Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome to our horse racing newsletter as we get ready for the second of three weeks at the L.A. County Fair meeting.
Not much question that the big news of the day, if not the week, was that Justify failed a drug test after the Santa Anita Derby. The original story was broken by the New York Times. Good for them for finding something that was hidden for almost a year. I hear a lot of race track rumors, but had never heard that one.
However, there was a lot that was left out of the story that bears repeating and reporting. We have a story that goes pretty much in depth on the topic. Just click here.
Here are some things to consider about the situation.
--Justify was not the only positive. There were six other horses, who also tested for levels of scopolamine, which would indicate feed contamination as opposed to a rogue trainer.
--The drug is not a performance enhancer, according to top-shelf vets.
--If a positive were found and upheld in a super-fast manner, Justify would still be the winner of the Santa Anita Derby because as a 4c drug in California there is no disqualification. (This interpretation may still be open to some legal wrangling.)
--Anyone who expects a fast resolution to a drugging case is kidding themselves. (Although the zilpaterol case, and 48 positives, was disposed of in a month.)
--It actually wasn’t classified as a drugging case but a poisoning, because of the manner it was ingested.
Lots to think about.
My colleague Bryce Miller of the San Diego Union-Tribune also drove this story forward and looked at the conflicts of interests that the CHRB must constantly deal with. Just click here.
Is this a one-day story or does it have legs? Guess we’ll find out soon enough.
Los Alamitos daytime preview
The first day of the second week of the L.A. County Fair Meet at Los Alamitos seems to be hanging on with some OK fields and some short ones. There are three five-horse fields on the eight-race card beginning at 1 p.m. We’ll watch the weekend but I have to wonder if next Thursday’s card in the only four-day week of the three-week meeting will be able to fill. We can hope so.
The feature on Friday is $48,000 allowance/optional claimer for fillies and mares going six furlongs. The 8-5 favorite is Kim K for trainer Peter Miller and jockey Norberto Arroyo, Jr. Kim K is two-for-seven lifetime and won last year’s Barrett’s Debutante at Los Alamitos. Has been running at the graded stakes level lately.
Artistic Diva is the 9-5 second choice for John Sadler and Ruben Fuentes. She was second in the Miss Preakness Stakes at Pimlico and won the Anoakia Stakes at Santa Anita. She is two-of-three lifetime.
Here are the field sizes, in order: 5, 6, 5, 9, 7, 5, 8, 10.
Ciaran Thornton’s Lrc pick of the day
RACE SEVEN: No. 3 Whatsittoya (8-1)
Whatsittoya won last out at this distance to a horse who returned to get caught on the line going a furlong further. We are getting 8-1 morning line today for a horse with the top speed in the race and a validation of the last win. Moving up in class Abel Cedillo rides and he is winning 23% for the trainer. Cedillo picked this horse over the favorite. This is excellent value today, the best on the Friday card.
Sunday’s result: Navy Queen was a scratch on Sunday.
Ciaran Thornton is the handicapper for Californiapick4.com, 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 at Golden Gate Fields. Matt’s boundless enthusiasm can be heard in his calls and seen in his writing. Take it away, Matt.
“Handicappers who like to analyze and bet turf races are in for a treat on Friday with five-of-eight races are on the turf. In fact, Leg C of the Stronach 5 wager is one of those races. First post the next three days is 1:15 p.m.
“A 60-1 winner in Leg E (Gulfstream Park, Race 9) of last week’s Stronach 5 wager prompted a $96,906 carryover in the industry low 12% takeout wager.
“The fourth race, Leg C at Golden Gate, has 13 starter allowance fillies and mares set to sprint five furlongs on the turf. The 9-5 morning-line favorite is No. 13 Unchaining Melody, coming off an easy maiden $20,000 claiming win at Santa Rosa. That said, ‘Melody will need three defections to draw into the race as she is third on the also eligible list of the 10-horse field.
“The second morning-line favorite draws the rail, 7-2 shot No. 1 Quick Song, who has run at the starter allowance level for quite some time but has failed to win at that level. She has hit the board seven of her last nine race at this level. No. 8 Gas Can comes off an easy $8,000 maiden claiming win on the Tapeta for trainer Andrew Lerner and is protected from being claimed in this spot while No. 9 Jaimi James cuts back in distance after routing and finishing fourth behind next out winner Oyster Shooter on Aug. 17. Both fillies figure to get bet, along with the Victor Trujillo trained No. 3 Starza, the Tim McCanna conditioned No. 7 Waverly Way and undefeated No. 10 Ixtapa’s Finest, overseen by trainer Bill McLean. I give the nod to Jaimi James.
“Irving Orozco has 20 victories and sits atop the jockey standings after 17 days of live racing. Frank Alvarado and Kyle Frey are tied for second with 16 wins apiece. Jonathan Wong continues to win at a high rate and remains at the top of the trainer standings with 15 winners circle appearances. Victor Trujillo is next with eight wins.
“David Duggan, vice president and general manager at Golden Gate Fields, has been asked to throw out the first pitch at the Oakland Athletics game on Tuesday night vs. the Kansas City Royals. Start time of the game is about 7:10 p.m. Tuesday is ‘Irish Heritage Night’ so it makes sense that Duggan will be throwing out the first pitch as he was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, where much of his family still resides.”
Los Alamitos nighttime weekend preview
It’s time to turn things over to marketing and media guru Orlando Gutierrez, who will tell us about the upcoming weekend at Los Alamitos. Orlando, the floor is yours.
“Derby finalists Ladys A Cartel, No Telling and Jess Motions will be joined by La Pacifica Handicap winner Striver, the ultra-quick Easily Lethal and multiple allowance winner Anas Image when these 3-year-old fillies enter the starting gate for the $15,000 Champagne Lane Handicap at 350 yards on Friday night at Los Alamitos. First post is 7 p.m.
“The Pick 6 carryover is $14,470 and starts in the second race. The total Pick 6 pool, with new money, could be around $60,000.
“Ladys A Cartel will make her first start since a sixth to Powerful Favorite in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby on Feb. 9. The Five Bar Cartel filly finished with promise and was not far from a fifth-place finish. She had previously raced in three other stakes races at Los Alamitos, including the $137,000 Wild West Futurity. She also won the Pot O’ Gold Futurity at Sun Downs last year.
“Four sophomores from the Grade 2 Golden State Derby final reunite to compete in the first of three trials to the Grade 3, $150,000 PCQHRA Breeders Derby on Saturday at Los Alamitos. First post is 6 p.m.
“The field includes Conquering Marie, who took advantage of a beautiful start and troubled trips for several of the other top contenders, to score a surprising victory in the Golden State final. The Oklahoma-bred filly by Coronado Cartel would go on to win the Golden State at 30-1 and will headline the first 400-yard trial. While that derby victory was unexpected, Conquering Marie has been a top performer throughout her career. She finished third to Grade 1 All American Derby finalist Valiant Tiberias in the Adequan Ruidoso Derby Challenge and she competed in last year’s PCQHRA Breeders Futurity final. Mike Robbins will saddle Conquering Marie, who’ll be ridden by Ruben Castro.
“Conquering Marie will be facing a field in the trials that is loaded with talent. Leading the way is the terrific sophomore Chocolatito, who was the 3-5 favorite in the Golden State final before having a nightmarish trip, including getting bumped hard at the start. Chocolatito was eighth during the early going, but made a tremendous late run to improve to fifth place. Unbeaten in his previous three starts of the year, Chocolatito will be ridden by Vinnie Bednar for trainer Scott Willoughby in the final. Delayed Steal, who was disqualified from sixth and placed ninth in the Golden State final after veering sharply, and Ali Babe Foose, sixth in the Golden State final, will also compete in the opening trial. The final is Friday, Oct. 4.
“Sunday has the trials to the $355,000 PCQHRA Breeders Futurity. The 10 fastest times will return for the final on Saturday, October 5. The 2-year-olds include Grade 1 Ed Burke Million Futurity winner Flokie, Grade 2 Kindergarten winner Chayito Cartel and Governor’s Cup Futurity winner Pitbull.”
Chris Wade’s LA pick of the day
RACE SEVEN: No. 4 NO TELLING (4-1)
She is a trouble-prone runner deluxe who has very competitive figures when race trouble is factored into the track variant. She’s racing for a 21% jockey/trainer combo. Filly finished a much-better-than-looked third in her last outing versus a solid group of allowance runners despite a less than stellar stride. Her gallop outs have also been impressive and should be a contender for a top placing with a clean start this evening.
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Now, the star of the show, Friday’s entries.
Los Alamitos Race Course Entries for Friday, September 13.
Los Alamitos Race Course, Los Alamitos, California. 4th day of a 12-day meet.
1 Mile. Purse: $15,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $20,000-$18,000.
|1||Gallantlystreaming||Francisco Orduna-Rojas||120||Oscar Heredia||3-1||20,000|
|2||Lucky Brite Eye||Tiago Pereira||118||Martine Bellocq||5-2||18,000|
|3||Cat's Desire||Jorge Velez||119||Nestor M. Capitaine||8-5||20,000|
|4||Laker Jet||Edgar Payeras||120||Robert A. Bean||4-1||20,000|
|5||English Empress||J.C. Diaz, Jr.||111||Vladimir Cerin||6-1||18,000|
6½ Furlongs. Purse: $18,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $40,000-$35,000.
|1||Claudelle||Jorge Velez||115||John W. Sadler||9-5||40,000|
|2||Thought I'dmissyou||Geovanni Franco||118||J. Eric Kruljac||6-1||35,000|
|3||Destiny's Storm||Mario Gutierrez||118||Dallas E. Keen||10-1||35,000|
|4||Buyback||Edwin Maldonado||120||Jeff Bonde||4-1||40,000|
|5||Busy Paynter||Tiago Pereira||120||Brian J. Koriner||7-2||40,000|
|6||Morning Cynn||Abel Cedillo||120||Doug F. O'Neill||3-1||40,000|
1 Mile. Purse: $25,000. Starter Allowance. 3 year olds and up.
|1||Cabin John||Martin Garcia||124||Dean Pederson||9-5|
|2||Platinum Equity||Ruben Fuentes||124||Steve Knapp||8-5|
|3||Plum Dandy||Assael Espinoza||124||Sal Gonzalez||6-1|
|4||Implicitly||J.C. Diaz, Jr.||117||Jorge Periban||5-2|
|5||Oh Man||Jorge Velez||119||Jerry Wallace, II||8-1|
5½ Furlongs. Purse: $40,000. Maiden Special Weight. Fillies. 2 year olds.
|1||Too Much Heaven||Geovanni Franco||122||J. Eric Kruljac||12-1|
|2||Golden Melodie||Jorge Velez||117||Craig Anthony Lewis||8-1|
|3||She Loves Karaoke||Brayan Pena||122||Luis Mendez||12-1|
|4||Well Done Sally||Martin Garcia||122||Kristin Mulhall||10-1|
|5||Eclair||J.C. Diaz, Jr.||115||Bob Baffert||8-5|
|6||Go Big Blue Nation||Ruben Fuentes||122||Jeff Bonde||6-1|
|7||Lady Agatha||Assael Espinoza||122||Joshua M. Litt||5-1|
|8||Charging Home||Abel Cedillo||122||Doug F. O'Neill||6-1|
|9||Bye Bye Beautiful||Tiago Pereira||122||J. Eric Kruljac||8-1|
6½ Furlongs. Purse: $18,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $40,000-$35,000.
|1||Git On Your Pulpit||Geovanni Franco||124||Kathy Walsh||6-1||40,000|
|2||Alvaaro||Martin Garcia||120||Doug F. O'Neill||3-1|
|3||Norski||Eswan Flores||120||Hector O. Palma||5-2||40,000|
|4||High Five||J.C. Diaz, Jr.||113||Vladimir Cerin||7-2||40,000|
|5||Zorich||Abel Cedillo||120||Mark Glatt||4-1||40,000|
|6||Rineshaft||Ruben Fuentes||120||Hector O. Palma||6-1||40,000|
|7||Son of a Queen||Edgar Payeras||120||Ricardo Zamora||20-1||40,000|
6 Furlongs. Purse: $48,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $62,500.
|1||Artistic Diva||Ruben Fuentes||122||John W. Sadler||9-5|
|2||Tip Top Gal||Geovanni Franco||118||Marcia Stortz||12-1|
|3||Devils Dance||Jorge Velez||113||Craig Anthony Lewis||3-1|
|4||Kim K||Norberto Arroyo, Jr.||118||Peter Miller||8-5|
|5||Smiling Tigress||Abel Cedillo||122||David Bernstein||4-1|
5½ Furlongs. Purse: $25,000. Starter Allowance. 3 year olds and up.
|1||Aced||J.C. Diaz, Jr.||117||Vann Belvoir||7-2|
|2||Restless Rambler||Jorge Velez||119||Peter Miller||3-1|
|3||Whatsittoya||Abel Cedillo||120||Robert B. Hess, Jr.||8-1|
|4||Incensed||Evin Roman||124||Vann Belvoir||5-1|
|5||Emtech||Mario Gutierrez||120||Steve Knapp||12-1|
|6||Toothless Wonder||Edwin Maldonado||120||Anna Meah||20-1|
|7||Heartfullofstars||Eswan Flores||124||Gary Sherlock||7-2|
|8||Annie's Candy||Heriberto Figueroa||124||Jerry Hollendorfer||9-2|
5½ Furlongs. Purse: $12,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $6,250.
|1||Tengs Wonder||Ramon Guce||124||Jerry Wallace, II||6-1||6,250|
|2||Millie Joel||Francisco Orduna-Rojas||124||Justin B. Clark||4-1||6,250|
|3||Mergie Troid||Frank Johnson||124||Santos R. Perez||20-1||6,250|
|4||Xerneas||Jorge Velez||119||Marcia Stortz||8-1||6,250|
|5||California Appeal||Abel Cedillo||120||Mark E. Hall||7-2||6,250|
|6||Scott's Best Beth||Christian Aragon||124||Salvador Naranjo||5-1||6,250|
|7||Asem||Felipe Martinez||124||Kelly Castaneda||10-1||6,250|
|8||Copper Cowgirl||Brayan Pena||124||Patricia Harrington||8-1||6,250|
|9||Panshir||Jose Dominguez||124||Mark E. Hall||10-1||6,250|
|10||Time for Kisses||Edgar Payeras||120||Gary Sherlock||3-1||6,250|