Racing! Trying to answer heady questions

Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter as we can’t believe the participation of the New York survey.

A story in Bloodhorse caught my eye about New York stakeholders being sent a questionnaire about Lasix usage. (You can read the story here.)

It was sent by the New York State Gaming Commission to 140 people in both the thoroughbred and standardbred business. Robert Williams, the executive director of the group, told the commission on Monday that surveys were sent to the state’s top 40 trainers by wins, top 40 owners by purse money and assorted representatives of industry groups plus racing secretaries, veterinarians and others.

Here were the questions:

--Should non-Lasix races be allowed in New York?

--Should the drug be banned for 2-year-olds?

--Should there be a dosage reduction requirement?

The real story here is not what the results of the survey were, it’s that there were only 17 people who responded. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the sport is in the midst of a national crisis, and if only 12% of the people cared enough to respond does that make you feel good about the future of the sport?

Only 10 of the 17 responders were involved in the thoroughbred business. As for the questions, not that the sample size can at all tell us anything, here are the answers. And remember, not everyone answered every question.


--Nine of 15 favored the idea of having non-Lasix races in New York.

--This is already in the works so disagreement seems futile, but 11 of 16 were OK banning the drug for 2-year-olds.

--As for lowering the level of Lasix, two were in favor of it, four said maybe and one wanted more study.

Now, I’ve got this feeling you guys, the newsletter readers, are a little more interested so I’m going to pose similar questions to you. I think you know the drill. And, remember, we don’t show you the results to keep the poll as honest as possible. The results will appear in the newsletter later this week.

The questions:

--Should non-Lasix races be written in California? (vote here)

--Should Lasix be banned for 2-year-olds? (vote here)

--Should there be a dosage reduction requirement on race day? (vote here)

Bet we get more than 17 votes.

Latest on Hollendorfer

Well, there isn’t really anything new. We are all awaiting a judge’s decision on whether to grant a restraining order that would allow Jerry Hollendorfer to race horses at Del Mar.

In a 13-page filing, first reported by USA Today (you can read the story here), Del Mar elaborated on what has been reported, the track was afraid of a public relations hit.

“The racing industry in California is in the midst of an almost existential crisis amid calls from the public, media, Governor’s office, the California Legislature, Congress and the CHRB to pull out all reasonable stops to assure everyone that the industry is doing everything it reasonably can to ensure the safety of the horses. Unfortunately, despite his lengthy and successful career during the past six months, Hollendorfer has accounted for 15% of the horses that have lost their lives in racing and training at two California tracks. …

“Criminal investigations are ongoing in Los Angeles relating to what led to 30 thoroughbred race horses losing their lives in the first six months of this year at Santa Anita, and animal rights’ activists have called for the industry in California to be shut down. Ordering [Del Mar Thoroughbred Club] to permit Hollendorfer to train and race horses at Del Mar will lead to cries that DMTC is not doing what it can to ensure horse safety, and if a fatal injury were to occur to one of his horses, the clamor to end horse racing would be deafening.”

In a recent poll in this newsletter, about 52% of you thought Hollendorfer was made to be a scapegoat and about 30% thought there wasn’t enough information to make an informed decision.

I’m guessing most of you have already made up your mind and are not likely to be swayed by a legal filing. But, if you haven’t made up your mind, you can throw in the above language to see if it helps or hurts to bolster Del Mar’s decision.

Like I said, nothing new here, just a little more transparency.

Del Mar preview

Why do people love going to Del Mar? Many reasons but one is where else can you get a Grade 3 stakes on a Wednesday? First post is at 2 p.m. and there are only seven races. I’ve said before, I think cutting back the number of races on a day is a smart way to preserve the meet and it fits into the Del Mar business model.

As Joe Harper, longtime chief executive at Del Mar, likes to say, for many people going to Del Mar is more a food, beverage and entertainment play than a betting play. So, by preserving as many days with smaller cards you can maintain that revenue stream.

Getting bored? Want to know about the stakes race?

It’s the Grade 3 $100,000 Cougar II Handicap for horses going the Belmont distance of 1 ½ miles. Post is about 4:30 p.m.

The favorite, at 6-5, is Campaign for trainer John Sadler and jockey Rafael Bejarano. He was fourth last out in the Brooklyn Invitational at Belmont and won the Tokyo City Cup at Santa Anita in his previous start. Both races are 1 ½ miles. He’s won four-of-nine lifetime races.

Second favorite is For the Top at 3-1 for Bob Baffert and Joe Talamo. He’s two-of-six lifetime having run five of his races in South America. In his only U.S. appearance, at Santa Anita, he finished fourth in a four- horse mile race, although less than two lengths behind the winner.

Here are the field sizes, in order: 5, 8, 9, 7, 8, 7, 8 (4 also eligible).

Bob Ike’s DM pick of the day

FIFTH RACE No. 4 Raymundo’s Secret (5-2)

“Ship & Win” candidate from the Richard Baltas barn won her only start at Tampa Bay Downs back in January at a whopping 40-1. She completely dominated her foes when starting her career in a one mile turf event (same as today), has trained very well at SLR Downs and lands leading rider Flavien Prat. She may not offer a lot of value on the tote board, so play her over Whoa Nessie (8-1) and Shanghai Truffles (3-1) if looking for added punch in the exotics.

Sunday’s result: Law Abidin Citizen dwelt at the start to be completely eliminated, finishing last in the sixth race.

Bob Ike is a Partner/VP of (here’s a video) and the proprietor of (full-card picks, 3 Best Plays and betting strategy).

Final thought

Yes, we’re always trying to grow the newsletter. You can’t beat the price. If you like it, tell someone. If you don’t like it, then you’re probably not reading this. Either way, send to a friend and just have them click here and sign up. Remember, it’s free, and all we need is your email, 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, Wednesday’s entries.

Del Mar Entries for Wednesday, July 24.

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; $2 Pick 6 last 6 races; $1 Place Pick All; $1 Super High Five last race. Trifecta needs 4 betting interests; Superfecta needs 6. 6th day of a 36-day meet.


5 Furlongs Turf. Purse: $70,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $100,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1DeclarationofpeaceFlavien Prat120John W. Sadler3-1
2Pubilius SyrusNorberto Arroyo, Jr.120Vladimir Cerin10-1
3StubbinsRafael Bejarano120Doug F. O'Neill8-1
4Eddie HaskellKent Desormeaux124Mark Glatt6-5
5TribalistVictor Espinoza120Blake R. Heap2-1


6½ Furlongs. Purse: $21,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $8,000-$7,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Papa TurfAbel Cedillo120Jeffrey Metz10-18,000
2Market SentimentAgapito Delgadillo120Steve Knapp8-18,000
3Twirling TigerJorge Velez113Charles S. Treece5-18,000
4HarrovianJ.C. Diaz, Jr.113John E. Cortez20-18,000
5SergioMario Gutierrez122Shelbe Ruis7-28,000
6For the HustleTiago Pereira120George Papaprodromou5-18,000
7Jump the TracksRuben Fuentes120Reed Saldana3-18,000
8Desert GeneralMartin Pedroza120Ryan Hanson4-18,000


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $32,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $50,000. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Atomic CandyFlavien Prat120Peter Miller3-150,000
2Afternoon HeatJorge Velez113Dan Ward7-250,000
3Twisted PlotRafael Bejarano120Art Sherman4-150,000
4Jen Go UnchainedAgapito Delgadillo120Mike Puype5-250,000
5Anniversary SaleAbel Cedillo120Jonathan Wong8-150,000
6Brazilian SummerIgnacio Puglisi120Matthew Chew20-150,000
7Tim's BuddyGeovanni Franco120Bill McLean20-150,000
8An American JetEdgar Payeras120Gary Sherlock10-150,000
9Free RickyBrayan Pena120Sergio Morfin20-150,000


1 Mile. Purse: $67,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $62,500.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Route Six SixJoseph Talamo120Brian J. Koriner5-2
2Pepe TonoAgapito Delgadillo120Victor L. Garcia6-1
3Leading ScoreMartin Garcia120Bob Baffert4-1
4Top Secret IndyIII Antongeorgi120Reid France15-1
5Two Thirty FiveFlavien Prat120Richard Baltas2-1
6Hot SeanMartin Pedroza120Bob Baffert4-162,500
7Curlin RulesRuben Fuentes120John W. Sadler12-162,500


1 Mile Turf. Purse: $36,000. Starter Allowance. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Queen of the TrackNorberto Arroyo, Jr.118Jeff Bonde8-1
2Lucky StepperVictor Espinoza120Carla Gaines5-1
3Whoa NessieKent Desormeaux122Robert B. Hess, Jr.8-1
4Raymundos SecretFlavien Prat118Richard Baltas5-2
5Shanghai TrufflesDrayden Van Dyke120Patrick Gallagher3-1
6Cash for CassRuben Fuentes118Shelbe Ruis12-1
7Trust Fund KittyAbel Cedillo122Val Brinkerhoff4-1
8Magnificent Q TAssael Espinoza122James M. Cassidy10-1


1½ Mile. Purse: $100,000. 'Cougar II Handicap'. Stakes. 3 year olds and up.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Itsinthepost Drayden Van Dyke121Jeff Mullins7-2
2ZestfulAbel Cedillo115Mark Glatt10-1
3For the Top Joseph Talamo119Bob Baffert3-1
4Original IntentAssael Espinoza115Dean Greenman20-1
5Morse CodeEdwin Maldonado116Richard Baltas4-1
6CampaignRafael Bejarano123John W. Sadler6-5


5 Furlongs Turf. Purse: $61,000. Maiden Special Weight. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Distorted WinFlavien Prat124Richard E. Mandella5-2
2Magical GrayJoseph Talamo124Victor L. Garcia7-2
3Miss Stormy DGeovanni Franco120Carla Gaines6-1
4She's Our CharmDiego Sanchez120Ronald L. McAnally20-1
5Mischiffie Drayden Van Dyke120Philip D'Amato6-1
6ClaudelleJorge Velez113John W. Sadler3-1
7Pammi DearestEdwin Maldonado120Gary Mandella15-1
8CherishedRafael Bejarano120Eoin G. Harty6-1
Also Eligible
9Road RagerAaron Gryder120Brian J. Koriner3-1