Horse racing newsletter: Golden Gate has gas problem (tee-hee)

Mexican Jockey Martin Garcia Makes It Big On California Track
ALBANY, CA - APRIL 28: Apprentice Jockey Martin Garcia of Mexico rides “Danzig Fox” #5 during the the fourth race at Golden Gate Fields April 28, 2006 in Albany, California. Garcia, 21, came to the United States from Veracruz, Mexico three years ago in search of work. He landed a job as a cook at a deli in Pleasanton, California. After he had been on the job for a while, Garcia found out that the restaurant owner had a horse and asked if he could ride it sometime. Garcia?s natural talent of handling the horse was noticed and he was introduced to a trainer at the local fairground racetrack. Garcia got a job working out horses and was immediately recognized for his riding abilities and asked if he would like to become a jockey. In 2005 Garcia began racing and winning. He is now the second winning jockey in the country. Despite making the average of $10,000 per week, he still works at the deli two nights a week. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Hello, my name is John Cherwa, and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter as we catch up on the news.

Today marks the first Thursday newsletter in a while and the first Thursday card of the season for Santa Anita. It wasn’t supposed to be this way, but opening day got postponed to Saturday in the expectation of bad weather. The track races today, but not up north at Golden Gate Fields, where it was scheduled to run.

Off to the races

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So, what happened up there? Horse shortage? Safety of horses? Labor strife? No, no, no. It’s nothing foreboding. It’s a natural gas leak that they are trying to fix. That means no hot water, among other things. It’s a byproduct of a gas leak in the vicinity that caused problems at GGF. Matt Dinerman’s weekend GGF preview, which was going to go back to its Thursday home, will be pushed to Friday. That is, if things can get fixed up north.

So, this is going to be a shorter than newsletter (stop cheering) with the daily double of Jon White and Ron Flatter scheduled for Friday and Saturday. Until then, let’s check on a couple of news items.

--A subcommittee in Washington that is dealing with the Horse Racing Integrity Act had a two-hour hearing on Tuesday. It went pretty much as expected. Most of the participants were there to say how good the act would be. There was one opinion that offered caution. If you are keeping score, pretty much everyone in the industry is for it, except for Churchill Downs.

In short, it would nationalize medication rules. A reasonable idea, but as I’ve written in the past, that despite its good intentions, it’s more of a concept than an actual plan. Trying to get 38 jurisdictions in line, even if there is a federal law, is akin to herding cats. And then there is the litigation. While I didn’t read every story, I thought the most balanced one out there was by Ray Paulick of the Paulick Report. Just click here.

--It caught me by surprise, but Larry Collmus is out as announcer at the New York tracks. According to the Daily Racing Form, they couldn’t come to an agreement over a contract. Now, in this newsletter I’ve often been critical of NBC for pre-empting our local announcers for Collmus. I think the Denman-Mirahmadi-Wrona alphabetical trifecta is the best in the business. Now, that’s not to diminish Collmus’ skills. He’s top shelf.

It also got me thinking, what would have happened if Frank Mirahmadi had stayed in New York instead of coming to his dream job at Santa Anita. The job might have been his. But then again, I still think he would have chosen Santa Anita. Nonetheless, we’re glad he came West. Here’s what David Grening of the Daily Racing Form had to say. Just click here.

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Santa Anita preview

Santa Anita’s first Thursday card of the meeting is pretty much what you would expect, not a lot of quality. Five of the seven races are some form of a claiming race. There are two maiden special weights, both worth $55,000. First post is 1 p.m.

We’re going to pick the fourth as the feature maiden special as the seventh is for Cal-breds, bringing a slightly inflated purse. The fourth is for maidens 4 and up going a mile on the turf. There are eight starters. The favorite, at 2-1, is Border Town for trainer Richard Mandella and jockey Flavien Prat. He is zero for three with two seconds. He was a $325,000 purchase, so there are high expectations.

Commanding Chief is the second choice at 5-2 for John Sadler and Joel Rosario. He is winless in eight starts and look at his finishes in those races, with the latest listed first, 3-2-3-3-3-2-5-3. Does he want to win? Rosario will do his best.

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

Ciaran Thornton’s SA picks of the day

RACE FOUR: No. 7 Go Daddy Go (8-1)

RACE SEVEN: No. 3 Tallemark (5-1)

Go Daddy Go has the top speed in this race (tied with the favorite). Last out was the first start since October and after a slow start he stalked nicely off the pace but had no oomph in the lane. The race prior he came late to dead heat for second. My favorite new jockey Umberto Rispoli takes the mount and he has been a big difference maker on horses that have everything needed for a win except a great ride. Trainer Brian Koriner, who is winning 30% at the meet and four of eight recently, adds blinkers today to keep the horse more involved early. This is a Scat Daddy offspring that cost $200,000 at auction. 8-1 or more is great value. Horses priced over 5-1 have won 39% of this race. This is the best betting race on the card today.

As a bonus play I would also like you to look at No. 3 Tallemark. The horse is being ridden by Mike Smith in the last race of a Thursday card, his only mount of the day. When Smith rides the last race, the horse is usually live. This is a first time starter for trainer Bruce Headley who wins 19%. Dam has one winner from two starters. The “last race of the day” Smith riding angle has been very good over the years for value players.

Sunday’s result: Oiseau Guerre broke last, raced last and never looked comfortable. Back down in class the horse will go.

Ciaran Thornton is the handicapper for, which offers daily full card picks, longshots of the day, best bets of the day.

A final thought
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Now, here’s the star of the show Thursday’s entries.

Santa Anita Entries for Thursday, January 30.

Santa Anita, Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, California. 17th day of a 60-day meet.


6 Furlongs. Purse: $32,000. Maiden Claiming. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $50,000. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Street DemandEdwin Maldonado124Robert A. Bean20-150,000
2Grandpa LouieFlavien Prat124Peter Miller9-550,000
3OnebadrooskieAbel Cedillo124Brian J. Koriner5-150,000
4Abusive GaryJorge Velez119Philip D'Amato2-150,000
5Western FlyerEswan Flores124Lloyd C. Wicker20-150,000
6Royal AspirationsJoel Rosario124Jeff Mullins5-2
7PostyEvin Roman124Val Brinkerhoff12-150,000


1 Mile. Purse: $18,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $12,500.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Greater GloryVictor Flores117Neil A. Koch10-112,500
2EncountressEdgar Payeras124Kelly Castaneda10-112,500
3Shanghai BarbieRuben Fuentes124Neil D. Drysdale2-112,500
4Reds Sacred AppealJoel Rosario124Lisa Bernard3-112,500
5Boonesboro BeautyJ.C. Diaz, Jr.119J. Eric Kruljac6-512,500
6At the MarginFernandez Rojas124Jairo B. Monascal12-112,500


6½ Furlongs. Purse: $28,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $40,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Diva in ChargeRafael Bejarano124Peter Eurton8-140,000
2Palm d'OroJoel Rosario124Art Sherman7-240,000
3Chris Is ReadyTiago Pereira124William Spawr6-140,000
4Mucho Macho WomanJose Valdivia, Jr.124Ronald W. Ellis5-240,000
5Mela JonesAbel Cedillo124Jack Carava3-140,000
6Kitty's WhiskersAssael Espinoza124Edwin Alvarez30-140,000
7Fresh FaceJorge Velez119John W. Sadler3-140,000


1 Mile Turf. Purse: $55,000. Maiden Special Weight. 4 year olds and up.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Hudson River ParkAbel Cedillo124Clifford W. Sise, Jr.5-1
2Commanding ChiefJoel Rosario124John W. Sadler5-2
3MuralistEvin Roman124Dan Blacker5-1
4On Easy StreetDrayden Van Dyke124Patrick Gallagher12-1
5Form A Square Victor Espinoza124John A. Shirreffs15-1
6Cardiff CayGeovanni Franco124Don Chatlos8-1
7Go Daddy GoUmberto Rispoli124Brian J. Koriner8-1
8Border TownFlavien Prat124Richard E. Mandella2-1


1 Mile. Purse: $18,000. Claiming. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $12,500.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Blue Skye JadeRuben Fuentes124Reed Saldana7-212,500
2Will DancerAgapito Delgadillo124Eddie Truman3-112,500
3Blame It On KittyAbel Cedillo124Craig Dollase5-212,500
4R B EyeEvin Roman124Vann Belvoir4-112,500
5GryffindorEdgar Payeras124Richard Rosales5-112,500
6Super ClassicDavid Mussad114Ruben Gomez12-112,500
7Brazilian SummerJose Valdivia, Jr.124Matthew Chew10-112,500


5½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $33,000. Starter Optional Claiming. 3 year olds. Claiming Price $40,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1You'reright AgainEswan Flores122Lloyd C. Wicker5-240,000
2Bad BeatEvin Roman120Adam Kitchingman7-2
3MosienkoJoel Rosario117Robert B. Hess, Jr.3-1
4Jaxon's GoldieAbel Cedillo120Doug F. O'Neill4-140,000
5Shootin MoneyTiago Pereira122Philip A. Oviedo7-2
6Baltimore BeechoEdwin Maldonado122Jorge Periban8-140,000


6½ Furlongs. Purse: $55,000. Maiden Special Weight. 3 year olds. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Bernie's Big BoyEvin Roman122Marcia Stortz20-1
2Rawhide RawlinsAssael Espinoza122Steven Miyadi5-1
3TallemarkMike Smith122Bruce Headley5-1
4Stir the PotJoel Rosario122Steve Knapp5-1
5Fantasy GameAbel Cedillo122Steven Miyadi4-1
6AudaceUmberto Rispoli122Mike Puype5-1
7El Diablo RojoJorge Velez117Craig Anthony Lewis8-1
8Lightning FastAgapito Delgadillo122William Spawr5-2

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