Racing! Some thoughts on CRW (Computer Robotic Wagering)

People stand at betting windows.
People stand at betting windows on the final day of the winter/spring horse racing season at Santa Anita Park on June 23.
(Mario Tama / Getty Images)

Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome to our horse racing newsletter as we hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.

One of the questions I get frequently is why do odds change so drastically after the gates open. I hear a lot of conspiracy theories and how maddening it is to have a 5-1 horse go to 5-2 in one blink. Well, one of our contributors, Rob Henie, the wizard of the West Coast Handicapping Report (and East Coast, too) send his subscribers a brief primer on CRW. Wonder what that is? Rob will explain it all.

“I wanted to address CRW, which is Computer Robotic Wagering. For those unaware of what this is, this is where computers are used to produce the probable payouts right before a race goes off, with the ability to wager literally thousands of combinations, incorporating the probability of a winner with relation to the odds being offered.

“In a nutshell, here’s how it works, a ‘Cliff Notes’ version. Programs are written, inputting years of stats and data, addressing all race conditions, etc, and the computer will then create odds based on that horses chances, and then, right before the race, money is automatically wagered, honing in on horses offering fair value based on what the computer determines to be worthy of value.


“Here’s where it gets tricky, odds are reduced, often after the gates open, infuriating many of us, but by the same token, adding considerably to the pool size.

“Many scream foul, as the wagering can be done through programs which tracks cater to, giving rebates to these particular groups, since they’re adding so much in handle, but infuriating day players whose wagers are done manually, snail time compared to these computer systems.

“So how do I feel about this? I have no problem with any of it. First, keep in mind, the added pool money is never a bad thing. Most of these groups aren’t exactly winning hand over fist, but rather, they’re looking to create small profits with the track rebates putting them over the top fiscally. It takes multiple employees to run these things, a lot of money to fund them. In summation, I prefer and welcome the added pool money, compared to a reduction in price after the gates open which we all encounter. Also remember, these wagers are based on historical information, without understanding any current info such as red hot barns, track biases, etc., meaning, the CRW concept is not without flaws, and really, doesn’t this sport need all the money and help we can find? So yes, I’m fine with CRW.”

The West Coast Handicapping Report can be found at It has been endorsed by leading trainers, handicappers and industry sources.


Del Mar preview

Tom Robbins called it right again by canceling Thursday’s card at Del Mar. There was rain all up and down the coast in Southern California. There will be some residual rain on Friday, a reason to take all the races off the turf, which the track did. But, Saturday and Sunday appear rain free.

Friday’s card is nine races starting at 12:30 p.m. It’s not the best card we’ve ever seen with six of nine races classified as claiming (and a starter allowance, which is a claiming race in which horses can’t be claimed).

The feature is a six furlong allowance/optional claimer for horses 3 and up running for a purse of $53,000. It is a field of 10. The favorite is Madman, at 7-2, a one-time starter who won his race by seven lengths. Richard Baltas is the trainer and Flavien Prat is the jockey. The second favorite, at 4-1, is Soldier Boy for John Sadler and Tyler Baze. He won last out by 5 ¼ lengths. It was his fourth start. He was a $350,000 purchase so expectations are high.


Here are the field sizes, now, but don’t be surprised if there are a fair amount of scratches: 7, 8, 8 7, 11, 8, 9, 10, 12 (2 also eligibles).

Bob Ike’s Dmr pick of the day

EIGHTH RACE: No. 7 Top Brass (9-2)

In what appears to be the best gambling race on the card (competitive field of first-level allowance/optional claimers going six furlongs on dirt), I will go with this sharp recent claim from the Bob Hess stable. He ran well to be second for $32,000, gets a one-level bump by his new connections and won here during the summer meet. Win Bet and exacta boxes with main threats to his outside, Soldier Boy (4-1) and Madman (7-2).


Sunday’s result: Harmless ($28.40) got the front-running trip we envisioned, dug in gamely through the stretch and held sway as the top three runners finished noses apart.

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.


“After a festive Thanksgiving card, terday, Golden Gate Fields offers three more live racing days this week, and runs two stakes races: the Golden Gate Debutante Stakes on Friday, and the marquee race of our fall meet, the Grade 3 $100,000 Berkeley Handicap, on Saturday.

“A field of nine has been assembled for the Golden Gate Debutante, the seventh of eight races. In the six-furlong Tapeta sprint contest, the 5-2 morning-line favorite is local contender Misirlou, a full sibling to 2017 El Camino Real Derby winner Zakaroff. She has won three straight, including a pair of allowance events, and boasts a three-for-three record on the Tapeta. Frank Alvarado has the call for trainer Steve Specht. They teamed up to win last year’s Golden Gate Debutante with Tomlin. Hall of Famer Bob Baffert ships in Éclair, who breaks from the four and is 9-2 on the morning line. Other notables include Shanghai Keely, who ran fourth in the Grade 2 Sorrento Stakes at Del Mar this summer, impressive maiden winners Mischievous Curlin and Stradari, and the Tommy Town Thoroughbreds homebred No Cover Charge.

“The $100,000 Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap drew 11 contenders. Grade I winner What a View makes his first start for trainer Sherrie Monroe in the Bay Area after three straight losses down south over the summer. He may be getting ‘class relief,’ but this is not an easy spot by any means. Other Southern California shippers include Leading Score from the Baffert barn and the Michael McCarthy trained Ohio, who won the Grade I Kilroe Mile in March. Four-time Grade 2 winner Ashleyluvssugar is also entered for trainer Peter Eurton and jockey Brice Blanc. The one who figures to get the most play out of all the local contenders is Mugaritz, an ultra-game gelding that comes off a gutsy win in the Joseph T. Grace Stakes on turf. Synthetic specialist Lymebird loves the Tapeta and merits respect with his best run while Camino Del Paraiso, who lost by a neck to Mugaritz in the Joseph T. Grace, always seems to be around at the wire.

“Leg B (the second leg) of the Stronach 5 this week is Race two. Taste’s Legend takes a steep drop in class for high percentage trainer Ari Herbertson and may be a single on many tickets. That said, I can also make a case for Charlie Cowden, who comes off a win last month. From my point of view, it looks like a two-horse between these two unless one of the other entrants reverses poor recent form.


“Finally, a shout out to leading fall meet jockey Juan Hernandez. On Tuesday, Hernandez was awarded the Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week award for November 18-24. Through the seven-day span, Hernandez won 12 races, which was the most by any North American jockey last week. The highlight of his week: a five-win day on Saturday, including a pair of victories in two co-featured allowance races. Hernandez came back on Sunday and won three more races.”

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.

“The quarter-horse racing action returns Friday with the last set of derby trials of the Los Alamitos season. Legacy Ranch’s Mister Appolitical and Ed Allred’s Chocolatito put on a show the last time they met in the Grade 3 PCQHRA Breeders Derby final on Oct. 4. In that race, Mister Appolitical took a slight lead, but they went head to head from there Mister Appolitical winning the photo finish by an inch over Chocolatito.


“Mister Appolitical and Chocolatito will meet in Friday’s third-of-four trials to the Grade 2, $168,700 Southern California Derby. Thirty sophomores will compete in the 400-yard trials with the 10 fastest qualifiers advancing to the Dec. 13 final. The Southern California Derby will kick-off the meet’s closing week of racing that will also include the Champion of Champions on Saturday, Dec. 14 and the 25th running of the Los Alamitos Two Million on Ed Burgart’s final night as track announcer here on Sunday, Dec. 15.

Martha Wells’ Yanque will go after his second stakes win of the year at 550 yards when he faces a compact field led by 870-yard star Run Raging Rhino Run and newcomer CM Once Ina Bluemoon in the $15,000 Paul Ford Memorial Handicap on Sunday. Trained by Matt Fales, Yanque delivered in a big way at this distance in the Scott Lewis Handicap on Nov. 8, as he broke on top and cruised to an easy 1 ½-length win. The Favorite Cartel gelding had always shown a big closing kick and figured to be a star at 550 yards if he ever got the chance. That time is now, particularly after winning the Paul Ford in a time of 26.80.

“Recapping last Sunday’s trials to the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity, Ed Allred’s Nomadic posted the fastest qualifying time after winning the 10th of 12 trials. Ridden by Vinnie Bednar for trainer Scott Willoughby, Nomadic posted a 1 ¾-lengths win while covering the 400 yards in 19.675 seconds. His winning time was a length faster than the time posted by second fastest qualifier Flokie. Nomadic is a full-brother to Golden State Million Futurity runner-up Circle City, who also posted some impressive victories earlier this year.

“’His full brother can also really run,’ Allred said. ‘I kind of thought that (Nomadic) was the better of the two, and maybe he is the better of the two. It’s incredible to have two from the same crop that can run so seamlessly.’


“In addition to Nomadic and Grade 1 Ed Burke Million winner Flokie, the field to the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity will also feature Grade 1 Golden State Million Futurity winner Runforyourlife and Hobbs America Futurity runner-up Sacred Nation. One final note, Los Alamitos’ new sports bar was officially named Burgart’s in honor of our great track announcer. The name was unveiled during the sports bar’s grand opening last Friday night. Burgart’s is open Friday through Sunday. On weekends, it’ll open at 9:30 a.m.”

Ed Burgart’s LA pick of the day

EIGHTH RACE: No. 4 Symbol Of Faith (5-2)

She missed the break by at least two lengths when finishing ninth in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Super Derby three weeks ago. She looked very strong in her prior neck trial win over Dexxter, who appears her main foe here. Trainer Juan Aleman and jockey Carlos Huerta qualified two runners into the Dec. 15 Los Alamitos Two Million from last Sunday’s trials.


Final thought

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


Del Mar Entries for Friday, November 29.

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. 13th day of a 15-day meet.


1 Mile. Purse: $52,000. Maiden Special Weight. 3 year olds and up.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Abusive GaryTiago Pereira122Philip D'Amato9-2
2Cardiff CayMike Smith122Don Chatlos7-2
3Paint Me LuckyDrayden Van Dyke124Bob Baffert3-1
4Stretford EndFlavien Prat122Simon Callaghan5-2
5LambeauVictor Espinoza122John A. Shirreffs12-1
6MuskokaJose Valdivia, Jr.122J. Keith Desormeaux4-1
7Malibu MoonlightTyler Baze122Anna Meah12-1


6 Furlongs. Purse: $28,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $40,000-$35,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Awesome ScoreAbel Cedillo122Kristin Mulhall4-140,000
2Will DancerTiago Pereira122Eddie Truman12-140,000
3AggressivityJose Valdivia, Jr.124Ronald W. Ellis2-140,000
4Royal RangerAgapito Delgadillo120Juan Carlos Lopez20-135,000
5Dairy KidHenry Lopez109Robert J. Lucas20-140,000
6Chosen MoonDrayden Van Dyke122Ronald W. Ellis5-140,000
7Truest RewardRafael Bejarano122Doug F. O'Neill5-140,000
8Music to My EarsAaron Gryder122Brian J. Koriner5-240,000


6½ Furlongs. Purse: $20,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $16,000-$14,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Black StormHeriberto Figueroa124Lloyd C. Wicker5-116,000
2Don'tteasethetigerRafael Bejarano122Genaro Vallejo8-116,000
3Surfside SunsetJose Valdivia, Jr.122Dean Greenman12-114,000
4More HonorFlavien Prat124Mark Glatt3-116,000
5VerynskyTyler Baze120Robert B. Hess, Jr.4-114,000
6WhatsittoyaJ.C. Diaz, Jr.117Robert B. Hess, Jr.7-216,000
7According to BuddyEswan Flores124Hector O. Palma15-116,000
8ImagineiamfastestAbel Cedillo124Jack Carava4-116,000


1 Mile. Purse: $33,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $32,000-$28,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1ImpressionTiago Pereira120William Spawr5-232,000
2Lagoon MacaroonEdwin Maldonado118George Papaprodromou15-132,000
3KylemoreTyler Baze118Paul G. Aguirre6-128,000
4LeroyHeriberto Figueroa120Anthony K. Saavedra6-132,000
5Kenzou's RhythmFlavien Prat118Jeff Mullins9-228,000
6Dukes UpAbel Cedillo120Peter Eurton3-132,000
7Winning ElementRafael Bejarano122Doug F. O'Neill7-232,000


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

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Bella DFlavien Prat120Mike Puype5-150,000
2Fierce KittyEdwin Maldonado120Shelbe Ruis20-150,000
3Secret SquareTyler Baze120John W. Sadler5-250,000
4La CroixGeovanni Franco120Rene Amescua5-150,000
5StateforestJ.C. Diaz, Jr.115Leonard Powell8-150,000
6Goveness SheilaEswan Flores120Neil A. Koch20-150,000
7Rickie Nine Toe'sTiago Pereira120Brian J. Koriner15-150,000
8Swift SocksAgapito Delgadillo120William Spawr5-150,000
9Ladies Luv MunnyAbel Cedillo120Doug F. O'Neill7-250,000
10Unusual SecretBrice Blanc120Alexis Barba20-150,000


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

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Sabinos PrideJ.C. Diaz, Jr.115David E. Hofmans5-132,000
2TrouvilleFlavien Prat120Leonard Powell5-232,000
3Cowboys DaughterBrice Blanc120Thomas Ray Bell, II20-132,000
4Sister DiabloRafael Bejarano120Richard Baltas8-132,000
5Miss KitnessAssael Espinoza120Shelbe Ruis6-132,000
6It's a RiddleAbel Cedillo118Robert B. Hess, Jr.2-128,000
7Kuda HuraaMario Gutierrez120George Papaprodromou6-132,000
8For My BrotherAgapito Delgadillo118Juan Carlos Lopez12-128,000


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

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1High FiveJ.C. Diaz, Jr.114Vladimir Cerin6-1
2You Must ChillMario Gutierrez119George Papaprodromou12-1
3Bold EndeavorDrayden Van Dyke119George Papaprodromou12-1
4Unbroken StarFlavien Prat121Mike Puype5-2
5Brazilian SummerTiago Pereira119Matthew Chew15-1
6Canadian GameAbel Cedillo124Jack Carava6-1
7MutineerRafael Bejarano119Doug F. O'Neill7-2
8Platinum NightsMike Smith119Peter Eurton9-2
9Mongolian HeroAssael Espinoza119Enebish Ganbat8-1


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

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Truck SalesmanEvin Roman120Doug F. O'Neill8-1
2ParsimonyMario Gutierrez120Doug F. O'Neill12-1
3Royal TrumpEdwin Maldonado124Mark Glatt12-1
4Adens DreamCerapio Figueroa124John W. Sadler6-140,000
5Touching RainbowsAbel Cedillo124Philip D'Amato6-140,000
6Candy CornellJ.C. Diaz, Jr.117John A. Shirreffs8-1
7Top BrassVictor Espinoza124Robert B. Hess, Jr.9-240,000
8Soldier BoyTyler Baze120John W. Sadler4-1
9MadmanFlavien Prat120Richard Baltas7-2


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

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Mr. UnusualAgapito Delgadillo120Edward R. Freeman8-132,000
2Call Me DaddyAbel Cedillo120Doug F. O'Neill7-232,000
3MatsonGeovanni Franco120George Papaprodromou30-132,000
4Promise NothingEvin Roman120Shelbe Ruis9-232,000
5Debt MongerTiago Pereira120William Spawr5-132,000
6EustaceRafael Bejarano120Ed Moger, Jr.5-132,000
7You'reright AgainHeriberto Figueroa120Lloyd C. Wicker8-132,000
8Cherry PieEdwin Maldonado120Robert B. Hess, Jr.6-132,000
9Flawless ClydeIgnacio Puglisi120Nestor M. Capitaine30-132,000
10Shootin MoneyTyler Baze120Philip A. Oviedo12-132,000
11Sound CheckersJ.C. Diaz, Jr.115Eddie Truman20-132,000