Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter as we ponder fewer racing dates in 2020.
Is it too soon to think about next year’s racing schedule? Actually, it’s a little late.
On Thursday, the California Horse Racing Board plans to meet at Del Mar to discuss the racing dates for the southern part of the state — or in other words: us.
Now, it’s unclear if the dates are chiseled in stone and any discussion is a mere formality and the fix for approval is in. Or, is there actually the opportunity to allow comment, discussion and maybe change or compromise. We’re guessing the former.
According to a letter entered into the record for Thursday’s meeting, Alan Balch, executive director of the California Thoroughbred Trainers (CTT), claims his group was excluded from “serious private discussions resulting in recommendations to the California Horse Racing Board.”
He also went on to say, if you read between the lines, that the foal crop today can no longer sustain the amount of racing that currently is being held in California. He didn’t state it that directly, but we are guessing that’s where he was headed.
Also feeling excluded was Los Alamitos, who, through vice president Jack Liebau, demanded to know who the stakeholders were that requested this be put on the meeting agenda. In the letter, he also said Los Alamitos requested dates similar to those it had this year. Right now, it doesn’t have them.
The exclusion was more Santa Anita, Del Mar and the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) dissing the CTT and Los Alamitos. The meeting with the CHRB, in which the CTT was invited but didn’t attend, was a working session and not open to the public, as opposed to a meeting in which decisions are made and recommendations to the full board are made.
Vice-chair Madeline Auerbach and commissioner Fred Maas were the only board members in attendance.
“Since this was less than three persons, it was not acting as a state body and therefore not subject to notice and public meeting requirements,” said Mike Marten, CHRB spokesman.
Then, the two main tracks and the TOC have private conversations and, poof, you have next year’s racing schedule all set, we think.
Now, we’re not saying that the dates are bad or unfair. We’re just wondering how all the stakeholders aren’t present or, in the case of the private meetings, even invited. And then there’s the case of you and me, the public, who don’t get a look behind the curtain, especially if this is presented to the Board as fait accompli.
Too much insider talk? OK, let’s get to what is on the table for next year.
Santa Anita: Its dates are Dec. 18 to June 23, however, actual racing won’t begin until Dec. 26. But the extra dates are important because Santa Anita gets the simulcast revenue. Now, during that time there is supposed to be four days racing a week but there will be 12 cancellation dates, be they because of weather (you won’t believe the amount of perceived weather on Thursdays) or shortage of horses. The second meeting will be Sept. 9 to Oct. 27. During September they will race three days a week and four in October.
Del Mar: Its dates are July 8 to Sept. 8, with July 8 to 17 to be only simulcast money dates. Now, this really isn’t an extension of an end date, but there is a late Labor Day next year (Sept. 7). The summer meet will be five days a week and likely will benefit because there is no racing the week before the track opens. The fall meeting will go from Oct. 28 until Dec. 1. Now, and this is a big change, the track will run only three days a week in the fall except Thanksgiving week.
Los Alamitos: This track took the biggest hit as far as dates. The facility is down to about four weeks. So, that leaves Los Alamitos with three-day-a-week racing somewhere in the period from June 24 until July 7. The first week belongs to Los Alamitos and the second week is the L.A. County Fair. The Fair also has another meeting from Dec. 2 until Dec. 15, but it will be four days a week.
So, what does all this mean? Less racing, but not by a lot.
What no one really can predict is how the horse population will rebound after Santa Anita’s sport-altering meeting this year. There’s a new guy in charge at Santa Anita, Aidan Butler, and to say his task is Herculean would be an understatement.
Again, all this is what’s proposed. We’re not even sure who will be running the meeting. Chuck Winner’s term on the board has expired, but he can hang around another 60 days or until the governor appoints another board member.
We’ll also be listening to hear if Auerbach is named to the chairman job, as everyone expects. This would come a couple weeks after she was ensnared in an appearance of conflict of interest that the CHRB attorneys said was legal. She was business partners with Tim Ritvo, former Santa Anita boss and someone she regulated, in the ownership of a horse.
California racing can make even the simplest transactions interesting, and we don’t always mean that in a good way.
By the way, Northern California dates are not on the table, yet.
Del Mar preview
The Wednesday card is seven races starting at 2 p.m. There a stakes, and allowance and three maiden races. The feature is the $85,000 Harry F. Brubaker Stakes for horses going a mile.
The favorite, at 5-2, is Dr. Dorr for trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Joe Talamo. He’s five for 17 lifetime and has been lightly raced recently. He finished fifth in last year’s Pacific Classic, followed by a second in the San Carlos and a third in the Kona Gold.
The second favorite is Isotherm at 3-1. He’s trained by Phil D’Amato and will have leading rider Flavien Prat aboard. He is three for 23 lifetime and hasn’t won since Feb. 4, 2017. He was ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. This is his first race of the year.
Here are the field sizes, in order: 10, 6, 8 (4 also eligible), 8, 8, 6, 8 (1 ae).
Bob Ike’s Dmr pick of the day
SEVENTH RACE: No. 4 Hartel (4-1)
Returns from Midwest for “Ship & Win” money as this Peter Miller-trained sophomore tries to regain his best form. Showed ability over this course as a 2-year-old last summer and reunites with Flavien Prat, who rode him to his only victory. Although he comes back quickly (12 days) after a cross-country ship, he should be very formidable as he drops back in with sophomores.
Sunday’s result: Ameerah B was in the right spot turning for home but spit it out badly through the stretch to finish far back in a disappointer.
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).
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Now, the star of the show, Wednesday’s entries.
Del Mar Entries for Wednesday, August 21.
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. 25th day of a 36-day meet.
1 Mile Turf. Purse: $61,000. Maiden Special Weight. Fillies. 2 year olds. State bred.
|1||Nina En Fuego||Flavien Prat||120||Tim Yakteen||8-1|
|2||Warrior's Moon||Drayden Van Dyke||120||Peter Eurton||7-2|
|3||Going to Shabooms||Geovanni Franco||120||Andy Mathis||20-1|
|4||Warren's Showtime||Jorge Velez||115||Craig Anthony Lewis||3-1|
|5||Very Boisterous||J.C. Diaz, Jr.||113||Steven Miyadi||20-1|
|6||Sassyserb||Abel Cedillo||120||Anna Meah||12-1|
|7||Circleofcolor||Agapito Delgadillo||120||John C. Ivory||20-1|
|8||Lakaya||Evin Roman||120||Robert B. Hess, Jr.||6-1|
|9||Nocherylikemychery||Rafael Bejarano||120||Mike Harrington||4-1|
|10||Bayonce||Joseph Talamo||120||Peter Eurton||6-1|
1 Mile. Purse: $25,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $20,000.
|1||Whirling||Rafael Bejarano||123||George Papaprodromou||4-1||20,000|
|2||Beyond Pleasure||Flavien Prat||123||Richard Baltas||2-1||20,000|
|3||Fracas||Edwin Maldonado||123||Craig Dollase||6-1||20,000|
|4||Atina||Joseph Talamo||123||Andy Mathis||3-1||20,000|
|5||Cimarron||Abel Cedillo||120||Robert B. Hess, Jr.||5-2||20,000|
|6||All Tea All Shade||Geovanni Franco||120||Jorge Periban||12-1||20,000|
5 Furlongs Turf. Purse: $61,000. Maiden Special Weight. Fillies. 2 year olds.
|1||Secret Square||Ruben Fuentes||120||John W. Sadler||4-1|
|2||Scoot the Moon||Assael Espinoza||120||Val Brinkerhoff||10-1|
|3||Lace||Tiago Pereira||120||Richard E. Mandella||10-1|
|4||Totally Normal||Rafael Bejarano||120||Doug F. O'Neill||5-1|
|5||Beautiful Thunder||Aaron Gryder||120||Brian J. Koriner||10-1|
|6||Wakes Up Happy||Abel Cedillo||120||Doug F. O'Neill||5-1|
|7||Nu Pi Lambda||Victor Espinoza||120||Carla Gaines||7-2|
|8||Mind Out||Flavien Prat||120||Simon Callaghan||3-1|
|9||Golden Melodie||Jorge Velez||115||Craig Anthony Lewis||4-1|
|10||Establish Justice||Drayden Van Dyke||120||Mike Puype||5-1|
|11||Eclair||Drayden Van Dyke||120||Bob Baffert||5-2|
|12||Greg's Diva||Flavien Prat||120||Philip D'Amato||2-1|
1 Mile. Purse: $61,000. Maiden Special Weight. 3 year olds and up.
|1||Noble Pursuit||Jorge Velez||118||John W. Sadler||6-1|
|2||Still in the Game||Mario Gutierrez||120||Ben D. A. Cecil||5-1|
|3||Mongolian Hero||Abel Cedillo||120||Enebish Ganbat||20-1|
|4||Gate Speed||Kent Desormeaux||120||Mark Glatt||7-2|
|5||Caribbean||Brice Blanc||123||John A. Shirreffs||6-1|
|6||Go for a Ride||Flavien Prat||120||Peter Miller||5-2|
|7||Commanding Chief||Victor Espinoza||120||John W. Sadler||3-1|
|8||Potantico||J.C. Diaz, Jr.||113||Vladimir Cerin||20-1|
1 Mile Turf. Purse: $35,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $32,000.
|1||Buckstopper Kit||Kent Desormeaux||123||Robert B. Hess, Jr.||7-2||32,000|
|2||Very Very Stella||Martin Garcia||123||Doug F. O'Neill||5-1||32,000|
|3||Terrys Tom Cat||Mario Gutierrez||123||Tim McCanna||12-1||32,000|
|4||Murad Khan||Flavien Prat||123||Leonard Powell||5-2||32,000|
|5||Unusually Green||Abel Cedillo||123||Jonathan Wong||3-1||32,000|
|6||Fabozzi||Joseph Talamo||123||Mark Glatt||10-1||32,000|
|7||Eldritch||Jorge Velez||118||Mark Glatt||15-1||32,000|
|8||Caymans Cobra||Aaron Gryder||123||Richard Baltas||6-1||32,000|
1 Mile. Purse: $85,000. 'Harry F. Brubaker Stakes'. 3 year olds and up.
|1||Lombo||Geovanni Franco||119||Philip D'Amato||8-1|
|2||Dr. Dorr||Joseph Talamo||119||Bob Baffert||5-2|
|3||Isotherm||Flavien Prat||119||Philip D'Amato||3-1|
|4||Leading Score||Martin Garcia||123||Bob Baffert||4-1|
|5||Line Judge||Rafael Bejarano||121||Peter Miller||7-2|
|6||Two Thirty Five||Abel Cedillo||119||Richard Baltas||4-1|
5 Furlongs Turf. Purse: $64,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. 3 year olds. Claiming Price $80,000.
|1||Capture the Sea||Drayden Van Dyke||120||Craig Dollase||6-1|
|2||Order and Law||Joseph Talamo||120||Vladimir Cerin||5-1|
|3||Prodigal Son||Mario Gutierrez||122||Doug F. O'Neill||3-1|
|4||Hartel||Flavien Prat||120||Peter Miller||4-1|
|5||Boa Nova||Edwin Maldonado||120||Anna Meah||7-2|
|6||Prince Pierce||Martin Garcia||122||Kevin Eikleberry||15-1|
|7||Oil Can Knight||Abel Cedillo||120||Doug F. O'Neill||4-1|
|8||Tap the Wire||Geovanni Franco||120||Daniel Dunham||20-1|
|9||No Bang No Boom||Victor Espinoza||122||Wesley A. Ward||5-2||80,000|
6 Furlongs. Purse: $40,000. Maiden Claiming. 2 year olds. Claiming Prices $100,000-$85,000.
|1||Railsplitter||Rafael Bejarano||120||Doug F. O'Neill||7-2||100,000|
|2||Octopus||Joseph Talamo||120||Peter Eurton||12-1||100,000|
|3||Prince Ricky||Jorge Velez||115||Craig Anthony Lewis||8-1||100,000|
|4||Howbeit||Eswan Flores||117||Luis Mendez||6-1||85,000|
|5||Impossible Task||Abel Cedillo||120||Doug F. O'Neill||5-2||100,000|
|6||Final Final||Geovanni Franco||120||Bill McLean||8-1||100,000|
|7||Carpe Noctem||Edwin Maldonado||120||J. Keith Desormeaux||20-1||100,000|
|8||Bean and the Bug||Evin Roman||120||J. Keith Desormeaux||20-1||100,000|
|9||Bamboozler||Tiago Pereira||120||Tim Yakteen||6-1||100,000|
|10||Nucky||Flavien Prat||120||Peter Miller||3-1||100,000|