Racing! Congrats to Santa Anita for safe workouts

Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome to our horse racing newsletter as we look at some fatality stats we wish were much, much better.

Slipping under the radar is that Santa Anita has not had any training fatalities since the track closed for racing on June 23. If you count that Sunday as the first day after the last training death, American Currency for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, his fourth of the meeting, the track had around 2,465 official works by my unofficial count. That’s darn good and deserves praise.

The number includes both the main dirt surface and the training track, which is closest to the scoreboard. It’s impressive and certainly should begin to lessen fears that the track is unsafe.

Now you’ll find my praise for Santa Anita’s statistic rather odd if you read my story either online or in print on how equine fatalities are counted. You can read it here.

In the story, I point out that Santa Anita, shall I be kind and say heavily spun, a media release and used statistics to show how the reforms have made a difference. The track even cites a combination workouts and gallops stat, which is a metric that doesn’t exist in racing. Nobody counts gallops. But the story isn’t just about Santa Anita and has statistics that I’m guessing you’ve never seen before. It’s worth a look.

A lot of you have asked for stats on how Santa Anita compares this year to other tracks nationally. Those stats won’t be available until next year. But, the track’s current rating in the Equine Injury Database, run by The Jockey Club, is 3.17 fatalities per 1,000 starts, with a chance to go down with a safe Fall meeting.

The story also offers comparisons from 10 years ago until last year.

(In case you wonder why we don’t just repeat what we have in print and online in the newsletter, it’s complicated. Because the newsletter is also online the search engines would think we are double-planting a story and that makes them mad. And only bad things can happen when the search engines get mad at you.)

But, I think we can safely give you the EID numbers for tracks last year that will allow its numbers to be public. The vast majority do not. The only California track that does not make its number public is Los Alamitos. (Just taking a wild guess here, but my spidey-sense is telling me to double-down on 1.05.)

The only other number not from the EID is Churchill Downs, which hides its numbers from the public. The Louisville Courier Journal was able to get the data after public records requests. The EID numbers are only racing deaths and do not include training fatalities.

Now, this is not a list you don’t want to be Top 10 in, far, far from it.

1. Hawthorne, 2.99

2. Churchill Downs, 2.70

3. Lone Star Park, 2.6

4. Santa Rosa, 2.43

5. Suffolk Downs, 2.35

6. Pimlico 2.33

7. Portland Meadows, 2.30

8. Remington Park, 2.19

9. Santa Anita, 2.04

10. Turfway Park, 1.99

11. Laurel, 1.87

12. Keeneland, 1.77

13. Delaware Park, 1.62

14. Aqueduct, 1.57

15. Gulfstream, 1.41

16. Indiana Grand, 1.40

17. Golden Gate, 1.12

18. Woodbine, 1.06

19. Belmont Park, 0.98

20. Saratoga, 0.97

21. Del Mar, 0.79

22. Presque Isle Downs, 0.34

Tracks with no reported deaths last year: Ferndale, Fresno, Pleasanton, Sacramento, 0.0. (Anything look familiar there?)

On to Del Mar

Many of the horses should have started to arrive at Del Mar in the middle of the night. By late this morning there should be a couple hundred in the barn area. Also on Friday, the training track will be open for gallops in the morning. On Saturday, the main track will be open for workouts and the turf course will be open for works on Monday. How did I know this? Mac McBride, whose job it is to corral the media at Del Mar, told me. So, take it to the bank.

Meanwhile, the phones must still be out in the office of track president Josh Rubinstein, who has pretty much hid from the media on the Hollendorfer situation. Uh, racing opens on Wednesday.

Los Alamitos thoroughbred preview

It’s an eight-race card starting at 1 p.m. Well, that about covers it. Come back tomorrow when the track has the Los Alamitos Derby with the Eclipse Award and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Game Winner.

All eight of Friday’s races are claimers, four for maidens and four for others. The top purse is $21,000 and that’s just one race. Five of the races are 5 ½ furlongs, which fits the horse population as it is currently configured.

With the exodus of some of the horse population, the result of the problems at Santa Anita, filling races will remain a problem. As we’ve said, Del Mar is going to have to work mighty hard to keep five days of racing all summer.

For what it’s worth there are two Hollendorfer horses on Friday’s card.

Here are the field sizes, in order: 6, 7, 7, 8, 7, 6, 9, 9.

Ciaran Thornton’s LARC pick of the day

RACE ONE: No. 2 Summer Buddha (8-1)

Summer Buddha takes a big jump in class from the night races. This is a trainer stats play. Trainer Lorenzo Ruiz is 31% third off the layoff, 39% in the money. He is 13% jumping multiple classes and 38% in the money. Red hot bug boy Jorge Valez rides and we are getting 8-1, the best value play on see on Friday’s card.

Sunday’s result: Mo Reserve was bet down to 3-1 from the 8-1 morning-line price we were looking for. The horse tracked the leaders and ran on late for another second place finish for us.

Ciaran Thornton is the handicapper for, which offers daily full card picks, longshots of the day, best bets of the day.

Los Alamitos nightime weekend preview

It’s time to turn things over to marketing and meda guru Orlando Gutierrez, who will tell us about the upcoming weekend at Los Alamitos. Orlando, the floor is yours.

“Ali Babe Foose, the 2018 PCQHRA champion 2-year-old colt, and Dexxter, a multiple Grade 1 stakes finalists, will headline a group of 3-year-olds in the $15,000 Big Lew Handicap at 350 yards on Friday.

“Ali Babe Foose, a three time major futurities finalist last year, enters the Big Lew after a fifth in the Grade 3 El Primero Del Año Derby in late March, while Dexxter was fourth in the El Primero final. Dexxter won his El Primero trial and was second to Chocolatito in the Dillingham Handicap on May 18. It makes Dexxter the top pick in the Big Lew.

“On Saturday night, Diamond Rock, Cartel Jess Rockin and Chickititas Corona, all finalists in he Robert Adair Kindergarten Futurity, will join Ed Burke Million Futurity finalist Javelina Cantina and the undefeated Up And Coming in the trials to the $365,000 Governor’s Cup Futurity for California-breds.

“Seven trials, at 350 yards, will have 53 juveniles. The 10 fastest times will advance to the Governor’s Cup final to be held as part of California Breeders Champions Night on Sat., July 27. The Governor’s Cup Futurity is the richest race on Champions Night and it is usually won by a runner that goes on to challenge for top honors in the major futurities held at Los Alamitos in November and December.

“Champion J Fire Up won the 2017 running of the Governor’s Cup before winning the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity and Golden State Million Futurity. Past winners since 1997 have included champions Your First Moon, Old Habits, Separatist and Corona Cash. The trials will be races two through eight on Saturday night.

“Up And Coming will head the field in opening trial race. The Kiddy Up gelding broke his maiden by 1 ¼ lengths on May 11 and then returned to win his Ed Burke Million trial by a half-length on June 9. Purchased for $67,000 at the Los Alamitos Equine Sale, Up And Coming could still improve off of that trial victory and appears to be well drawn in the opening trial. He’ll be facing Diamond Rock, who posted a tremendous maiden victory by three lengths on April 20. He was a daylight winner in his trial to the Kindergarten Futurity, but started slow in the final and finished ninth in the 300-yard dash. The Jose Flores-trainee will start from the two while stretching out to 350 yards for the first time.

“Nineteen sophomores will be in Sunday’s trials to the $195,000 Governor’s Cup Derby for Cal-breds at 400 yards. The 10 fastest will advance to July 27 final. Top 3-year-olds include Powerful Favorite, looking for a Governor’s Cup series sweep, plus Cole Man 47 and Wicked Affair, a pair of Grade 2 futurity winners in 2018.

“The winner of the Grade 1 $155,100 Vessels Maturity last Sunday night was the underrated 6-year-old gelding Katies Easy Moves, who recorded his first ever Grade 1 victory after holding off 2017 Vessels Maturity winner BH Lisas Boy by a half-length. Sent off at 11-1, Katies Easy Moves covered the 400 yards in 19.473 seconds. Ridden by Eduardo Nicasio, Katies Easy Moves earned a provisional berth to the prestigious Grade 1, $600,000 Champion of Champions.”

Ed Burgart’s LA pick of the day

FOURTH RACE: No. 5 Fashion Icon (3-1)

She ran better than looked when fifth in last Arizona futurity outing 10 weeks ago while lugging in steadily from the rail post. Her trainer Matt Fales is hitting at 23% win clip this season and this filly galloped out with big strides in 12.4 gate drill on July 2 after lugging in solidly early when working on the inside of a rival who went 12.6. She now draws a comfortable number five post in the six-horse field for her first local try.

Final thought

If you would like to subscribe to the newsletter you can click here and sign up. Remember, it’s free, and all we need is your email, nothing more. Tell your friends, or even people you don’t like that much.

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

Now, the star of the show, Friday’s entries.

Los Alamitos Race Course Entries for Friday, July 12.

Los Alamitos Race Course, Los Alamitos, California. 8th day of a 10-day meet.


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $13,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $8,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Lucky PatrickJ.C. Diaz, Jr.117Marcelo Polanco7-28,000
2Summer BuddhaJorge Velez117Lorenzo Ruiz8-18,000
3Moon JuiceEswan Flores124Philip A. Oviedo2-18,000
4Royal SeekerFerrin Peterson117Marcelo Polanco5-28,000
5Skagit RiverChristian Aragon124Patricia Harrington15-18,000
6Frankie MachineIgnacio Puglisi124Paul G. Aguirre3-18,000


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $17,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds. Claiming Price $30,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Union RideEswan Flores123Hector O. Palma3-130,000
2Acadia FleetTiago Pereira118Charles R. Stutts30-130,000
3Street ImageMartin Garcia123Philip D'Amato9-530,000
4My Way OutRuben Fuentes123Andrew Lerner6-130,000
5The Supply ProgramMartin Pedroza123Eddie Truman5-130,000
6Dairy KidEdgar Payeras118Robert J. Lucas20-130,000
7VermeerJorge Velez116Jerry Hollendorfer5-230,000


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $12,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $6,250.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Seattle EncounterJuan Sanchez124Sergio Morfin6-16,250
2Rmanie's Grey SuitJorge Velez117Samuel Nichols8-16,250
3It's Just BobVinnie Bednar124Daniel Azcarate3-16,250
4Calie ViewMinor Arana124Robert A. Bean6-16,250
5Curly's MarkTiago Pereira124Philip A. Oviedo2-16,250
6Mr BingleyModesto Linares120Vernon E. Aguayo20-16,250
7Capes Hot RocketChristian Aragon124Angela Maria Aquino7-26,250


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $15,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $20,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1RolingaRuben Fuentes120Edward R. Freeman5-120,000
2Chocolatita for MeLa De120Felix L. Gonzalez20-120,000
3La PurissimaMartin Pedroza120John W. Sadler9-520,000
4Summer in CyprusJorge Velez113George Papaprodromou6-120,000
5Havasu HunniVinnie Bednar120Roman Figueroa15-120,000
6Derby RoyaltyEdgar Payeras120Ruben Gomez20-120,000
7Laker JetAbel Cedillo120Doug F. O'Neill4-120,000
8FuegaMartin Garcia124Kristin Mulhall5-220,000


1 Mile. Purse: $15,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $20,000-$18,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Rocket ShipAaron Gryder120Sean McCarthy5-220,000
2King ParkerJorge Velez111Craig Anthony Lewis12-118,000
3RefractometerAbel Cedillo120Philip D'Amato4-120,000
4Fort DodgeJose Leon115Bobby Wayne Grayson12-120,000
5NileistRuben Fuentes124Andrew Lerner2-120,000
6DawoodAgapito Delgadillo124Richard Baltas3-120,000
7Temple ViewJ.C. Diaz, Jr.113Robert O. Allen12-120,000


6 Furlongs. Purse: $21,000. Claiming. Fillies. 3 year olds. Claiming Prices $20,000-$18,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1All Tea All ShadeJ.C. Diaz, Jr.116Jorge Periban5-220,000
2StaythirstymyamigoRuben Fuentes123Edward R. Freeman6-120,000
3Bam Bams Lil RiverAssael Espinoza123Jerry Hollendorfer2-120,000
4Time for KissesEdgar Payeras123Gary Sherlock12-120,000
5GadotTiago Pereira123Vladimir Cerin4-120,000
6Tick TockJorge Velez116Andrew Lerner3-120,000


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $12,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $6,250.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Spectacular StormRamon Guce124Jorge Gutierrez5-16,250
2GayebirdChristian Aragon120Patricia Harrington12-16,250
3Miss Napper TandyJose Leon119Samuel Nichols12-16,250
4Tiger MomJorge Velez117Lorenzo Ruiz5-26,250
5Luv Is All U NeedJ.C. Diaz, Jr.117Charles S. Treece3-16,250
6Sharp ImageVinnie Bednar120Mike Harrington5-16,250
7Forbidden CommandEdgar Payeras124Justin B. Clark6-16,250
8She'sluckythatwayFerrin Peterson117James F. Sayler15-16,250
9G Money RulesBarrington Harvey124Angela Maria Aquino15-16,250


1 Mile. Purse: $15,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $20,000-$18,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Twinkle DreamEswan Flores120Patrick Gallagher8-120,000
2Info's TreasureEfrain Hernandez120Ian Kruljac15-120,000
3Reds Sacred AppealEvin Roman118Lisa Bernard9-218,000
4SolariumAssael Espinoza124James M. Cassidy8-120,000
5OligarchyAbel Cedillo120Steven Miyadi7-220,000
6Decorated for GoldBrayan Pena120Genaro Vallejo4-120,000
7Gallantlystreaming Jorge Velez111Peter Miller9-218,000
8Miss OmnipotentJ.C. Diaz, Jr.111George Papaprodromou12-118,000
9Derby LadyEdgar Payeras118Ruben Gomez6-118,000

Get our daily Sports Report newsletter