Racing! More talk about conflicts


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 (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, 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.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Whispering FlameEvin Roman120James M. Cassidy20-1
2Impossible TaskAbel Cedillo120Doug F. O'Neill6-1
3Takes a VillageAgapito Delgadillo117Luis Mendez6-1
4Tomorrow KnowsVictor Espinoza120John W. Sadler3-1
5Chasin MunnyJoseph Talamo120Mark Glatt12-1
6K P IndyMike Smith120Jeff Mullins7-2
7EncoderFlavien Prat120John W. Sadler5-2
8Temple BarGeovanni Franco120Jerry Hollendorfer12-1
9It's a TyRuben Fuentes120Michael W. McCarthy20-1
Also Eligible
10Fantasy GameNorberto Arroyo, Jr.120Steven Miyadi12-1


6 Furlongs. Purse: $36,000. Starter Allowance. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Diamond of ValueRuben Fuentes122Alfredo Marquez7-2
2JaccatFlavien Prat124Leonard Powell5-2
3Miss Lady AnnAbel Cedillo118Jack Carava3-1
4Interesting TimesJoseph Talamo120Tim Yakteen7-2
5D's Lovely SophiaEswan Flores120Hector O. Palma6-1
6CoiletteMario Gutierrez118Jorge Periban6-1


1 Mile Turf. Purse: $30,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $32,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1HootieIgnacio Puglisi123Michael W. McCarthy12-132,000
2Combat ZoneMartin Pedroza123John W. Sadler5-132,000
3Mr. MagicoVictor Espinoza123Leonard Powell12-132,000
4War ChestEdwin Maldonado123Anna Meah6-132,000
5Aussie FoxAgapito Delgadillo123Jeff Mullins6-132,000
6Soul BeamFlavien Prat123Genaro Vallejo3-132,000
7Passionate RewardJoseph Talamo123Richard E. Mandella7-232,000
8Elite MotionGeovanni Franco123Kathy Walsh20-132,000
9He's Like ViolenceAlonso Quinonez123George Papaprodromou12-1
10AckRuben Fuentes120Reed Saldana20-132,000
11NevermissesabeatRafael Bejarano123Carla Gaines12-132,000


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $21,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $20,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Crazy Sexy MunnyMartin Garcia120Doug F. O'Neill5-120,000
2Noble GirlMartin Pedroza120Joshua M. Litt8-120,000
3Tell It AgainAgapito Delgadillo120Jeff Mullins5-120,000
4Aleda LutzAbel Cedillo120Steven Miyadi8-120,000
5RattleTiago Pereira123Leonard Powell9-220,000
6Harper's GallopIgnacio Puglisi120Jack Carava8-120,000
7AppolinaAssael Espinoza120Bob Baffert3-120,000
8Ma BellaNorberto Arroyo, Jr.120Peter Miller5-120,000
9Curryforthree BangEswan Flores120Joe Herrick20-120,000
10Miss MaybellBrayan Pena120Jerry Wallace, II7-220,000


1 Mile Turf. Purse: $70,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $100,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1QuebecDrayden Van Dyke120Richard Baltas9-5
2SupercommitteeEdwin Maldonado122Anna Meah5-1
3Just a SmidgeMartin Garcia120Bob Baffert6-1
4Youngest DaughterRafael Bejarano120Victoria H. Oliver15-1
5Poster Girl Tiago Pereira120Matthew Chew8-1
6ToinetteFlavien Prat120Neil D. Drysdale7-5


1 1/16 Mile. Purse: $25,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $12,500-$10,500.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Camino de EstrellaJoseph Talamo120Tim Yakteen5-112,500
2For HimJorge Velez111Philip D'Amato5-110,500
3Avanti BelloNorberto Arroyo, Jr.120Vladimir Cerin6-112,500
4ExcavationAbel Cedillo118Steven Miyadi3-110,500
5Lieutenant Seany OFerrin Peterson113Neil A. Koch12-112,500
6Tiz LoveRafael Bejarano120Patricia Harrington6-112,500
7Crown the KittenRuben Fuentes120Reed Saldana5-212,500
8Gran FiestaTyler Baze122Michael Puhich12-112,500


1 Mile Turf. Purse: $61,000. Maiden Special Weight. 3 year olds and up. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1FravelFlavien Prat120Richard E. Mandella6-1
2An American JetEdgar Payeras120Gary Sherlock20-1
3Play MoneyJoseph Talamo120David E. Hofmans3-1
4AsaroEdwin Maldonado120Karen Headley12-1
5Cafe ClaraFerrin Peterson113James F. Sayler20-1
6Sidepocket ActionAssael Espinoza123Steve Knapp5-1
7Jamming EddyMartin Pedroza120Peter Miller5-2
8No Parking HereNorberto Arroyo, Jr.120Steven Miyadi7-2