Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter as we get to the middle of the Del Mar meeting.
With a five-day racing week at Del Mar, it means we publish six days a week. So, wouldn’t you figure the one day we don’t have a newsletter we had a pretty interesting story both online and in print.
What we wrote was that Madeline Auerbach, vice-chair of the California Horse Racing Board, had a business arrangement with Tim Ritvo, chief operating officer of The Stronach Group and the guy running Santa Anita. They owned a horse together along with the wife of Mike Rogers, who is a vice president at TSG. You can read the story here.
This could be viewed as a conflict of interest but at the very least it’s a guaranteed appearance of conflict of interest. The regulator shouldn’t be financially tied to the person they regulate.
Now, the CHRB lawyers signed off on it saying it was OK. But just because something is legally OK, doesn’t necessarily make it a good idea. (By the way, I could have lined up lawyers who said it wasn’t OK.) Over the weekend and before Fravel, the horse, was going to run his first race on Wednesday, Ritvo sold his share of the horse back to Auerbach.
Most interesting in this story was the response from TSG to The Times on Monday.
“The Stronach Group expects that all its employees will avoid situations where there can even be a perception of a conflict of interest. When the issue around this horse was raised, the individual immediately divested himself of any interest in that horse. TSG is taking steps to stress with all its employees its strict conflict of interest requirements and the necessity of always bearing them in mind and seeking clarification where they are unsure as to any potential situation.”
I don’t know about you, but I viewed that as a rebuke of Ritvo, but not by name. The deal was cut for the horse a while ago and only when it became an flashpoint was it “raised.”
I don’t think that there is anything that would arise from the ownership of this horse that would lead to corruption or that the participants have any nefarious plans. I’m certain of it. The main thing they are guilty of is bad judgement.
Conflict of interest is something to take seriously. Appearance of conflict of interest should be taken just as seriously because if the public loses confidence in you, the truth doesn’t always matter.
You’ll remember my colleague Eric (Manny) Sondheimer, the best backup in the world. Well, when the horse deaths at Santa Anita started to polarize people in different camps, we made the decision to not have Eric help me because he is a horse owner.
There was zero chance his reporting would be compromised by that fact, but we didn’t like the appearance of a member of the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) writing about this incredibly important story. So, he’s backed off covering horse racing.
As for me, I don’t own, train or even ride horses. In fact, I don’t even pat them when I’m in the barn area. I almost never bet, usually going no further than putting $2 across on a Bob Ike or Rob Henie pick as long as I’m not writing about that race. It’s just easier that way. I like to say the journalism is difficult enough without having to worry about handicapping.
My colleague and friend Bryce Miller of the San Diego Union-Tribune wrote about this conflict of interest issue today. You can read it here.
So, that’s what happens when the newsletter takes a regularly scheduled day off. And, no, no, no, I’m not suggesting we add to our publishing schedule.
On to the middle week of the Del Mar season.
Del Mar preview
This will be the first Wednesday card without a stakes race. It’s the usual seven races starting at 2 p.m. Four of them are on the turf, marking the first time in the meeting there are more turf races than dirt. (They are all the odd numbered races.)
The feature is the fifth, a turf one mile allowance/optional claimer for fillies and mares 3 and older. The purse is $70,000. The favorite is Toinette, 7-5, for trainer Neil Drysdale and jockey Flavien Prat. This 4-year-old filly is lightly raced, but has won four of her six starts. She has won four of her last five. The problem is she’s been off since October of last year but has been working steady since the middle of the year. She has won two Grade 3s.
The second favorite is Quebec at 9-5 for Richard Baltas and Drayden Van Dyke. She is six-for 25 lifetime and has one black type stakes win at Gulfstream in April. Her last race was on May 26 at Monmouth. Post is about 4 p.m.
Here are the field sizes, in order: 9 (1 also eligible), 6, 11, 10, 6, 8, 8.
Bob Ike’s Dmr pick of the day
FIFTH RACE Exactas 6/4,5
Toinette (7-5) looks like the most probable winner of the meet to me but figures to get hammered at the windows. The very talented filly trained by Neil Drysdale might have been tough in the Yellow Ribbon Handicap on Sunday but opted for this easier spot off a string of dynamite workouts. Let’s try to find some value by playing Toinette in one-way exactas over Poster Girl and Youngest Daughter, who are the two longest prices on the morning line.
Sunday’s result: Distinctive B got the right trip, made a brief move at the winner but flattened out and was all out to hold second money in race six.
Bob Ike is a Partner/VP of Horsebills.com (here’s a video) and the proprietor of BobIkePicks.com (full-card picks, 3 Best Plays and betting strategy).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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, August 7.
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. 16th day of a 36-day meet.
5 Furlongs Turf. Purse: $61,000. Maiden Special Weight. 2 year olds.
|1||Whispering Flame||Evin Roman||120||James M. Cassidy||20-1|
|2||Impossible Task||Abel Cedillo||120||Doug F. O'Neill||6-1|
|3||Takes a Village||Agapito Delgadillo||117||Luis Mendez||6-1|
|4||Tomorrow Knows||Victor Espinoza||120||John W. Sadler||3-1|
|5||Chasin Munny||Joseph Talamo||120||Mark Glatt||12-1|
|6||K P Indy||Mike Smith||120||Jeff Mullins||7-2|
|7||Encoder||Flavien Prat||120||John W. Sadler||5-2|
|8||Temple Bar||Geovanni Franco||120||Jerry Hollendorfer||12-1|
|9||It's a Ty||Ruben Fuentes||120||Michael W. McCarthy||20-1|
|10||Fantasy Game||Norberto Arroyo, Jr.||120||Steven Miyadi||12-1|
6 Furlongs. Purse: $36,000. Starter Allowance. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up.
|1||Diamond of Value||Ruben Fuentes||122||Alfredo Marquez||7-2|
|2||Jaccat||Flavien Prat||124||Leonard Powell||5-2|
|3||Miss Lady Ann||Abel Cedillo||118||Jack Carava||3-1|
|4||Interesting Times||Joseph Talamo||120||Tim Yakteen||7-2|
|5||D's Lovely Sophia||Eswan Flores||120||Hector O. Palma||6-1|
|6||Coilette||Mario Gutierrez||118||Jorge Periban||6-1|
1 Mile Turf. Purse: $30,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $32,000.
|1||Hootie||Ignacio Puglisi||123||Michael W. McCarthy||12-1||32,000|
|2||Combat Zone||Martin Pedroza||123||John W. Sadler||5-1||32,000|
|3||Mr. Magico||Victor Espinoza||123||Leonard Powell||12-1||32,000|
|4||War Chest||Edwin Maldonado||123||Anna Meah||6-1||32,000|
|5||Aussie Fox||Agapito Delgadillo||123||Jeff Mullins||6-1||32,000|
|6||Soul Beam||Flavien Prat||123||Genaro Vallejo||3-1||32,000|
|7||Passionate Reward||Joseph Talamo||123||Richard E. Mandella||7-2||32,000|
|8||Elite Motion||Geovanni Franco||123||Kathy Walsh||20-1||32,000|
|9||He's Like Violence||Alonso Quinonez||123||George Papaprodromou||12-1|
|10||Ack||Ruben Fuentes||120||Reed Saldana||20-1||32,000|
|11||Nevermissesabeat||Rafael Bejarano||123||Carla Gaines||12-1||32,000|
5½ Furlongs. Purse: $21,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $20,000.
|1||Crazy Sexy Munny||Martin Garcia||120||Doug F. O'Neill||5-1||20,000|
|2||Noble Girl||Martin Pedroza||120||Joshua M. Litt||8-1||20,000|
|3||Tell It Again||Agapito Delgadillo||120||Jeff Mullins||5-1||20,000|
|4||Aleda Lutz||Abel Cedillo||120||Steven Miyadi||8-1||20,000|
|5||Rattle||Tiago Pereira||123||Leonard Powell||9-2||20,000|
|6||Harper's Gallop||Ignacio Puglisi||120||Jack Carava||8-1||20,000|
|7||Appolina||Assael Espinoza||120||Bob Baffert||3-1||20,000|
|8||Ma Bella||Norberto Arroyo, Jr.||120||Peter Miller||5-1||20,000|
|9||Curryforthree Bang||Eswan Flores||120||Joe Herrick||20-1||20,000|
|10||Miss Maybell||Brayan Pena||120||Jerry Wallace, II||7-2||20,000|
1 Mile Turf. Purse: $70,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $100,000.
|1||Quebec||Drayden Van Dyke||120||Richard Baltas||9-5|
|2||Supercommittee||Edwin Maldonado||122||Anna Meah||5-1|
|3||Just a Smidge||Martin Garcia||120||Bob Baffert||6-1|
|4||Youngest Daughter||Rafael Bejarano||120||Victoria H. Oliver||15-1|
|5||Poster Girl||Tiago Pereira||120||Matthew Chew||8-1|
|6||Toinette||Flavien Prat||120||Neil D. Drysdale||7-5|
1 1/16 Mile. Purse: $25,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $12,500-$10,500.
|1||Camino de Estrella||Joseph Talamo||120||Tim Yakteen||5-1||12,500|
|2||For Him||Jorge Velez||111||Philip D'Amato||5-1||10,500|
|3||Avanti Bello||Norberto Arroyo, Jr.||120||Vladimir Cerin||6-1||12,500|
|4||Excavation||Abel Cedillo||118||Steven Miyadi||3-1||10,500|
|5||Lieutenant Seany O||Ferrin Peterson||113||Neil A. Koch||12-1||12,500|
|6||Tiz Love||Rafael Bejarano||120||Patricia Harrington||6-1||12,500|
|7||Crown the Kitten||Ruben Fuentes||120||Reed Saldana||5-2||12,500|
|8||Gran Fiesta||Tyler Baze||122||Michael Puhich||12-1||12,500|
1 Mile Turf. Purse: $61,000. Maiden Special Weight. 3 year olds and up. State bred.
|1||Fravel||Flavien Prat||120||Richard E. Mandella||6-1|
|2||An American Jet||Edgar Payeras||120||Gary Sherlock||20-1|
|3||Play Money||Joseph Talamo||120||David E. Hofmans||3-1|
|4||Asaro||Edwin Maldonado||120||Karen Headley||12-1|
|5||Cafe Clara||Ferrin Peterson||113||James F. Sayler||20-1|
|6||Sidepocket Action||Assael Espinoza||123||Steve Knapp||5-1|
|7||Jamming Eddy||Martin Pedroza||120||Peter Miller||5-2|
|8||No Parking Here||Norberto Arroyo, Jr.||120||Steven Miyadi||7-2|