Horse racing newsletter: Saying goodbye to 2020
Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter as we look at half of our Eclipse Award selections.
It’s about as close to the end of the year as you can get and the Eclipse Award voting deadline is almost upon us. As I’ve done in the past, I thought I would share which way I’m thinking. Since there are 17 categories, I’ve split it up into two days and today we’re going with all the human awards plus a couple involving just the horses. So, let’s get right to it.
Apprentice jockey: 1. Alexander Crispin; 2. Yarmarie Correa; 3. Charlie Marquez. We leaned toward Crispin over Correa because of a tougher circuit, Maryland as opposed to Ohio. The stats are comparable. Marquez did a good job in New York with fewer mounts. Would have loved to have voted for Jessica Pyfer, maybe next year.
Breeder: 1. Godolphin; 2. WinStar; 3. Calumet. I have to say I feel completely ill-equipped to vote in the next two categories because it’s just not where my interest lies. So, I consulted one of our newsletter experts Jon White for his thoughts. You can catch them here at Xpressbet. But I didn’t just copy them. In fact, I went with Godolphin in first because they did a lot with a smaller inventory of starts, which included at least 10 graded stakes wins (don’t have final stats yet). WinStar had more wins with more starts and Calumet blew everyone away. But, I believed Calumet’s success was just a volume play.
Owner: 1. Klaravich Stables; 2. Godolphin; 3. Gary Barber. This category is a mess because the idea of single ownership is going out the door in many cases. And, I ignored the big syndicate that is the new darling of the sport as I just don’t buy the idea that if you own a couple follicles of a horse that it makes you an owner. Sorry. So, I went with Klaravich, which had four Grade 1 wins, more than anyone else. Godolphin and Barber tied with the most graded stakes wins.
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Jockey: 1. Irad Ortiz, Jr.; 2. Joel Rosario; 3. Flavien Prat. No doubt that two-time Eclipse winner Ortiz is still at the top of all jockeys, winning more than 30 races than the nearest rival. Rosario is also at the top of his game and gets he best out of a horse every time. Tough choice for third but we went with Prat, who had a very good year, leading the country with 28 graded stakes wins, despite being on the race-starved California circuit. Could easily make a case for John Velazquez, despite riding fewer races than most at the top.
Trainer: 1. Bob Baffert; 2. Brad Cox; 3. Chad Brown. Baffert won 16 Grade 1 races including the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic. He wins at an astounding 29% rate with a 64% in the money number. He got stiffed when Justify won the Triple Crown and he hasn’t won this award since American Pharoah. Some will point to his medication positives as a reason to not vote for him. I’m not one of them. This is where the East vs. West bias can rear its head. Cox won four Breeders’ Cup races over two days and had a good year. Brown always has a good year.
Steeplechase: 1. Moscato; 2. Snap Decision; 3. Rashaan. This category is to the Eclipse Awards as modern pentathlon is to the Olympics. You have to figure it’s in there because it’s always been in there. All I had to go on were PPs supplied by the Daily Racing Form on four horses. Moscato won a Grade 1 and Grade 2. Snap Decision won three ungraded stakes and Rashaan won a Grade 1. There you have it.
Male turf: 1. Channel Maker; 2. Order of Australia; 3. United. You could throw a blanket over about five horses and not be wrong with any one of them. Channel Maker won the metaphorical coin toss by virtue of two Grade 1 wins and a third in Breeders’ Cup Turf behind two females. Order of Australia won the Breeders’ Cup Mile and United had four graded stakes wins.
Female Turf: 1. Rushing Fall; 2. Tarnawa; 3. Audarya. Rushing Fall had a great year with two Grade 1 wins and a Grade 3. Her only loss was a second in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf. You can make a strong case for Tarnawa, who won all four of her races including beating the boys in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. But the BC Turf was her only race in the U.S. 3. Audarya won the BC Filly and Mare Turf.
Tiz the Law retired
Tiz the Law, winner of the Belmont Stakes and Travers Stakes, has been retired on the advice of veterinarians. No specific injury or problem was announced. The 3-year-old colt was being talked about as the next Triple Crown winner this summer and fall after convincing wins, one in Florida and two in New York. He went into the Kentucky Derby has the 7-10 favorite and finished a well-beaten second while losing to Authentic. The Southern California-based Authentic, who went onto win the Breeders’ Cup Classic, was also retired this year leaving Swiss Skydiver, winner of the Preakness, as the only Triple Crown winner still running. Tiz the Law will start a career as a stallion at Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky. next month. No stud fee has been announced.
Santa Anita preview
This is the only Thursday card scheduled for the entire meeting. However, it’s possible Santa Anita could add some if they get a big influx of horses from Golden Gate Fields as long as that track is closed. The situation up north is not great as long as the coronavirus is around. If trainers and owners can’t run, they’ll be looking to move their horses. Santa Anita would make too much sense. Today’s card is nine races beginning at 12:30 p.m. Five of the races are on the turf and, for the first time, two of them will be on the same day in the new chute.
The feature, the $75,000 Blue Norther, is for Cal-bred 2-year-old fillies going a mile on the turf. The favorite, at 2-1, is Pizzazz for trainer Richard Mandella and jockey Mike Smith. She has won one of the four and is coming off a fourth in the Grade 3 Jimmy Durante at Del Mar. Javanica (Eoin Harty, Flavien Prat) and Quattroelle (Jeff Mullins, Tyler Baze) are the 5-2 second choices. Javanica was second in the Jimmy Durante and Quattroelle was third. Post is around 3:30 p.m.
Here are the field sizes, in order: 11, 6, 7, 9, 10, 6, 8, 9, 11.
Ciaran Thornton’s SA pick of the day
FIRST RACE: No. 2 Navy Queen (8-1)
Navy Queen makes the first start since February for trainer John Sadler, when he claimed the horse and had to put it on the bench. Joel Rosario takes the mount and while this tandem has yet to get a win it is coming, today on this 8-1 value. There is a sharp work last week and Queen races protected Thursday, always a good sign. Sadler also adds blinkers, a move he is 27% on.
Sunday’s result: Master Ryan tracked off the pace but did not have enough down to stretch and ran fourth.
Ciaran Thornton is the handicapper for Californiapick4.com, which offers daily full card picks, longshots of the day, best bets of the day.
A final thought
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And now the star of the show, Thursday’s entries.
Santa Anita Entries for Thursday, December 31.
Santa Anita, Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, California. 3rd day of a 81-day meet.
6 Furlongs Turf. Purse: $63,000. Allowance. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. State bred.
|1||Florentine Diamond||Alexis Centeno||115||Paula S. Capestro||12-1|
|2||Navy Queen||Joel Rosario||122||John W. Sadler||8-1|
|3||La Aguililla||Ruben Fuentes||124||Jesus Ramos||5-1|
|4||Silk From Heaven||Juan Hernandez||124||Hector O. Palma||15-1|
|5||Sofi's Gold||Umberto Rispoli||122||Carla Gaines||7-2|
|6||Habobanero||Jessica Pyfer||115||Reina E. Gonzalez||6-1|
|7||Sweet Rafaela||Edwin Maldonado||124||Reed Saldana||3-1|
|8||Ballet Royalty||Santos Rivera||119||Javier Jose Sierra||30-1|
|9||Midnight Sunrise||Jose Valdivia, Jr.||122||Andy Mathis||15-1|
|10||Envy||Tyler Baze||122||Anthony K. Saavedra||20-1|
|11||Shylock Eddie||Geovanni Franco||124||Brian J. Koriner||6-1|
1 Mile. Purse: $24,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $16,000-$12,500.
|1||Midnight Jamboree||Tiago Pereira||124||William Spawr||3-1||16,000|
|2||Lady O'Prado||Juan Hernandez||122||Robert B. Hess, Jr.||5-2||16,000|
|3||Mariah Girl||Jessica Pyfer||117||Doug F. O'Neill||2-1||16,000|
|4||Heart River||Heriberto Figueroa||120||Jeffrey Metz||10-1||12,500|
|5||True Mischief||Alexis Centeno||117||Richard Baltas||7-2||16,000|
|6||Samandah||Tyler Baze||124||George Papaprodromou||8-1||16,000|
1 Mile Turf. Purse: $36,000. Starter Optional Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $50,000-$40,000.
|1||I'm Leaving You||Joel Rosario||120||Vann Belvoir||5-2||50,000|
|2||C Falls||Juan Hernandez||122||Shelbe Ruis||4-1|
|3||Gallant Warren||Geovanni Franco||120||Tim Bellasis||12-1|
|4||Antithetical||Tyler Baze||120||Steven Miyadi||4-1|
|5||Talking||Mario Gutierrez||120||Robert N. Falcone, Jr.||3-1|
|6||Dreamer's Reality||Jose Valdivia, Jr.||122||Mike Puype||12-1||50,000|
|7||Hoop Dream||Abel Cedillo||122||David Bernstein||4-1|
6 Furlongs. Purse: $31,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies. 2 year olds. Claiming Prices $40,000-$35,000.
|1||Malibu Jewel||Alexis Centeno||115||Jonathan Wong||4-1||40,000|
|2||Varoma||Jessica Pyfer||115||Manuel Ortiz, Sr.||5-2||40,000|
|3||Felicidad Legada||Santos Rivera||113||Lisa Bernard||30-1||35,000|
|4||Haynespun||Geovanni Franco||122||Daniel Dunham||20-1||40,000|
|5||You're All Talk||Abel Cedillo||118||Peter Eurton||6-1||35,000|
|6||Winter Star||Ruben Fuentes||122||Hector O. Palma||12-1||40,000|
|7||Cold Brew Kelly||Edwin Maldonado||118||Steve M. Sherman||6-1||35,000|
|8||Oscar Nod||Ricardo Gonzalez||122||Tim Yakteen||5-1||40,000|
|9||Misericors||Tiago Pereira||122||William Spawr||7-2||40,000|
1 Mile Turf. Purse: $61,000. Maiden Special Weight. Fillies. 2 year olds. State bred.
|1||Smoothlikebuttah||Abel Cedillo||122||Steve Knapp||5-1|
|2||Warrens Candy Girl||Drayden Van Dyke||122||Craig Anthony Lewis||5-2|
|3||She's Expensive||Geovanni Franco||122||Ed Moger, Jr.||15-1|
|4||Miss Ever Ready||Flavien Prat||122||Brian J. Koriner||4-1|
|5||St Helena||Mario Gutierrez||122||Mike Puype||15-1|
|6||Big Award||Ricardo Gonzalez||122||Tim Yakteen||15-1|
|7||Bingos System||Edwin Maldonado||122||Robert B. Hess, Jr.||10-1|
|8||Flag Salute||Jessica Pyfer||115||Carla Gaines||8-1|
|9||Agata||Umberto Rispoli||122||Carla Gaines||3-1|
|10||Mensa On Tap||Eswan Flores||122||Daniel Dunham||50-1|
6½ Furlongs. Purse: $65,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $62,500.
|1||Kneedeepinsnow||Abel Cedillo||122||Shelbe Ruis||7-2|
|2||Parsimony||Mario Gutierrez||122||Doug F. O'Neill||5-1|
|3||Leading Score||Joel Rosario||124||Bob Baffert||5-2||62,500|
|4||Shashashakemeup||Flavien Prat||120||Peter Miller||9-5|
|5||California Street||Drayden Van Dyke||122||Patrick Gallagher||8-1|
|6||King of Speed||Mike Smith||124||Jeff Bonde||5-1|
1 Mile Turf. Purse: $75,000. 'Blue Norther Stakes'. Fillies. 2 year olds.
|1||Javanica||Flavien Prat||120||Eoin G. Harty||5-2|
|2||Michalska||Juan Hernandez||120||Alfredo P. Marquez||20-1|
|3||Carpe Fortuna||Mario Gutierrez||120||Peter Eurton||6-1|
|4||Quattroelle||Tyler Baze||120||Jeff Mullins||5-2|
|5||Derby Quest||Geovanni Franco||120||Ruben Gomez||30-1|
|6||Pizzazz||Mike Smith||120||Richard E. Mandella||2-1|
|7||Royal Blend||Drayden Van Dyke||120||Robert B. Hess, Jr.||20-1|
|8||Absolute Scenes||Joel Rosario||120||Richard Baltas||6-1|
6½ Furlongs. Purse: $24,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $20,000-$18,000.
|1||My Heart Awakens||Alexis Centeno||115||Vann Belvoir||20-1||18,000|
|2||Old Indian Trick||Tiago Pereira||124||Mike Puype||4-1||20,000|
|3||Satchel de Ritches||Kent Desormeaux||120||Robert B. Hess, Jr.||12-1||18,000|
|4||Alcools||Ricardo Gonzalez||122||Peter Miller||5-2||20,000|
|5||Eustace||Ruben Fuentes||122||Ed Moger, Jr.||5-1||20,000|
|6||Admirably||Jessica Pyfer||115||Victor M. Trujillo||4-1||20,000|
|7||Carte Blanche||Juan Hernandez||124||Philip D'Amato||7-2||20,000|
|8||My Sunshine||Santos Rivera||115||Daniel Franko||20-1||18,000|
|9||Cause and Effect||Geovanni Franco||124||Daniel Azcarate||12-1||20,000|
6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $61,000. Maiden Special Weight. 3 year olds and up.
|1||Witch's Vow||Ruben Fuentes||122||Hector O. Palma||30-1|
|2||Flying Charlie||Geovanni Franco||122||Alexis Barba||30-1|
|3||Absolute Unit||Mario Gutierrez||122||Peter Eurton||6-1|
|4||Johan Zoffani||Ricardo Gonzalez||122||Dan Blacker||8-1|
|5||Disco Ball||Kent Desormeaux||122||Brian J. Koriner||7-2|
|6||Hollywoodhellraisr||Joel Rosario||122||Philip D'Amato||4-1|
|7||Explosive||Jessica Pyfer||115||Richard E. Mandella||8-1|
|8||Sky Dinski||Tiago Pereira||124||Arnold B. Torres||30-1|
|9||Sir Oliver||Tyler Baze||122||Mike Puype||10-1|
|10||McWherter||Abel Cedillo||122||Doug F. O'Neill||5-1|
|11||Cosmo||Flavien Prat||122||Neil D. Drysdale||5-1|
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