Racing! Last racing week before Dec. 26

ARCADIA, CA - FEBRUARY 03: Victor Espinoza smiles as he crosses the wire first in the San Pasqual Stakes at Santa Anita Park on February 3, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photo by Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images) ** OUTS - ELSENT, FPG, CM - OUTS * NM, PH, VA if sourced by CT, LA or MoD **
(Alex Evers / Getty Images)

Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter as we see how the whip issue is dealt with at the CHRB meeting.

The big news on Thursday will probably not be the racing at Los Alamitos but the California Horse Racing Board meeting that precedes it. Most of the stuff is procedural, as usual, and there are only 12 items before public comment.

But, it’s item 12 that should bring the most interest: “12. Discussion and action by the Board regarding the proposed addition of CHRB Rule 1688, Use of Riding Crop.

Talk about an undersell, like: “12. Violation of Nuclear Treaty 1234, foreign country launches missile at U.S. coast.”


Here’s what I think you can expect on Thursday. I don’t believe either of the proposed new rules will be passed, but they will be discussed. The Board wants to get it right the first time and, I believe, is open to other ideas and proposals.

And, of course, any action that changes the proposed rules will have to go through the 45-day public comment period. So, whatever happens probably wouldn’t happen until March at the very earliest.

One thing that is making the rounds is to look at the experiment at Woodbine, where jockeys can’t use the whip in an overhand way but can use it underhanded. This might be the compromise position, or at least a start on the way to reform. It could receive some traction because it’s both restrictive and also gives the jockey a tool at their disposal.

The Jockey Guild is also a player in this and it has a proposal. It sent out a news release on Wednesday with a copy of a letter sent to the CHRB and proposed changes to the ARCI guidelines.


Here are the changes that seem most interesting, such as eliminating the “three-strike rule” and replacing it with a full-race rule. Here’s an excerpt:

“D) Limiting the use of the riding crop in the forehand (up) position to 7 times throughout the race on the shoulder and/or hind quarters; and

“(E) The rider may tap the horse on the shoulder or hind quarters, as long as the crop is utilized in the backhand (down) position, as necessary.”

In addition, jockeys would be limited to raising the crop to the helmet and there would be post-race inspection of the horse by a veterinarian after the race.


So, how this shakes out will be interesting to watch. As I normally do, I try to not take a position on a story I have to report on, although I have violated that a time or two. So, that’s what I’m doing here and leaving the opinion to you.

The job of the CHRB is a tough one. It has to come up with a proposal that satisfies both Sacramento and the entities it must regulate. Again, this is a slow process, so I wouldn’t expect more than another proposal, hopefully one that satisfies everyone, to come out of Thursday’s meeting.

Also interesting will be the report by Rick Baedeker, the executive director. Most of us want to know about the status of the long-awaited report on the Santa Anita deaths, which was promised in December. The logical release date would be between the end of Los Alamitos and the start of Santa Anita. But, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it was also postponed.

The common theme here is things are better when aligned with others. The CHRB rule on riding crops works best if aligned with the Thoroughbred Safety Coalition, The Jockey Guild and anyone else who has a dog in the hunt. The CHRB investigation would be best if aligned with the investigation being done by the L.A. County district attorney’s office.


There does seem to be one no-brainer, and one that probably should not require public discussion. “No. 11. Public hearing and action by the Board regarding the proposed addition of CHRB rule 1867.1, use of Bisphosphonates Prohibited, to prohibit the administration of bisphosphonates to any horse within a CHRB inclosure.”

Don’t know about bisphosphonates? Give this a read by clicking here.

Los Alamitos daytime preview

You don’t see a card like Thursday’s at Los Alamitos very often. There are eight races, starting at 1 p.m., and seven of them are 5 ½ furlongs and the other is five furlongs. Six (really seven, because a starter allowance has claiming horses) are some form of claiming races. The other is an allowance/optional claimer for Cal-bred fillies and mares going 5 ½ furlongs. (Of course.) And that’s what we’ll call the feature.


Time for Suzzie is the 7-2 favorite for trainer Vladimir Cerin and jockey J.C. Diaz, Jr. She has won four of 10 this year, all claiming wins, so this would normally be a bit of a step up, but since it’s against all Cal-breds, it should mitigate the competition.

Sunrise Royal, at 4-1, is the second favorite in this nine-horse race and runs for Eric Kruljac and Effrain Hernandez. She has won one of six this year but has been running at the allowance level, She won last out at Del Mar.

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

Ciaran Thornton’s Lrc picks of the day


RACE THREE: No. 7 Leedslimit (12-1)

I could play it safe today but that is not the value-players way! Jockey Edgar Payera has hit with a couple of price horse so far at the meet. This mostly nighttime jockey has a 12-1 value play today in Leedslimit for trainer Lin Melton. Trainer is 25% in claiming races and this jockey is one for one for him. These $8k claimers tend to bring chaos so let’s chase it on this horse who was a winner last out at a great price and comes to this race with a sharp work in tow.

Sunday’s result: Heywoods Beach went off at 18-1 and stalked well but lacked the necessary kick to hit the board.

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

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.

“Last week, Golden Gate Fields officials announced that the late Pick 4 pools this Saturday and Sunday will be a guaranteed $100,000. There is an early post time of 11:45 a.m. both days. On Sunday, there are mandatory payouts of the 20-cent Golden Pick Six, the Rolling Super High Five and the early and late Pick 5’s. First post on Thursday and Friday remains 12:45 p.m.

“Race three on Friday is Leg D of the Stronach 5 wager. A field of 10 will sprint five furlongs in a maiden special weight for 2-year-old fillies. My top pick is Anatolia from the Blaine Wright barn. She is a filly by Pioneerof (cq) The Nile who has some sharp works in the mornings and gets Blaine’s go-to rider, Juan Hernandez.


“Don’t Unzip Me is also interesting: the daughter of Honor Code is out of the stakes winning turf sprint dam Unzip Me, who won four Grade 3 races in a 25-race career while earning more than $959,000. Don’t Unzip Me was purchased for $130,000 as a yearling by Tommy Town Thoroughbreds and is currently conditioned by Jonathan Wong. Unlike the aforementioned, Lady Crocker has racing experience and makes her second lifetime start for trainer Reid France. The daughter of Curlin is out of the Grade 2-winning turf route mare Foxysox and could improve with a race under her belt. She is a full sibling to Santa Anita stakes winner Curlin’s Fox.

“There are two stakes this weekend: $75,000 Bear Fan Stakes for Cal-bred fillies and mares sprinting six furlongs on Saturday, and the $50,000 Miss America Stakes for fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on Sunday. Although the Miss America is scheduled for turf, there is a chance the race will moved to the Tapeta given the wet weather over the past week and projected into Friday. The forecasts calls for a sunny sky on Saturday and Sunday. The Bear Fan drew a field of seven, led by Southern California shippers Lippy (trained by Doug O’Neill) and Apache Princess (Keith Desormeaux).

“With four more race days at this meet, it would take a miracle for Hernandez to drop to second or lower in the jockey standings. The 27-year-old journeyman holds an 18-win lead (50 wins) over veteran Frank Alvarado. Jonathan Wong has the most wins of any trainer at the current meeting with 24 victories. Isidro Tamayo is five wins behind in second and looks like the main danger to dethrone Wong, who has won the past five training titles.

“Have a great holiday break, folks, and we’ll see you back for opening day of the winter/spring meet on Dec. 26. A special thanks goes out to all of our dedicated customers who are supporting our product, and to this newsletter and its readers for allowing us to be a part of this piece every week.”


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, Thursday’s entries.


Los Alamitos Race Course Entries for Thursday, December 12.

Los Alamitos Race Course, Los Alamitos, California. 4th day of a 8-day meet.


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $17,000. Claiming. Fillies. 3 year olds. Claiming Prices $12,500-$10,500.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Forty Six CaratsTiago Pereira120Martin F. Jones5-112,500
2All Tea All ShadeTyler Baze120Jorge Periban6-112,500
3Gas CanHeriberto Figueroa120Andrew Lerner4-112,500
4CoiletteMario Gutierrez122Jorge Rosales7-212,500
5StaythirstymyamigoJorge Velez115Edward R. Freeman3-112,500
6So GucciEvin Roman120Doug F. O'Neill5-212,500


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $21,000. Maiden Claiming. 2 year olds. Claiming Prices $50,000-$40,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Enemy RunnerJorge Velez117John W. Sadler9-550,000
2LeatherneckHeriberto Figueroa122Jeff Bonde15-150,000
3MegameisterJ.C. Diaz, Jr.117Bob Baffert5-150,000
4Promise NothingRuben Fuentes118Rafael Becerra6-140,000
5Shootin MoneyTiago Pereira122Philip A. Oviedo9-250,000
6Benny ChangAbel Cedillo122Peter Miller7-250,000
7Mr. NastyJose Valdivia, Jr.122Richard Baltas5-150,000


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $14,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $8,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1San GiorgioJorge Velez117Marcia Stortz6-18,000
2According to BuddyEswan Flores124Hector O. Palma5-28,000
3Seahawk WaveAssael Espinoza124Ronald W. Ellis9-58,000
4OnthewingsofadreamEvin Roman124Vann Belvoir12-18,000
5It's Just BobJohnny Allen124Daniel Azcarate6-18,000
6SatoriTiago Pereira124Martin F. Jones4-18,000
7LeedslimitEdgar Payeras122Lin Melton12-18,000


5 Furlongs. Purse: $14,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $8,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Warm It UpEswan Flores124Vernon E. Aguayo20-18,000
2Last Dance BellaRamon Guce122Charles S. Treece8-18,000
3Queen CarmelitaHeriberto Figueroa122Rafael DeLeon5-18,000
4Rosie's GoldJuan Sanchez122Dennis Givens5-28,000
5At the MarginFernandez Rojas122Jairo B. Monascal10-18,000
6Sierra SunriseRuben Fuentes122Jeff Bonde2-18,000
7Chic ClementineBarrington Harvey122Salvador Naranjo8-18,000
8ThanksEdgar Payeras122Robert J. Lucas6-18,000


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $20,000. Starter Allowance. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1RattleRuben Fuentes124Reed Saldana7-2
2Chitter ChatterAaron Gryder122Brian J. Koriner10-1
3FracasJ.C. Diaz, Jr.119Craig Dollase5-1
4WinsinfashionJorge Velez119Charles S. Treece8-1
5Rizzi's HonorsJoseph Talamo124Mark Glatt7-5
6Whoa NessieAbel Cedillo124Robert B. Hess, Jr.5-2


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $17,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds. Claiming Prices $30,000-$28,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1J C's HenriettaGeovanni Franco122Gary Sherlock15-130,000
2CredanceHeriberto Figueroa120Val Brinkerhoff6-128,000
3Red ValorJorge Velez117Val Brinkerhoff2-130,000
4SharedEdgar Payeras120Richard Rosales4-128,000
5Strong RulerBrice Blanc122Patricia Harrington20-130,000
6Calder ValeEfrain Hernandez122Ricardo Zamora4-130,000
7Corrana En LimenTyler Baze122Antonio Garcia5-230,000


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

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Bako SweetsAgapito Delgadillo122Blake R. Heap12-120,000
2Time for SuzzieJ.C. Diaz, Jr.115Vladimir Cerin7-2
3D's Lovely SophiaEswan Flores120Hector O. Palma9-2
4GrinningeartoearAbel Cedillo120Brian J. Koriner5-1
5Violette SzaboGeovanni Franco120Philip D'Amato8-1
6Square PeggyEdwin Maldonado120Eddie Truman8-120,000
7Christy JacksonTyler Baze122Steven Miyadi15-1
8South Boot ShirleyJoseph Talamo122Craig Dollase5-120,000
9Sunrise RoyaleEfrain Hernandez122J. Eric Kruljac4-120,000


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $21,000. Maiden Claiming. 2 year olds. Claiming Prices $50,000-$40,000. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1ShackmanduEswan Flores122Gary Sherlock20-150,000
2Autism WarriorEvin Roman122Marcia Stortz12-150,000
3ExtractorAbel Cedillo122Brian J. Koriner5-250,000
4Isla's ToyHeriberto Figueroa122Charles S. Treece20-150,000
5Sierra MelodyRamon Guce118Marcia Stortz15-140,000
6He's a HitJorge Velez117Jonathan Wong2-150,000
7I Dub TheeJoseph Talamo122Gary Sherlock7-250,000
8Quiet CharmGeovanni Franco122Carla Gaines6-150,000
9Wicked BlueEdgar Payeras118Vernon E. Aguayo8-140,000