Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter as we do our usual catch-up job.
We’ll start things off with the latest stewards’ rulings.
--Jockey John Jude was fined $50 and issued a “violation notice” for galloping along the rail at San Luis Rey Downs on Jan. 22. He was warned for the same thing the previous day. Jude did not dispute the violation.
--Exercise rider Raul Armenta was suspended until a hearing can be held for testing positive for marijuana while on probation for a previous drug offense. In October, Armenta was suspended 15 days after testing positive for methamphetamine. As a result of that, he was subject to drug testing, and he failed a test on Jan. 31. The stewards unanimously voted that Armenta should be barred from exercising horses until a hearing could be held. He is barred from all areas of the track.
--Jockey Ruben Fuentes has dropped the appeal of two separate suspensions and new rulings were issued indicating the days he would not be able to ride except in designated races. The first ruling was from Oct. 6 and his suspension was served Feb. 7, 8, 9, 10.
(Here’s how we first reported it: Jockey Ruben Fuentes was suspended four days for his ride on Queen of the Track in the third race at Santa Anita on Oct. 5. The stewards believed he did not allow enough room on the first turn when he crossed over in front of other horses. Queen of the Track finished second. His suspension was set for Oct. 13, 14, 18 and 19. Because it was his second offense in 60 days he got four days instead of three. Steward Tom Ward dissented, believing the offense did not deserve a suspension.)
The second suspension, first issued on Oct. 26, will be served Feb. 22, 23, 24, March 1, 2.
(Here’s how we first reported it: Jockey Ruben Fuentes was suspended five days after his mount, Ultimate Bango, drifted out and caused interference in the sixth race at Santa Anita on Oct. 25. Ultimate Bango was moved from first to fourth. It was Fuentes third riding suspension in the last 30 days.)
--Apprentice jockey Pedro Zavaleta was fined $50 for jogging a horse in front of the starting gate in the ¾-mle chute on Jan. 30 at Santa Anita. It was a unanimous decision by the stewards.
--Exercise rider Olha Krushevska was fined $50 for galloping on the rail at San Luis Rey Downs on Jan. 21. Outrider Leslie Baker was the one who notified the stewards of the violation. Krushevska had been issued a warning in June. It was a unanimous decision.
--Jockey Aaron Gryder was fined $100 for using a riding crop more than three times without giving Ministersdon’tlie a chance to respond in the seventh race on Feb. 2. Ministersdon’tlie won the race. Gryder waived a hearing and pled guilty. It was his first offense in at least 60 days.
We found this little non-ruling from the stewards and we hate to keep piling on jockey Fuentes, but apparently he has a bit of a feud going on with jockey Heriberto Figueroa. We’ll let the stewards explain it, although there aren’t a lot of details. It’s slightly edited for redundancy.
“The stewards asked to meet with jockey Ruben Fuentes and apprentice Heriberto Figueroa [Feb. 1]. … The impetus for this meeting was actions that took place in the first race Jan. 31. There was a four (4) horse field on a sloppy track in this one (1) mile event. Fuentes was aboard first place finisher #1 Platinum Equity. While entering the backstretch (3/4 mile marker) #1 Platinum Equity drifts out wide taking fourth place finisher #6 Spa Shackakacka (Figueroa) out to the middle of the track. The actions of Fuentes bordered on careless and he was not issued a penalty in what was a unanimous decision.
“Apparently, unbeknownst to the stewards, these two riders haven’t been getting along well lately although they were respectful to each other at this informal meeting. The stewards told Fuentes to ‘ride his own horse’, and told both jockeys’ to stay professional and safe while competing against each other. They were also told that anything less than that would be addressed with austerity.”
Bob Baffert’s underachieving 3-year-old, Coliseum, has been taken off the Kentucky Derby trail according to Brad Free of the Daily Racing Form. You can read Brad’s story here.
“I’m going to reboot him, kick him out for 30 days,” Baffert told Free. “We know he’s good, but he doesn’t want to train, he’s sour.”
Coliseum is coming off a lackluster third in San Vicente at Santa Anita.
Who goofed, I’ve got to know?
As usual, me. I got the name of Sunday’s big race slightly wrong, adding an extra consonant (an “n”) to the San Vicente Stakes. The consonant has been suspended three newsletters but can be used in designated newsletters.
Thursday’s eight race card, starting at 12:30 p.m., lacks some of the sizzle of the past couple of weekday cards. But, with 100% chance of rain it makes you wonder if Santa Anita is going to ever catch a weather break. It also makes you wonder if the card will get cancelled. As of Wednesday night all systems were go but always a remember a Thursday card is always more vulnerable than, say, a weekend day. And this is a five-day racing week.
The good news is Friday through Monday look to be OK. There is one turf race scheduled on Thursday, the first, down the hill, but you know how that can go. The average field size is 8.
The feature (or at least the race with the largest purse) is the eighth, a maiden special for 3-year-olds going 5 ½ furlongs for a $55,000 purse. The favorite, at 8-5, is Stretford End for trainer Simon Callaghan and jockey Joel Rosario. He has finished second in all three of his starts.
Bowl of Spaghetti checks in at 4-1 as the second choice for Peter Miller and Flavien Prat. The gelding is making his first start after recording workouts at San Luis Rey Downs.
Here are he field sizes, in order: 8, 6, 6, 9, 8, 8, 8, 11.
Bob Ike’s SA pick of the day
EIGHTH RACE: No. 1 High Five (15-1)
Florida invader didn't show much in his only start last July but joins the Vladimir Cerin barn, which has a history of doing extremely well with this kind. He gets Lasix, worked a bullet over the training track and would figure to be in for a maiden claiming tag if the connections didn't think he had some ability. Drawn the rail going 5 1/2 furongs, let's hope he has speed over what figures to be a wet-sealed surface as he tries to beat favorite Stretord End and three Peter Miller first-time starters.
Sunday’s result: Played two one-way exactas but Stringent couldn't get to the winner Baby Bear's Soup in the second race, so the one way was the wrong way.
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 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.
“We’ll start off this week by sending out a congratulatory shout out to trainer Jonathan Wong, the leading trainer at Golden Gate for three straight meets. He won four races on Saturday and four on Sunday. With a barn this hot, handicappers should take a second look at all of Wong’s horses this week.
“’There are a lot of people who get credit for the success we had this past weekend,’ Wong said Tuesday morning. ‘My help, my owners … they are fantastic. They deserve all of the credit. I just manage things and try to find the right spots for our horses. And I am obviously super proud of my horses and how they ran. They give it their all out there.’
“We’ve got five live racing days this week. Happy ‘Derby week! The El Camino Real Derby is Saturday. A mile-and-an-eighth contest on the Tapeta for 3-year-olds, the El Camino Real Derby offers 10 Kentucky Derby points to the winner, as well as an all-expensed, free berth to the Preakness … as long as the winning horse is Triple Crown nominated.
“A large field of 13 will go nine furlongs in this year’s ‘Derby. The most intriguing shipper is Baffert-trained Kingly. A royally bred son of Tapit, this colt is a full sibling to four-time Grade 2 winner Mohaymen and a half brother to 2013 Breeders Cup Juvenile winner New Year’s Day. He makes his second start off a break, having most recently finished second in an allowance last month to highly regarded Extra Hope. Other noteworthy Southern California shippers include stakes winner and 2018 Breeders Cup participant King of Speed, stakes placed More Ice, the European bred Eagle Song and the Doug O’Neill trained pair of Weekly Call and The Creep.
“The local who figures to get the most support is Anothertwistafate, a son of Scat Daddy that has been well regarded for a long time. He has won two straight, both in gate-to wire fashion, and has finished the race like a horse that has a ton of ability and class. He was purchased as a 2-year-old for $360,000, so there’s no doubt he’s well liked by plenty. There’s a decent amount of speed in this race and he faces legit stakes horses for the first time. This is the acid test. Stakes placed Mayor Cobb is another local that might get some support.
“Also, on the agenda this week: President’s Day Holiday racing is Monday, completing the five-day racing week. Also, the fifth race on Friday goes as the last leg of the Stronach 5 wager. It’s a terrific allowance race for fillies and mares going one mile. Ten horses are slated to run. Look for #9 Renny’s Lady (8-1 on the ML) at a price. She makes her second start off a layoff after a better than looked third-place finish in her first start in the U.S. last time out.”
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And now the star of the show, Thursday’s entries.
Santa Anita Entries for Thursday, February 14.
Santa Anita, Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, California. 30th day of a 61-day meet.
About 6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $32,000. Maiden Claiming. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $50,000-$45,000.
|1||The Daddy Factor||Kent Desormeaux||124||Shelbe Ruis||12-1||50,000|
|2||Spanish Bay||Joseph Talamo||124||Richard E. Mandella||5-1||50,000|
|3||Boru||Geovanni Franco||124||Vladimir Cerin||4-1||50,000|
|4||Persuasive Cat||J. Diaz, Jr.||115||John W. Sadler||10-1||45,000|
|5||Molaf||Heriberto Figueroa||117||William E. Morey||7-2||45,000|
|6||Aced||Joel Rosario||124||Peter Eurton||5-2||50,000|
|7||Scrambled||Tiago Pereira||124||Philip D'Amato||6-1||50,000|
|8||Sneem ||Drayden Van Dyke||124||John W. Sadler||5-1||50,000|
7 Furlongs. Purse: $22,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $25,000-$22,500.
|1||Perfect Portrait||Joseph Talamo||122||Neil French||6-1||22,500|
|2||Big Base||Joel Rosario||124||Jerry Hollendorfer||5-2||25,000|
|3||Spacerika||Ruben Fuentes||122||Salvador Orozco||20-1||22,500|
|4||Encountress||Tyler Baze||124||Ian Kruljac||6-1||25,000|
|5||Awesome Amanda||Tiago Pereira||124||Dan Blacker||9-5||25,000|
|6||Whata Flirt||Aaron Gryder||124||Doug F. O'Neill||2-1||25,000|
1 Mile. Purse: $22,000. Claiming. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $12,500-$10,500.
|1||Elwood J||Rafael Bejarano||122||Jeffrey Metz||6-1||12,500|
|2||Twirling Tiger||Tyler Baze||124||Charles S. Treece||6-1||12,500|
|3||Muchos Besos||Eswan Flores||122||Javier Jose Sierra||4-1||12,500|
|4||Midnight Soot||Tiago Pereira||124||Antonio Garcia||3-1||12,500|
|5||Platinum Equity||Ruben Fuentes||124||Andrew Lerner||9-5||12,500|
|6||Little Scotty||Assael Espinoza||117||Vladimir Cerin||4-1||12,500|
1 Mile. Purse: $18,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $8,000.
|1||Midnight Lilly||Tiago Pereira||124||Hector O. Palma||5-1||8,000|
|2||Sharp Holiday||Aaron Gryder||122||Genaro Vallejo||8-1||8,000|
|3||Blooming Hannah||Brandon Boulanger||122||Robert A. Bean||12-1||8,000|
|4||Lea's Reward||Assael Espinoza||117||Armando Cardenas||6-1||8,000|
|5||Ciao Luna||Geovanni Franco||122||Gary Stute||6-1||8,000|
|6||She Began Again||Tyler Baze||122||Rene Amescua||10-1||8,000|
|7||Sought More Pep||Joseph Talamo||122||Dallas E. Keen||6-1||8,000|
|8||Duranga||Heriberto Figueroa||117||Peter Miller||5-2||8,000|
|9||Sea Glass||Edgar Payeras||124||Charles S. Treece||6-1||8,000|
7 Furlongs. Purse: $32,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies. 3 year olds. Claiming Prices $50,000-$45,000. State bred.
|1||Daddys Real Diva||Diego Sanchez||124||Walther Solis||20-1||50,000|
|2||Bluegrass Betty||Eswan Flores||124||Jeffrey Metz||5-1||50,000|
|3||Meritocracy||Evin Roman||122||Robert B. Hess, Jr.||3-1||45,000|
|4||Twirling Diamond||Joseph Talamo||124||Dallas E. Keen||7-2||50,000|
|5||Ride Out the Storm||Assael Espinoza||117||Carla Gaines||12-1||45,000|
|6||Goodtingscominpink||Geovanni Franco||124||Vladimir Cerin||5-2||50,000|
|7||Boolicious||Tiago Pereira||124||Craig Anthony Lewis||4-1||50,000|
|8||Starship Sky||Octavio Vergara, Jr.||122||Howard L. Zucker||15-1||45,000|
5½ Furlongs. Purse: $38,000. Claiming. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $40,000-$35,000.
|1||Allaboutaction||Tyler Baze||124||Javier Jose Sierra||4-1||40,000|
|2||Jan's Reserve||Agapito Delgadillo||122||Victor L. Garcia||4-1||40,000|
|3||Don't Stalk Me||Rafael Bejarano||122||Doug F. O'Neill||8-1||40,000|
|4||Adens Dream||Ruben Fuentes||122||John W. Sadler||6-1||40,000|
|5||Street Vision||Octavio Vergara, Jr.||122||Joe Herrick||12-1||40,000|
|6||Italiano||J. Diaz, Jr.||115||Anna Meah||10-1||40,000|
|7||Annie's Candy||Joel Rosario||124||Jerry Hollendorfer||3-1||40,000|
|8||Distinctive B||Flavien Prat||122||Peter Miller||7-2||40,000|
6 Furlongs. Purse: $33,000. Starter Optional Claiming. Fillies. 3 year olds. Claiming Price $50,000.
|1||Kate's Princess||Joseph Talamo||124||Craig Dollase||8-1|| |
|2||Twirling Devon||Drayden Van Dyke||124||Manuel Ortiz, Sr.||8-1||50,000|
|3||Time for Suzzie||Tyler Baze||124||Jorge Periban||8-1||50,000|
|4||Rather Nosy||Joel Rosario||124||Jack Carava||6-1|| |
|5||Just Splendid||Heriberto Figueroa||119||Doug F. O'Neill||12-1|| |
|6||Diosa||Rafael Bejarano||124||Michael Pender||4-1|| |
|7||Data Storm Kitty||Geovanni Franco||124||Jeff Bonde||3-1||50,000|
|8||Miss Fia||Agapito Delgadillo||124||David E. Hofmans||5-2|| |
5½ Furlongs. Purse: $55,000. Maiden Special Weight. 3 year olds.
|1||High Five||Geovanni Franco||124||Vladimir Cerin||15-1|| |
|2||Of Good Report||Rafael Bejarano||124||Doug F. O'Neill||20-1|| |
|3||Call You Tomorrow||Mario Gutierrez||124||Ben D. A. Cecil||12-1|| |
|4||Grit and Curiosity||Heriberto Figueroa||119||Peter Miller||8-1|| |
|5||Duchamp||Joseph Talamo||124||John A. Shirreffs||12-1|| |
|6||Stretford End||Joel Rosario||124||Simon Callaghan||8-5|| |
|7||Bump Bailey||Drayden Van Dyke||124||Peter Miller||8-1|| |
|8||Oggonis||Assael Espinoza||119||Jerry Hollendorfer||12-1|| |
|9||Meadway||Brice Blanc||124||John E. Cortez||30-1|| |
|10||Bowl of Spaghetti||Flavien Prat||124||Peter Miller||4-1|| |
|11||Charmer John||Tyler Baze||124||Mark Glatt||6-1|| |