Horse racing newsletter: Del Mar starts its fall meeting
Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter, as we get through the weekend before the Breeders’ Cup. In other words, nothing to see here, move along.
Del Mar finishes its race year with a 15-day race meeting that goes until the end of November. Racing will be Friday, Saturday and Sunday except for this week and Thanksgiving week, when a Thursday card is added. The track will have a more sensible 12:30 p.m. start (except Thanksgiving), so racing the sunset most days shouldn’t be as big of a problem. Although, remember to “fall back” on Sunday as we go back to standard time, which is less of the year than daylight saving time. Shouldn’t standard time be longer than saving time?
Anyway, here are the graded stakes:
Nov. 15 — Grade 3 $100,000 Bob Hope Stakes, 2-year-olds, 7 furlongs.
Nov. 21 — Grade 3 $100,000 Native Diver Stakes, 3 and up, 1 1/8 miles.
Nov. 26 — Grade 3 $100,000 Handicap, 3 and up, 1 3/8 miles on turf.
Nov. 27 — Grade 2 $200,000 Hollywood Turf Cup, 3 and up, 1 ½ miles on turf.
Nov. 28 — Grade 1 $300,000 Hollywood Derby, 3-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles on turf.
Nov. 28 — Grade 2 $200,000 Sea Biscuit Handicap, 3 and up, 1 1/16 miles on turf.
Nov. 28 — Grade 3 $100,000 Jimmy Durante Stakes, fillies 2-years-old, 1 mile on turf.
Nov. 29 — Grade 1 $300,000 Matriarch Stakes, fillies and mares 3 and up, 1 mile on turf.
Nov. 29 — Grade 3 $100,000 Cecille B. DeMille Stakes, 2-year-olds, 1 mile on turf.
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Justify, Hoppertunity hearings
On Thursday, the California Horse Racing Board held concurrent hearings for the possible disqualifications of Justify in the 2018 Santa Anita Derby and Hoppertunity in the Tokyo City Cup at Santa Anita. It was available to watch on a web feed provided by the CHRB. The hearing was part of a settlement of a lawsuit against the CHRB brought by Mick Ruis, owner and trainer of second place finisher Bolt d’Oro in the Santa Anita Derby.
What’s at stake is purse money and for Justify losing the distinction of being the only Triple Crown winner to retire undefeated. Trainer Bob Baffert wasn’t charged as it was clear that the drug positives were the result of contamination in the feed with jimson weed, which contains the prohibited scopolamine.
My takeaway of the 4-hour-plus hearing (admittedly, I drifted in and out of it) was that there was nothing new. Dr. Rick Arthur, equine medical director of the CHRB, strongly defended the decision that no action should have been taken. The attorney for the CHRB seemed intent on protecting the secrecy of the closed-door meeting held by the board a couple years ago. In this self-proclaimed era of transparency, the CHRB attorneys continue to try to protect communications by the board and CHRB employees. (Yes, this not a new topic for the newsletter.)
So, what’s going to happen? I don’t know. But here seems to be what the stewards’ decision will hinge on. Should mitigating circumstances, in which a trainer had no control, overrule the fact that a rule is a rule and the horse tested positive?
I’m predicting a majority decision, not unanimous. The winner? Got a coin to flip?
Del Mar preview
Opening day of the fall meet at Del Mar with a 12:30 p.m. post and nine races. Five of the races are on the turf. There is a lower-level stakes as the feature, the $75,000 Kathryn Crosby Stakes for fillies and mares going a mile on the turf. Cordiality is the 7-2 favorite for trainer Tim Yakteen and jockey Drayden Van Dyke. She’s coming off a win in the Swingtime Stakes and Santa Anita under the same conditions. This 7-year-old mare has won 12 of her 33 lifetime races and is two of four this year. The second favorite, at 4-1, is Colonial Creed for Richard Baltas and Mario Gutierrez. She has never won on the stakes level and was third in the Swingtime. Gutierrez is taking over the ride from Flavien Prat, who’s to ride Proud Emma at 8-1. Colonial Creed has won three-of-12 lifetime.
Here are the field sizes, in order: 7, 6, 7,6, 8, 10, 8, 7, 10.
Bob Ike’s DMr pick of the day
SEVENTH RACE: No. 2 Never Be Enough (5-1)
Win type from the Manuel Badilla stable returns from Golden Gate after two more synthetic wins to try the Del Mar turf course again. Back in July going 1 3/8 miles on grass, ‘Enough made an early move and paid the price late while going a distance that is likely too far for her. She loves the mile distance and should get a great trip sitting behind an abundance of early speed while drawn well inside. Good gamble in a very competitive race from top to bottom.
Bob Ike is a Partner/VP of Horsebills.com (here’s a video) and the proprietor of BobIkePicks.com (full-card picks, 3 Best Plays and betting strategy).
Ciaran Thornton’s DMr pick of the day
SIXTH RACE: No. 9 Cozy Bear (8-1)
Cozy Bear has Umberto Rispoli riding for the first time Saturday, a profitable betting strategy since Rispoli arrived in the U.S. in December from Italy. ‘Cozy ran a closing second in the last race and on the gallop out past the finish line passed the run away, geared down, winner. In that race, at 6 ½ furlongs, the odds-on winner Wedding Groom was never going to get beaten. ‘Cozy, however, came from far back to pass four horses to run second. Wedding Groom was ridden by Rispoli that day and is entered in race eight Saturday with odds of 6-1. I am also betting that horse as well. Cozy Bear’s trainer Ryan Hanson has won three of his six races in the last two weeks. The 8-1 morning line is a very nice value for us today.
Ciaran Thornton is the handicapper for Californiapick4.com, which offers daily full card picks, longshots of the day, best bets of the day.
Golden Gate weekend preview
Here’s our weekly look at the best racing going on at Golden Gate Fields. We’re delighted to have race caller and all-around good guy Matt Dinerman as our host for previews and other musings. So, take it away, Matt.
“A mix of Northern California locals and Southern California invaders makes for an interesting edition of the Pike Place Dancer Stakes on Saturday afternoon at Golden Gate Fields. The Pike Place Dancer, the first of 10 stakes at the current meet, is a one-mile turf event for 2-year-old fillies.
“The two headliners: Southern California-trained Consternation and local filly I’m So Anna. Consternation, purchased out of her career debut in Ireland, comes off a seventh-place finish in the Surfer Girl Stakes at Santa Anita. Two starts ago, Consternation broke her maiden at Santa Anita. Julien Couton rides for trainer Paddy Gallagher. I’m So Anna, a California-bred trained by Steve Sherman, showed she could be effective going a route on Oct. 11, when she stalked the pace before losing by a half-length to stakes placed colt Tacoflavoredkisses.
“Other in the Pike Place Dancer: Southern California maiden Sweetest Angel, the Jonathan Wong-trained Mischief Free, five-length maiden winner Risen Lady for trainer Michael McCarthy and three others.
“On Sunday, the feature is the $75,000 El Dorado Shooter Stakes for California-bred or -sired 3-year-olds and upward. The morning-line favorite, 8-5 shot Baja Sur, won the Oakland Stakes last year and earned a triple-digit Beyer speed figure. Trained by Blaine Wright, Baja Sur was last seen running fourth in the California Flag Handicap at Santa Anita. That said, he stumbled badly at the start, losing all chance, and was still able to finish the race with good energy.
“The 2-1 second morning-line choice, No Longer Silent, raised eyebrows and dropped jaws in his last start on Sept. 26 when breaking the track record sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs, stopping the clock in 1:01.93 seconds while earning a career-high 93 Beyer.
“Multiple 2-year-old stakes winner Bettor Trip Nick makes his first start off a layoff and moves to the barn of trainer Quinn Howey in the El Dorado Shooter. Shipper Ultimate Bango, conditioned by Mark Glatt, finished second behind Galilean in the California Flag. Local veteran Frank Alvarado picks up the mount. Square Deal, a sharp starter allowance winner from the Steve Specht stable, rounds out the group. The 2019 I’m Smokin Stakes winner comes off a six-furlong victory in which he earned a career best Beyer (87).”
Big races preview
A look at thoroughbred graded stakes or races worth $100,000 or more on Saturday. All times PST.
11:34 Mahoning Valley (6): $100,000 Juvenile Stakes, Ohio-bred 2-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles. Favorite: Uptown (9-5)
12:02 Mahoning Valley (7): $100,000 John W. Galbreath Stakes, Ohio-bred fillies 2-years-old, 1 1/16 miles. Favorite: Alexandria (6-5)
12:10 Woodbine (5): $126,800 maiden special weight, fillies 2-years-old, 1 mile on turf. Favorite: Mrs Frankel (2-1)
12:30 Mahoning Valley (8): $100,000 Best of Ohio Sprint Stakes, Ohio-breds 3 and up, 6 furlongs. Favorite: Altissimo (5-2)
12:58 Mahoning Valley (9): $100,000 Best of Ohio Distaff Stakes, Ohio-bred fillies and mares 3 and up, 1 1/8 miles. Favorite: Moonlit Mission (9-5)
1:26 Mahoning Valley (10): $100,000 Best of Ohio Endurance Stakes, Ohio-breds 3 and up, 1 ¼ miles. Favorite: Forewarned (8-5)
1:44 Woodbine (8): $100,000 Overskate Stakes, Can-bred 3 and up, 7 ½ furlongs on turf. Favorite: Not So Quiet (9-5)
1:57 Belmont (9): Grade 3 $100,000 Bold Ruler Handicap, 3 and up, 7 furlongs. Favorite: Phat Man (2-1)
2:15 Woodbine (9): $250,000 Princess Elizabeth Stakes, Can-bred fillies, 2-years-old, 1 1/16 miles. Favorite: Dreaming of Drew (7-5)
3:20 Woodbine (11): $101,200 allowance, fillies and mares 3 and up, 5 furlongs on turf. Favorite: Ishiyaya (3-1)
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.
“The $20,000 Trick Or Treat Handicap at 870 yards will highlight the Saturday night card. There are eight races with a 6 p.m. post. The Trick Or Treat is the eighth and final race and is led by Ballast Point, who has been the dominant quarter horse at 870 yards the past two years. Earlier this year, Ballast Point posted the fastest time at 870 yards seen at Los Alamitos since 2006. Ballast Point has tried straightaway stakes but he excels at 870 yards. He is the 4-5 morning-line favorite. Also, worth watching is Coronas Big Flash, who is in the fifth race allowance at 330 yards, making his first start since finishing fourth in the Grade 1 Ed Burke Million Futurity on June 21.
“The second of the meet’s four races with million-dollar purses will be Sunday night when a terrific lineup of 10 juveniles in the $1,104,550 Golden State Million Futurity at 400 yards. First post for the eight-race program is 5:15 p.m. with the Golden State Million scheduled for 8:31 p.m.
“The purse for the Golden State Million is the most since 2012 and the seventh richest in the 51-year history of the race. Los Alamitos’ other million-dollar races are the Ed Burke Million (mid-June), next Sunday’s $1,052,350 Los Alamitos Super Derby and the Dec. 13 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity, California’s richest horse race of any breed in 2020.
“Favorite Doc is the 7-5 morning line favorite after his spectacular 3½-length victory in the Golden State trials on Oct. 18. The $102,000 purchase at the Los Alamitos Equine Sale flew out of the gate from post number five and had a two-length lead after the first 150 yards. He continued to open up and crossed the wire in :19.46 - 14/100ths of a second faster than the next fastest time, which was :19.60 posted by Apollitical Patty. Can the gelding repeat such an impressive effort? That will be the big question heading into the Golden State Million final. Jose Nicasio will pilot the half-brother of 2019 AQHA World Champion He Looks Hot from post number five. Monty Arrossa will saddle the Ed Allred-bred Favorite Doc.
“Arrossa also trains Apollitical Patty, who won her trial by a length over a field that included two other Golden State finalists in Counting The Ways and Aint She Tempting. The Apollitical Blood filly has won four of her five career starts with her only setback being a second-place finish in the Los Alamitos Juvenile final. “We later found out she had a kidney infection,” Arrossa said.
“Half of the Golden State field made their Los Alamitos debuts in the Golden State Million trials, including three from trainer Eddie Willis. Two of those — Apollitical Gold and HR Princess Jess — won their respective Golden State trials after running in the 440-yard Grade 1 All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs. Apollitical Gold finished third to the undefeated filly Whistle Stop Cafe in the All American final. The gelding by Apollitical Jess has hit the board in all six of his career starts. Justine Klaiber, who is enjoying the best year of her five-year career with 68 quarter horse wins and nearly $1 million in earnings, will ride Apollitical Gold from post seven. She is looking to become the first woman jockey to win the Golden State Million.”
Chris Wade’s LA pick of the day
FOURHT RACE: No. 7 Hangar 24 (7-2)
This talented sophomore goes to new connections who do well with runners of this ilk and the gelding draws the perfect outside post for his style of racing Saturday. He’s also posted many competitive figures when you factor in trouble during his race and the track variant. I expect Hangar 24 will have a better getaway Saturday from the outside post, so I believe he’ll break with the field and be a contender for all the board placing at a medium mutuel.
A final thought
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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 star of the show, Saturday’s entries.
Del Mar Entries for Saturday, October 31.
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; 50-cent Pick 6 last 6 races; $1 Place Pick All; $1 Super High Five last race. Trifecta needs 4 betting interests; Superfecta needs 6. 1st day of a 15-day meet.
1 1/16 Mile Turf. Purse: $35,000. Starter Optional Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $50,000.
|1||Mr Right Now||Alexis Centeno||113||Ryan Bratcher||12-1|
|2||Invictatatus||Umberto Rispoli||124||Alfredo P. Marquez||4-1|
|3||Armour Plate||Flavien Prat||122||Peter Miller||5-2|
|4||Alvaaro||Abel Cedillo||122||Robert B. Hess, Jr.||4-1|
|5||Carmelita's Man||Juan Hernandez||122||Dean Pederson||7-2|
|6||Hoop Dream||Edwin Maldonado||122||David Bernstein||7-2|
|7||Jack Sprout||Tiago Pereira||120||Luis Mendez||10-1|
1 Mile. Purse: $20,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $20,000.
|1||Gambini||Jessica Pyfer||112||Jeff Mullins||3-1||20,000|
|2||Derby War||Eswan Flores||122||Ruben Gomez||20-1||20,000|
|3||Time to Testify||Alexis Centeno||115||Doug F. O'Neill||2-1||20,000|
|4||Afleeting Life||Jose Valdivia, Jr.||124||Joshua M. Litt||5-2||20,000|
|5||Malibu Prince||Ricardo Gonzalez||122||Richard Baltas||5-1||20,000|
|6||Mongol Altai||Edwin Maldonado||122||Enebish Ganbat||7-2||20,000|
1 Mile Turf. Purse: $57,000. Maiden Special Weight. 3 year olds and up. State bred.
|1||Square Root||Mario Gutierrez||122||Doug F. O'Neill||10-1|
|2||One Fast Bro||Tiago Pereira||122||Shelbe Ruis||3-1|
|3||Trevor T||Umberto Rispoli||124||Patrick Gallagher||2-1|
|4||Cool Your Jets||Juan Hernandez||124||Shelbe Ruis||5-1|
|5||Luvluv||Flavien Prat||122||John W. Sadler||4-1|
|6||Ultimate Mystery||Tyler Baze||124||Vann Belvoir||20-1|
|7||Mamba Cool||Abel Cedillo||122||Philip D'Amato||4-1|
6 Furlongs. Purse: $36,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $32,000-$28,000.
|1||Sweet River Baines||Tiago Pereira||120||Tim McCanna||4-1||32,000|
|2||Tobacco Road||Alexis Centeno||113||Paul G. Aguirre||8-1||32,000|
|3||Captain Scotty||Abel Cedillo||118||Peter Miller||7-2||28,000|
|4||Whatwasithinking||Edwin Maldonado||120||Steve Knapp||6-1||32,000|
|5||Lionite||Flavien Prat||120||Tim Yakteen||5-2||32,000|
|6||Horse Greedy||Juan Hernandez||120||John W. Sadler||2-1||32,000|
1 Mile Turf. Purse: $59,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. Fillies. 3 year olds. Claiming Price $80,000.
|1||Annangel||Juan Hernandez||120||Richard Baltas||5-1|
|2||Beguiled||Flavien Prat||120||Philip D'Amato||4-1|
|3||Lady Noguez||Victor Espinoza||120||Vladimir Cerin||6-1||80,000|
|4||Go Big Blue Nation||Tiago Pereira||120||Michael W. McCarthy||15-1||80,000|
|5||Over Attracted||Umberto Rispoli||120||John W. Sadler||3-1|
|6||Frose||Mario Gutierrez||120||George Papaprodromou||8-1|
|7||Avenue de France||Drayden Van Dyke||120||Leonard Powell||7-2||80,000|
|8||Loud Loud Music||Abel Cedillo||120||Steven Miyadi||6-1||80,000|
5½ Furlongs. Purse: $31,000. Maiden Claiming. 2 year olds. Claiming Price $50,000. State bred.
|1||Cridge||Ricardo Gonzalez||122||Art Sherman||15-1||50,000|
|2||Shimmer Me Timbers||Abel Cedillo||122||Andrew Lerner||6-1||50,000|
|3||From the Get Go||Alexis Centeno||115||Luis Mendez||3-1||50,000|
|4||Runaway Wywy||Eswan Flores||122||Edwin Alvarez||20-1||50,000|
|5||Paisano||Juan Hernandez||122||Robert B. Hess, Jr.||10-1||50,000|
|6||Broken Finger||J.C. Diaz, Jr.||122||Rafael DeLeon||8-1||50,000|
|7||Intense||Tyler Baze||122||Walther Solis||4-1||50,000|
|8||Gates of Heaven||Assael Espinoza||122||Shelbe Ruis||5-2||50,000|
|9||Cozy Bear||Umberto Rispoli||122||Ryan Hanson||8-1||50,000|
|10||Theluteismine||Flavien Prat||122||Peter Miller||7-2||50,000|
|11||Cojo||Edwin Maldonado||122||Jeff Bonde||10-1||50,000|
|12||Detective Bernardo||Tiago Pereira||122||Edwin Alvarez||20-1||50,000|
|13||Chief Jackson||Aaron Gryder||122||Jeff Bonde||12-1||50,000|
1 Mile Turf. Purse: $75,000. 'Kathryn Crosby Stakes'. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up.
|1||Ellie Arroway||Victor Espinoza||121||John W. Sadler||8-1|
|2||Never Be Enough||Tiago Pereira||121||Manuel Badilla||5-1|
|3||Proud Emma||Flavien Prat||121||Peter Miller||8-1|
|4||She's Our Charm||Juan Hernandez||121||Ronald L. McAnally||5-1|
|5||Muchly||Umberto Rispoli||121||Simon Callaghan||5-1|
|6||Cordiality||Drayden Van Dyke||123||Tim Yakteen||7-2|
|7||Qahira||Abel Cedillo||121||Bob Baffert||5-1|
|8||Colonial Creed||Mario Gutierrez||121||Richard Baltas||4-1|
5½ Furlongs. Purse: $35,000. Starter Optional Claiming. 2 year olds. Claiming Price $50,000.
|1||Mister Bold||Mike Smith||123||Jeff Bonde||7-2|
|2||Uncle Boogie||Abel Cedillo||123||Andrew Lerner||2-1|
|3||Wedding Groom||Umberto Rispoli||123||Sal Gonzalez||6-1|
|4||Swift as I Am||Flavien Prat||120||John W. Sadler||3-1|
|5||Pappy Boyington||Tyler Baze||120||Steven Miyadi||5-1||50,000|
|6||C'Mon Jenna||Juan Hernandez||120||Robert B. Hess, Jr.||8-1|
|7||Lucky Rocket||Eswan Flores||123||Kenneth D. Black||12-1||50,000|
1 Mile Turf. Purse: $57,000. Maiden Special Weight. 2 year olds.
|1||The Great One||Abel Cedillo||120||Doug F. O'Neill||4-1|
|2||Ivory Sky||Alexis Centeno||113||Ruben Gomez||30-1|
|3||Petruchio||Flavien Prat||120||Richard E. Mandella||9-5|
|4||Mount Pelliar||Ricardo Gonzalez||120||Ryan Hanson||8-1|
|5||Drivehappy||Aaron Gryder||120||Jeff Bonde||12-1|
|6||Airman||Drayden Van Dyke||120||John A. Shirreffs||8-1|
|7||K P Aim High||Tyler Baze||120||Jeff Mullins||8-1|
|8||Capper||Tiago Pereira||120||Peter Eurton||20-1|
|9||Heliochrome||Juan Hernandez||120||Jeff Bonde||4-1|
|10||El Joy||J.C. Diaz, Jr.||120||Eoin G. Harty||30-1|
|11||Got Curly||Mario Gutierrez||120||Philip A. Oviedo||12-1|
|12||Du Jour||Mike Smith||120||Bob Baffert||6-1|
|13||Oncoming||Umberto Rispoli||120||David E. Hofmans||5-1|
|14||Bolu||Victor Espinoza||120||J. Keith Desormeaux||12-1|
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