Horse racing newsletter: Some odds and ends
Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome to our horse racing newsletter as we catch up on how Robby Albarado ended up on Swiss Skydiver in the Preakness.
As things go, this was a pretty uninteresting Indigenous People’s Day/Columbus Day around Southern California racing. It just didn’t feel like a holiday, but then again nothing feels like it should nowadays. The card at Santa Anita was, well, poor. There was no signature race, just a lone allowance, which we’ll get to later.
So, going in search of something interesting, I heard about this terrific Writers’ Room from Thoroughbred Daily News with Kenny McPeek, trainer of Swiss Skydiver. What made it good is he was dishing dirt. You can catch the video by clicking here. (There is also an audio only podcast.) The incendiary stuff starts at about 52:00-minute mark.
The quick background is that Tyler Gaffalione had ridden Swiss Skydiver and the thinking was he would ride him in the Preakness, especially after McPeek said that Gaffalione recommended that the Preakness would be a good move. Obviously, that didn’t happen and Robby Albarado got the mount.
“I announced that we’re going to run in the Preakness and Tyler was on board,” McPeek said on the podcast. “By maybe 6:00 that night, his agent tells us that he can’t ride. And I’m like, ‘Look, you’ve given us a two-race commitment [Kentucky Oaks and Preakness].’ He said, ‘Oh well, sorry, I’ve got to ride for Chad Brown at Keeneland.’ I said, ‘You can’t do this. It’s dishonorable.’ I’ve been doing this for 35 years and I’ve never had something like that happen. I still find it dishonorable. Shame on Tyler Gaffalione and his agent.”
Here’s where things get tricky. Both sides agree there was a two-race commitment, but which two races? Bill Finley of TDN did a follow up story after talking to Gaffalione’s agent, Matt Muzikar. You can read his story, just click here.
“Maybe two days after the Kentucky Oaks [McPeek] called me and said he didn’t know what the second race was going to be, that it was between the Spinster, the Preakness and the Queen Elizabeth,” Muzikar told Finley. “I told him that I needed to know as soon as possible. We talked again Saturday, nine days before the draw for the Preakness, and he told me she was going in the Spinster.”
With that information, Muzikar lined up Gaffalione to ride horses at Keeneland for a couple of trainers. Then McPeek announced Swiss Skydiver was going to the Preakness.
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“I called him and said, ‘What are you doing?’” Muzikar said. “He said, ‘Matt, we are running in the Preakness. Handle it.’ Then he hung up the phone. … What did he expect us to do? Not take business for the Preakness card or at Keeneland and sit there and wait for Kenny McPeek because the world revolves around him? Knocking me and the jockey, he crossed a line.”
Here’s guessing that whichever race Swiss Skydiver ends up running at the Breeders’ Cup, Gaffalione won’t be the jockey.
Speaking of jockeys
In Monday’s newsletter, during the stewards’ rulings, I said what the standard jockey fee would be based on the purse given the horse. I knew it varied wildly, but I made it way too simple, and wrong. I heard from several readers that while a jockey generally gets 10% for a win, they only get 5% for a second or third. The truth, though, is that some jockeys get placing guarantees regardless of where they finish. The top jockeys can get can more than 10% of purse. In short, it’s all negotiable. And, I’ll refrain from generalities, at least on this issue.
Gary Jones, RIP
Hall of Fame trainer Gary Jones died at Del Mar home at the age of 76 after a lengthy illness. He has been retired for a while but certainly left his imprint on Southern California racing. Take a read of Mike Willman’s tribute. Just click here.
--Do you enjoy watching the assistant starter at Santa Anita walk backward into the outside empty stall before the gates open as much as I do?
--Is it my imagination or does it always seem that there is a horse that stumbles at the break on the dirt portion of the 5 ½ furlong turf course at Santa Anita? (Although I didn’t see it happen on Monday.)
--After all these years, why is it we still lose the horses behind the scoreboard on the backstretch at Santa Anita? (I know I’ve mentioned it before, but if Los Alamitos can put a camera behind its quarter-horse loads, can’t Santa Anita find a solution?)
--If you go to the Santa Anita website, as I do a lot, and call up the program, did you ever wonder if those programs actually ever get printed?
Santa Anita review
Some days journalists deserve combat pay, and that’s what our own Mike Tierney deserved to go out to Monday’s undefined holiday card. Here were some of his observations.
“It was a pretty uneventful day. There were three scratches for an average field size of 6.0, thanks to a whopping nine-horse field in the last race. It’s gotta be one of smallest ever, without weather as factor, right?
“Jockey Ricardo Gonzalez had two wins. The sixth race feature, which was won by Little Juanito, who was off for 19 months before his last race. Monday was his second race in 20 ½ months. The seventh was won by Shady Empire, who was making their first start in 13 ½ months. The first and third races were won by first timers, so a good day for fresh horses, I reckon.”
Thanks for the report, Mike.
Filling in a few more details on the feature, a four-horse race for allowance horses going 5 ½ furlongs on the turf. Little Juanito’s winning margin was a half-a-length for trainer Victor Garcia. Little Juanito paid $11.80 and $4.80. There was no show betting. Mesuit was second followed by Grit and Curiosity and Calexman.
“He was very relaxed and he showed a lot of heart,” Gonzalez told Mike Willman of Santa Anita. “That other horse was coming, but he had enough left.”
A final thought
I love getting new readers of this newsletter, and you certainly can’t beat the price. If you like it, tell someone. If you don’t like it, you’re probably not reading this.
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Any thoughts, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also feed my ego by following me on Twitter @jcherwa.
Now, the stars of the show, Monday’s results. See you Friday.
Santa Anita Charts Results for Monday, October 12.
Copyright 2020 by Equibase Company. Reproduction prohibited. Santa Anita, Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, California. 12th day of a 18-day meet. Clear & Firm
5½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $55,000. Maiden Special Weight. Fillies. 2 year olds. Time 21.97 45.11 57.51 1:03.51
|4||Map to My Heart||122||3||4||2–1||2–½||3–½||5–¾||Valdivia, Jr.||1.80|
|8||I'm the Boss of Me||122||7||1||3–hd||4–1½||4–hd||6–1||Cedillo||13.40|
|$1 EXACTA (6-1)||$62.10|
|10-CENT SUPERFECTA (6-1-3-7)||$148.25|
|50-CENT TRIFECTA (6-1-3)||$169.50|
|$1 X-5 SUPER HIGH FIVE ( 6-1-3-7-4)||Carryover $1,592|
Winner–Plum Sexy B.f.2 by Munnings out of Purple Trillium, by Seeking the Gold. Bred by William D. Graham (ON). Trainer: Doug F. O'Neill. Owner: C T R Stables LLC (Calvert), Wonderland Racing Stables, Bambauer, Bob, Bambauer, Sheila and Rothblum. Mutuel Pool $104,500 Exacta Pool $53,980 Superfecta Pool $19,428 Trifecta Pool $34,833 X-5 Super High Five Pool $2,086. Scratched–Nurse Hardbody.
PLUM SEXY settled outside outside a rival on the backstretch, came out at the top of the lane, flew late and surged clear to win going away. FREEDOM FLYER drifted out early from the inside, set the pace under pressure from MAP TO MY HEART, cleared that rival around the turn and inched away into the stretch, drifted out near the eighth pole, failed to put up any resistance to the winner and stayed on to best the rest. HIGH CON in tight between foes early, settled off the pace, saved ground around the turn, moved off the rail a bit in the stretch and was along for the show. BRILLIANT CUT chased outside the top pair early then angled to the rail, remained inside to the stretch, lacked a response in the final furlong and lost the show. MAP TO MY HEART prompted the pace outside the leader, could not match strides around the turn and chased two wide then between into the stretch and weakened. I'M THE BOSS OF ME showed early speed from the far outside then dropped back to stalk the top pair, took the turn three wide and weakened in the drive. CUTETIP angled in early, trailed the field along the fence, moved into the two path around the turn, then angled out in the stretch but failed to make an impact.
1 Mile. Purse: $20,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $20,000. Time 23.23 46.92 1:12.63 1:25.88 1:39.67
|3||Tiz a Unicorn||120||3||2||2–1½||1–2½||1–5||1–5½||1–4¼||Gonzalez||5.30|
|3||TIZ A UNICORN||12.60||5.00||2.10|
|$2 DAILY DOUBLE (6-3)||$146.00|
|$1 EXACTA (3-1)||$17.90|
|50-CENT TRIFECTA (3-1-5)||$10.80|
Winner–Tiz a Unicorn B.f.3 by Tiz a Minister out of Bea's Cee, by Cee's Tizzy. Bred by Say Jay Racing, LLC (CA). Trainer: Richard Baltas. Owner: Sayjay Racing LLC. Mutuel Pool $77,775 Daily Double Pool $21,904 Exacta Pool $40,156 Trifecta Pool $36,898. Scratched–none.
TIZ A UNICORN pressed the pace outside early the cleared rival into the backstretch, set the pace two to three wide to the far turn, drew off in the two path around the turn, urged twice right-handed and remained well clear under hand urging. SUEZAAANA away quickly from inside, led early with company to the outside then lost command into the backstretch, chased along the inside then two wide into the stretch, could not make any headway on the winner late but proved second best. TRUE MISCHIEF bumped from the inside midway around the first turn, stalked off the rail then outside a rival, started to weaken nearing the quarter pole, tired in the lane but lasted for the show. TURKISH ANGEL off slow to begin, trailed the field to the far turn, went around MARIA'S ROYALTY on the bend and failed to threaten. MARIA'S ROYALTY shifted out and bumped rival on the first turn, tracked the pace near the inside, asked early on the far turn only to drop back and was eased into the stretch and through the lane and walked off following the race.
5½ Furlongs. Purse: $23,000. Maiden Claiming. 2 year olds. Claiming Price $32,000. Time 22.16 45.71 57.86 1:04.39
|1||From the Get Go||122||1||4||4–3||4–5||3–2||2–7½||Velez||3.40|
|1||FROM THE GET GO||4.40||3.00|
|$2 DAILY DOUBLE (3-4)||$65.80|
|$1 EXACTA (4-1)||$17.30|
|50-CENT TRIFECTA (4-1-2)||$27.95|
Winner–Uncle Boogie Dbb.c.2 by Ride On Curlin out of Rated Xtreme, by Magna Graduate. Bred by Pinky Mendoza (FL). Trainer: Andrew Lerner. Owner: Eric Homme. Mutuel Pool $93,168 Daily Double Pool $8,853 Exacta Pool $47,754 Trifecta Pool $31,461. Scratched–none.
50-Cent Pick Three (6-3-4) paid $164.20. Pick Three Pool $23,249.
UNCLE BOOGIE off a bit slow to begin, allowed to settle then closed in up the backstretch, bid outside the leader at the five-sixteenths, took a short lead at the quarter pole and drew off under right-handed urging then geared down nearing the wire. FROM THE GET GO tracked off the rail early, went two to three wide around the turn, summoned a mild rally and gained the place. STONE'S RIVER chased the speed from inside to the lane, steered out past the eighth pole and weakened. EMPEROR'S FISC lacked early speed, trailed the field to the stretch and was never a factor. SUPERDUTY JUSTICE sped to the front, crossed over to the inside, led a bit off the rail into the turn, headed at the quarter pole, could not go on with the winner and retreated through the drive.
5½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $55,000. Maiden Special Weight. Fillies. 2 year olds. Time 22.44 45.35 57.13 1:03.36
|2||You're All Talk||122||2||6||8||8||8||8||Gonzalez||26.80|
|$2 DAILY DOUBLE (4-9)||$14.20|
|$1 EXACTA (9-7)||$5.70|
|10-CENT SUPERFECTA (9-7-4-5)||$21.23|
|$1 SUPER HIGH FIVE (9-7-4-5-3)||$673.70|
|50-CENT TRIFECTA (9-7-4)||$22.10|
Winner–Astute Ch.f.2 by Speightstown out of Discerning, by Langfuhr. Bred by WinStar Farm, LLC (KY). Trainer: Richard E. Mandella. Owner: LNJ Foxwoods. Mutuel Pool $148,366 Daily Double Pool $20,667 Exacta Pool $84,051 Superfecta Pool $35,761 Super High Five Pool $4,094 Trifecta Pool $55,144. Scratched–Oscarette.
50-Cent Pick Three (3-4-9) paid $40.65. Pick Three Pool $14,848.
ASTUTE off alertly from the far outside, took control early then moved clear, crossed over to the inside, saved ground into the lane, hand urged in the drive while shown the whip left-handed and held off the runner-up. EVOO settled outside a rival, angled out into the stretch then angled inward past the eighth pole, surged late but could not get by. MAGICAL THOUGHT chased the pace from inside, cut the corner into the stretch and finished willingly for the show honors. KATERINI raced outside a rival while in range of the leader, went two wide into the stretch, drifted out through the lane and weakened. PHILLY LISHES steadied when bothered by outside rival early, tracked two wide then along the inside, came a bit off the rail into the stretch and lacked a rally. DORITA'S HAPPY stalked off the rail, went two wide around the turn then came out a bit into the stretch never responded when asked. CHEVELITA stumbled a bit at the start, angled outside a rival early, traveled two to three wide around the turn, angled out in the stretch and never made an impact. YOU'RE ALL TALK saved ground around the turn and was never a factor.
1 Mile. Purse: $18,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $12,500. Time 22.88 46.31 1:11.32 1:24.39 1:37.67
|2||Little No Way||124||2||1||4–hd||5||4–6½||2–2½||2–5¼||Cedillo||5.10|
|2||LITTLE NO WAY||3.60||2.60|
|$2 DAILY DOUBLE (9-5)||$7.20|
|$1 EXACTA (5-2)||$5.60|
|50-CENT TRIFECTA (5-2-1)||$15.95|
Winner–Colosi B.g.5 by City Zip out of Accept, by Good Reward. Bred by Tracy Farmer (KY). Trainer: Doug F. O'Neill. Owner: R3 Racing LLC and Calara Farms. Mutuel Pool $143,543 Daily Double Pool $15,587 Exacta Pool $67,552 Trifecta Pool $47,521. Claimed–Colosi by Agnew, Dan J. and Cohen, Mark L. Trainer: Mark Glatt. Scratched–none.
50-Cent Pick Three (4-9-5) paid $10.90. Pick Three Pool $44,491. 50-Cent Pick Four (3-4-9-5) 1029 tickets with 4 correct paid $98.60. Pick Four Pool $132,948. 50-Cent Pick Five (6-3-4-9-5) 161 tickets with 5 correct paid $1,791.45. Pick Five Pool $334,836.
COLOSI went five wide around the first turn, tracked well off the rail up the backstretch, entered the far turn four wide then bid outside the top pair three deep or three wide, cleared both rivals entering the stretch, responded when asked in the lane and held the runner-up at bay. LITTLE NO WAY settled early, raced along the inside into the far turn, angled four wide leaving the bend, rallied outside but was not enough to overtake the winner. LEAD STAR hustled early from inside, set the pace up the backstretch, pressured into the far turn, vied with a pair of rivals around the bend, could not go on with the winner leaving the turn but kept on for the show. PAIGE RUNNER stalked the leader early then pressed from outside at the five-eighths, lost contact again and chased before challenging again near the seven-sixteenths pole, vied between rivals around the far turn, chased the winner into the lane and weakened. CAYMANS COBRA stalked outside a rival, dropped back on the far turn, was eased through the lane and walked off.
5½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $59,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $62,500. Time 22.39 44.90 56.27 1:02.24
|2||Grit and Curiosity||124||1||3||4||3–hd||3–hd||3–2¾||Hernandez||0.70|
|2||GRIT AND CURIOSITY|
|$2 DAILY DOUBLE (5-3)||$17.20|
|$1 EXACTA (3-4)||$18.60|
|50-CENT TRIFECTA (3-4-2)||$14.80|
Winner–Little Juanito Grr.g.6 by Exchange Rate out of More Than Proud, by More Than Ready. Bred by D.J. Stable (KY). Trainer: Victor L. Garcia. Owner: Juan J. Garcia. Mutuel Pool $101,502 Daily Double Pool $19,391 Exacta Pool $41,416 Trifecta Pool $19,332. Scratched–Tilted Towers.
50-Cent Pick Three (9-5-3) paid $16.45. Pick Three Pool $29,278.
LITTLE JUANITO dueled for command from inside, cleared CALEXMAN into the stretch, put to right-handed urging and held gamely to the wire. MESUT off a bit slow to begin, chased outside a rival then moved three wide leaving the turn, raced three deep in drive, brushed with inside rival past the eighth pole, closed outside the leader but lacked the needed late punch. GRIT AND CURIOSITY chased from inside into and around the turn, cut the corner into the stretch, tipped out in the lane and finished willingly but was outkicked by the top pair. CALEXMAN dueled for the lead from the outside, shifted in near the half-mile pole, continued to contest the pace two wide into and around the turn, failed to keep up with the winner and chased two wide into the lane, raced between rivals in the stretch, brushed with outside rival and steadied past the eighth pole, then weakened in the late stages.
6 Furlongs. Purse: $35,000. Claiming. 3 year olds. Claiming Price $32,000. Time 22.36 45.45 57.65 1:10.50
|$2 DAILY DOUBLE (3-5)||$63.60|
|$1 EXACTA (5-1)||$36.60|
|50-CENT TRIFECTA (5-1-3)||$36.20|
Winner–Shady Empire Dbb.g.3 by Empire Way out of River Kiss, by Awesome Gambler. Bred by Terry C. Lovingier (CA). Trainer: Jeff Bonde. Owner: Brown, Jr., Edward J., Brown, Debi and Lovingier, Terry C.. Mutuel Pool $114,122 Daily Double Pool $13,933 Exacta Pool $55,484 Trifecta Pool $39,592. Scratched–none.
50-Cent Pick Three (5-3-5) paid $66.20. Pick Three Pool $19,657.
SHADY EMPIRE broke in and bumped rival at the start, sped to the front and set the pace outside of UNCAPTURED HERO, inched away around the turn only to be challenged once again from that same foe in the lane, responded to urging and edged away in the late stages. UNCAPTURED HERO pressed the pace from inside, chased the leader into the stretch then re-bid along the fence in the drive but flattened in the closing moments. CARPE VICTORIAM pinballed between rivals at the start, raced up close outside the top pair, went three wide around the turn and kept on for a clear third. RACE HOME bumped both sides at the start, chased outside a trio of rivals, came off the turn four wide and weakened. PRESS BRIEFING bumped leaving the gate, chased in the two path into the turn, remained a bit off the rail into the stretch and weakened.
1 Mile Turf. Purse: $32,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $50,000. Time 23.20 46.63 1:10.64 1:22.47 1:34.62
|9||Most Sandisfactory||120||9||3||2–1½||2–2||2–2½||2–4½||2–2½||T Baze||5.70|
|5||Afleeting Life||124||5||7||7–hd||7–1||7–2||6–hd||6–hd||Valdivia, Jr.||3.80|
|$2 DAILY DOUBLE (5-8)||$53.80|
|$1 EXACTA (8-9)||$13.30|
|10-CENT SUPERFECTA (8-9-2-1)||$25.27|
|$1 SUPER HIGH FIVE (8-9-2-1-3)||$2,059.00|
|50-CENT TRIFECTA (8-9-2)||$36.35|
Winner–Invictatatus B.g.4 by Strong Mandate out of Rutledge Ballado, by Saint Ballado. Bred by Three Chimneys Farm, LLC (KY). Trainer: Vladimir Cerin. Owner: Wilson, Holly and David. Mutuel Pool $206,367 Daily Double Pool $70,152 Exacta Pool $128,864 Superfecta Pool $68,987 Super High Five Pool $10,792 Trifecta Pool $109,572. Claimed–Invictatatus by Cannon, Robert T., Goodwin, Kelley and Goodwin, Tim. Trainer: Alfredo Marquez. Scratched–none.
50-Cent Pick Three (3-5-8) paid $103.90. Pick Three Pool $66,181. 50-Cent Pick Four (5-3-5-8) 702 tickets with 4 correct paid $261.55. Pick Four Pool $240,737. 50-Cent Pick Five (9-5-3-5-8) 375 tickets with 5 correct paid $711.85. Pick Five Pool $349,774. 20-Cent Pick Six Jackpot (4-9-5-3-5-8) 46 tickets with 6 correct paid $1,482.10. Pick Six Jackpot Pool $126,953. Pick Six Jackpot Carryover $364,454.
INVICTATATUS quickest early and angled to the inside, set the pace inside, dueled with MOST SANDISFACTORY through the far turn and down the stretch, battled to the wire and would not be denied. MOST SANDISFACTORY up close outside the leader then pressed the issue, dueled with INVICTATATUS around the second turn and through the lane, fought gamely to the wire but could not get by the winner. SILENT MUSKETIER away quickly at the start then stalked from inside, raced a bit off the rail into the stretch and finished a clear third. FIRE POLISH off a bit slow to begin, pulled from inside nearing the first turn, tracked along the rail then a bit off the inside in the stretch and kept on for a minor award. WHISPERING FLAME settled off the pace along the inside, saved ground into the lane, drifted out a bit while the rider tried to correct and could not rally in the late stages. AFLEETING LIFE unhurried in the early going, traveled two wide then between rivals, asked around the far turn but lacked further response. VEGAS MOON stalked in the two path then outside a rival, came three wide into the stretch and never rallied. MIDNIGHT LUCK unhurried in the beginning, floated out by rival into the first turn and went four wide around the bend, remained off the inside then angled in on the second turn and proved no menace. MALIBU PRINCE shifted out entering the first turn, chased off the rail throughout and had little left for the drive.
|Out of State||N/A||$3,478,175|
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