Horse racing newsletter: A feel-good story from Los Al
Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter as we marvel at Flavien Prat’s 11 wins over four days. (More on that later.)
Monday racing always gives us a chance to do something different, so that’s what we’re doing. Orlando Gutierrez, the marketing and publicity director at Los Alamitos, sent along this story that is really more than just about racing, but redemption and spirit. My friends Jeremy Balan and Bryce Miller each picked up an Eclipse Award for their coverage of the Lilac fire’s devastation and aftermath at San Luis Rey Downs in 2017.
Once things settled down, I wrote a story identifying the dead, something that in different ways has sadly become a part of reporting on horse racing.
Here are the first two paragraphs of the story.
“The California Horse Racing Board has identified 43 of the 46 horses that died in the San Luis Rey Downs fire. Trainer Scott Hansen suffered the greatest loss: 15 thoroughbreds and one pony. Joe Herrick lost six horses, and Cliff Sise and Peter Miller each lost five.
“The fire also injured three people at the facility. Trainer Martine Bellocq was burned over 50% of her body trying to save horses. Herrick and outrider Les Baker also suffered injuries in the rescue attempt.”
Now that you’ve got the background, let’s fast forward to Saturday night at Los Alamitos. Here is an edited version of what Orlando sent along. It’s a happy story:
Lovely Finish scored an emotional maiden victory in the first race on Saturday at Los Alamitos Race Course after the now 6-year-old mare survived the 2017 Lilac fire at San Luis Rey Downs.
Ridden by Anthony Locke from post number eight, Lovely Finish, with Anthony Locke aboard, won in style, pulling away for a 3 ½-length win in the 1,000-yard race.
“I had to keep myself from getting emotional because her and I almost lost our lives together,” said trainer Joe Herrick.
In saving Lovely Finish from the wildfire on Dec. 7, 2017, Herrick was burned on 23% of his body. After months of recovery for trainer and horse, Lovely Finish made her return to the races, running third in a 5 ½-furlong race during the L.A. County Fair Meet at Los Alamitos on Sept. 20, 2018.
ESPN and the San Diego Union-Tribune were on hand to capture that part of Lovely Finish’s journey. When she won a photo for third, the result felt like a victory, Herrick said.
“That was more than a horse race,” the trainer said then.
Lovely Finish ran five more times after that race, finishing second or third in each. Then, after a long layoff, she came back to the track on Saturday. She’s a maiden no more.
“She’s ran well every time,” Herrick added. “She’s never had a bad race. I’ve taken care of her and never ran her when she was compromised. We’ve really taken care of this horse. It was an eight-month layoff [since her last start]. I’ve always given my horse time when they need the time and run them when they’re perfect. Obviously, she was perfect [Saturday]. It was good for her come out here and get it done. It was special.”
Occasionally, Lovely Finish has been a little finicky while waiting in the starting gate. Herrick has spent a lot of time schooling her in the mornings at San Luis Rey Downs.
“We got some training done … so that she would mind her manners,” Herrick said.
“She can be a tough, tough horse. I wanted to take her to the gate again [Saturday] and Tony Locke said, ‘Joe, we’ve taken her to the gate 10 times already,’” Herrick added with a laugh. “Sure enough, [Saturday] she didn’t want to load in the gate. I told Tony after the race, ‘See, we should have taken her to the gate this morning.’ She was waiting on the horses to come to her. She was only going to run as hard as she needed to.”
Herrick is looking forward to the next chapter with his most special of trainees.
“It was a good tightener for us,” he said. “We’ll see what we can do with her next.”
Thanks, Orlando. Back to our regularly scheduled items.
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Santa Anita review
Monday’s feature was the $75,000 Wishing Well Stakes for fillies and mares going 6 ½ furlongs on the turf. The race was won by Superstition with a well-timed ride by jockey Flavien Prat, who allowed pace setter So Much Happy to take a big lead while he sat on the outside a few lengths back then made a strong move near the top of the stretch to win by 1 ½ lengths.
Superstition paid $11.80, $4.60 and $3.20. Oleksandra made a late charge to finish second and Constantia was third.
It’s probably worth mentioning that it was Prat’s 11th win during the four-day race week, as he closes in on 1,000 wins. Not to upstage our TV critic Mike Tierney, but the TVG announcer I’ve dubbed MA for Mister Annoying proclaimed after the race that Prat was with new agent Brad Pegram. Ah, that move doesn’t take place until Feb. 26.
Soon-to-be-former agent Derek Lawson must have done a few things right to get Prat 998 wins in such a short time. Of course, there is also that Kentucky Derby win on a horse that was completely forgettable. And, you kind of have to know what you are doing if you can put your very talented jockey on 11 winning horses in four days. Prat is now the leading rider at Santa Anita. Not that I have any opinion on the move.
Richard Mandella (winning trainer): “She had been training better going into this, She settled better [Monday], which is encouraging. We might think about a mile next time.”
Flavien Prat (winning jockey): “I was disappointed in her last race (Grade 3 Las Cienegas), because we know she has a lot of ability, her earlier races show that. She has plenty of speed, but it’s nice to see her relax. Having that horse in front of us helped.”
Big races review
A look at graded stakes or races worth $100,000 on Monday.
Aqueduct (7): $100,000 Hollie Hughes Stakes, 4 and up, 6 furlongs. Winner: My Boy Tate ($6.00)
A final thought
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Now, the star of the show, Monday’s results. We’ll be back on Friday.
Santa Anita Charts Results for Monday, February 15.
Copyright 2021 by Equibase Company. Reproduction prohibited. Santa Anita, Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, California. 25th day of a 81-day meet. Clear & Firm
6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $47,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $50,000-$40,000. Time 21.77 44.37 1:08.50 1:14.79
|3||An Eddie Surprise||122||3||5||4–1½||2–½||3–½||4–7||Prat||2.00|
|6||Dim Lights||118||6||2||2–1||3–1½||6–6||7||Van Dyke||11.30|
|$1 EXACTA (2-4)||$12.80|
|10-CENT SUPERFECTA (2-4-1-3)||$5.85|
|$1 SUPER HIGH FIVE (2-4-1-3-5)||$246.10|
|50-CENT TRIFECTA (2-4-1)||$21.95|
Winner–Annangel (IRE) B.f.4 by Morpheus (GB) out of Think (FR), by Marchand de Sable. Bred by John Foley (IRE). Trainer: Richard Baltas. Owner: Baltas, Richard, Peskoff, Jeremy and Robershaw, Ritchie. Mutuel Pool $144,188 Exacta Pool $72,442 Superfecta Pool $37,858 Super High Five Pool $70,725 Trifecta Pool $53,366. Claimed–Annangel (IRE) by Thomsen Racing, LLC. Trainer: Steve Knapp. Claimed–An Eddie Surprise by Jeff Mullins. Trainer: Jeff Mullins. Scratched–Mischiffie (IRE).
ANNANGEL (IRE) sprinted to the front, cleared outside rivals, saved ground into the lane, urged right-handed in the drive and held well. GYPSY BLU raced off the rail up the backstretch, went outside a pair of rivals on the turn then four wide into the stretch, finished willingly three deep through the final furlong and gained the place. LUCKY PERIDOT raced off the pace then took closer order past the half-mile pole, saved ground around the turn, chased the winner inside pair of rivals in the late stages and was edged for second. AN EDDIE SURPRISE chased along the inside into the turn, exited the bend two wide, chased between rivals late and was outkicked for the place and show. SWEET RAFAELA stalked the leader off the inside then moved into the two path, continued two wide into the stretch and never responded to urging. POSH HOLLY (IRE) dropped back early, tracked off the rail then angled into the two path, moved out a path leaving the turn and was never a factor. DIM LIGHTS chased outside a rival or two wide into the turn, moved out path around the bend and came three wide into the stretch and weakened.
7 Furlongs. Purse: $61,000. Maiden Special Weight. 3 year olds. Time 22.34 45.28 1:10.81 1:24.17
|5||Crash Corrigan||123||5||5||6||4–1½||3–5½||2–3¼||Van Dyke||16.20|
|2||Va Va Vegas||123||2||3||1–½||1–½||1–hd||3–4½||Cedillo||1.70|
|2||VA VA VEGAS||2.10|
|$2 DAILY DOUBLE (2-3)||$15.20|
|$1 EXACTA (3-5)||$8.50|
|10-CENT SUPERFECTA (3-5-2-4)||$2.86|
|50-CENT TRIFECTA (3-5-2)||$7.30|
Winner–Big Story Grr.g.3 by Mr. Big out of Steamy Novel, by Heatseeker (IRE). Bred by George Krikorian (CA). Trainer: Mark Glatt. Owner: Michael Moran. Mutuel Pool $160,544 Daily Double Pool $36,859 Exacta Pool $95,683 Superfecta Pool $52,110 Trifecta Pool $74,403. Scratched–none.
BIG STORY prompted the pace from outside, headed rival past the five-sixteenths, dueled with VA VA VEGAS into and down the stretch, put a head in front inside the eighth pole, put away inside rival then received a challenge from CRASH CORRIGAN and held gamely. CRASH CORRIGAN trailed the field early then angled in and went between horses, entered the turn two wide, came out nearing the quarter pole and entered the stretch four wide, drew alongside the winner mid-stretch but could find the needed late kick to get by. VA VA VEGAS set the pace with BIG STORY to the outside, was headed by rival past the five-sixteenths, responded when challenged and fought back two wide into the stretch, clung to a short lead with a furlong to go then relinquished the lead and flattened out in deep stretch. GABBY HAYES chased off the inside, went three then two wide around the turn and weakened. FERRARIANO came away a bit slow, tracked the pace from inside to the stretch and lacked a rally. JEANNE B settled early outside rivals, went four wide into the turn, angled to the rail around the bend and had little left for the drive.
1 Mile Turf. Purse: $36,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $35,000-$30,000. Time 24.30 49.12 1:13.19 1:24.99 1:36.77
|6||Star of Africa||124||6||3||1–1||1–1||1–1||1–2||1–2½||Cedillo||9.70|
|4||Y Not Sizzle||113||4||6||5–½||6–1½||6–2||4–½||4–1||Pyfer||22.30|
|3||Madame Bourbon||124||3||4||4–1½||3–hd||4–1½||6–½||7||T Baze||20.10|
|6||STAR OF AFRICA||21.40||7.60||3.20|
|$2 DAILY DOUBLE (3-6)||$34.00|
|$1 EXACTA (6-2)||$42.70|
|10-CENT SUPERFECTA (6-2-5-4)||$59.04|
|$1 SUPER HIGH FIVE (6-2-5-4-1)||$1,549.30|
|50-CENT TRIFECTA (6-2-5)||$45.40|
Winner–Star of Africa Ch.f.4 by Animal Kingdom out of Diamondesque, by Any Given Saturday. Bred by Charles H. Deters (KY). Trainer: Patrick Gallagher. Owner: Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners. Mutuel Pool $258,443 Daily Double Pool $21,450 Exacta Pool $153,844 Superfecta Pool $67,931 Super High Five Pool $8,121 Trifecta Pool $113,772. Claimed–Lavender (IRE) by Hronis Racing LLC. Trainer: John Sadler. Scratched–none.
50-Cent Pick Three (2-3-6) paid $59.95. Pick Three Pool $68,701.
STAR OF AFRICA bumped by inside rival at the start, sprinted to the front and angled inside, coaxed along at the quarter pole, urged right handed in the final furlong and inched away. SABURAI stalked the pace along the rail to the stretch, could not threaten the winner in deep stretch and stayed on to hold the place. LAVENDER (IRE) broke out and bumped rival then was in a bit tight soon after the start, traveled in the two path, angled to the fence in the stretch then shifted out late while summoning a late rally. Y NOT SIZZLE was in a bit tight between rivals soon after the start, tracked outside a foe or three wide, angled five wide leaving the far turn and improved position. WIND TARTARE (FR) reserved in the early going from inside, moved into the two path on the backstretch, angled four wide nearing the stretch and never rallied. COLOMBIAN GOLD was closest to the pacesetter early, asked at the quarter pole, took aim two wide into the stretch and weakened. MADAME BOURBON stalked outside a rival, came three wide into the stretch and faded.
6 Furlongs. Purse: $39,000. Claiming. 3 year olds. Claiming Prices $32,000-$28,000. Time 21.97 45.20 57.98 1:11.31
|$2 DAILY DOUBLE (6-4)||$51.00|
|$1 EXACTA (4-6)||$7.90|
|10-CENT SUPERFECTA (4-6-3-5)||$28.60|
|50-CENT TRIFECTA (4-6-3)||$40.00|
Winner–Herd Immunity Ch.g.3 by Union Rags out of Enhanced, by Malibu Moon. Bred by Mike G. Rutherford (KY). Trainer: Peter Miller. Owner: Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners. Mutuel Pool $219,791 Daily Double Pool $29,004 Exacta Pool $154,788 Superfecta Pool $63,728 Trifecta Pool $97,710. Claimed–Herd Immunity by Hronis Racing LLC. Trainer: John Sadler. Scratched–none.
50-Cent Pick Three (3-6-4) paid $27.05. Pick Three Pool $29,266.
HERD IMMUNITY vied for the lead three deep then chased the top pair into the turn, took aim three wide into the stretch, drew alongside inside the eighth pole and kicked clear to win going away. WEDDING GROOM vied five deep early, dueled outside HOT BOX three then two wide around the turn, put away that rival at the eighth pole and could not match the winner in the late stages. LOVESICK BLUES vied between foes early, was taken back near the half-mile pole, lost ground around the turn, angled out in the lane and kept on to gain the show. HOT BOX vied four deep early, dueled with WEDDING GROOM around the turn and into the stretch, could not keep pace to the eighth pole and weakened in the final furlong. WESTERN RULE bumped with outside rival early, vied for command from inside, chased the top pair into the turn and faded. C'MON JENNA bumped with WESTERN RULE and checked early, took the turn two then three wide, tired in the drive, bled and was vanned off.
6 Furlongs Turf. Purse: $61,000. Maiden Special Weight. 3 year olds. Time 21.96 44.93 56.81 1:09.04
|7||Like the Wind||123||7||2||2–1½||2–1½||1–1½||1–1½||Hernandez||10.10|
|7||LIKE THE WIND||22.20||8.80||6.20|
|$2 DAILY DOUBLE (4-7)||$54.20|
|$1 EXACTA (7-6)||$27.80|
|10-CENT SUPERFECTA (7-6-2-3)||$139.73|
|$1 SUPER HIGH FIVE (7-6-2-3-5)||$2,830.40|
|50-CENT TRIFECTA (7-6-2)||$100.80|
Winner–Like the Wind B.c.3 by Phantom Wildcat out of Windy O, by Olympio. Bred by Richard Barton Enterprises (CA). Trainer: Brian J. Koriner. Owner: Jay Em Ess Stable. Mutuel Pool $354,853 Daily Double Pool $39,769 Exacta Pool $217,672 Superfecta Pool $115,263 Super High Five Pool $3,708 Trifecta Pool $161,844. Scratched–Lil Ricardo, Marksman On Target, Standing O. DQ–#10 Minehunter–finished 5th, disqualified, placed 10th.
50-Cent Pick Three (6-4-7) paid $129.45. Pick Three Pool $68,536. 50-Cent Pick Four (3-6-4-7) 913 tickets with 4 correct paid $202.85. Pick Four Pool $242,622. 50-Cent Pick Five (2-3-6-4-7) 444 tickets with 5 correct paid $1,182.90. Pick Five Pool $609,841.
LIKE THE WIND came in and bumped rival then steadied off the heels of MINEHUNTER early, chased outside the leader then bid alongside on the turn, took command in upper stretch, cleared rival near the eighth pole and finished strong under urging. CARGO bumped from outside then steadied early, chased three deep around the turn and finished well for the place. ALEXANDER'S DREAM bumped with inside rival early, stalked a bit off the rail into the stretch, tipped out and gained the show. CIBERTRUCK bumped leaving the gate, sat off the pace, angled out into the lane and widest in the stretch, then rallied for a minor share. MINEHUNTER broke alertly from the far outside, came in and bothered rivals early, crossed over further to the inside setting the pace inside, met the challenge from LIKE THE WIND around the turn, fought back into the stretch, lost the lead in upper stretch and weakened in the final furlong. JUDAS chased between rivals to the stretch, lacked room behind MINEHUNTER at the sixteenth pole and could not regain momentum. GERLACH'S was off slow to begin, steadied crossing surfaces early, tracked off the rail to the stretch and could not rally. WHISKEY TALK bumped leaving the gate, chased between rivals then along the inside through the turn and faded. CATFISH CHARLIE came away slowly, went three to four wide into the stretch and weakened. PEDRO PEREZ broke in at the start, was bumped from outside and checked early and dropped to the back of the field, raced along the inside into the lane and was not persevered with. FOLLOWING AN INQUIRY, THE STEWARDS DISQUALIFIED MINEHUNTER FROM FIFTH TO LAST FOR COMING IN EARLY AND CAUSING SEVERAL RIVALS TO STEADY.
1 1/16 Mile. Purse: $61,000. Maiden Special Weight. 3 year olds. Time 23.92 47.87 1:12.05 1:37.88 1:44.64
|$2 DAILY DOUBLE (7-2)||$70.20|
|$1 EXACTA (2-4)||$13.80|
|10-CENT SUPERFECTA (2-4-5-3)||$15.16|
|50-CENT TRIFECTA (2-4-5)||$17.10|
Winner–Hozier B.c.3 by Pioneerof the Nile out of Merry Meadow, by Henny Hughes. Bred by WinStar Farm, LLC (KY). Trainer: Bob Baffert. Owner: SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC, Stonestreet Stables LLC, Golconda Stable, Sien. Mutuel Pool $279,525 Daily Double Pool $40,031 Exacta Pool $137,369 Superfecta Pool $62,730 Trifecta Pool $101,959. Scratched–none.
50-Cent Pick Three (4-7-2) paid $38.85. Pick Three Pool $69,681.
HOZIER stalked the pace from inside, moved out into the two path then back inside on the backstretch, raced along the inside then came out leaving the far turn, reeled in the leader and cleared late. FENWAY controlled the pace in the two path, led clear to the eighth pole, challenged by HOZIER with a sixteenth to go and yielded to the winner. STAR SAILOR stumbled slightly at the start, chased off the inside, three wide into the stretch and went evenly through the final furlong. EXALTED JOY trailed the field early, entered the far turn two wide then angled out into the four path and passed tired rivals. ALLABOUTTHEMONEY reserved early from inside, saved ground to the stretch and weakened. CHASING FAME traveled three wide around the first turn, stayed off the rail to the stretch and never threatened.
6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $75,000. 'Wishing Well Stakes'. Fillies and Mares. 4 year olds and up. Time 20.75 43.03 1:07.81 1:14.22
|1||So Much Happy||120||1||1||1–4||1–3½||3–2||6–6||Van Dyke||42.50|
|4||Aqua Seaform Shame||122||4||2||3–1½||2–hd||7||7||Fuentes||9.30|
|$2 DAILY DOUBLE (2-6)||$51.40|
|$1 EXACTA (6-7)||$18.30|
|10-CENT SUPERFECTA (6-7-2-5)||$58.56|
|$1 SUPER HIGH FIVE (6-7-2-5-3)||$1,689.00|
|50-CENT TRIFECTA (6-7-2)||$52.50|
Winner–Superstition Dbb.f.4 by Ghostzapper out of Grand Glory, by Distorted Humor. Bred by WinStar Farm, LLC (KY). Trainer: Richard E. Mandella. Owner: Bass II, Perry R. and Bass, Ramona S.. Mutuel Pool $407,715 Daily Double Pool $55,346 Exacta Pool $197,586 Superfecta Pool $104,828 Super High Five Pool $15,493 Trifecta Pool $176,755. Scratched–none.
50-Cent Pick Three (7-2-6) paid $100.00. Pick Three Pool $74,711.
SUPERSTITION stalked outside a rival to the stretch, closed in and struck the front in upper stretch, kicked clear at the eighth pole and was kept to task under right-hand urging. OLEKSANDRA (AUS) trailed the field early, went outside a rival into the turn, propped near the five-sixteenths pole, angled out in upper stretch and finished well to earn the place honors. CONSTANTIA saved ground around the turn, tipped out in the stretch and got up for the show. GUITTY (FR) raced off the pace early on, took the turn two wide, angled out then raced between rivals at the eighth pole, lacked room off heels mid-stretch, angled out and kept on for a minor award. LIGHTHOUSE chased along the inside the moved off the rail, went three wide around the turn, bid outside in upper stretch and flattened out in the final furlong. SO MUCH HAPPY was away quickly from inside, jumped the track crossing surfaces early, set the pace with a comfortable lead, showed the way with a diminishing lead leaving the turn, lost command in upper stretch, faded in the furlong grounds, bled and walked off. AQUA SEAFORM SHAME stalked between foes then along the inside, saved ground into the lane, tired in the drive, was eased late and walked off.
6½ Furlongs. Purse: $26,000. Claiming. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $16,000-$14,000. Time 22.05 45.34 1:10.27 1:16.94
|10||Rinse and Repeat||120||9||7||5–½||5–2||5–1||4–½||Fuentes||29.10|
|$2 DAILY DOUBLE (6-6)||$36.80|
|$1 EXACTA (6-7)||$15.30|
|10-CENT SUPERFECTA (6-7-3-10)||$81.83|
|$1 SUPER HIGH FIVE (6-7-3-10-4)||$11,290.60|
|50-CENT TRIFECTA (6-7-3)||$44.50|
Winner–Octopus B.c.4 by Shackleford out of Georgia, by Tiz Wonderful. Bred by Peachtree Stable (KY). Trainer: Andrew Lerner. Owner: Alydom Racing LLC and Lerner Racing. Mutuel Pool $355,027 Daily Double Pool $135,545 Exacta Pool $213,511 Superfecta Pool $130,091 Super High Five Pool $14,794 Trifecta Pool $191,057. Claimed–Octopus by Ganje, Jeff and O'Neill, Doug. Trainer: Doug O'Neill. Claimed–Littlebitamedal by Joseph Besecker. Trainer: Doug O'Neill. Claimed–Swamp Souffle by Taboada, Johnny, Taboada, Marcel and Saldana, Reed. Trainer: Reed Saldana. Scratched–Afternoon Heat.
50-Cent Pick Three (2-6-6) paid $29.95. Pick Three Pool $258,431. 50-Cent Pick Four (7-2-6-6) 1754 tickets with 4 correct paid $285.60. Pick Four Pool $656,299. 50-Cent Pick Five (4-7-2-6-6) 657 tickets with 5 correct paid $749.30. Pick Five Pool $644,572. 20-Cent Pick Six Jackpot (6-4-7-2-6-6) 43 tickets with 6 correct paid $3,787.78. Pick Six Jackpot Pool $303,422. Pick Six Jackpot Carryover $234,846.
OCTOPUS showed speed outside TOBACCO ROAD then cleared that rival, showed the way inside to the stretch, urged right-handed in the lane and held safely. COLOSI bumped at the start, stalked off the rail then outside a rival, took aim two wide but could not reach the winner while besting the rest. LITTLEBITAMEDAL tracked the pace in the two path through the bend, kept on willingly in the final furlong and edged rival for the show honors. RINSE AND REPEAT broke in and bumped leaving the gate, chased two then three wide while outside a rival on the turn, continued alongside LITTLEBITAMEDAL through the drive and missed the show. TOBACCO ROAD showed early speed with OCTOPUS to the outside, could not match strides up the backstretch and chased the leader from inside to the turn, remained along the fence to the lane, lacked room behind the winner in upper stretch and flattened out in the final furlong. AWHITESPORTSCOAT saved ground inside to the stretch and went evenly late. HORSE GREEDY chased off the rail the dropped to back of the back, entered the turn two wide then came four wide into the stretch, angled out further and passed tired rivals. SWAMP SOUFFLE was pinballed and checked at the start, took the turn three then four wide and weakened. CONQUEST COBRA got knocked into rival leaving the gate, chased off the rail then moved into the two path, raced between rivals at the five-sixteenths pole and weakened in the late stages.
|Out of State||N/A||$8,347,662|
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