Horse racing newsletter: Final Kentucky Derby rankings

Dynamic Duo makes a run from the back on the final stretch at Del Mar Race Track.
(Nelvin C. Cepeda / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome to our horse racing newsletter as we give you Jon White’s incredibly comprehensive Kentucky Derby preview.

Let’s not waste any time.

Jon White’s final Kentucky Derby rankings

As always, we’re lucky to have top expert Jon White take a look at what’s happening on the Triple Crown trail. Jon makes the morning line at Santa Anita, he’s a licensed steward, and he’s the preeminent historian on racing. We’re lucky to have him. So, here are his final Kentucky Derby rankings, brought courtesy of

“Tiz the Law, who has not come close to losing in four starts this year, looms an overwhelming favorite in Saturday’s 156th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby. The 1 1/4-mile Churchill Downs classic has been postponed by four months due to the coronavirus pandemic.


“This will be the first time that it’s being run without any paying customers in attendance.

“Art Collector was No. 3 in my Kentucky Derby rankings last week and would have been No. 3 this week. However, Art Collector was not entered Tuesday. Trainer Tommy Drury Jr. reported that the colt had nicked the bulb of his left front heel with a hind hoof while galloping Monday at Churchill.

“With Art Collector out, Mike Battaglia installed Tiz the Law as the morning-line favorite at 3-5. Honor A.P. is the 5-1 second choice. Authentic is 8-1. Everyone else is 15-1 or higher.

“Tiz the Law registered a 3 3/4-length victory as a 4-5 favorite in the first leg of this year’s revamped Triple Crown, the 1 1/8-mile Belmont Stakes on June 20. He then won Saratoga’s 1 1/4-mile Travers Stakes by 5 1/2 lengths as a 1-2 favorite on Aug. 8.

“The last time there was an odds-on morning-line favorite was in 1989. Easy Goer and Awe Inspiring were coupled and Battaglia made them a 3-5 favorite. When Easy Goer and Awe Inspiring left the starting gate, their odds were 4-5. Easy Goer finished second on a muddy track to Sunday Silence, whose closing odds were 3-1. Awe Inspiring came in third.

“If Tiz the Law’s closing odds Saturday are 4-5 or lower, he will become the first odds-on starter in the Kentucky Derby since Arazi finished eighth as a 9-10 favorite in 1992.


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“In the last 100 years, odds-on favorites have won six times, but they’ve lost seven times. The last horse to start at 3-5 or shorter was Spectacular Bid, who won at odds of 3-5 in 1979.

“If Tiz the Law wins Saturday, he will head to the 1 3/16-mile Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on Oct. 3 with a chance to become this nation’s 14th Triple Crown winner.

“Meanwhile, on Thursday, it was announced that Tampa Bay Derby winner King Guillermo will be scratched due to a fever.

“This is how I rank the Kentucky Derby entrants, courtesy of Xpressbet:

1. TIZ THE LAW (3-5 morning-line favorite, original post position 17). Ranked No. 1 last week. Jockey: Manny Franco. Trainer: Barclay Tagg.

“The case for: “Why does Tiz the Law look so tough to beat Saturday? Let me count the ways.

“First, he has won all four of his races this year.

“Second, all of his victories have been in dominant fashion, each by at least three lengths.


“Third, he already has proven 1 1/4 miles is no problem for him after winning the Travers at that distance.

“Fourth, he is the class of the race in that he has four Grade 1 wins to his credit (Champagne Stakes, Florida Derby, Belmont Stakes, Travers Stakes). His 16 Kentucky Derby opponents have just three Grade 1 wins among them: Storm the Court (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile), Honor A.P. (Santa Anita Derby) and Authentic (Haskell Invitational).

“Fifth, he appears to have trained splendidly up to the race.

“Sixth, his running style suggests he likely will get a good trip. He typically lurks from about a length to three lengths off the early pace. He’s not a front-runner, reducing the chances that he will go too fast too early. He’s also not a come-from-the clouds type, reducing the chances that he will get into traffic trouble.

“Seventh, his post position increases the chances that he will be able to stay in the clear and not get boxed in.

“Eighth, inasmuch as he will be the favorite, recent history bodes well for him. The betting favorite has won the Kentucky Derby in six of the last seven years.

“Ninth, his trainer knows how to win the Kentucky Derby, having done so in 2003 with Funny Cide. The Kentucky Derby was first run in 1875. If Tiz the Law wins Saturday, Tagg, 82, will become the oldest trainer to have ever won the Kentucky Derby. Art Sherman currently holds that record. Sherman was 77 when he saddled California Chrome to win the 2014 Kentucky Derby.


“Tenth, Franco seems to fit Tiz the Law like a glove. To use yet another cliche, after Franco has ridden Tiz the Law so many times and so well, the 25-year-old jockey knows the New York-bred Constitution colt like the back of his hand.

In conclusion, it looks like it’s all systems go for Tiz the Law to capture the 2020 Run for the Roses and move on to the Preakness to try and complete a Triple Crown sweep.

“The case against: His only defeat in seven lifetime starts came last year at Churchill Downs when he finished third in the 1 1/16-mile Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. From his post position, a wide trip is a possibility.

2. HONOR A.P. (5-1, 16). Ranked No. 2 last week. Jockey Mike Smith. Trainer John Shirreffs.

“The case for: The Kentucky Derby seems to have been the target for him ever since he closed with a rush from far back to finish second in a six-furlong maiden race when kicking off his racing career in 2019 at the Del Mar summer meet. The way he won the 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby going away by 2 3/4 lengths on June 6 indicates the Kentucky-bred Honor Code ridgling might relish the longer 1 1/4-mile trip.

In 2005, Smith and Shirreffs collaborated to win the Kentucky Derby with 50-1 longshot Giacomo. Honor A.P. gives every indication that he is better -- perhaps much better -- than Giacomo.

Shirreffs, who masterfully trained the great Zenyatta, is in the mold of the late, great Charlie Whittingham in terms of being a trainer adept at having a horse peak for an important event.

“The case against: Even if Honor A.P. runs his best, will it be enough to beat Tiz the Law?


“He has never raced at Churchill before.

“A wide journey is possible from his post position.

“While it appears that Honor A.P. will love going farther than 1 1/8 miles, one never knows until they do it.

3. ATTACHMENT RATE (50-1, original PP 13). Not on my Top 10 last week. Jockey: Joe Talamo. Trainer Dale Romans.

“The case for: I see him as being live at what no doubt will be a gigantic price. Despite his long odds, I think he might be capable of making his presence felt during the stretch run.

“I’ve had my eye on Attachment Rate ever since he rocketed home to finish second in a seven-furlong maiden race last Jan. 25 at Gulfstream Park when ridden by SoCal-based jockey Flavien Prat. I even went so far as to text Prat’s agent, Derek Lawson, to tell him how much Attachment Rate had impressed me. At the time I had visions of this being Prat’s 2020 Kentucky Derby horse.

“But Prat has not been aboard Attachment Rate again since Jan. 25. Talamo rides the Virginia-bred Hard Spun colt Saturday. In 2009, Talamo was supposed to ride 3-1 morning-line favorite I Want Revenge in the Kentucky Derby, but the colt was scratched the morning of the race due to an ankle injury. It was the first time since the morning-line odds had been put in the Churchill Downs program that a morning-line favorite for the Kentucky Derby had been scratched on race day.

“Talamo rode Attachment Rate when he finished fifth in the Blue Grass Stakes and second in the Ellis Park Derby. Art Collector won both races. I believe Attachment Rate’s effort in the Ellis Park Derby suggests he’s on the upswing and perhaps capable of even further improvement.

“Dale Romans trains Attachment Rate. The native of Louisville has never won the Kentucky Derby. But Romans has finished third twice (Paddy O’Prado in 2010 and Dullahan in 2012). Can Romans pull off an upset in a big race? You bet he can. Don’t forget Romans once ambushed a Triple Crown winner. The Romans-trained Keen Ice shocked the racing world by winning the 2015 Travers Stakes at odds of 16-1, with Triple Crown winner American Pharoah finishing second as a heavy favorite at 35 cents to the dollar.


“The case against: Attachment Rate has just a single win in eight career starts. The plain truth is there is a reason he’s going to be a huge longshot. His resume does not look good to most people.

4. AUTHENTIC (8-1, original PP 18). Ranked No. 6 last week. Jockey: John Velazquez. Trainer: Bob Baffert.

“The case for: The best thing that both Authentic and Thousand Words have going for them is their trainer, who has won the Kentucky Derby five times. If either Authentic or Thousand Words wins Saturday, Baffert will tie Ben Jones for the most Kentucky Derby wins by a trainer.

“Velazquez also is a plus. He’s won the Kentucky Derby twice, also with horses whose name began with the letter A (Animal Kingdom in 2011 and Always Dreaming in 2017). Velazquez is riding in the Kentucky Derby for the 22nd time.

“It will help Authentic that there will not be 150,000 or more screaming fans on Saturday. During the stretch run of Santa Anita’s one-mile Sham Stakes on Jan. 4, he ducked in and nearly hit the rail, then ducked in again. Nevertheless, he won by 7 3/4 lengths. Because of his behavior in the Sham, he’s raced with earplugs ever since. But even with earplugs, it could have been problematic for him to perform before a Kentucky Derby throng making a Niagara Falls-like noise.

“It’s clear that Authentic is talented as evidenced by four wins and a second from five career starts. Take him lightly at your own peril, even in a race at 1 1/4 miles.

“The case against: The big question is whether Authentic has the necessary stamina to win going farther than 1 1/8 miles. Quite frankly, the Kentucky-bred Into Mischief colt has never given the impression that racing farther than 1 1/8 miles would be right up his alley. He nearly blew it in the 1 1/8-mile Haskell when he turned a 2 1/2-length lead with a furlong to go into only a nose victory.

“Beginning from the outside post Saturday also is a concern. The last time he did that, it cost him dearly. Starting from the outside post in the Santa Anita Derby, he veered outward in the first few strides. He found himself three wide while vying for the lead into the clubhouse turn. He remained three wide while continuing as a pace factor all the way to the top of the stretch. And then, in the stretch, he was overtaken by Honor A.P. It’s the lone blemish on Authentic’s record.


“Keep an eye on Authentic at the start of the Kentucky Derby. Will he veer outward again in the first few strides as he did in the Santa Anita Derby?

5. THOUSAND WORDS (15-1, original PP 10). Ranked No. 5 last week. Jockey: Florent Geroux. Trainer: Bob Baffert.

“The case for: This $1 million yearling purchase was considered one of the leading Kentucky Derby candidates after winning both 2019 races, highlighted by a victory in the 1 1/16-mile Los Alamitos Futurity. Following his triumph in Santa Anita’s 1 1/16-mile Robert B. Lewis Stakes on Feb. 1 in his 3-year-old debut, he was No. 2 in my Kentucky Derby rankings, behind only Tiz the Law.

“But Thousand Words then went into a funk. Baffert said the Florida-bred Pioneerof the Nile colt ‘got sour’ after the Sham. Thousand Words lost by 11 1/4 lengths when he finished fourth in Santa Anita’s 1 1/16-mile San Felipe Stakes on March 7. Next, he lost by nearly 30 lengths on a sloppy track when he stumbled at the start and finished 11th in the Oaklawn Stakes on April 11.

“To Baffert’s credit, he somehow managed to get Thousand Words out of his slump. The first sign of rejuvenation came on July 4 in the 1 1/8-mile Los Alamitos Derby when he finished second to the highly regarded Baffert-trained Uncle Chuck. Thousand Words then led all the way in the 1 1/16-mile Shared Belief Stakes at odds of 9-1 when he defeated 1-5 favorite Honor A.P. by three-quarters of a length.

“If Thousand Words wins Saturday, he will be the second Baffert-trained Pioneerof the Nile colt to win the Kentucky Derby, American Pharoah being the first in 2015.

“The case against: The only time Thousand Words has raced outside California, he got beat by a block in Arkansas.


“In the races he’s won, the losers have not been anything to write home about, other than Honor A.P.

6. NY TRAFFIC (20-1, original PP 15). Ranked No. 8 last week. Jockey: Paco Lopez. Trainer: Saffie Joseph Jr.

“The case for: Since Joseph took over training, the New York-bred Cross Traffic colt has finished third or better in five straight starts. Ny Traffic was the runner-up in the Haskell when he lost by a scant nose after being 2 1/2 lengths behind a furlong out.

“Ny Traffic acquitted himself well the only time he’s raced at Churchill. He finished second in the 1 1/16-mile Matt Winn Stakes on May 23, a race won by the marvelous Maxfield.

“The case against: Did Ny Traffic almost win the Haskell because Authentic had lost focus in the lane?

“With just a single win in his last seven starts, perhaps Ny Traffic needs to somehow improve in the will-to-win department.


“Lopez has ridden in just one Kentucky Derby, finishing 11th on Firenze Fire in 2018. This will be Joseph’s first Kentucky Derby starter.

7. MAX PLAYER (30-1, PP 2). Ranked No. 10 last week. Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr. Trainer: Steve Asmussen.

“The case for: It’s certainly not out of the question for him to finish third or better after finishing third in both the Belmont and Travers. Winner of Aqueduct’s 1 1/8-mile Withers Stakes on Feb. 1, the Kentucky-bred Honor Code colt has yet to finish worse than third in five lifetime starts. It looks like he’s steadily improved ever since finishing second when unveiled at Parx Racing in Pennsylvania last November. If he improves any off his third in the Travers, he could make a lot of noise Saturday.

“Max Player underwent a trainer change from Linda Rice to Asmussen after the Travers. Asmussen is one of the most successful horseman in the history of the sport. According to Equibase statistics through Wednesday, Asmussen has won 8,981 races, second (behind only Dale Baird) on the all-time list. With $336,725,181 in purse earnings, Assmussen also ranks second (behind Todd Pletcher) on that list.

“The case against: Tiz the Law outran Max Player by 5 1/4 lengths in the Belmont and by 7 1/2 lengths in the Travers.

“Post 2 could be an issue in that Max Player almost certainly will not be able to avoid having dirt kicked back at him, something he especially dislikes.

“While Asmussen has nearly 9,000 victories, has yet to win one Kentucky Derby (0 for 20).

“Santana has not finished better than eighth in the Kentucky Derby in five tries.

8. ENFORCEABLE (30-1, PP 3). Not on my Top 10 last week. Jockey: Adam Beschizza. Trainer: Mark Casse.

“The case for: If there is a fast pace, the long-fused Kentucky-bred Tapit colt could come charging late to finish fourth or maybe even better than that.

“His trainer has won two of the last three Triple Crown races (2019 Preakness with War of Will, 2019 Belmont with Sir Winston).


“The case against: Enforceable’s come-from-way-back running style makes him eligible to get into traffic trouble, plus his jockey is a Kentucky Derby rookie.

9. STORM THE COURT (50-1, PP 4). Not on my Top 10 last week. Jockey: Julien Leparoux. Trainer: Peter Eurton.

“The case for: He was the Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old male of 2019 after his 45-1 upset victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita. As the champ, he was No. 1 in my first 2020 Kentucky Derby rankings back on Jan. 10. He eventually dropped off the Top 10, but deserves credit for making back onto the Top 10.

“Storm the Court is winless in five starts this year. But at least he is in the Kentucky Derby, unlike the other seven Breeders’ Cup Juvenile starters (Anneau d’Or, Wrecking Crew, Scabbard, Full Flat, Eight Rings, Shoplifted, Dennis’ Moment).

“While Storm the Court has not won this year, at least the Kentucky-bred Court Vision colt has run some decent races. He finished third in Santa Anita’s San Felipe, third in Thistledown’s Ohio Derby and second in Del Mar’s recent La Jolla Handicap on turf. The La Jolla winner, Smooth Like Strait, is the 8-5 morning-line favorite in Saturdays $500,000 American Turf Stakes at Churchill.

“Storm the Court has had some snazzy workouts at Del Mar since his last race, most notably five furlongs in :59.00 on Aug. 22, fastest of 74 at the distance that morning.

“Eurton is a fine trainer, one who bears a measure of respect when running a longshot in a big race. Not only did Storm the Court pay $93.80 for a $2 win wager in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, the Eurton-trained Champagne Room took the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and returned $69.20 for each $2 win ticket.


“In what has been a crazy year, wouldn’t it be something if, after all is said and done, the shocking Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner also proves to be a shocking winner of the Kentucky Derby?

“The case against: As time has gone on, the group that Storm the Court defeated in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile has looked weaker and weaker. And Storm the Court has not exactly distinguished himself since that race losing five starts.

“Leparoux has had much success at Churchill over the years, but not in the Kentucky Derby (0 for 11).

10. SOLE VOLANTE (30-1, original PP 12). Not on my Top 10 last week. Jockey: Luca Panici. Trainer: Patrick Biancone.

“The case for: If the pace is fast, it could set it up for Sole Volante, who on occasion has an explosive late kick. The Kentucky-bred Karakontie colt ran a clunker in the Belmont, finishing sixth and losing by 15 3/4 lengths. But perhaps that race can be tossed out because he was running back in just 10 days and shipped from Florida to New York after winning an allowance/optional claiming race at Gulfstream Park.

“Biancone would have won the 2004 Kentucky Derby if not for an exceptional colt named Smarty Jones. The Biancone-trained Lion Heart ran well enough to win the Kentucky Derby in some years, but had to settle for second.

“The case against: Like Enforceable, Sole Volante’s come-from-way-out-of-it running style means there is an increased chance of a traffic jam.


“Panici has no Kentucky Derby experience.

11. MAJOR FED (50-1, PP 5). Not on my Top 10 last week. Jockey: James Graham. Trainer: Gregory Foley.

“The case for: Some thought of him as a Kentucky Derby possibility after he ran third at first asking in a maiden sprint in the slop at Churchill last year, followed by a sparkling 4 1/4-length maiden win on dry land at Fair Grounds on New Year’s Day. But the Kentucky-bred Ghostzapper colt has lost four straight since his maiden win. At least he ran well enough to finish second last time out in the 1 1/8-mile Indiana Derby on July 8. Maybe he’s finally about to live up to those early expectations.

“The case against: Major Fed would have to run considerably faster than ever before in order to win Saturday.

“Graham has ridden in only one Kentucky Derby (finishing eighth on Lone Sailor in 2018), while this will be Foley’s first attempt to win the Run for the Roses.

12. FINNICK THE FIERCE (50-1, PP 1). Not on my Top 10 last week. Jockey: Martin Garcia. Trainer: Rey Hernandez.

“Despite missing his right eye, the result of a congenital cataract, the Kentucky-bred Dialed In colt has managed to win two-of-nine career starts.

“One of Finnick the Fierce’s better efforts was when he broke from post 1 and finished third behind Nadal and King Guillermo in a division of the Arkansas Derby.

“Also keep in mind that Finnick the Fierce actually did beat Tiz the Law once last year. He ran second to Silver Prospector in the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill on Nov. 30, Tiz the Law finished third.


“The case against: Finnick the Fierce’s most recent race, in which he finished seventh and lost by almost 11 lengths in the Blue Grass Stakes on July 11, was far from anything to brag about. His 2020 record makes it difficult to envision a Kentucky Derby win.

“Finnick the Fierce is in post 1 and no Derby horse has won from there since Ferdinand in 1986. The new 20-horse starting gate should offer relief to a horse in post 1 with the gate further from the inside rail. Also, even though Finnick the Fierce officially has post 1, with 17 scheduled to start due to the King Guillermo scratch, the first two slots and last slot will be left open. This should offer some breathing room on the inside at the start.

“Garcia has ridden in the Kentucky Derby four times with no wins. This will be the first Kentucky Derby starter for Hernandez.

13. MONEY MOVES (30-1, original PP 7). Not on my Top 10 last week. Jockey: Javier Castellano. Trainer: Todd Pletcher.

“The case for: It looks like Money Moves does have ability and is improving.

“Castellano, a four-time Eclipse Award winner, is one of the best riders in the country (though he is 0 for 14 in the Kentucky Derby). Pletcher has two Kentucky Derby victories (Super Saver in 2010 and Always Dreaming in 2017).

“Though Pletcher is remaining in New York, Money Moves is being looked after in Kentucky by none other than D. Wayne Lukas, who is back on his feet after the coronavirus. Lukas has won the Kentucky Derby four times. Before Pletcher went on his own, he was an assistant to Lukas.

“The case against: Not only is Money Moves light in experience with only three lifetime starts, this will be his stakes debut.


“Pletcher kept saying that it was doubtful he would be running Money Moves in the Kentucky Derby, but then the Kentucky-bred Candy Ride colt was entered after all. Such a lack of commitment is rather troubling. Also, Pletcher staying at Saratoga rather than being at Churchill for the Kentucky Derby is not an encouraging sign.

14. SOUTH BEND (50-1, original PP 8). Not on my Top 10 last week. Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione. Trainer: Bill Mott.

“The case for: He won the Street Sense Stakes at Churchill last year on Oct. 27.

“Gaffalione is a rising star on the national stage. He won last year’s Preakness aboard War of Will. Mott, one of the all-time great trainers, is trying to win the 2020 Kentucky Derby with a big longshot after winning the 2019 race with longshot in Country House (who finished second and was moved up to first via the DQ of Maximum Security). Country House had won just one race going into last year’s Kentucky Derby. South Bend is better than Country House in that regard. South Bend has won three races.

“The case against: Since South Bend’s victory in the Street Sense last year, the Kentucky-bred Algorithms colt has lost nine in a row. He was a surprise last-minute entry in the Kentucky Derby. That they had not been planning to run South Bend does not inspire confidence.

15. MR. BIG NEWS (50-1, original PP 9). Not on my Top 10 last week. Jockey: Gabriel Saez. Trainer: Bret Calhoun.

“The case for: If Mr. Big News wins the Kentucky Derby it will be big news because he will have done so at very big odds.

“His connections probably are doing a rain dance. Mr. Big News’ most notable win came April 11 in the 1 1/8-mile Oaklawn Stakes when he rallied from 11th to win by a half-length on a sloppy track at odds of 46-1.

“When he finished sixth in the Blue Grass Stakes at odds of 34-1, his performance might not have been as bad as it seemed. He stumbled badly at the start and then had a nightmarish trip.


“Saez did well in the 2008 Kentucky Derby. He rode the ill-fated filly Eight Belles when the filly ran second to Big Brown.

“The case against: The two times that Mr. Big News has competed in a stakes race on a fast track, the Kentucky-bred Giant’s Causeway colt has finished fifth (in a division of the Risen Star Stakes) and sixth (in the Blue Grass Stakes).

“Calhoun’s lone Kentucky Derby starter did not run well when By My Standards finished 11th in 2019.

16. WINNING IMPRESSION (50-1, original PP 14). Not on my Top 10 last week. Jockey: Joe Rocco Jr. Trainer: Dallas Stewart.

“The case for: Stewart has a reputation for doing well with an outsider in a big race. He’s had two longshots finish second in the Kentucky Derby (Golden Soul at 34-1 in 2013 and Commanding Curve at 37-1 in 2014), plus a longshot run second in the Preakness (Tale of the Verve at 28-1 in 2015).

“The case against: It looks like Stewart will have to really work his magic to get Winning Impression into the superfecta off his recent dismal form. Winning Impression’s latest two performances left much to be desired. The Kentucky-bred Paynter gelding finished seventh in both the Indiana Derby and Ellis Park Derby.

17. NECKER ISLAND (50-1, original PP 11). Not on my Top 10 last week. Jockey: Miguel Mena. Trainer: Chris Hartman.

“The case for: Perhaps (though probably not) he can hit the board after finishing third in both the Indiana Derby and Ellis Park Derby in his first couple of starts for Hartman since being claimed for $100,000 at Churchill on June 13.


“Necker Island won twice on the Churchill main track last year, once on a fast track and the other time on a sloppy strip.

“I consider Mena to be a plus for Necker Island, even though the rider finished way back in his only Kentucky Derby mount (20th on Backtalk in 2010).

“The case against: Necker Island is 0 for 7 in 2020, plus the Kentucky-bred Hard Spun colt is having blinkers removed Saturday. If a horse is good enough to win the Kentucky Derby, it’s doubtful that a trainer would be experimenting with the horse’s equipment at this point by adding or removing blinkers. Would the trainer not have already figured out that the horse runs better either with or without blinkers?

18. KING GUILLERMO (20-1, original PP 6). Ranked No. 8 last week. It was announced Thursday that he will be scratched due to a fever.”

Thanks, Jon. A lot to digest.

Del Mar preview

The last 2 p.m. start of this Del Mar summer meeting is Friday. There are nine races and eight of them are sprints. In fact, six of them are 5 or 5 ½ furlongs. There are four turf races. There is even a minor stakes race, $100,000 I’m Smokin Stakes for 2-year-old Cal-breds going six furlongs.


The favorite is Positivity, at 7-2, for trainer Paddy Gallagher and jockey Drayden Van Dyke. He’s won both of his races including the Graduation Stakes, a black-type race on Aug. 2 at Del Mar. The second choice at 4-1 is Good With People for Peter Miller and Abel Cedillo. He won his maiden and finished second to Positivity in the Graduation by half-a-length. Post is around 5:45 p.m.

Here are the field sizes, in order: 7, 9, 10, 10, 10 (1 also eligible), 8, 8, 8, 11 (2 ae).

Bob Ike’s Dmr pick of the day

FIFTH RACE: No. 5 Run Snappy (6-1)

Juvenile colt from the John Sadler stable ran OK first time out despite trouble at the start and racing greenly through the stretch. The son of Runhappy didn’t get away well from the rail post, lagged early, then was green while going evenly through the lane. He looks to have plenty of room to improve in his second start and offers some value at the price. The horse to beat is morning line favorite Commander Khai, so an exacta box might be in order.

Monday’s result: Capital Heat (5-1), off a step slowly and steadied slightly in traffic early, got into a good spot from the outside, then lacked a rally when it counted before finishing far back in a disappointer.

Bob Ike is a Partner/VP of (here’s a video) and the proprietor of (full-card picks, 3 Best Plays and betting strategy).


Ciaran Thornton’s Dmr pick

THIRD RACE: No. 4 Incredibly Lucky (15-1)

Incredibly Lucky makes the second start off the layoff for trainer Bill Spawr who is winning 32% at the meet. Tiago Pereira gets the mount and when he rides for this trainer they win 50% going six of 12 and three of four recently. This horse won second off the layoff this time last year at Del Mar under this jockey.

Monday’s result: Elgofranco broke nicely and tracked in third into the stretch. The horse looked ready to make a late move but could not catch the leaders and ran fourth.

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

Los Alamitos weekend preview

Los Alamitos is the only track in California racing at night. So, let’s turn things over to marketing and media guru Orlando Gutierrez, who will tell us about things going on at Los Alamitos. Orlando, the floor is yours.

“Oklahoma invader Kingdom Cartel will hopes his additional time in Southern California will be the difference when he heads the featured $11,325 allowance for 2-year-olds at 300 yards on Friday at Los Alamitos. First post is 6:45 p.m. Trained by Mike Robbins, Kingdom Cartel arrived at Los Alamitos after a solid start to his career at Remington Park. In his debut on March 7, Coronado Cartel won his trial to the Oklahoma Futurity by 3/4 lengths before following it with a runner-up effort in his trial to the Remington Park Futurity on April 4.

“After finishing out of the money in the $100,000 Remington Park Juvenile Stakes in his third start, Kingdom Cartel traveled to Los Alamitos, running fourth in an Ed Burke Million Futurity trial on June 7. Kingdom Cartel has had over two months off and returns for this allowance. He has a razor sharp 220-yard drill in :12.10 on Aug. 15.


“Three races at 1,000 yards, including a rematch between track record holder Rinse And Repeat and multiple stakes winner Rule He Will headlines the $22,000 allowance main event in Saturday’s eighth race. Rinse And Repeat posted a pair of terrific victories at 1,000 yards earlier this year, setting the track record of :51.70 after finding running room on the outside and flying to the finish on April 26. He returned with another strong win in an $19,000 allowance by 1 ½ lengths over a field that included Rule He Will. He has since finished second twice – once at Santa Anita and once at Los Alamitos in daytime summer thoroughbred meet. Rinse And Repeat finished sixth at Del Mar in his last start.

“Rule He Will has won once in his four starts at this distance, but the talented 9-year-old has finished third in each of his other three races. With a penchant for winning at this track, the Jerry Wallace-trained horse could win his 15th race on Saturday.

“Experienced race caller Jonathan Horowitz will fill in for Michael Wrona on Sunday. Wrona will call the first couple days at Kentucky Downs before returning in time for next Friday night’s racing program. Horowitz announced his first horse race here when he was 14 in 1999, becoming the youngest horse race announcer in the United States. He has since announced at 28 other racetracks in the U.S. and internationally, as well as for horse shows across the country and for college sports at the University of Denver.”

Chris Wade’s Friday LA pick

SIXTH RACE: No. 2 Yes But Go (8-1)

He improved immensely in his second career start while running close up for most of the race prior to finishing evenly late for fifth against several rivals he will face once again Friday. He did gallop out strongly past the wire and with another expected step forward Friday, he will be a threat for all placings at a nice price for connections who are a solid 21% with entrants of this ilk.

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

Del Mar Entries for Friday, September 4.

Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Del Mar, California. $2 Win, Place and Show; $1 Exacta, $2 Quinella, 50-cent Trifecta, $2 Rolling Double, 50-cent rolling Pick 3; 10-cent Superfecta; 50-cent Pick 4 last 4 races; 50-cent Players Pick 5 first 5 races; $2 Pick 6 last 6 races; $1 Place Pick All; $1 Super High Five last race. Trifecta needs 4 betting interests; Superfecta needs 6. 24th day of a 28-day meet.


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $28,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies. 2 year olds. Claiming Price $50,000. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Mo BrandiMario Gutierrez120Peter Eurton10-150,000
2Clubhouse SaintDrayden Van Dyke120Andrew Lerner6-150,000
3Commas Save LivesAbel Cedillo120Jeff Mullins5-150,000
4Allie's PalAlexis Centeno113Jonathan Wong7-250,000
5Daring CatRuben Fuentes120Alfredo P. Marquez6-150,000
6Taming the TigressFlavien Prat120Peter Miller5-250,000
7Bingos SystemTiago Pereira120Matthew Chew4-150,000


5 Furlongs Turf. Purse: $55,000. Maiden Special Weight. 3 year olds and up. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Paul LJ.C. Diaz, Jr.124Gus Headley20-1
2Coalinga RoadUmberto Rispoli121Carla Gaines7-2
3Square RootMario Gutierrez121Doug F. O'Neill6-1
4Master RyanAbel Cedillo124Philip D'Amato2-1
5Whispering FlameVictor Espinoza121James M. Cassidy15-1
6Count AlexeiRicardo Gonzalez121Brian J. Koriner12-1
7ChipperFlavien Prat121Mark Glatt4-1
8R Matineigh IdolDrayden Van Dyke124Daniel Dunham6-1
9El ChapinTiago Pereira121Edwin Alvarez30-1


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $22,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $12,500-$10,500.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Miz TianjinHeriberto Figueroa118James F. Sayler30-110,500
2Give Me a HintRicardo Gonzalez118Peter Miller5-110,500
3Easy GraderJuan Hernandez120Kristin Mulhall3-112,500
4Incredibly LuckyTiago Pereira118William Spawr15-110,500
5Chay Up and AwayRuben Fuentes120Paul G. Aguirre12-112,500
6Sturdy OneAlexis Centeno111Neil French8-110,500
7Just GraceAbel Cedillo120Robert B. Hess, Jr.6-112,500
8Flying BusinessMario Gutierrez119Matthew Chew8-112,500
9WinsinfashionEdwin Maldonado120George Papaprodromou8-112,500
10Tiz ToffeeAgapito Delgadillo120Rosemary Trela4-112,500


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $19,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $20,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1I'm So AdorableEswan Flores121Daniel Dunham12-120,000
2Lady On IceHeriberto Figueroa121Richard Baltas12-120,000
3She B SaltyJose Valdivia, Jr.121Mike Puype10-120,000
4California CoolEdwin Maldonado121Luis Mendez8-120,000
5Fog LifterJorge Velez121Juan Carlos Lopez30-120,000
6Save the StoryRicardo Gonzalez121Richard Baltas3-120,000
7VangogoAlexis Centeno117Luis Mendez4-120,000
8Miss MozartTiago Pereira124William Spawr6-120,000
9Second AvenueAgapito Delgadillo124Paul G. Aguirre6-120,000
10It's a RiddleJuan Hernandez121Robert B. Hess, Jr.12-120,000


5 Furlongs Turf. Purse: $55,000. Maiden Special Weight. 2 year olds.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1StratofortressJuan Hernandez120Jerry Hollendorfer8-1
2Mac Daddy TooAbel Cedillo120Doug F. O'Neill8-1
3Freedom FlyerFlavien Prat117Simon Callaghan3-1
4Flactem LegacyTiago Pereira120Edwin Alvarez30-1
5Run SnappyRuben Fuentes120John W. Sadler6-1
6Commander KhaiUmberto Rispoli120Richard Baltas5-2
7Santos to WilsonVictor Espinoza120J. Eric Kruljac12-1
8GhosterDrayden Van Dyke120Jeff Bonde12-1
9Refi NowMario Gutierrez120Doug F. O'Neill8-1
10Lochinvar Ricardo Gonzalez120John W. Sadler12-1
Also Eligible
11K P Aim HighJuan Hernandez120Jeff Mullins8-1


6½ Furlongs. Purse: $57,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $20,000. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Principe CarloJuan Hernandez124Ryan Hanson5-220,000
2Quick FinishUmberto Rispoli124Dan Blacker3-1
3Abusive GaryEdwin Maldonado122Vann Belvoir10-1
4Rookie MistakeMario Gutierrez121Doug F. O'Neill4-1
5Handsome CatJose Valdivia, Jr.119Steven Miyadi12-1
6Clayton DelaneyAbel Cedillo119Philip D'Amato12-1
7Pas de PaniqueFlavien Prat119Mark Glatt5-1
8Lightning FastAgapito Delgadillo119William Spawr8-1


1 Mile Turf. Purse: $41,000. Claiming. Fillies. 3 year olds. Claiming Prices $50,000-$45,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Awesome DriveUmberto Rispoli120Doug F. O'Neill9-250,000
2Lucia's DesignJuan Hernandez120Craig Anthony Lewis6-150,000
3NocherylikemycheryEdwin Maldonado120Mike Harrington15-150,000
4Sabinos PrideMario Gutierrez120Jorge Periban5-150,000
5White VelvetFlavien Prat120Hector O. Palma6-150,000
6Little Bird Ricardo Gonzalez120Richard Baltas5-250,000
7A G IndyAbel Cedillo120Mike Puype7-250,000
8Breakfast BallTiago Pereira118Paul G. Aguirre15-145,000


6 Furlongs. Purse: $100,000. 'I'm Smokin Stakes'. 2 year olds. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Alpine ThunderTiago Pereira120Jose Hernandez, Jr.12-1
2Jazz HandsGeovanni Franco122Edward R. Freeman15-1
3TacoflavoredkissesUmberto Rispoli122Simon Callaghan5-1
4PositivityDrayden Van Dyke124Patrick Gallagher7-2
5Good With PeopleAbel Cedillo122Peter Miller4-1
6Pappy BoyingtonRicardo Gonzalez122Steven Miyadi15-1
7Touchdown BrownJuan Hernandez122Rafael Becerra5-1
8Found My BallMario Gutierrez120Doug F. O'Neill6-1


5 Furlongs Turf. Purse: $28,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $50,000-$40,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Bella ChicaJose Valdivia, Jr.124Mike Puype6-150,000
2Queen StormbornMario Gutierrez121George Papaprodromou12-150,000
3Charming LifeHeriberto Figueroa124Sally Rivera20-150,000
4She Loves KaraokeJ.C. Diaz, Jr.121Adam Kitchingman12-150,000
5Sweet SonnyUmberto Rispoli121Brian J. Koriner7-250,000
6MulliganRicardo Gonzalez121Richard Baltas6-150,000
7Awesome GalaxyDrayden Van Dyke117Anthony K. Saavedra20-140,000
8Siena SilkFlavien Prat121Richard Baltas6-150,000
9Va Va VoomRuben Fuentes124Antonio Garcia8-150,000
10Cover VersionVictor Espinoza124James M. Cassidy5-150,000
11PomegranateEdwin Maldonado121Edwin Alvarez12-150,000
Also Eligible
12Kaely's CandyRicardo Gonzalez117Peter Miller5-140,000
13ChollimaJorge Velez117Lorenzo Ruiz20-140,000