Racing! CHRB meeting clocks in at 284 minutes

Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome to our horse racing newsletter as we get ready for racing to resume at Del Mar.

I’ve had long days in my life, but few longer than the 27-item California Horse Racing Board meeting at Del Mar on Thursday. It lasted 284 minutes and that doesn’t include a one-hour lunch. In the many public comment periods there were 36 speakers talking against horse racing and seven in favor of it. There were other speakers, too, who didn’t fit in either of those categories.

The meeting started with Rick Baedeker, executive director of the CHRB, announcing that an idea paper had been sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom proposing statutory changes such as making positive drug tests public within 24 hours, earmark all revenue from licenses and penalties to welfare and safety issues and greater access and transparency to veterinary records.

Other discussion points, which would not need statutory changes, include stricter veterinarian protocols, elimination of shock wave therapy, more out-of-competition testing, a review of penalty guidelines and fatality information posted on its website, which is set to launch on Jan. 1.


Clearly, making positive drugs tests public within 24 hours was in reaction to the controversy surrounding Justify’s positive test last year after the Santa Anita Derby.

Next up was the election of Dr. Greg Ferraro as chairman and Oscar Gonzales as vice-chair. That was expected. Even that procedural vote brought six speakers for public comment.

Santa Anita’s license renewal for the winter/spring meeting brought lots of discussion from the audience and was provisionally granted provided they do a couple of things such as there be no racing or training when the track is deemed unsafe (duh!), horses that have corticosteroid injections in the fetlock be off training for 10 days and racing for 30 and there are no races under $10,000 claiming.

Aidan Butler, Santa Anita boss, said currently there would still be no sprint racing down the 6½-furlong turf course.


There was much discussion about the Northern California dates with no resolution and the whip rule was tabled until the December meeting.

If you want to read more about the meeting, here’s the story I wrote for web and print. Just click here.

Bad Princess Dorian update

In one of our newsletters last week, we reported that the surgery went well for Princess Dorian, who was injured the previous weekend at Del Mar. Well, things turned bad over the weekend and she was euthanized after contracting laminitis on Monday. Because she died outside the traditional window, it will not be counted as a racing death by the CHRB. But, clearly it was.


Del Mar preview

Tom Robbins, director of racing at Del Mar, was right. It did rain at Del Mar on Thursday, but only in the morning. But they canceled racing for Thursday last week leaving Friday as the first of a three-day weekend. The eight-race card starts at 12:30. All the races were taken off the turf.

The feature is the sixth race, an allowance/optional claimer for fillies and mares 3 and up going a mile. The favorite, at 2-1, Persepolis for trainer Richard Mandella and jockey Flavien Prat. She is one-for-four lifetime and finished second last out in an allowance at Santa Anita. There are high expectations for this filly as her purchase price was $525,000.

Second favorite, at 5-2, is Carressa for John Shirreffs and Victor Espinoza. She is also one-for-four lifetime and second last out at Santa Anita. However, her purchase price was $125,000.


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

Bob Ike’s Dmr pick of the day

SEVENTH RACE No. 8 Catoca (5-2)

Claimed out of her last start by Jeff Mullins, this 4-year-old filly may be able to improve on her runner-up finish at Santa Anita. She cuts back to seven furlongs, which might be an ideal distance, and switches to Flavien Prat, who figures to have her positioned perfectly with an outside stalking trip. She’s hit the board in all three dirt starts and may have wanted this surface all along.


Sunday’s result: Madame Bourbon ($4.00) rallied wide from far back to make the last run and prove to be a prompt choice when making her SoCal debut.

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.


“This weekend, starting Friday, there are plenty of competitive races at Golden Gate Fields, something we’ve seen throughout the meeting. Our Golden Pick Six jackpot pool has been hit five times this meet, which is only 20 days old.

“There are nine races on Friday. Leg D of the Stronach 5 wager is race three: a maiden special weight sprint for 2-year-old fillies. My top pick is Dynasty of Her Own, a daughter of Shanghai Bobby that has posted some fast works prior to her career debut. Ricky Gonzalez, known by many as a good speed rider, is aboard, which backs up the theory that this filly might be naturally quick. Ms. Ryleigh is another that shows up with some speedy morning drills for trainer Bill Delia, who is having a really solid meet.

“Our 10-race Saturday card could be one of the best of the meeting, in my opinion. The bayside track will offer a $100,000 guaranteed Late Pick 4 pool. The Late Pick 4 drew 44 horses in the 4-race sequence, which averages 11 horses a race.

“The first leg of the Late Pick 4 sequence (race seven) attracts a full field of 12 allowance runners. Post time for the 1 1/16 race is around 3:45 p.m. The second leg (race eight), a maiden special weight on the turf, drew 10 2-year-olds, with one also-eligible. A.P. Pharoah (no. 5), a well-regarded colt sired by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, makes his career debut. The Peter Redekop owned equine was purchased for $300,000 by his current connections and will be ridden by trainer Blaine Wright’s go-to rider, Juan Hernandez. Also entered in the race is #1 Penman, conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale, and No. 10 American Farmer, a full sibling to stakes placed filly Blue Diva who showed some ability in his career debut. Leg 3 (race nine), a one-mile allowance on Tapeta for fillies and mares 3 and older, also drew a full field with an also-eligible. Among the leading contenders is No. 2 Blue Diva, Pacific Northwest stakes winner No. 5 Little Dancer and Southern California shipper No. 8 Noble Contessa. The last leg (race 10), lists a field of 10 $12,500 claiming sprinters on the main track.


“Some jockey news: Kyle Frey and David C. Lopez have moved to Parx while Kevin Orozco began riding at Turf Paradise. Golden Gate Fields is picking up an intriguing new rider Saturday in Luis R. Reyes, who ships his tack to the Golden State from New York. The 24-year-old native of Puerto Rico is a graduate of the respected Escuela Vocacional Hipica jockey school. Other highly rated riders to graduate from the school include John Velazquez, Manny Franco, Jose Ortiz and his brother Irad. Reyes picked up seven mounts on Saturday and will have more on Sunday. Best of luck Luis!”

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.

“Los Alamitos Race Course will unveil its new a 7,000 square foot sports bar and wagering room on Friday at 5:00 p.m. with free admission and appetizers. The live racing program will start at 7 p.m.


“The Lounge will feature 65 large screen TVs, complimentary Wi-Fi, up to 11 horse-racing wagering machines, a private patio facing the finish line and more. The Lounge is located on the ground level of the building with direct access to the main parking lot area. For longtime racing fans familiar to the track, the new room replaces the old Post & Paddock room between the grandstand and clubhouse buildings. Daily admission will be $5.

“On Saturday, a field of 10 fillies and mares will be in the Grade 3, $50,000 Las Damas Handicap at 400 yards with seven of them being local stakes winners. Thermonuclear Energy is the big star of the field after winning the Grade 1 Charger Bar Handicap and the $40,000 Matron Stakes earlier this year. She also ran second in the Las Damas last year, but did win it by 1 1/2 lengths in 2017. Owned by Parsons Family Limited Partnership and trained by Chris O’Dell, the 6-year-old mare by Walk Thru Fire will enter with a career record of 11 wins in 29 starts. Six of those have come in stakes races. Mario Hurtado’s Love To Reason BR outdueled Thermonuclear Energy to win the 2018 Las Damas. She also won last year’s Blane Schvaneveldt Handicap. Conquering Marie, winner of the Grade 2 Golden State Derby, is among the other top fillies entered.

Sunday’s card will feature a full night of trials to the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity at 400 yards. Ed Burke Million Futurity winner Flokie and Golden State Million Futurity winner Runforyourlife, PCQHRA Breeders Futurity winner Sass Go Blue and Ed Burke runner-up Dreams Divine will headline the trials. Other top names include futurity finalists Cattail Cove, Budderlicous, Kiss Thru Fire, Lebowski, Mental Error and Nomadic. The horses with the 10 fastest times will advance to the Two Million final on Sunday, Dec. 15.

“The field to the Champion of Champions became a lot clearer last Sunday night after the Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Trials. Hotstepper, the 2018 AQHA champion 3-year-old, millionaire He Looks Hot, and 2018 PCQHRA Horse of the Year Jesstacartel all earned berths to Champion of Champions via the trials. They will join Grade 1 winners BH Lisas Boy, Flash And Roll, Tequila Sangria, Zoomin For Spuds, Katies Easy Moves, and Political Attraction as horses with provisional berths to the race. Early indications are that SF Hot Pass will bypass the Champion of Champions, which would lead to Mi Amor Secreto taking over his starting spot in the $600,000 race.”


Ed Burgart’s LA pick of the day

SIXTH RACE: No. 4 All Prettied Up (2-1)

Filly has been much improved in last two starts and was fourth in a very ‘live race’ Oct. 11 when runnerup Cata Boy and third-place finisher Trippys Royal Foose since won maiden and maiden $20,000 races respectively. Filly was sharp prior second vs. winner dropping down from an All-American Futurity trial and now draws between two foes who have lacked early quickness.

Final thought


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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, Friday’s entries.

Del Mar Entries for Friday, November 22.

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. 8th day of a 15-day meet.


1 Mile. Purse: $17,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $8,000-$7,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Miracle MarchTyler Baze120John W. Sadler2-18,000
2Autumn DayHeriberto Figueroa120Steven Miyadi5-18,000
3Rmanie's Grey SuitEvin Roman118Samuel Nichols12-17,000
4For HimMario Gutierrez120Steve Knapp5-18,000
5Short of EzAssael Espinoza120Anna Meah3-18,000
6PurianoJoseph Talamo120George Papaprodromou5-28,000


1 Mile. Purse: $33,000. Maiden Claiming. 2 year olds. Claiming Prices $80,000-$70,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Mulholland Highway Flavien Prat122Neil D. Drysdale7-280,000
2Handsome MichaelEdwin Maldonado122George Papaprodromou8-180,000
3The StiffAbel Cedillo122Michael W. McCarthy5-280,000
4JamasonRafael Bejarano120Robert B. Hess, Jr.8-170,000
5Best ChanceTyler Baze122John W. Sadler5-180,000
6BamboozlerTiago Pereira122Tim Yakteen8-180,000
7KadeshGeovanni Franco122Ryan Hanson15-180,000
8Big Hoof DynamiteBrice Blanc122Jay Nehf20-180,000
9Blues RapperDrayden Van Dyke120Carla Gaines9-270,000


1 Mile. Purse: $52,000. Maiden Special Weight. Fillies. 2 year olds.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Rare FindAbel Cedillo122Richard E. Mandella3-1
2Last First KissJ.C. Diaz, Jr.117Gary Mandella15-1
3Cosmic CowgirlHeriberto Figueroa122Richard Baltas5-2
4Storie BlueDrayden Van Dyke122Bob Baffert8-1
5Go Big Blue NationRafael Bejarano122Jeff Bonde10-1
6SaralinFlavien Prat122Simon Callaghan6-5


1 Mile Turf. Purse: $30,000. Starter Optional Claiming. 2 year olds. Claiming Price $50,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1DelpDiego Sanchez120J. Keith Desormeaux6-1
2Fly the SkyJ.C. Diaz, Jr.115Steven Miyadi3-1
3Gorky ParkRafael Bejarano120J. Keith Desormeaux8-1
4Mainframe JudyJoseph Talamo120Peter Miller8-1
5Go TimeAbel Cedillo120Peter Miller7-2
6Commander Tiago Pereira123Philip D'Amato5-250,000
7Govenor CinchDrayden Van Dyke120Tim Yakteen5-1


6 Furlongs. Purse: $29,000. Maiden Claiming. 2 year olds. Claiming Price $50,000. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Isla's ToyHeriberto Figueroa120Charles S. Treece20-150,000
2Baltimore BeechoTyler Baze120Jorge Periban10-150,000
3Carnelian HeroRafael Bejarano120Jeff Bonde7-550,000
4Papa TonyTiago Pereira120George Papaprodromou4-150,000
5Beyond PrecherEswan Flores120Jorge Periban20-150,000
6ExtractorAbel Cedillo120Brian J. Koriner3-150,000
7Radio TimJoseph Talamo120Gary Sherlock15-150,000
8Slewbury ParkJ.C. Diaz, Jr.112Edward R. Freeman5-150,000


1 Mile. Purse: $53,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $40,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Kookie GalAbel Cedillo118Peter Miller7-2
2MesoTyler Baze118John W. Sadler6-1
3PersepolisFlavien Prat120Richard E. Mandella2-1
4CyrielleDrayden Van Dyke122Mike Puype5-1
5Kynance Geovanni Franco120Manuel Badilla6-140,000
6CarressaVictor Espinoza118John A. Shirreffs5-2


7 Furlongs. Purse: $30,000. Starter Allowance. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Sheza FactorVictor Espinoza121Vann Belvoir8-1
2Velvet QueenRafael Bejarano122Richard Baltas8-1
3ClaudelleJ.C. Diaz, Jr.117John W. Sadler7-2
4DearbornDrayden Van Dyke121Jeff Bonde5-1
5Whoa NessieAbel Cedillo124Robert B. Hess, Jr.8-1
6So GucciEvin Roman122Doug F. O'Neill12-1
7Mongolian EmpireMario Gutierrez124Enebish Ganbat8-1
8CatocaFlavien Prat124Jeff Mullins5-2
9Incredibly LuckyTiago Pereira121William Spawr8-1


1 Mile Turf. Purse: $52,000. Maiden Special Weight. Fillies. 2 year olds. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1NocherylikemycheryEdgar Payeras120Mike Harrington10-1
2Big Time GrammyFlavien Prat120Tim Yakteen3-1
3California KookAssael Espinoza120Peter Miller8-1
4LakayaRafael Bejarano120Robert B. Hess, Jr.9-2
5Ride Sally RideTyler Baze120Jack Carava8-1
6Phoenix TearsEdwin Maldonado120Daniel Dunham20-1
7CreerJ.C. Diaz, Jr.115David E. Hofmans8-1
8Via AlpinaJoseph Talamo120Craig Dollase6-1
9Mamas Got CashIgnacio Puglisi120Joe Herrick30-1
10SassyserbAbel Cedillo120Anna Meah7-2
11Too Much SmokeEvin Roman120Peter Miller20-1
Also Eligible
12Slew's Screen StarDrayden Van Dyke120Daniel Dunham7-2
13Kissable UMario Gutierrez120Doug F. O'Neill10-1