Racing! Del Mar starts its Fall meeting

In a photo provided by Benoit Photo, Been Studying Her and jockey Mike Smith win the $100,000 Generous Portion Stakes horse race Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019, at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, Calif. (Benoit Photo via AP)
(Associated Press)

Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome to our horse racing newsletter as we also look at racing at Golden Gate Fields and Los Alamitos.

It’s time to welcome in the fall meeting at Del Mar, also known as the Bing Crosby Season. It lasts for four weeks or 15 racing days. This week is the short week by one day. So, the math tells you it’s a four-day racing week as opposed to the five days in the summer. The post is at 12:30 p.m. every day but Thanksgving, which goes at 11 a.m. There are stakes races every Saturday and Sunday.

The big weekend is also the closing of the meet, Nov. 30-Dec. 1. There are five stakes, all on the turf, including two Grade 1s.

Del Mar ran a successful summer racing meeting, at least as far as safety goes. There were no racing deaths, but four in training. Given the specter left by Santa Anita, Del Mar will once again be asked to carry the weight of the industry.


There is still talk about the death of Mongolian Groom in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic. Some jog videos are circulating around from Oct. 26 and Oct. 31 that, according to some, the horse appears to be favoring his left hind leg. Natalie Voss of the Paulick Report wrote about it. Just click here.

The following day, Dan Ross of the Thoroughbred Daily News, reported that the vet and trainer of Mongolian Groom said that the gelding was sound. You can read it here. So, there you have both sides. You can decide.

OK, back to Del Mar. Here’s its stakes schedule.

Fri., Nov. 8: $75,000 Kathryn Crosby Stakes, fillies and mares 3 and up, 1 mile on turf.


Sat, Nov. 9: $75,000 Let it Ride Stakes, 3-year-olds, 1 mile on turf.

Sun., Nov. 10: $100,000 Desi Arnaz Stakes, 2-year-old fillies, 6 ½ furlogs.

Sat., Nov. 16: Grade 3 $100,000 Bob Hope Stakes, 2-year-olds, 7 furlongs.

Sun., Nov. 17: $100,000 Betty Grable Stakes, Cal-bred fillies and mares 3 and up, 7 furlongs.


Sat., Nov. 23: Grade 3 $100,000 Native Diver Stakes, 3 and up, 1 1/8 miles.

Sun., Nov. 24: $100,000 Cary Grant Stakes, Cal-breds 3 and up, 7 furlongs.

Thu., Nov. 28: Grade 3 $100,000 Red Carpet Handicap, fillies and mares 3 and up, 1 3/8 miles on turf.

Fri., Nov. 29: Grade 2 $200,000 Hollywood Turf Cup, 3 and up, 1 ½ miles on turf.


Sat., Nov. 30: Grade 1 $300,000 Hollywood Derby, 3-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles on turf.

Sat., Nov. 30: Grade 2 $200,000 Seabiscuit Handicap, 3 and up, 1 1/16 miles on turf.

Sat., Nov. 30: Grade 3 $100,000 Jimmy Durante Stakes, fillies 2-years-old, 1 mile on turf.

Sun., Dec. 1: Grade 1 $300,000 Matriarch Stakes, fillies and mares 3 and up, 1 mile on turf.


Sun., Dec. 1: Grade 3 $100,000 Cecil B. Demille Stakes, 2-year-olds, 1 mile on turf.

Del Mar preview

Opening day is eight races starting at 12:30 p.m. There are three turf races and a lower-level stakes, the $75,000 Kathryn Crosby Stakes for fillies and mares going a mile on the turf. Post is about 3:35 p.m.

The favorite, at 5-2, is Excellent Sunset for trainer Anna Meah and Flavien Prat. She is a lightly raced 5-year-old mare who is two-for-13 lifetime. She was fifth in the Grade 1 Rodeo Drive on opening weekend of the Santa Anita meeting. Her only wins came at Saratoga and Ellis Park in 2018.


Super Patriot is the second favorite for Richard Baltas and Geovanni Franco. This 4-year-old filly is five-of-24 lifetime. She was claimed four races ago for $35,000 from trainer Bob Baffert’s barn. Since then she has won twice and finished third.

Here are the field sizes, in order: 6, 7, 9, 8, 10, 8, 9, 8.

Bob Ike’s Dmr pick of the day

FIFTH RACE No. 8 Volubile (7-2)


This appears to be the best gambling race on the card as a full field of 10 starter allowance runners go 1 1/16th miles on turf (rails out 18 feet). I will go with the lukewarm favorite (although a number of horses figure to take money in here), who was claimed last out by Bob Hess Jr. and goes to leading rider Flavien Prat, who put on a clinic during the two-day Breeders’ Cup. His only win came over the Del Mar turf course this summer and you know he will be in the right spot with this rider.

Bob Ike is a Partner/VP of (here’s a video) and the proprietor of (full-card picks, 3 Best Plays and betting strategy).

Golden Gate weekend preview

Here’s our weekly look at the best racing going on at Golden Gate Fields. As with the last meeting, we’re delighted to have race caller and all-around good guy Matt Dinerman as our host for previews and other musings. So, take it away, Matt.


“Racng started this week on Thursday at Golden Gate Fields with a daily post of 12:45 p.m. The feature is on Saturday with the Golden Nugget Stakes for 2-year-olds sprinting six furlongs on the Tapeta. The likely favorite is the Doug O’Neill-trained Fore Left, who comes off a victory in the Sunny Slope Stakes at Santa Anita. The son of Twirling Candy was victorious in the Tremont at Belmont Park earlier in the year and also ran third in the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar. Local rider William Antongeorgi III has the call.

“Another Southern California shipper, Doc Tommy, enters the race for trainer John Sadler and Hronis Racing. They privately purchased the 2-year-old colt by Comic Strip after a maiden win against California-bred competition at Golden Gate in August. After freshening up and training at Santa Anita, Sadler and Hronis opt to ship ‘Tommy back up to the Bay Area for his first start for the new barn. Juan Hernandez rides in the Golden Nugget.

“No Longer Silent is the local runner that figures to get the most support in the wagering out of any Northern California-based horse entered. The Jonathan Wong trainee comes off of a runaway win against allowance company last month. Blaisin’ Eamon from the Steve Specht barn is a well-regarded colt that finished right behind No Longer Silent in the allowance after dueling on the lead early and could run an improved race if given a breather this time.

“Keep an eye on Misirlou in the feature on Friday, an allowance for 2-year-old fillies. She is a full sibling to 2017 El Camino Real Derby winner Zakaroff and has the looks of a stakes caliber runner. Last time out, she defeated No Longer Silent in an allowance race against males.


“One of the Bay Area’s top older filly and mare turf runners, Wicked Old Fashion, is set to run in the $75,000 Kathryn Crosby Stakes on opening day Friday at Del Mar. The 5-year-old mare conditioned by Victor Trujillo comes off a runner-up effort to next out Grade 3 Autumn Miss winner KeeperOf the Stars in an allowance on Sept. 20. Southern California jockey Evin Roman rides Wicked Old Fashion for the first time.

“Congrats to local trainer Blaine Wright and jockey Juan Hernandez on a terrific runner-up finish with Anneau D’Or in last Friday’s Breeders Cup Juvenile. I saw Wright in the horseman’s parking lot on Saturday evening and he relayed that Anneau D’Or came out of the race in good order, chowing down on every oat in the feed tub. He vanned back to Golden Gate Fields on Sunday and is happy to be back in his home stall. Plans for his next start remain undetermined.

“In the jockey standings, veteran rider Frank Alvarado has soared to an 18-13 lead over Hernandez while Jonathan Wong is well ahead in the trainer standings. The team of Ron Charles and Samuel Gordan are tied for leading owner with Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams.”

Los Alamitos 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.

“Highlighted by last Friday’s early Pick Four pool of $238,006, which was the second highest ever at Los Alamitos, the early Pick Fours posted record numbers.

“The Friday pool was only $1,862 shy of the all-time record in the early Pick Four set on Sunday, May 7, 2017. Saturday’s pool was nearly $200,000, while Sunday’s was more than $188,000. Those figures translated to a record average for a single week of $208,535, easily bettering the previous average high of $199,008 set on May 18-20, 2018.

“Friday will be headed by the $15,000 Scott Lewis Handicap at 550 yards. Grade 1 winner Mickey Ward and recent allowance winner Ballast Point, two of the top quarter horses at 870 yards, will meet at a shorter distance in the Scott Lewis. Mickey Ward’s last two starts have been at 550 yards with his most recent outing resulting in a 3/4 length victory. The 8-year-old Arizona-bred has won eight-of-23 career starts with his most famous victory coming in the Grade 1 Cox Ranch Distance Challenge at 870 yards here last year. Ballast Point is five years younger than Mickey Ward and figures to have an advantage out of the gate, as he comes out of a wire-to-wire four-length victory.


“Jest Famous, one of the top sophomores at Ruidoso Downs this summer, will make his Los Alamitos debut when he headlines the $25,000 Town Policy Handicap at 400 yards on Saturday night. Nine races are on tap with first post at 6 p.m.

“The consistent Jest Famous started his stakes racing career by running third in the Grade 1 Ruidoso Futurity before winning the Grade 1 Southwest Juvenile Championship in December, 2018. After a six-month break, the Louisiana-bred son of Mr Jess Perry scored an allowance win at Ruidoso Downs and then delivered a 2 ¼-length win in his trial to the Grade 1 All American Derby. Facing a tremendous field in the All American final, Jest Famous was moved up from fifth to fourth following a disqualification in the rich 440-yard derby. Jest Famous posted 220-yard work in 12.4 seconds at Los Alamitos on Oct. 18 in preparation for his Los Alamitos debut. He’ll start from the one and will be ridden by Cody Jensen for trainer Chris O’Dell.

“The richest race of the weekend is the Grade 1, $1,009,000 Los Alamitos Super Derby at 400 yards. This is meet’s biggest race for 3-year-olds and will feature a showdown between AQHA champion Flash And Roll and Powerful Favorite. Flash And Roll dominated the second half of the season last year Los Alamitos, as she won both the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity and Golden State Million Futurity. In her first start here in 2019, she posted the fastest qualifying time the Super Derby. She’s unbeaten in her five starts at Los Alamitos. Powerful Favorite has been the top 3-year-old at Los Alamitos this season. He’s already a three-time derby winner and is a perfect seven for seven in 2019. The winner of the Super Derby will earn a provisional berth to the $600,000 Champion of Champions on Dec. 14.”

Ed Burgart’s LA pick of the day


FIRST RACE: No. 5 Happier Together (3-1)

This filly has been idle since last March when second at the same class level and her connections enter her not to be claimed while returning at the same claiming condition eight months later. She has a steady work tab for trainer Justin Clark, who does well with a small outfit. In addition, she has tactical speed where she is expected to be within striking range of likely pacesetters Yep Yep Yep and Charming Weekend entering the far turn.

Final thought

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

Del Mar Entries for Friday, November 8.

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. 1st day of a 15-day meet.


6 Furlongs. Purse: $52,000. Maiden Special Weight. 2 year olds. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Summer FireFlavien Prat120Robert B. Hess, Jr.2-1
2Hawk HillGeovanni Franco120Ed Moger, Jr.15-1
3Squared StraightRafael Bejarano120Doug F. O'Neill5-2
4Debt MongerTiago Pereira120William Spawr7-2
5I Will NotMario Gutierrez120Doug F. O'Neill5-2
6Very IrishEswan Flores120Cesar DeAlba15-1


5 Furlongs Turf. Purse: $53,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $40,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Big RunnuerRuben Fuentes121Victor L. Garcia5-1
2Eskimo RosesEdwin Maldonado121Shelbe Ruis20-1
3Wildman JackRafael Bejarano119Doug F. O'Neill5-2
4PortandoJose Valdivia, Jr.124Mary Rowan12-140,000
5Truck SalesmanEvin Roman119Doug F. O'Neill6-1
6Restless RamblerJorge Velez119Peter Miller2-140,000
7General InterestFlavien Prat124Robert B. Hess, Jr.3-1


1 Mile. Purse: $25,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $20,000-$18,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1DawoodAgapito Delgadillo120Jeffrey Metz20-120,000
2ImplicitlyJorge Velez115Jorge Periban8-120,000
3Wilshire DudeRuben Fuentes120Steven Miyadi6-120,000
4Kenzou's RhythmHeriberto Figueroa120Jeff Mullins9-220,000
5BrimstonedBrice Blanc120Thomas Ray Bell, II5-120,000
6Fire When ReadyRafael Bejarano120Robert B. Hess, Jr.7-220,000
7Roaring RuleJoseph Talamo120Ronald W. Ellis8-120,000
8ImpressionTiago Pereira120William Spawr5-120,000
9Ernie BanksIII Antongeorgi122Jonathan Wong5-120,000


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $22,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies. 2 year olds. Claiming Prices $32,000-$28,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Unusual SecretBrice Blanc120Alexis Barba20-132,000
2Golden MelodieJorge Velez115Craig Anthony Lewis3-132,000
3Happy TrailsMartin Garcia120Val Brinkerhoff5-132,000
4Ladies Luv MunnyRuben Fuentes120Doug F. O'Neill6-132,000
5Golden ChromeEvin Roman120Doug F. O'Neill4-132,000
6It's a RiddleRafael Bejarano118Robert B. Hess, Jr.5-228,000
7ChieftessDiego Sanchez120J. Keith Desormeaux5-132,000
8For My BrotherAgapito Delgadillo120Juan Carlos Lopez20-132,000


1 1/16 Mile Turf. Purse: $30,000. Starter Allowance. 3 year olds and up.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1HootieDrayden Van Dyke124Michael W. McCarthy4-1
2Storm the Bastille Tiago Pereira119William Spawr5-1
3Tiz a SlayerBrice Blanc119Alexis Barba20-1
4Channel CrossingHeriberto Figueroa121Jerry Hollendorfer15-1
5TartiniTyler Baze124Jack Carava9-2
6Go for a RideJorge Velez114Peter Miller8-1
7You Must ChillAssael Espinoza119George Papaprodromou12-1
8VolubileFlavien Prat119Robert B. Hess, Jr.7-2
9Blame It On KittyJoseph Talamo119Craig Dollase6-1
10Soul BeamRafael Bejarano124Jorge Periban8-1


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $52,000. Maiden Special Weight. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Adorably SweetFlavien Prat122Mike Puype5-2
2Remember to SmileRuben Fuentes122Jeff Bonde9-2
3Spanish ChannelJose Valdivia, Jr.122Jesus Mendoza12-1
4Too Hot for CurlinDrayden Van Dyke122Philip D'Amato3-1
5Into RissaJoseph Talamo124Gary Sherlock7-2
6Twirling DiamondTyler Baze122Dallas E. Keen12-1
7Stormin RangerBrice Blanc122Brian J. Koriner5-1
8ReffineMartin Garcia122Val Brinkerhoff20-1


1 Mile Turf. Purse: $75,000. 'Kathryn Crosby Stakes'. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1La Sardane Mike Smith121Neil D. Drysdale6-1
2Storming LadyVictor Espinoza121Alfredo Marquez12-1
3Poster Girl Tiago Pereira121William Spawr3-1
4Curlin's JourneyRuben Fuentes121Dallas E. Keen20-1
5Wicked Old FashionEvin Roman121Victor M. Trujillo8-1
6Free My SoulMartin Garcia118Jeffrey Metz30-1
7Super PatriotGeovanni Franco125Richard Baltas3-1
8LostintranzlationBrice Blanc123Richard Baltas8-1
9Excellent Sunset Flavien Prat121Anna Meah5-2


1 Mile. Purse: $26,000. Starter Allowance. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Bunny YogurtGeovanni Franco124Gary Sherlock10-1
2Check SixHeriberto Figueroa124Jerry Hollendorfer6-1
3Tiz ToffeeAgapito Delgadillo124Jonathan Wong3-1
4Tiki Bar LogicJoseph Talamo124William Spawr7-2
5Road TestJ.C. Diaz, Jr.119Rosemary Trela6-1
6Alta KyJorge Velez117John W. Sadler12-1
7Whoa NessieRafael Bejarano124Robert B. Hess, Jr.7-2
8ErebuniEswan Flores124Sam J. Scolamieri20-1
9MesoTyler Baze122John W. Sadler8-1