Racing! Los Alamitos starts its L.A. County Fair meet

Horses and jockeys charge out of the starting gate.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome to our horse racing newsletter as we head into a short racing weekend.

Well, we’re back at Los Alamitos for what might be the last L.A. County Fair meet held in September. The Thoroughbred Owners of California, Santa Anita and Del Mar wanted to eliminate some racing dates for next year. And what better place to get those dates than from Los Alamitos, which wasn’t represented in the talks to establish next year’s race dates?

Now, the thing that can’t be touched as far as allocation is the L.A. County Fair meet, which is pretty much guaranteed three weeks every year. So, what did this cabal come up with? The fair could have July 4-7 and Dec. 5-15.

Well, that sure makes sense.

Ed Allred, the chairman and owner of Los Alamitos, got up at California Horse Racing Board meeting and gave a heartfelt defense of keeping the fair meet in September. He also brought up the idea that nighttime quarter-horse racing couldn’t survive without a thoroughbred racing lead-in. Los Al needs daytime racing somewhere in California to lure people into betting the nighttime program.

On Sept. 19, there will be a meeting of the CHRB Dates Committee before the Board meets at Los Alamitos later that morning. The presumption is that there will be a resolution to the dates in flux, which in addition to Los Alamitos include Northern California. Maybe Allred can be satisfied if the Board makes sure there are Northern California lead-ins to the dates when there is no Southern California racing. Maybe that’s enough. Maybe not.


So, it’s with that backdrop that we open up the 10-day L.A. County Fair at Los Alamitos meeting. There will be three-day racing the first two weeks and four days the final week. We’re figuring you can guess which days those are.

It has about $400,000 tied up in five stakes races. On Saturday, there will be the $75,000 Beverly J. Lewis Stakes for 3-year-old fillies going six furlongs, followed later that day by the $75,000 E.B. Johnston Stakes for Cal-breds going a mile.

On Sept. 14 is the $75,000 Phone Chatter Stakes for 2-year-old fillies going 6½ furlongs and the next day is the $100,000 Los Alamitos Special for horses going 1¼ miles.

The last stakes of the meet is the $75,000 Capote Stakes on Sept. 21 for 2-year-old colts and geldings going 6½ furlongs.

Chris Griffin is the new thoroughbred announcer for this meet until Michael Wrona takes over thoroughbred (whatever is left of it) and nighttime quarter-horse racing after Ed Burgart retires at the end of the year. Ed is on vacation these next three weeks so Griffin is doing both day and nighttime race calling.

Los Alamitos daytime preview

The first day of the Los Alamitos fair meeting, which is allowed by the state to have higher takeout, starts at 1 p.m. and has eight races. There are two allowance races and three races restricted to maidens. The fields are a little thin, which makes the decision to just go three days the first two weeks a smart one.

The feature, by just $3,000 in purse money, is the seventh, an allowance/optional claimer for horses going six furlongs for $48,000. There are five starters. The favorite, at 9-5, is Spokane Eagle for trainer Doug O’Neill and jockey Agapito Delgadillo. He has won four of nine this year but has been running at the claiming level. He was won his last two races.

The second favorite is McKale, at 2-1, for Bob Baffert and Joe Talamo. He is two-of-eight lifetime and won an allowance at the last Los Alamitos meeting.

Here are the field sizes, in order: 6, 6, 7, 5, 6, 7, 5, 7.

Ciaran Thornton’s Lrc pick of the day

RACE FOUR: No. 1 J T’s A.T.M (9-2)

J T’s A.T.M races protected on Friday and drops in class after a leg stretcher five-furlong race on turf last month at Del Mar, the first start since January. They move back to dirt Friday for the second start off the layoff and cut back a furlong. This horse had some serious early speed last year and any repeat of that early speed and we have a decent value winner. Jockey Joe Talamo rides again.

Ciaran Thornton is the handicapper for, which offers daily full card picks, longshots of the day, best bets of the day.

Golden Gate weekend preview

Matt Dinerman, the race caller at Golden Gate, is back with his weekly look at what’s happening up at Golden Gate Fields. Matt’s boundless enthusiasm can be heard in his calls and seen in his writing, even though I edit out some of it. Editors! Take it away, Matt.

“The feature race of the summer meet, the $50,000 Rolling Green Stakes on Labor Day, was won by 4-5 favorite Restrainedvengence. Under jockey Juan Hernandez, the 4-year-old gelding took the lead out of the gate before setting moderate fractions. He kicked away from his competition down the stretch and won the 1 1/16-mile race by 3½ lengths. Local trainees Builder and Wicked Old Fashion were second and third.

“’He’s a neat horse,’ said winning trainer Val Brinkerhoff. ‘As soon as I saw they went 49 for a half [mile], I started walking down to the winners circle for the photo.’

“Live racing resumes Friday through Sunday. The post time has been changed to 1:15 p.m. from Friday until Sept. 29, the end of the meeting. So, if you want to play the low 14% takeout Early Pick 5, keep in mind you need to get in early.

“The Stronach 5 wager is back on Friday. Race 4 at Golden Gate goes as Leg C of the industry low 12% takeout wager. A field of seven maiden special weight runners are set to go five furlongs on the grass. It’s an interesting handicapping puzzle to decipher: No. 2 Anna Lee Encore is a daughter of Uncle Mo making her first career start for trainer Blaine Wright, who has plenty of quality horses in his shedrow. Anna Lee figures to get good support. No. 4 Eddie’s Princess, a daughter of the versatile sire Square Eddie, and No. 7 Big Maria, a filly by good California turf stallion Mr. Big, also race for the first time and may get play.

“No. 1 Pulpit Singer comes out of a key race in which the first- and second-place finishers came back to win stakes races while No. 6 Untied runs for Jonathan Wong, the leading trainer. Many ways to go in this one, which makes for a good betting race and a good third leg of the Stronach 5.

“A 10 horse, five-furlong turf dash for fillies and mares is the feature on Saturday. No. 5 Stealthediamonds comes off a sharp win at Del Mar and is likely to be favored. The well-bred No. 9 Lucky Antares, recent maiden winner No. 2 Boundforjamaica, consistent mare No. 7 Sweet Rafaela and Belterra Park Stakes winner No. 4 Magna Rose should get bet down in this full field.

“Before we end our portion, a congratulations is in order to our winter/spring-meet leading rider Abel Cedillo, who finished third in the jockey standings at Del Mar. The native of Guatemala won 25 races at Del Mar, while his mounts earned $1,165,244 in purse money. Abel has relocated to Southern California and, based on his recent success, will be staying down South for the foreseeable future. He has done a fantastic job at riding smart races throughout the summer; good luck at Los Alamitos and Santa Anita, Abel.”

Los Alamitos nighttime weekend preview

It’s time to turn things over to marketing and meda guru Orlando Gutierrez, who will tell us about the upcoming weekend at Los Alamitos. Orlando, the floor is yours.

“This Is Us, one of the highest sellers at the Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale in 2018, will make his racing debut when he faces five talented 2-year-olds in the fifth race on Friday night. The night racing program will get underway following the opening day card of the L.A. County Fair meet at Los Alamitos. First post is 7 p.m. Chris Griffin, the daytime track announcer for this September meet, will also call the nighttime races in place of the vacationing Ed Burgart.

“Trained by Paul Jones, the colt by Good Reason SA is out of the blue-hen mare Summertime Quickie, the dam of 2018 champion and two-time Grade 1 stakes winner Foose. Purchased for $210,000, This Is Us will start from the five with jockey Jesus Rios Ayala. The Paul Jones-bred colt is coming off a 12.3 second gate work on Aug. 17.

“Moving to Saturday night, Cesar De Alba, the 2016 leading rider at Los Alamitos, will make his quarter-horse training debut when he saddles Kool Baby Kool in the $15,000 The Plan Handicap for 2-year-olds in the eighth race.

“De Alba, who rode 1,030 quarter-horse winners and won 90 stakes races at Los Alamitos, retired from riding in December. He began training thoroughbreds after claiming the 6-year-old mare Pied N True for $16,000 on Jan. 6 at Santa Anita. De Alba made his training debut at Santa Anita on Feb. 23, saddling Pied N True to a runner-up finish. He has since won a pair of races, his first coming with Seven Oxen during the Los Alamitos Summer thoroughbred meet on July 13 and Seven Oxen at Del Mar on Aug. 16.

“De Alba is now hoping for good things from Kool Baby Kool, a sorrel filly previously trained by Sergio Canales in the Utah racing circuit. She won her trial to the Beehive Futurity at Laurel Brown in Utah. In the final, she was placed sixth following the disqualification of a horse for interference. Since then, Kool Baby Kool posted a 220-yard turn and work in a time of :12.90 on Aug. 24 at Los Alamitos. Carlos Huerta will ride her from the two.

“’Let’s see what this filly can do,’ De Alba posted on Twitter. ‘[She’s] a new addition to my barn ... getting ready for the Wild West Futurity trials (on Oct. 6).’

Bill Hoburg’s BH Lisas Boy became the 16th quarter horse to win 10 stakes races at Los Alamitos after winning the Grade 1, $100,000 Go Man Go Handicap last Sunday. With 17-year-old Oscar Andrade Jr. aboard, the 7-year-old gelding broke perfectly and eventually outdueled Grade 1 Vessels Maturity winner Katies Easy Moves to win the 60th running of the Go Man Go. He covered the 400 yards in 19.444 seconds while improving his career record to 22 wins in 41 starts.

“’It’s amazing how this horse just keeps running at this level,’ said Hoburg, who bred, owns and trains BH Lisas Boy. “I knew he was fit enough, but 400 yards isn’t his forte. It was such a stellar field. … I knew it would be a good race. This was going to be anybody’s race. It’s about how you get away and hope you don’t get brushed or bumped.’”

Chris Wade’s LA pick of the day


She has readily improved for third in each of her last two efforts against better while earning very competitive figures going into Friday’s 4½-furlong event. With the well-connected filly drawn to the outside of her main contender Annitasheaven, we expect G Money Rules to break well and sit on her rival’s flank until the 1/16th pole.

Final thought

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Now, the star of the show, Friday’s entries.

Los Alamitos Race Course Entries for Friday, September 6.

Los Alamitos Race Course, Los Alamitos, California. 1st day of a 12-day meet.


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $21,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies. 2 year olds. Claiming Prices $50,000-$45,000. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Billy'sgotasingleRuben Fuentes120Vladimir Cerin5-245,000
2Phoenix TearsGeovanni Franco122Daniel Dunham3-150,000
3Bode's BestAbel Cedillo120J. Eric Kruljac3-145,000
4Screen GossipRamon Guce120Felix L. Gonzalez5-145,000
5Awesome AlessandraErick Garcia122Marcia Stortz4-150,000
6KenyettaDiego Sanchez122Edward R. Freeman8-150,000


1 Mile. Purse: $15,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $8,000-$7,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Indypendent DeputyMartin Pedroza121Dallas E. Keen3-18,000
2Party HostessJ.C. Diaz, Jr.112Jorge Periban4-17,000
3IprayAssael Espinoza124W. R. Whitehouse6-18,000
4Kennedie SkyEdgar Payeras119Rafael DeLeon12-17,000
5Cee Sam's GirlAbel Cedillo121George Papaprodromou5-28,000
6Topaz TimeRuben Fuentes121Jonathan Wong2-18,000


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $17,000. Maiden Claiming. 2 year olds. Claiming Price $30,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Carpe NoctemEdwin Maldonado122J. Keith Desormeaux5-230,000
2Vastly DeepEswan Flores122Steven Miyadi12-130,000
3Yha YhaJ.C. Diaz, Jr.115Russell G. Childs8-130,000
4Mountain ViewTiago Pereira122Hector O. Palma10-130,000
5HeraclitusMartin Pedroza122Simon Callaghan2-130,000
6Warren's Van GoghJorge Velez117Craig Anthony Lewis20-130,000
7Never Think TwiceRuben Fuentes122Luis Mendez9-530,000


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $45,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $20,000. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1J T's A. T. M.Joseph Talamo124Martin Valenzuela, III9-2
2Young HendrickMartin Garcia124Philip D'Amato8-5
3Short of EzAgapito Delgadillo122Mike Puype4-1
4Clem LabineAbel Cedillo120Steven Miyadi9-5
5PolicyRuben Fuentes120Michael W. McCarthy6-1


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $40,000. Maiden Special Weight. 2 year olds.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1DodgerEvin Roman122Bob Baffert7-2
2Enemy RunnerMartin Pedroza122John W. Sadler6-1
3Zees EmpireEdgar Payeras122Mike Harrington20-1
4Moon MischiefJorge Velez117John W. Sadler3-1
5Prince MagicianEswan Flores122Hector O. Palma6-1
6Mo HawkJoseph Talamo122Bob Baffert6-5


5 Furlongs. Purse: $15,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $10,000-$9,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Ridgefield RocketAbel Cedillo124Mark Glatt3-110,000
2Gutsy RulerBrayan Pena124Javier Jose Sierra7-210,000
3Ps Bettin On YouRamon Guce122Jesus J. Uranga6-19,000
4Tiz LoveEvin Roman124Steven Miyadi5-210,000
5Love Your LifeEfrain Hernandez124Lorenzo Ruiz6-110,000
6Boy HowdyMartin Pedroza124Jack Carava7-210,000
7B S CyclotronVinnie Bednar124Daniel Azcarate20-110,000


6 Furlongs. Purse: $48,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $62,500.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Seven ScentsJorge Velez113Craig Anthony Lewis4-1
2Spokane EagleAgapito Delgadillo124Doug F. O'Neill9-562,500
3McKaleJoseph Talamo122Bob Baffert2-1
4KoaHeriberto Figueroa120Jerry Hollendorfer10-1
5Blackout Abel Cedillo122Peter Miller5-262,500


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $15,000. Starter Allowance. 3 year olds and up.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1NovaEdgar Payeras124Rafael DeLeon12-1
2Rmanie's Grey SuitHeriberto Figueroa124Samuel Nichols6-1
3Kenny BennyEfrain Hernandez124Lorenzo Ruiz8-1
4It's Just BobVinnie Bednar124Daniel Azcarate6-1
5Royal SeekerTiago Pereira124Marcelo Polanco5-1
6SokudoRamon Guce124Jesus J. Uranga5-2
7An Ocala TenEdwin Maldonado124Rosemary Trela9-5