Horse racing newsletter: The horse name game
Hello, my name is John Cherwa, and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter as we see a big upset in the Santa Maria Stakes at Santa Anita.
Bad news, no stewards’ rulings for today. It seems when there is a holiday week, four days isn’t enough time for the stewards and the California Horse Racing Board to turn it around and post it. So, we’ll shoot for next week.
But in the meantime, the New York Racing Assn. put out a release about the highly anticipated debut of a 2-year-old called … drum roll … Fauci. Yes, you knew it was only a matter of time before coronavirus names made its way into racing.
Before you get too excited, according to The Jockey Club, the name Social Distancing is also on reserve so you can’t have it.
About a month ago there was a brilliant race call of the mythical Coronavirus Stakes that was making its way around. I would link to it, but it ends with an inappropriate word for media outlets. (Now, my editor, Houston Mitchell, could deem it appropriate and add a link, or he could just be labeled a big prude.) (Note from Houston: No one calls me a prude and gets away with it. Besides, it’s hilarious. Here’s the link).
Anyway, it’s a voice over of a race at Pimlico about a year or so ago. You have to suspend reality as you realize that the race caller mentions more names than there are horses in the race. Besides (Dr.) Fauci and Social Distancing, you’ll find horses such as Global Pandemic, Flatten the Curve, Stimulus Plan, PPE, It’s Just a Little Flu, and it goes on.
Fact of the matter is that one of the toughest things a horse owner has to do—besides paying all the bills—is naming their horse. A lot take the easy way out and use some combination of the sire and dam’s name.
And then, if you’re a big-time owner with lots of horses, you’ll just grab at anything. Let’s say I’ll Have Another would not have scratched out of the Belmont and become the first Triple Crown winner in decades. Owner Paul Reddam would have had to keep telling the story about this legendary horse being named after him asking for more cookies while eating them on his couch.
There is also the case of Bob Baffert, whose dear friend Brad McKinzie had died and wanted to immortalize the name in a horse, with the blessing of the owners. Well, as is often the case, Bob made the right choice with naming this one horse McKinzie, who has had a really good career but was injured in his 3-year-old season and happened to be running the same time as Justify. He’s still around at a top level.
As for Fauci, his owners are Lindy Farms and Ice Wine Stables (Dave Reid and Frank Antonacci).
“Phillip Antonacci (Frank’s son) purchased the horse at Keeneland,” trainer Wesley Ward told NYRA media relations. “Being of Italian-American descent, and for all the great work that Dr. [Anthony] Fauci’s done, they wanted to find a horse, especially in this time, that they could give a high-profile name to and this is the one.”
You need to remember that horses aren’t named at birth and it can be a couple years before they get a name, which is why Fauci could be named right now. Imagine if you didn’t have to name your son or daughter until their first job and spent those years calling them, “Hey, you,” or “Buddy” or “Little Princess.” (I think my editor Houston called his youngest Hannah that until she was 8.)
Imagine how difficult it would be for teachers taking attendance. Or if you got a driver’s license before your first job and you still didn’t have a name.
Fauci, the horse, goes in the third race of Wednesday’s opening day card at Belmont. He had a bullet four-furlong work against 49 others at Keeneland on May 22. He was a $125,000 purchase at a Keeneland sale as a yearling.
Also, be mindful that if a horse is named after a living person that the person has to give permission. I’m sure that Dr. Fauci never thought it was a form he would have to sign. Pandemic, maybe. Horse named after him, never.
You wonder if Craig Fravel, top racing executive at The Stronach Group, would have allowed his name to be used on Fravel, a horse that hasn’t won in six tries. Of course, this horse will always be remembered for calling attention to conflicts of interest on the CHRB. It had nothing to do with Craig but with the ownership group. Forgot? Just click here.
Has the top to this newsletter ever gone in so many different directions? Yeah, probably.
One thing we can be sure of, Fauci will be way over-bet.
Del Mar follow up
The story I did on the two horses who died at Del Mar last year and ended up being sent to a landfill (you can read it here) brought with it an accelerated amount of hate mail from both pro- and anti-horse racing people. In an odd way, I guess that’s achieving balance, which is always the goal. Some of those who wrote missed the bigger point of the story, which was the lack of transparency, so essential in all businesses. As is often the case, my colleague and friend Bryce Miller of the San Diego Union-Tribune wrote a great explainer column on why the changing face (and tone) of Del Mar should raise some flags. He explains what he sees going on at the seaside track. It’s worth a read. Just click here.
Santa Anita review
There were only five horses in the Grade 2 $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes for fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the dirt. It seemed pretty clear it would come down to the heavily favored Ce Ce and sentimental favorite Hard Not to Love, the one-eyed horse. But there is a reason they run the races.
Hard Not to Love almost didn’t make the race. She refused to head to the starting gate until being coaxed. It resulted in a five-minute delay.
Once the race got started, Fighting Mad went to the lead and never relinquished it winning by a strong 3 ¼ lengths. Fighting Mad paid $22.20, $6.40 and $3.20. Hard Not to Love was second and Ce Ce finished a disappointing third.
Here’s what the winning connections had to say.
Bob Baffert (winning trainer): “She needed her last race and she had trained well coming into this. We’ve always been high on her and [Sunday], I told the jock to put her on the lead, that’s where she wants to be. She can be a little headstrong, but I could see turning for home, I knew she was gonna be tough to beat. She ran like she did at Del Mar (winning the Grade 3 Torrey Pines Stakes), that’s a really good time on this track.”
Abel Cedillo (winning jockey): “Jimmy (Barnes, assistant to Baffert) told me to send her to the lead. When she broke, she broke like a rocket so I was just trying to slow down. I know I went a little fast but she just did it on her own. The first race I watched was a ride by Joe Talamo (Torrey Pines). She was just doing the same thing, he didn’t budge [on] her and she won by eight. In her other race (a second-place finish in a six-furlong allowance) she was looking around, which she did [Sunday], but in the stretch she just did it easy.”
Big races review
A look at graded stakes or races worth $100,000 on Sunday.
Santa Anita (7): Grade 2 $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes, fillies and mares 4 and up, 1 1/16 miles. Winner: Fighting Mad ($22.20)
A final thought
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Now, the star of the show, Sunday’s results. See you on Friday.
Santa Anita Charts Results for Sunday, May 31.
Copyright 2020 by Equibase Company. Reproduction prohibited. Santa Anita, Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, California. 52nd day of a 60-day meet. Clear & Fast
1 Mile. Purse: $28,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $50,000. Time 23.17 46.93 1:12.21 1:25.25 1:38.73
|$1 EXACTA (1-2)||$11.60|
|50-CENT TRIFECTA (1-2-4)||$24.70|
Winner–Mongolian Legend B.g.4 by Mucho Macho Man out of Heckuva Good Time, by Afternoon Deelites. Bred by Mongolian Stable (KY). Trainer: Enebish Ganbat. Owner: Mongolian Stable. Mutuel Pool $166,766 Exacta Pool $69,771 Trifecta Pool $53,438. Scratched–none.
MONGOLIAN LEGEND sped to the early lead, shook off a pair of foes to inch away on the backstretch, responded when rivals loomed leaving the second turn, drew off under left handed urging in the drive and proved best. MASTER RECOVERY stumbled at the start, saved ground stalking the pace, came out into the stretch and again in upper stretch, was three deep through much of the final furlong and gained the place. INVICTATATUS pressed the pace three deep then stalked a bit off the rail, angled to the inside leaving the backstretch, inched forward on the second turn, came under urging along the rail in the stretch then had the rider lose the whip a sixteenth out and edged a foe for third. FAY DAN pulled his way between horses to prompt the pace on the first turn then stalked off the rail, continued outside a rival leaving the backstretch and on the second turn and into the stretch, was between foes through much of the final furlong and was edged for the show. TWIRLING DERBY chased off the rail then outside on the second turn, came three deep into the stretch, continued three wide through most of the stretch and was outfinished for a minor share.
5½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $32,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $32,000. Time 22.33 45.15 56.99 1:03.17
|$2 DAILY DOUBLE (1-8)||$269.80|
|$1 EXACTA (8-1)||$147.60|
|10-CENT SUPERFECTA (8-1-6-4)||$341.46|
|$1 SUPER HIGH FIVE (8-1-6-4-3)||$19,355.80|
|50-CENT TRIFECTA (8-1-6)||$556.50|
Winner–Portando B.g.8 by Bertrando out of Porto Marmay (IRE), by Choisir (AUS). Bred by Liberty Road Stables (KY). Trainer: Jack Carava. Owner: Seacoast Racing LLC. Mutuel Pool $290,503 Daily Double Pool $51,540 Exacta Pool $170,180 Superfecta Pool $63,166 Super High Five Pool $38,546 Trifecta Pool $103,145. Claimed–Mystery Messenger by Wilson, David and Wilson, Holly. Trainer: Vladimir Cerin. Claimed–Whatwasithinking by Mueller, Martin, Pellman, Harry, Scott, Michael and Seymour, Lauri. Trainer: Vladimir Cerin. Scratched–Juggles.
PORTANDO chased three deep then outside a rival, came four wide into the stretch, rallied under urging and got up outside foes in the final stride. RAUL ROSAS had good early speed and dueled inside, fought back along the rail through the drive and was edged on the line. TINA'S EXCHANGE dueled three deep then outside the runner-up, battled back between horses through the final furlong and continued gamely to hold third. MYSTERY MESSENGER between horses early, fell back and angled to the inside, came out on the turn and three wide into the stretch and rallied between rivals through the final sixteenth. BLACKOUT (FR) stalked between horses then a bit off the rail, split rivals into the turn, came three wide into the stretch, bid three deep then between foes in the final furlong and was edged for the show. SPANISH HOMBRE steadied between horses, stalked three deep then outside a rival, came four wide into the stretch, bid four wide in midstretch and was outfinished. WHATWASITHINKING had speed between horses then stalked inside, dropped back on the turn and weakened.
1 Mile. Purse: $20,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $16,000. Time 22.91 46.40 1:12.23 1:25.56 1:39.33
|5||Reds Sacred Appeal||126||5||5||5||5||5||5||4–5¾||Prat||2.70|
|3||Discrete Stevie B||126||3||3||2–2½||2–3½||2–½||3–1||5||Pereira||5.70|
|$2 DAILY DOUBLE (8-2)||$289.00|
|$1 EXACTA (2-1)||$8.70|
|50-CENT TRIFECTA (2-1-4)||$24.95|
Winner–She Cherie Dbb.f.4 by Shanghai Bobby out of Thunderina, by Curlin. Bred by Todd Hansen & Shawn Hansen (WA). Trainer: Mark Glatt. Owner: Hansen, Todd and Shawn. Mutuel Pool $224,101 Daily Double Pool $21,507 Exacta Pool $95,748 Trifecta Pool $66,675. Scratched–none.
50-Cent Pick Three (1-8-2) paid $220.05. Pick Three Pool $59,041.
SHE CHERIE had speed between horses then dueled inside, inched away leaving the second turn, fought back while drifting out from the whip in the final furlong and held on gamely. ATINA (ARG) dueled inside then took back and stalked a bit off the rail, went outside a rival leaving the second turn and three wide into the stretch, bid outside the winner, drifted out some then in a bit in the final furlong and was outgamed. ENCOUNTRESS chased a bit off the rail then inside, continued along the fence on the second turn and in the stretch and edged a rival for the show. REDS SACRED APPEAL angled in entering and on the first turn and saved ground off the pace, came out leaving the second turn and into the stretch and was edged for third. DISCRETE STEVIE B dueled three deep then outside the winner, fell back some leaving the second turn and weakened in the drive.
5½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $30,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $35,000. Time 22.29 45.26 57.11 1:02.96
|7||Little No Way||126||5||4||6–1½||6–2||6–½||6–hd||Prat||3.60|
|$2 DAILY DOUBLE (2-1)||$59.80|
|$1 EXACTA (1-2)||$34.10|
|10-CENT SUPERFECTA (1-2-9-3)||$81.22|
|$1 SUPER HIGH FIVE (1-2-9-3-8)||$1,353.40|
|50-CENT TRIFECTA (1-2-9)||$65.70|
Winner–Seven Scents Grr.g.4 by Goldencents out of Forever Vow, by Broken Vow. Bred by FPF LLC (KY). Trainer: Craig Anthony Lewis. Owner: Six-S Racing Stable and Barron, Shirley A.. Mutuel Pool $313,973 Daily Double Pool $31,848 Exacta Pool $170,557 Superfecta Pool $55,078 Super High Five Pool $3,547 Trifecta Pool $99,658. Claimed–Seven Scents by Little Red Feather Racing, Paymaster Racing LLC and Slugo Racing. Trainer: Mike Puype. Scratched–Gran Martillo, Quick Finish.
50-Cent Pick Three (8-2-1) paid $538.75. Pick Three Pool $33,717.
SEVEN SCENTS saved ground stalking the pace, came out in upper stretch and again nearing midstretch and rallied under some urging with the whip turned down and a strong hand ride to gain the lead in deep stretch and won clear. VIA EGNATIA stalked inside, came out into the stretch, bid three wide in midstretch then between foes in deep stretch and edged the pacesetter late for second. MORGAN S. had speed off the rail then dueled inside, inched away past the eighth pole, fought back in deep stretch and was edged for the place. MORE HONOR stalked outside a rival then a bit off the rail on the turn, continued alongside a foe into the stretch, came out some in the drive and lacked the needed late kick. UNBRIDLED'S SKYE hopped in a slow, awkward start, angled in and saved ground chasing the pace, continued inside on the turn and in the stretch and could not offer the necessary late response. LITTLE NO WAY four wide early, stalked three deep then outside a rival, came three wide into the stretch and lacked the needed rally. FACTORIAL had speed outside then dueled alongside a rival, fought back on the turn, was between horses in midstretch and weakened late. EMERALD MAGIC a bit slow into stride, settled outside a rival then fell back off the rail to the stretch and did not rally.
5½ Furlongs. Purse: $32,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $50,000. Time 22.36 46.54 58.73 1:05.08
|8||Scary Fast Smile||120||7||4||3–½||3–1||3–1||3–3¼||Gryder||2.70|
|2||Mr Show Off||113||1||8||6–1||6–½||6–hd||6–1¼||Flores||18.80|
|8||SCARY FAST SMILE||2.60|
|$2 DAILY DOUBLE (1-9)||$57.40|
|$1 EXACTA (9-6)||$21.60|
|10-CENT SUPERFECTA (9-6-8-5)||$27.38|
|$1 SUPER HIGH FIVE (9-6-8-5-4)||$976.80|
|50-CENT TRIFECTA (9-6-8)||$31.75|
Winner–Agamemnon B.g.3 by Grazen out of Queen Nefertiti, by Salt Lake. Bred by Tigertail Ranch (CA). Trainer: Ronald L. McAnally. Owner: Tigertail Ranch. Mutuel Pool $298,121 Daily Double Pool $20,277 Exacta Pool $169,502 Superfecta Pool $53,396 Super High Five Pool $2,560 Trifecta Pool $97,761. Claimed–Scary Fast Smile by Branch, William, Buster, Jr., William C. and Cohen, Mark. Trainer: Mark Glatt. Scratched–My Super Mario.
50-Cent Pick Three (2-1-9) paid $92.70. Pick Three Pool $63,319. 50-Cent Pick Four (8-2-1-9) 40 tickets with 4 correct paid $3,723.70. Pick Four Pool $196,208. 50-Cent Pick Five (1-8-2-1-9) 9 tickets with 5 correct paid $36,843.10. Pick Five Pool $385,581.
AGAMEMNON stalked five wide then four wide on the turn, came five wide into the stretch, gained the lead in upper stretch, inched away in midstretch, drifted in and won clear under urging. HOT SOCKS had speed between foes then stalked between rivals, bid between horses on the turn and four wide into the stretch, bumped with a rival in midstretch, drifted to the inside in the final furlong and held second. SCARY FAST SMILE also stalked between horses, bid three deep on the turn and four wide into the stretch, also drifted in and bested the others. MOBJACK had speed between rivals then stalked a bit off the rail, angled in nearing the turn, saved ground on the bend and into the stretch and weakened in the final furlong. EL CHAPIN dueled inside rivals then inched away and set the pace a bit off the rail, fought back just off the fence on the turn and into the stretch and also weakened in the final furlong. MR SHOW OFF bumped at the start, saved ground stalking the pace, continued inside on the turn and in the stretch and weakened. KINGOFJESTERS broke in and bumped a rival, chased between horses then outside that one into and on the turn and lacked a response in the drive. PACK TWELVE hopped slightly and was squeezed some at the start, settled outside a rival then off the rail, came three wide into the stretch and was not a threat.
5½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $50,000. Maiden Special Weight. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Time 23.02 46.43 57.83 1:03.71
|6||Sweet and Cheeky||120||6||3||5–1||5–hd||5–1½||2–hd||Maldonado||11.50|
|4||Va Va Voom||126||4||2||1–½||1–hd||2–hd||6–3¼||Fuentes||8.30|
|1||Ballet de Cour||120||1||8||9||9||9||7–½||Cedillo||37.00|
|8||Win the Game||120||8||7||7–hd||8–1||7–1½||8–5¼||Gutierrez||54.10|
|6||SWEET AND CHEEKY||6.40||4.40|
|$2 DAILY DOUBLE (9-9)||$28.20|
|$1 EXACTA (9-6)||$17.20|
|10-CENT SUPERFECTA (9-6-3-5)||$37.05|
|$1 SUPER HIGH FIVE (9-6-3-5-2)||$1,172.90|
|50-CENT TRIFECTA (9-6-3)||$51.30|
Winner–Rakassah (IRE) Ch.f.3 by Night of Thunder (IRE) out of Elegant Peace (IRE), by Intense Focus. Bred by John Malone (IRE). Trainer: Philip D'Amato. Owner: Red Baron's Barn LLC and Rancho Temescal LLC. Mutuel Pool $380,944 Daily Double Pool $26,438 Exacta Pool $195,277 Superfecta Pool $79,545 Super High Five Pool $7,684 Trifecta Pool $122,561. Scratched–Viazar.
50-Cent Pick Three (1-9-9) paid $35.05. Pick Three Pool $42,283.
RAKASSAH (IRE) angled in and dueled outside a rival, took the lead in upper stretch, inched away in midstretch, drifted inward in the final furlong and won clear under some urging. SWEET AND CHEEKY three deep early, chased off the rail then outside a rival, came three wide into the stretch and edged foes for the place. FABIOLLA (GB) saved ground stalking the pace, came out in upper stretch and was edged for second. SANDAL hopped a bit at the start, stalked outside a rival, came out some in upper stretch and was outfinished fort the show. INTO VICTORY saved ground stalking the pace, came out a bit into the stretch, drifted in some and could not offer the necessary late kick. VA VA VOOM had speed between horses then dueled inside the winner, fought back into the stretch and weakened in the final furlong. BALLET DE COUR dropped back inside and saved ground off the pace, came out into the stretch and lacked the needed rally. WIN THE GAME chased three deep then outside a rival on the turn and into the stretch and did not rally. ENCHANTING MOON pulled some and chased between rivals then a bit off the rail on the turn, angled to the inside nearing the stretch and weakened.
1 1/16 Mile. Purse: $200,000. 'Santa Maria Stakes'. Fillies and Mares. 4 year olds and up. Time 23.25 46.49 1:10.09 1:35.34 1:42.12
|1||Hard Not to Love||122||1||5||5||5||5||3–8||2–2¼||Smith||2.50|
|1||HARD NOT TO LOVE||4.00||2.40|
|$2 DAILY DOUBLE (9-3)||$60.20|
|$1 EXACTA (3-1)||$38.30|
|50-CENT TRIFECTA (3-1-2)||$34.80|
Winner–Fighting Mad B.f.4 by New Year's Day out of Smokey's Love, by Forestry. Bred by Gary & Mary West Stables Inc. (KY). Trainer: Bob Baffert. Owner: West, Gary and Mary. Mutuel Pool $552,529 Daily Double Pool $45,083 Exacta Pool $238,844 Trifecta Pool $209,904. Scratched–none.
50-Cent Pick Three (9-9-3) paid $79.70. Pick Three Pool $44,301.
FIGHTING MAD had speed three deep then angled in and set the pace inside, inched away on the second turn, drifted in a bit in the stretch, kicked clear under urging and steady handling late. HARD NOT TO LOVE bobbled slightly at the start, settled inside then a bit off the rail, went outside a rival on the second turn and into the stretch and was second best. CE CE stalked inside then a bit off the rail, went three deep leaving the backstretch and into the second turn, continued outside a rival on that turn and just off the fence nearing and into the stretch and lacked the needed late kick. KAYDETRE stalked three deep then outside a rival, was between horses leaving the backstretch and into the second turn, dropped back on that turn and into the stretch and gave way. HOROLOGIST stalked between horses then a bit off the rail, angled in on the second turn, took an awkward step and was pulled up into and through the stretch, eventually walked across the line and was walked off.
1 Mile Turf. Purse: $32,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $32,000. Time 24.18 48.07 1:11.62 1:23.72 1:35.56
|5||MISS FLAWLESS (FR)||4.40||2.80|
|$2 DAILY DOUBLE (3-8)||$68.00|
|$1 EXACTA (8-5)||$9.60|
|10-CENT SUPERFECTA (8-5-1-2)||$16.20|
|$1 SUPER HIGH FIVE (8-5-1-2-4)||$495.60|
|50-CENT TRIFECTA (8-5-1)||$12.75|
Winner–Tonahutu (IRE) B.m.6 by Sir Prancealot (IRE) out of Really Polish, by Polish Numbers. Bred by Ringfort Stud (IRE). Trainer: Dan Blacker. Owner: Jpf Investments I LLC, Alvernaz, Grant, Gold, Rick and Ribeiro, Steve. Mutuel Pool $445,188 Daily Double Pool $161,268 Exacta Pool $247,940 Superfecta Pool $89,457 Super High Five Pool $23,028 Trifecta Pool $147,493. Claimed–Tonahutu (IRE) by Mora, Leandro, O'Neill, Doug and Rothblum, Steve. Trainer: Doug O'Neill. Claimed–Miss Flawless (FR) by Mueller, Martin, Pellman, Harry, Scott, Michael and Seymour, Lauri. Trainer: Vladimir Cerin. Scratched–Clockstrikestwelve.
50-Cent Pick Three (9-3-8) paid $46.40. Pick Three Pool $190,380. 50-Cent Pick Four (9-9/10-3-3/8) 1174 tickets with 4 correct paid $298.70. Pick Four Pool $459,411. 50-Cent Pick Five (1-9-9/10-3-3/8) 145 tickets with 5 correct paid $1,958.45. Pick Five Pool $372,095. 20-Cent Pick Six Jackpot (2-1-9-9/10-3-3/8) 28 tickets with 6 correct paid $3,412.82. Pick Six Jackpot Pool $178,875. Pick Six Jackpot Carryover $585,873.
TONAHUTU (IRE) chased outside a rival then a bit off the rail, came out on the second turn and three deep leaving that turn and into the stretch, took the lead outside the pacesetter under energetic handling and pulled clear under some left handed urging. MISS FLAWLESS (FR) angled in and saved ground stalking the pace, came out a bit in upper stretch and went around the pacesetter in deep stretch for second. SEASIDE DANCER tugged a bit and took the early lead, inched away into the backstretch, set the pace inside, fought back in midstretch then could not match the winner and was outfinished for the place but held third. MESO pressed the pace outside a rival then stalked a bit off the rail, was between horses leaving the backstretch and again leaving the second turn, came out some in midstretch and weakened in the final furlong. AVALON RIDE saved ground stalking the pace, cut the corner into the stretch and did not rally. TAMMY'S WINDOW broke a bit slowly, chased outside a rival, was between horses leaving the second turn and into the stretch and lacked a further response. SUGARY stalked the pace three deep, fell back three wide leaving the second turn and into the stretch and weakened.
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