $400 when he entered his horse, Mraseel, in the wrong race. The horse was entered in he first race on Jan. 25. The horse subsequently ran on Feb. 1 and won a claiming race.

--Trainer Jeff Mullins was fined $500 when his horse, River Boyne, tested positive for too much Dexamethasone in his system after finishing second on Dec. 1 in the Hollywood Derby. The colt had 45 pg/ml in his system while the allowable level is 5 pg/ml. Dexamethasone is primarily used as an anti-inflammatory. Mullins said he didn’t know how the positive occurred and he is still puzzled and wished Santa Anita security still had the video footage from that time.

Who goofed, I’ve got to know?

I did and this wasn’t one of those small mistakes I seem to make. While trying to decipher the annual report from the California Horse Racing Board, I got it wrong how much money was left on the table from uncashed pari-mutuel tickets. And, thanks to some of you readers who questioned that number as being way too high. However, I mistakenly stuck with my original number because I continued to misread a chart that was on the “Uncashed Pari-mutuel Tickets” page. The chart, it seems, was somewhat unrelated. Just took me a while to figure it out. Sorry, so …

Updated uncashed tickets

Upon further review, I’ve got a better look at how many uncashed tickets were detailed in the latest CHRB report. Here are the numbers and explanations. But first, realize that these rules only cover the thoroughbred, harness and quarter-horse meets and not the California Exposition and State Fair, county, agricultural or fruit fair meets. Here’s the breakdown:

--50% of live races unclaimed pari-mutuel tickets are paid to a welfare fund picked by the horsemen’s organization that is affiliated with the race meet. During fiscal year 2017-2018, that was $918,004.

--The other 50% of live races unclaimed pari-mutuel tickets are divided equally between the association (commissions) and horsemen (purses). Also, unclaimed money on intrastate (north/south) thoroughbred and fair races are split equally between commissions and purses. During fiscal year 2017-2018 came to $1,698,243. (Yes, I understand that a 50-50 split should be equal, but there are different moving parts here. Just go with it.)

--The money from unclaimed refunds goes to the California Jockey Welfare Corporation, which does exactly what you think it would do, helping jockeys, former jockeys and their families. That number for fiscal year 2017-2018 was $723,108.

--The amount of money from uncashed vouchers, which are a good for 365 days after the close of the meeting are given to a nonprofit organization that maintains a database of horse racing information. CHRIMS is the designee. Now, this number is for the calendar year 2017, totaling $725,780.

--This comes to around $4 million. Don’t want to go with a solid number because the tracking times are not all the same. (Three fiscal years and one calendar year.)

Hope that clears everything up.

Good fair news

After printing the fatality stats from the aforementioned CHRB report, I got a note from Steve Wood, the track superintendent for the Northern California fair circuit. Given the timetable the CHRB report works under, there was no mention that last year on the fair circuit there were no fatalities during either racing or training. It covers more than 2,000 starts and Wood should be proud to point that out.

You wonder if that is a statistic that will be brought up if The Stronach Group tries to grab those fair dates and move them to Golden Gate. It’s a fight that will play out in the future. A lot of people love the quaintness of the fair circuit, but business (and by that we mean handle) is likely to be more robust at Golden Gate.

It’s not an analogous statistic, but during the audited period of the CHRB, Golden Gate had 30 fatalities (14 racing, 12 training and 4 non-exercise related) over 6,653 starts. At Golden Gate, horses run on a synthetic Tapeta surface, plus the track has a turf course.

New thoroughbred aftercare project

There is no shortage of people willing to try and help retired race horses. The latest venture comes from Doug Freeland and Elizabeth Neil, who announced they are building a re-training and retirement facility on 95 acres near Temecula in De Luz.

The long-range plans are ambitious, but for starters they want to begin construction on the facility and visitor’s center in March. It will be called the California Thoroughbred Retirement Project (CTRP).

There is money to close the property and begin development but the group will be counting on private donations for the facility to reach its ultimate goals. The project has applied for 501-c status. Need more information, you can contact Neil at 805-722-7345 or

It’s Baffling

So, Santa Anita went to all this trouble to reschedule the Baffle Stakes, for 3-year-olds going 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course, from last Saturday to this Saturday. And guess what? The race didn’t fill.

Santa Anita preview

Turf racing has returned to Santa Anita after last week’s water-logged racing. There are eight races starting at 12:30 p.m., half of them are on the turf. There are three allowance-type races, which isn’t bad for a Thursday.

The feature, we think, is the sixth race, a mile for older fillies and mares running for a purse of $59,000. There is a pretty interesting favorite, at 2-1, for trainer Richard Mandella and jockey Mike Smith. Bashful was late developing, having run only two races, both wins. Her last win was by 3 ¼ lengths. Her first win was on the turf. Interesting filly.

There are two second favorites at 5-2, Secret Spice for Baltas and Flavien Prat, and Peter Miller and Drayden Van Dyke.

Here are the field sizes, in order: 8, 6, 9, 6, 9, 7, 8, 10 (2 also eligible).

Bob Ike’s SA pick of the day

FIFTH RACE: No. 3 The Hunted (7-2)

I liked this gelding from the Richard Baltas barn on opening day but he ran only moderately when finishing a close fifth. He gets a major rider switch to Flavien Prat, worked a bullet :58.1 on Jan. 25 and should fall into a great spot behind a couple speedsters. He should get the jump on the late-running dangers like Oscar Dominguez and Avalanche.

Sunday’s result: The eighth race was won by a closer like we thought but it wasn't my pick, Popular Kid, who got pace in front of him but lacked the needed punch when finishing fourth.

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 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.

“Five-year-old gelding Richiesinthehouse has rattled off two eye-catching allowance victories this season and has quickly moved to the top of the list of Bay Area older sprinters heading into the spring.

“This past Sunday, Richiesinthehouse went to the lead and set wicked-fast fractions of 21.68 and 44.14 before holding off classy gelding Summersimage. Richiesinthehouse won by a 1 ½ lengths and completed the six furlongs in 1:09.18. What was so impressive was the way he won. He took a ton of pressure from eventual off-the-board finisher Sunset Dragunn, who was ridden hard the whole way to try to keep up with Richiesinthehouse. After putting away Sunset Dragunn, Richiesinthehouse was able to determinately stay on and outfinish runner up Summersimage. The aforementioned rival ran well, but he got the perfect trip and never looked like he was ever getting close to the winner.

“Richiesinthehouse has won nine races from 12 starts, with two other second-place finishes and earnings of $216,141. The son of Sidney’s Candy is out of the mare Streamin Heat, who won the CTBA Stakes at Del Mar in 2008 and has produced three multiple winning foals.

“Nominations for Northern California’s feature 3-year-old race, the $100,000 El Camino Real Derby, close this Thursday. The El Camino Real Derby, 1 1/8 miles on Tapeta, is an ungraded stake but features a pair of enticing incentives.

“It was announced in December that the winner would be given a free berth to the Preakness. However, a horse must be Triple Crown nominated. There are also Kentucky Derby points in play with the El Camino Real Derby (10-5-2-1). Horsemen who would like to nominate their 3-year-olds to the El Camino Real Derby can contact Lisa Jones, Golden Gate Fields stakes coordinator, at 626-388-8062.

“Racing this week is Thursday through Sunday. A sharp, but anonymous, horseplayer hit the Golden Pick Six jackpot for more than $120,000 last Saturday. The fifth race on Friday is the last leg (Leg E) of the Stronach 5 wager this week. It’s a maiden claimer with a bunch of first-time starters and some horses with questionable form. It looks like a pretty interesting handicapping puzzle to solve.”

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, February 7.

Santa Anita, Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, California. 26th day of a 61-day meet.


1 Mile Turf. Purse: $57,000. Allowance. 4 year olds and up. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1AcclimateTiago Pereira122Philip D'Amato7-2
2DuluthJoseph Talamo124Philip D'Amato15-1
3ShayminFlavien Prat124Ben D. A. Cecil6-1
4Lil MiloRafael Bejarano122Alfredo Marquez5-1
5Luke's On FireTyler Baze122Craig Dollase6-1
6Jet Set RulerGeovanni Franco124Richard Baltas3-1
7Push ThroughMario Gutierrez124Edward R. Freeman4-1
8HuddleJoel Rosario124John W. Sadler8-1


7 Furlongs. Purse: $22,000. Maiden Claiming. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $25,000-$22,500.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Victor's ShowRafael Bejarano122Eoin G. Harty4-122,500
2Irish BalladJean Diaz112Ruben Gomez5-122,500
3BriosoJoel Rosario122Brian Kozak2-122,500
4SergioGeovanni Franco124Steven Miyadi5-225,000
5Rak CityAaron Gryder122Brian J. Koriner4-122,500
6Early JerseyAgapito Delgadillo119Robert A. Bean8-125,000


1 Mile Turf. Purse: $32,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $50,000-$45,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Beyond PleasureJoel Rosario122Richard Baltas6-145,000
2Roses and CandyDiego Sanchez122Ronald L. McAnally12-145,000
3Boldest VowHeriberto Figueroa119Jerry Hollendorfer10-150,000
4Super GoodAssael Espinoza117Mike Puype15-145,000
5Daybreak Rafael Bejarano124Jack Carava6-150,000
6EtchingMario Gutierrez122Ben D. A. Cecil6-145,000
7See That KatFlavien Prat124Richard Baltas5-250,000
8The Nine OTyler Baze124Dan Blacker3-150,000
9Cat's DesireTiago Pereira124Nestor M. Capitaine8-150,000


1 Mile. Purse: $33,000. Starter Optional Claiming. Fillies. 3 year olds. Claiming Price $50,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Equal MeasureJoel Rosario120Robert B. Hess, Jr.7-2
2Super KlausRafael Bejarano122Victor L. Garcia8-1
3Noble ContessaTyler Baze122Michael W. McCarthy3-150,000
4Vegas Strong BabyHeriberto Figueroa115Richard Baltas9-5
5Sass MachineAaron Gryder120William E. Morey4-150,000
6Sierra SunriseGeovanni Franco120Jeff Bonde6-1


1 1/8 Mile Turf. Purse: $57,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $40,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Snazzy DresserEdwin Maldonado122George Papaprodromou8-1
2Buckstopper KitTiago Pereira122Martin F. Jones12-1
3The HuntedFlavien Prat124Richard Baltas7-2
4King CaymusBrice Blanc122David E. Hofmans12-1
5Oscar Dominguez Joseph Talamo124Peter Miller3-140,000
6Mantracker Aaron Gryder124Philip D'Amato12-1
7AvalancheJoel Rosario124John W. Sadler4-1
8Shaky AlibiMike Smith124Carla Gaines4-1
9Trojan SpiritDrayden Van Dyke124Patrick Gallagher10-1


1 Mile. Purse: $59,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $62,500.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Starr of QualityTiago Pereira124William Spawr6-1
2Secret SpiceFlavien Prat122Richard Baltas5-2
3Fool's ParadiseMario Gutierrez122Ben D. A. Cecil12-1
4Mo See CalDrayden Van Dyke124Peter Miller5-2
5Just a SmidgeAssael Espinoza117Bob Baffert8-1
6BashfulMike Smith122Richard E. Mandella2-1
7JazaalahJoel Rosario122James M. Cassidy12-1


1 Mile. Purse: $18,000. Claiming. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $12,500.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1June Two FourJean Diaz114George Papaprodromou10-112,500
2Frankie MachineIgnacio Puglisi124Scott Hansen15-112,500
3Roaring ForkAaron Gryder124Sean McCarthy7-212,500
4Gentle PrinceGeovanni Franco124Frank Lucarelli5-112,500
5BuilderEswan Flores124Vann Belvoir5-212,500
6Count HuMario Gutierrez124Jonathan Wong4-112,500
7Spend ItHeriberto Figueroa119Rafael Becerra10-112,500
8All I Can SayAssael Espinoza119Val Brinkerhoff9-212,500


1 Mile Turf. Purse: $32,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds. Claiming Prices $50,000-$45,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Lil SydneyFlavien Prat122Mark Glatt8-150,000
2Sir AndoverRafael Bejarano120Patrick Gallagher20-145,000
3Blame It On KittyTyler Baze122Craig Dollase6-150,000
4Big City BaneAssael Espinoza117Carla Gaines10-150,000
5Leader of MenAndrea Atzeni122Simon Callaghan3-150,000
6Resident LiberalJoseph Talamo122Thomas F. Proctor10-150,000
7Frozen MoneyTiago Pereira122Philip D'Amato7-250,000
8Indy JonesBrice Blanc122Val Brinkerhoff8-150,000
9Silent MusketierEdgar Payeras120Jesus Mendoza12-145,000
10Seven OxenEdwin Maldonado122J. Keith Desormeaux5-150,000
Also Eligible
11Cryin' ChuckJoel Rosario122John W. Sadler6-150,000
12Spectator's DreamBrandon Boulanger120Jesus Mendoza50-145,000