Horse racing newsletter: Happy Thanksgiving!

Horses take off from the starting gate at Del Mar.
(Hayne Palmour IV / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome to our horse racing newsletter as we turn this space over to you, the readers.

Thanksgiving is traditionally the earliest start of the year for most tracks. And, Del Mar is sticking to that with an 11 a.m. first post. The thinking is that all the workers can do their job and go home to their family for a big holiday meal. Problem this year is there aren’t a lot of workers at the tracks as the facilities are mostly closed to fans.

And this is the day that I give thanks to all of you for sticking with this newsletter. We’ve grown a lot since we started on Sept. 29, 2017 and we haven’t raised the price once. And, where else an you get full charts for free?

So, I asked what you, the readers, what you are thankful for. I got a lot of responses, which means some of you will not see your response. I asked for no more than two sentences, so some of you got excluded if you went on too long. Some of you said the same thing that others did, so in those cases, I usually picked the first one to hit the mailbox. Still, even if I didn’t use your thought, thanks for sending it along.

The floor belongs to you.

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We are to be thankful that for having racing continue strong during this uncertain time. Thankful for the men and women who put the show on everyday who for the most part are forgotten.
--Joe Carr

I’m thankful for Tampa Bay Downs, Will Rogers and Fonner Park for keeping racing going on traditionally “dark” days during the pandemic, keeping life from getting even darker while we were all shut in.
--Dave Caspole

I’m thankful that we had any racing at all.
--Debra Gilbert

I am grateful for horse racing and the horses I have owned who ran as well as those who won, and for those we retired to Carma which have had beautiful new journeys.
--Karen Spoor

I am thankful that I have resisted the occasional temptation to bet TVG picks.
--Craig Campbell

I am very thankful for FOX Sports channel’s fantastic horse racing coverage.
--Shelby Neal

I’m thankful for the heartfelt privilege I felt in watching Oaklawn’s final race of the meet, when during the post parade all horses, jockeys and outriders stopped in the middle of parade, turned to the empty grandstand and in a surreal moment, posed in silent reverence and salute to the Oaklawn racing community and fans.
--Steven Everett

I am thankful that all the jockeys that got COVID-19 have recovered, without them there would be no racing.
--Paul Fernandez

I am grateful for all the ways to enjoy the sport even if we can’t get to the track. Podcasts, e-newsletters (yours in particular), the betting apps, diverse television coverage, and more.
--Brad Umansky

I am thankful for free past performances on TVG and Xpressbet.
--Steve Kerrigan

“I’m thankful for Acacia, Meghan and the “Mig” for their excellent paddock and pre-race warm up observations. After over 50 years of loving horse racing their love of the sport and keen observations are welcome, informative and profitable.
--Steve Swineford

It’s wonderful that in this COVID shutdown, people recognized how important it is to care for horses by exercising and allowed the industry to keep racing going. This helped the horses of course, but also the employees at tracks etc., and it also helped fans who were shut in homes to watch and experience the outside world thru the beauty of the horses running down the tracks.
--Lois Cigavic

I’m thankful for American racing running the Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup races under such trying circumstances, and for taking Covid seriously while operating.
--James Higgins

I am thankful for all of the ADW companies. Where in the world would this sport be without them?
--Larry Kerr

I realized this year, more than ever, I love horse racing because it keeps me connected to my father and my brother, both of whom are 1000s of miles away from me. Although I will not be able to see either of them this year, I will cherish the racing memories we shared in 2020.
--Michael O’Sullivan

I am thankful for trainers Phil D’Amato, Andy Mathis and Dan Blacker who take the time to communicate with me even though I only have one or two horses with them. I am thankful for Gary Fenton at Little Red Feather who I enjoy talking to about all things horse racing.
--Larry Goldman

I am thankful for all the efforts that have been employed by everyone behind the scenes to keep horse racing going under extremely stressful situations. I am also thankful for the back and forth texting, emailing and occasional phone calls with track friends: this has been a life saver this year.
--Anne Wilson

Two things: the trainers and their team members who take such good care of the horses and this newsletter, the only LAT publication I read every time I get it.
--Richard Bushey

I’m thankful that we were able to run a Triple Crown this year. I’m not thankful that healthy horses like Authentic were retired.
--Jim Favors

I’m thankful for the backstretch workers. You can’t find them on any governmental listing, but they deserve essential employee status.
--Rey Hernandez

Great race mares. Enable, Monomoy Girl, Magical, Swiss Skydiver, Tarnawa, Audarya, Gamine. (One could go on.) What a year!
--Russ McCandless

I lost my wife earlier this year so I’m thankful that I have my passion of horse racing to keep me occupied during this pandemic. I really don’t know what I’d do without it as it’s just me and our two cats, Dash & Etta, now.
--Truit Trowbridge

I am ever so thankful for Saturdays, my computer, my ADW Accounts and for horse racing in Southern California. It’s the greatest sport ever invented. In a life taken over by sheltering at home, social distancing, and unemployment, I get to do something I look forward to all week, happily play the races and I don’t even have to wear a mask to do it.
--Greg Monaghan

I’m an 83-year-old horse racing fan from NE Ohio and spent many happy days at the little known track of Thistledown. I’m so grateful for all those pleasant memories of horsemen and horsewomen, jockeys, tellers, waiters, waitresses, tipsters and bettors that became my friends.
--Jane Eaton

Just seeing worlds’ most beautiful animals approaching the gate, racing and owners, trainers and staff jumping, yelling and smiling as their winner crosses the finish line!!
--Ben Silva

I’m thankful for the equine athletes: the horses and their true beauty and power is amazing to watch running around a track. Such an incredible sport to marry the strength of an animal and endurance of man together.
--Jennifer McCullough

I’m grateful for the horses in my life. And for the people who love horses too. Including my wife, Rosie.
--David Kramer

I am thankful I bet Giacomo at my very first Derby and I’ve been back every year since except this COVID year. Hope to see all of you there next year.
--Robbie Callaway

I’m thankful that my very vulnerable trainer at Golden Gate is feeling better after a battle with COVID. I’m also so thankful that the wonderful people at Rancho San Miguel, Cole Ranch, Harris Farms, and River Bend Farm have sent me many pictures and videos to help me get through my stay at home bubble in Connecticut.
--Sue White

Thankful that I’m here to celebrate Thanksgiving after having a lung transplant in January 2018 and enjoy horse racing that I’ve been following for well over 50 years.
--John Willey

I am thankful for owners and trainers who keep stable stars in training beyond their 3-year-old campaign.
--Jim Nelson

I’m thankful for racing at Delaware Park which included fans throughout the 2020 meet. And COVID protocols that were exceptional and enforced across the board.
--Stan Plastek

I was in a quarantine weight loss competition and won. Winner had to bet all the money on one thing, I chose Hard Not to Love in the Zenyatta Stakes. Place money and the exacta still paid well.
--Sage Poland

Growing up in Los Angeles, I’m grateful I got to see Kelso at Hollywood Park. I recall the day I went with my Dad, he went off at 8-5, the longest price I had ever seen on him and 60,000 people were at the track that Saturday to see him and what a thrill.
--David Friedland

Thankful for the opportunity to be involved in a sport/business that, at its best, is the best ever. Thankful for the good people who care so much about the horses and thankful 2020 is coming to an end.
--Robert Kieckhefer

Thanks to Florida horse racing for continuous racing throughout COVID. This way I won’t be “walkin” around lucky and not know it!”
--Daniel Stevenson

I’m thankful that my friend Aaron Gryder was able to retire without any health concerns. ATG as he’s known with our circle of friends is a great guy.
--Bradley Kenny

I’m thankful for for giving me a chance to own a tiny bit of a Kentucky Derby winner, a dream I’ve had since I was 4, 70 years ago.
--Barb LaPierre

More than anything, I’m thankful for the decrease in racing fatalities (every one is one too many) and efforts to make the sport safer. On a selfish note, I’m grateful for the chance to see Nadal, Gamine, Authentic, Tiz the Law, Nashville and all the babies race this year, often when there were no other places to escape the pandemic for a few minutes.
--Tara Roberts

Del Mar preview

I’ll say it again, it’s an 11 a.m. start. Got it? Good. There are eight races with half of them on turf. In fact, this closing weekend is filled with turf stakes, including one on Thursday. That one would be the Grade 3 $100,000 Red Carpet Handicap for fillies and mares going 1 3/8 miles on the turf. The favorite in the 10-horse field, at 5-2, is Orglandes for trainer Chad Brown and jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. She has won three of nine races, but only two of her lifetime races have been in the U.S., having started her career in France.

The second favorite is also a shipper, Blame Debbie for Graham Motion and Manny Franco. Ortiz, Franco and Joel Rosario are all in town for the series of stakes races at Del Mar this extended weekend. Blame Debbie has won three of 10 and is coming off a win in the Grade 3 Dowager Stakes at Keeneland. This will be her first race on the West Coast. Post is around 1:30 p.m.

Here are the field sizes, in order: 7, 9, 9, 11 (2 also eligible), 9, 10, 10, 12 (2 ae). Those are some pretty impressive field size numbers.

Bob Ike’s DM pick of the day

SECOND RACE: No. 6 Burnin Turf (4-1)

Second-time starter from the Dan Blacker stable ran decently when finishing third in his debut in March and returns as a gelding this time. Broke from the far outside post when debuting in two-turn grass race, settled, steadied into far turn, then moved up three-wide into stretch before flattening out late. He has come back to train well and figures to improve with experience.

Sunday’s result: Loud Mouth ($28.00) sat joint third down the backstretch, moved up three-wide on turn, then kept coming to run down Take the One O One near the wire. His last two wins have been very impressive.

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 DM pick of the day

FOURTH RACE: No. 6 Awesome Drive (8-1)

Awesome Drive, in a race with the lowest priced horse at 7-2, is the kind of race a value player loves to key in on. This horse won three in a row before having issues in the last two starts. Awesome was pulled early in the last race and in the race prior looked ready to blast to the lead but had no room down the stretch until it was too late. 8-1 is a great value. There is a sharp workout as well for a horse racing protected. Jockey Umberto Rispoli has gone 4-4-1 from his last 14 starts.

Sunday’s result: Democrat the “other” Bob Baffert horse was scratched and that pretty much meant that Baffert’s favorite was going to win and it was an impressive win. Roman Centurian, my remaining value play, broke badly but did make a nice late move and is a watch for next out.

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

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.

Either way, send this along to a friend, and just have them click here to sign up. Remember, it’s free, and all we need is your email address, nothing more.

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

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

Del Mar Entries for Thursday, November 26.

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. 12th day of a 15-day meet.


1 Mile. Purse: $27,000. Maiden Claiming. 2 year olds. Claiming Prices $40,000-$35,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1PaisanoTyler Baze120Robert B. Hess, Jr.12-135,000
2Govenor's PartyJessica Pyfer115Daniel Franko9-240,000
3PapaleFlavien Prat122Mark Glatt9-540,000
4Red Hot CatRicardo Gonzalez122Peter Eurton6-140,000
5Today MattersTiago Pereira122Lorenzo Ruiz2-140,000
6SaguaroDrayden Van Dyke120Don Schnell12-135,000
7Cozy BearUmberto Rispoli120Ryan Hanson6-135,000


1 1/16 Mile Turf. Purse: $57,000. Maiden Special Weight. 3 year olds and up. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1DuchesneJoel Rosario122Michael W. McCarthy12-1
2Mamba CoolUmberto Rispoli122Philip D'Amato8-1
3N. K. Rocket ManTyler Baze124Dean Pederson6-1
4Question AuthorityHeriberto Figueroa122Andrew Lerner30-1
5Cool Your JetsJuan Hernandez124Shelbe Ruis3-1
6Burnin TurfAbel Cedillo124Dan Blacker4-1
7Squared StraightFlavien Prat122Doug F. O'Neill4-1
8Secret ClubDrayden Van Dyke122Sean McCarthy15-1
9One Fast BroTiago Pereira122Shelbe Ruis7-2


6½ Furlongs. Purse: $38,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $40,000-$35,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Royal TrumpFlavien Prat120Mark Glatt6-140,000
2Natural HistoryVictor Espinoza118Robert B. Hess, Jr.15-140,000
3CartellateRicardo Gonzalez116Doug F. O'Neill15-135,000
4JuliusJoel Rosario118Peter Miller5-235,000
5ItalianoJessica Pyfer115Vann Belvoir8-140,000
6Leading ScoreAbel Cedillo120Bob Baffert3-140,000
7Horse GreedyJuan Hernandez118John W. Sadler3-135,000
8Secret CourierGeovanni Franco118Brian J. Koriner8-135,000
9LioniteUmberto Rispoli120Vladimir Cerin5-140,000


1 1/16 Mile Turf. Purse: $59,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. Fillies. 3 year olds. Claiming Price $80,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1BeguiledFlavien Prat120Philip D'Amato5-1
2ResarcioVictor Espinoza120John A. Shirreffs15-1
3Avenue de France Drayden Van Dyke120Leonard Powell5-1
4Applecross Joel Rosario120Richard Baltas7-2
5DolceMario Gutierrez120Richard Baltas6-1
6Awesome DriveUmberto Rispoli120Doug F. O'Neill10-1
7Over AttractedIrad Ortiz, Jr.120John W. Sadler4-1
8Go Big Blue NationTiago Pereira120Michael W. McCarthy20-1
9Lucia's DesignJuan Hernandez120Craig Anthony Lewis10-1
10Woke Up to AcesTyler Baze120Michael W. McCarthy15-1
11Miss Addie PrayMike Smith120Patrick Gallagher15-1
Also Eligible
12Freedom LassAbel Cedillo120Mike Puype8-1
13ReiwaRicardo Gonzalez120Jonathan Wong6-180,000


1 Mile. Purse: $20,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $20,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Mongol AltaiMario Gutierrez122Enebish Ganbat10-120,000
2Most SandisfactoryTyler Baze122Doug F. O'Neill5-220,000
3Western SmokeEdwin Maldonado122Craig Dollase3-120,000
4KenjilooksluckyJose Valdivia, Jr.122Jonathan Wong8-120,000
5Malibu PrinceRicardo Gonzalez122Richard Baltas6-120,000
6Derby WarEswan Flores122Ruben Gomez15-120,000
7Master RecoveryGeovanni Franco122Cesar DeAlba15-120,000
8Street BehaviorJuan Hernandez122Kristin Mulhall3-120,000
9River NorthJessica Pyfer115Jeffrey Metz20-120,000


1 3/8 Mile Turf. Purse: $100,000. 'Red Carpet Handicap'. Stakes. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1California KookJoel Rosario119Peter Miller5-1
2Never Be Enough Tiago Pereira122Manuel Badilla4-1
3Colonial CreedFlavien Prat121Richard Baltas12-1
4Orglandes Irad Ortiz, Jr.120Chad C. Brown5-2
5Going to VegasMario Gutierrez118Richard Baltas12-1
6WoodfinJose Valdivia, Jr.117Victoria H. Oliver30-1
7Aunt LubieVictor Espinoza117Richard E. Mandella20-1
8Blame DebbieManuel Franco120H. Graham Motion3-1
9Hollywood GirlMike Smith117John A. Shirreffs20-1
10Quick Umberto Rispoli118John W. Sadler6-1


6 Furlongs. Purse: $23,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $20,000-$18,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Satchel de RitchesJuan Hernandez122Robert B. Hess, Jr.8-120,000
2LeatherneckEswan Flores122Jose R. Gonzalez, Jr.15-120,000
3Uncaptured HeroManuel Franco122Richard Baltas5-120,000
4Street ImageUmberto Rispoli122Eddie Truman10-118,000
5Dorita's LemonTiago Pereira121William Spawr8-120,000
6SmileformeFlavien Prat122Jonathan Wong6-120,000
7Big BarrelTyler Baze124Anthony K. Saavedra20-120,000
8Call You TomorrowRicardo Gonzalez124Brian J. Koriner9-220,000
9GanglyEdwin Maldonado120Robert B. Hess, Jr.8-118,000
10OctopusAbel Cedillo122Doug F. O'Neill5-220,000


1 Mile Turf. Purse: $35,000. Starter Optional Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $50,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Final RoseHeriberto Figueroa120Rene Amescua30-1
2Bench JudgeJoel Rosario122Peter Miller3-1
3Go TimeGeovanni Franco120Jorge Periban12-1
4GregdarUmberto Rispoli120Philip D'Amato10-1
5Armour PlateFlavien Prat122Peter Miller8-1
6Praise LoudlyJessica Pyfer113Daniel Franko30-1
7Turn the SwitchIrad Ortiz, Jr.122Robert B. Hess, Jr.4-1
8Palace PrinceTiago Pereira122William Spawr30-1
9InvictatatusAbel Cedillo124Alfredo P. Marquez6-1
10Hoop DreamJuan Hernandez122David Bernstein6-1
11Bud KnightRicardo Gonzalez122Leonard Powell5-1
12AntitheticalTyler Baze120Steven Miyadi6-1
Also Eligible
13Dreamer's RealityHeriberto Figueroa122Mike Puype20-150,000
14RailsplitterRicardo Gonzalez122Jonathan Wong12-150,000