Horse racing newsletter: Catching up on the news after the Belmont Stakes
Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter as I already miss reading Jon White’s Triple Crown race previews.
There’s been a little bit of news since the Belmont Stakes, so let’s get right to it.
— Bob Baffert and Amr Zedan are suing the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission for access to remaining samples from Medina Spirit’s post-race tests. Both samples came back positive for betamethasone, but the Baffert team wanted them tested for other compounds in the hopes of making the case that the medication was administered by an ointment, not inter-articular injection. They had worked out an agreement to have some of the sample sent to a testing lab, but before it got there it was “damaged or compromised.” It seems to me that this should be the one sample that you make sure gets to its destination in good shape. But, not unprecedented: In 2012, a case against Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers was thrown out when the specimen collector didn’t immediately take the sample to a FedEx office but took it home and put in his refrigerator. Anyway, want to read more? Just click here.
— And speaking of legal action, New York trainer Linda Rice received a temporary injunction to allow her to continue to train horses while legal action proceeds. The New York racing regulatory agency banned her for three years for allegedly getting inside information from the racing office that would give her a competitive edge on which races to enter. Now, that’s all on hold. You can read Matt Hegarty’s story in the Daily Racing Form. Just click here. Obviously, there is a legal strategy parallel between between this case and Baffert’s case. And, no doubt, Baffert will be seeking injunctive relief, which will allow him to continue to train horses to run at Churchill Downs. Now, that is a temporary fix, but it is a temporary work-around.
— Owner Rick Porter lost his long battle with cancer. He was 80. Porter, who owned Fox Hill Farm, campaigned many outstanding horses, including horse of the year Havre de Grace and Songbird. He also ran Omaha Beach. The last time I talked to him was before last year’s Pegasus at Gulfstream Park. He had planned to run Omaha Beach one last time before retirement, and he vowed never to sell breeding rights with a clause that allowed his horse to keep running if it was in the best interest of the horse. As it turned out, Omaha Beach scratched and I never wrote the story. Before that, he was always accessible when it was time to talk about Songbird. Eric Mitchell of the Bloodhorse did a nice remembrance. Just click here.
Off to the races
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— Don’t know why this caught my attention, but the Meadowlands in New Jersey is holding a race announcer workshop July 10. It’s going to be conducted by longtime harness race caller Ken Warkentin. The cost is equal to two hot dogs and two soft drinks plus one dollar at Belmont Park. (That’s $25.) Participants may get the opportunity to call a non-betting, no-purse race. The proceeds go to the Harness Horse Youth Foundation. Veterans such as Trevor Denman, Frank Mirahmadi and Michael Wrona make it seem so effortless, yet I know I would freeze if I ever tried it. Could be a marketing idea for one of the local tracks. If you are interested and plan to be near New York that weekend, email email@example.com.
— And finally, I caught up with race caller Larry Collmus at Belmont last weekend, and he hinted at something coming up in his future. On Thursday, TVG announced he is joining the network’s crew at Monmouth on select days offering insights and analysis. Collmus, who lives in New Jersey, called at Monmouth from 1994 to 2013. He most recently filled in for Denman at Del Mar. TVG also announced Nick Luck will be reporting for them from Royal Ascot.
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Santa Anita preview
Santa Anita enters its penultimate week of racing for this meeting with an eight-race card beginning at 1 p.m. Half the races are on the turf (odd-numbered ones) and there will be five first-time winners. There’s one allowance/optional claimer, which we’ll designate as the feature. It’s for 3-year-olds going 6 ½ furlongs on the turf. The favorite, at 9-5, is Harbored Memories for trainer Mike Puype and jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. He’s won one of four races, with three second-place finishes. He broke his maiden last out with a neck win over 6 ½ furlongs on the turf. The second favorite, at 5-2, is Wyfire for Peter Miller and Flavien Prat. He broke his maiden in his second race and followed that up with a second in the Speakeasy Stakes. Post is around 4:24 p.m.
Here are the field sizes, in order: 8, 6, 7, 7, 6, 9, 6, 10.
Ciaran Thornton’s SA pick of the day
SECOND RACE: No. 3 Poseidon Wrath (6-1)
Poseidon Wrath ran second in the debut at Keeneland for trainer Bill Mott, then shipped out to California for Mark Glatt. Two weeks ago, under this jockey, they set the pace and faded deep stretch. Back to seven furlongs with Jessica Pyfer’s weight break, the gate-to-wire tactic will be employed again at a nice 6-1 value.
Sunday’s result: Freedom Flyer sat perfectly off the pace under the expert handling of Umberto Rispoli, who flew late to win by a length to win at 4-1 and pay $10.
Ciaran Thornton is the handicapper for Californiapick4.com, which offers daily full card picks, longshots of the day, best bets of the day.
Los Alamitos weekend preview
Los Alamitos is the only game in town at night. So, let’s turn things over to marketing and media guru Orlando Gutierrez. Orlando, the floor is yours.
“Apprentice jockey Diego Herrera enjoyed the best weekend of his riding career, as he opened the month of June by winning with four of his 10 starts to take his win total up to 15. Herrera finished the week by winning the richest race of his young career when he rode Secretly Paranoide to an allowance victory on Sunday night. Later that night, he matched his richest win aboard a quarter horse when he guided Call It Close to an allowance win. In addition to his four wins, Herrera finished second once and had three third-place finishes from his 10 mounts.
“Herrera, who made his first riding appearance at Los Alamitos on Feb. 21, will look to keep his momentum going on Friday. He has five mounts on Friday, including a pair in quarter horse races to finish out the night. Around the turn, he will ride four-time winner Hoss Cartwright in the third at 4 ½ furlongs and then Journey Cake in the fourth, also at 4 ½ furlongs. Herrera has twice piloted the Angela Aquino-trainee to victory. He will also ride Norma’s Love in the fifth when she looks to upset Elemental in a 2 ½-furlong race. Elemental has two recent victories at that distance, both by runaway margins.
“On Saturday night, Mental Error, a stakes winner in each of his last two starts, Golden State Derby winner Circle City, and Mr Jet Moore Stakes winner Eagles Fly Higher are among the 15 aged horses that will race in the trials to the Grade 1, $154,800 Vessels Maturity. The 10 fastest horses will return in the final on July 3.
“Ramon Sanchez will ride for Paul Jones. Mental Error gets top billing in the first of two trials after winning the Kaweah Bar Handicap on May 1 and the First Day of Spring Stakes on March 20. He also won his trial to the Grade 2 Southern California Derby at the end of the 2020 season, giving him three wins from his last four starts. His win in the Kaweah Bar also gave Sanchez his 150th stakes victory at Los Alamitos. The two will join forces from post No. 7 in the seventh race on Saturday night.
“Also in this race, Redneck Ryan, who ran second to Mental Error in the Kaweah Bar, will try to turn the tables his rival. He certainly has the quickness to jump into the early lead, having posted the meet’s fastest 300-yard time of :15.26 when winning his local debut on Jan. 17.
“After success at Remington Park, Eagles Fly Higher returns to California in the second Vessels trial. The son of One Famous Eagle comes in after winning a pair of Grade 2 stakes at the Oklahoma City track — the Mr Jet Moore Stakes and Eastex Stakes. He ran in the trials to the Brad McKinzie Los Alamitos Winter Championship last year.
“Terrible Ted has been nothing but delightful for his new connections of owner Lizbeth Medina and trainer Milton Pineda since being claimed for $5,000 on Jan. 8 at Los Alamitos. The 6-year-old gelding by Tribal Rule has three victories at 1,000 yards since the claim and has enough points to sit at the top spot for the $50,000 feature race at 1,000 yards on Nov. 27.
“The most impressive performance last weekend was posted by London Toby, who won an allowance at 330 yards by an astounding four-length margin and in the meet’s fastest time at this distance of :16.54. The lightly raced 3-year-old gelding was making only his fourth career start and is now two-for-two in 2021. London Toby will now be pointed to a stakes race on California Breeders Champions Night at the end of July.
“Streakin Victory, who won 26 races during his accomplished 121-race career, died at 33 earlier this week. He was owned by Scott Willoughby. Bred by Clarence Scharbauer Jr., Streakin Victory raced for 10 years, debuting at Ross Meadows on June 9, 1990, and continued racing for the rest of the ‘90s and beyond. He made his final start in the Viking Anne Handicap, running a game fourth on June 9, 2000.
“An eight-time stakes/handicap winner, he ran at 12 tracks during his career, including 30 starts for Willoughby, who owned and trained him at Los Alamitos.
“ ’Streakin Victory brought me to California,’ Willoughby said. ‘Streakin Victory was my first winner at Los Alamitos, my first stakes winner at Los Alamitos and my first Grade 1 winner period.’
“After his retirement at 12, Streakin Victory excelled in the roping arena for Willoughby. In his later years, Streakin Victory lived happily while pensioned on the green pastures at Ed Allred’s Rolling A Ranch in Atascadero, Calif.
“ ’I saw him two weeks ago,’ Willoughby said. ‘I took some chocolate donuts and we hung out and enjoyed some sweets together. He’ll always be my special horse.’”
Chris Wade’s LA pick of the day
SIXTH RACE: No. 1 Moonin Shyann (7-2)
She is a well-connected runner who debuted 26 nights ago when earning a quality figure with trouble and track variant factored in that outing. The filly broke a tad slow and inward to bump a rival at the gate opening to lose some valuable ground and her early racing momentum. After the less-than-stellar start, Moonin Shyann showed a nice turn of foot to garner a superfecta placing against a long-gone winner. The number earned puts her at the top of the chart for this evening. She also outran her OK C+ daylight prep prior and she’ll move forward immensely this evening with her career debut out of the way.
A final thought
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And now the star of the show, Friday’s entries.
Santa Anita Entries for Friday, June 11.
Santa Anita, Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, California. 74th day of a 81-day meet.
5 Furlongs Turf. Purse: $61,000. Maiden Special Weight. 2 year olds.
|1||Flash of Genius||Abel Cedillo||122||Peter Miller||7-2|
|2||Big Bar Tab||Tyler Baze||122||Walther Solis||15-1|
|3||Hiding the Brick||Edwin Maldonado||122||Paula S. Capestro||8-1|
|4||Baby's Dream||Kent Desormeaux||119||J. Keith Desormeaux||10-1|
|5||Mackinnon||Juan Hernandez||122||Doug F. O'Neill||5-1|
|6||Runningoutoflove||Umberto Rispoli||122||Brian J. Koriner||4-1|
|7||Bet On Mookie||Flavien Prat||122||Peter Miller||5-2|
|8||Olympic Legend||Jose Valdivia, Jr.||122||Luis Mendez||5-1|
7 Furlongs. Purse: $40,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $75,000-$50,000.
|1||Allaboutthemoney||Ricardo Gonzalez||120||Vladimir Cerin||6-1||75,000|
|2||Silver Moon Road||Tyler Baze||119||Tim Yakteen||5-2||62,500|
|3||Poseidon Wrath||Jessica Pyfer||115||Mark Glatt||6-1||75,000|
|4||Honor Among Men||Flavien Prat||126||Simon Callaghan||5-2||75,000|
|5||Willy the Cobbler||Abel Cedillo||120||Steve Knapp||8-1||75,000|
|6||Cant Stop This Man||Juan Hernandez||118||Philip D'Amato||2-1||50,000|
6 Furlongs Turf. Purse: $28,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 to u year olds. Claiming Prices $25,000-$22,500.
|1||Navy Queen||Jessica Pyfer||121||John W. Sadler||2-1||25,000|
|2||Vella||Eswan Flores||126||Lloyd C. Wicker||7-2||25,000|
|3||Majestic Gigi||Tyler Baze||126||Hector O. Palma||5-2||25,000|
|4||Season to Remember||Alexis Centeno||114||Craig Anthony Lewis||15-1||22,500|
|5||Run Like Kona||Trevor McCarthy||125||Robert B. Hess, Jr.||12-1||22,500|
|6||Best of Show||Cesar Ortega||112||Steven Miyadi||5-1||22,500|
|7||Maggie's Magic||Abel Cedillo||119||Robert B. Hess, Jr.||5-1||22,500|
1 Mile. Purse: $22,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $20,000.
|1||Sir Flatter||Abel Cedillo||120||Peter Miller||9-5||20,000|
|2||No Malice||Cesar Ortega||115||Walther Solis||30-1||20,000|
|3||Very Irish||Eswan Flores||126||Cesar DeAlba||5-2||20,000|
|4||Marksman On Target||Diego Herrera||113||Gary Stute||5-1||20,000|
|5||Mongol Altai||Emily Ellingwood||119||Enebish Ganbat||12-1||20,000|
|6||Stone's River||Alexis Centeno||115||Craig Anthony Lewis||15-1||20,000|
|7||Gerlach's||Kent Desormeaux||120||Vladimir Cerin||2-1||20,000|
1 Mile Turf. Purse: $36,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $25,000-$22,500.
|1||Outlaw||Jessica Pyfer||117||Vann Belvoir||15-1||22,500|
|2||Start a Runnin||Trevor McCarthy||124||Hector O. Palma||8-1||25,000|
|3||Truth Seeker||Abel Cedillo||124||Lorenzo Ruiz||3-1||25,000|
|4||Maricopa County||Jose Valdivia, Jr.||124||Anthony K. Saavedra||10-1||25,000|
|5||Snazzy Dresser||Kent Desormeaux||126||George Papaprodromou||7-2||25,000|
|6||Storm the Bastille||Flavien Prat||124||Peter Miller||4-5||25,000|
6 Furlongs. Purse: $31,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies. 3 year olds. Claiming Prices $30,000-$28,000.
|1||Big Moon||Juan Hernandez||122||Vladimir Cerin||10-1|
|2||Big Al's Princess||Alexis Centeno||117||Victor L. Garcia||10-1||30,000|
|3||Life's Emotions||Emily Ellingwood||113||Daniel Azcarate||15-1||28,000|
|4||Big Bell||Flavien Prat||120||Tim Yakteen||4-1||28,000|
|5||Princess Synsky||Diego Herrera||113||Hector O. Palma||30-1||28,000|
|6||Consider Me Gone||Abel Cedillo||122||Peter Eurton||4-1||30,000|
|7||Kind But She Lies||Kent Desormeaux||122||J. Eric Kruljac||8-1||30,000|
|8||Nobu||Jessica Pyfer||117||Simon Callaghan||5-2||30,000|
|9||Dorita's Happy||Tyler Baze||122||J. Eric Kruljac||7-2||30,000|
6½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $63,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. 3 year olds. Claiming Price $100,000.
|1||Gator Shining||Ricardo Gonzalez||124||Richard Baltas||3-1|
|2||Wyfire||Flavien Prat||124||Peter Miller||5-2|
|3||Swiss Swoo||Juan Hernandez||124||Philip D'Amato||5-1|
|4||Jazz Hands||Mario Gutierrez||124||Edward R. Freeman||4-1||100,000|
|5||Sensemaker||Tyler Baze||124||Manuel Ortiz, Sr.||20-1||100,000|
|6||Harbored Memories||Jose Valdivia, Jr.||124||Mike Puype||9-5|
6 Furlongs. Purse: $35,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $50,000-$45,000. State bred.
|1||Head for Business||Kent Desormeaux||122||Robert B. Hess, Jr.||5-2||45,000|
|2||Lazarus Come Forth||Alexis Centeno||117||Bruce Dillenbeck||50-1||45,000|
|3||August Indy||Diego Herrera||119||Ricardo S. Guillen||30-1||50,000|
|4||Hello Handsome||Trevor McCarthy||120||Mike Puype||4-1||50,000|
|5||Me Macho||Jessica Pyfer||117||John E. Cortez||20-1||45,000|
|6||Barzel Force||Eswan Flores||120||Daniel Dunham||30-1||50,000|
|7||The Roan Ranger||Cesar Ortega||111||David Bernstein||6-1||47,500|
|8||Revisionist||Juan Hernandez||120||Craig Anthony Lewis||6-1||50,000|
|9||Active Account||Tiago Pereira||126||Dean Pederson||9-5||50,000|
|10||Pick Your Bid||Tyler Baze||120||Antonio Garcia||15-1||50,000|
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