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.
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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.
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 Californiapick4.com, which offers daily full card picks, longshots of the day, best bets of the day.
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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.
|1||Street Demand||Edwin Maldonado||124||Robert A. Bean||20-1||50,000|
|2||Grandpa Louie||Flavien Prat||124||Peter Miller||9-5||50,000|
|3||Onebadrooskie||Abel Cedillo||124||Brian J. Koriner||5-1||50,000|
|4||Abusive Gary||Jorge Velez||119||Philip D'Amato||2-1||50,000|
|5||Western Flyer||Eswan Flores||124||Lloyd C. Wicker||20-1||50,000|
|6||Royal Aspirations||Joel Rosario||124||Jeff Mullins||5-2|
|7||Posty||Evin Roman||124||Val Brinkerhoff||12-1||50,000|
1 Mile. Purse: $18,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $12,500.
|1||Greater Glory||Victor Flores||117||Neil A. Koch||10-1||12,500|
|2||Encountress||Edgar Payeras||124||Kelly Castaneda||10-1||12,500|
|3||Shanghai Barbie||Ruben Fuentes||124||Neil D. Drysdale||2-1||12,500|
|4||Reds Sacred Appeal||Joel Rosario||124||Lisa Bernard||3-1||12,500|
|5||Boonesboro Beauty||J.C. Diaz, Jr.||119||J. Eric Kruljac||6-5||12,500|
|6||At the Margin||Fernandez Rojas||124||Jairo B. Monascal||12-1||12,500|
6½ Furlongs. Purse: $28,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $40,000.
|1||Diva in Charge||Rafael Bejarano||124||Peter Eurton||8-1||40,000|
|2||Palm d'Oro||Joel Rosario||124||Art Sherman||7-2||40,000|
|3||Chris Is Ready||Tiago Pereira||124||William Spawr||6-1||40,000|
|4||Mucho Macho Woman||Jose Valdivia, Jr.||124||Ronald W. Ellis||5-2||40,000|
|5||Mela Jones||Abel Cedillo||124||Jack Carava||3-1||40,000|
|6||Kitty's Whiskers||Assael Espinoza||124||Edwin Alvarez||30-1||40,000|
|7||Fresh Face||Jorge Velez||119||John W. Sadler||3-1||40,000|
1 Mile Turf. Purse: $55,000. Maiden Special Weight. 4 year olds and up.
|1||Hudson River Park||Abel Cedillo||124||Clifford W. Sise, Jr.||5-1|
|2||Commanding Chief||Joel Rosario||124||John W. Sadler||5-2|
|3||Muralist||Evin Roman||124||Dan Blacker||5-1|
|4||On Easy Street||Drayden Van Dyke||124||Patrick Gallagher||12-1|
|5||Form A Square||Victor Espinoza||124||John A. Shirreffs||15-1|
|6||Cardiff Cay||Geovanni Franco||124||Don Chatlos||8-1|
|7||Go Daddy Go||Umberto Rispoli||124||Brian J. Koriner||8-1|
|8||Border Town||Flavien Prat||124||Richard E. Mandella||2-1|
1 Mile. Purse: $18,000. Claiming. 4 year olds and up. Claiming Price $12,500.
|1||Blue Skye Jade||Ruben Fuentes||124||Reed Saldana||7-2||12,500|
|2||Will Dancer||Agapito Delgadillo||124||Eddie Truman||3-1||12,500|
|3||Blame It On Kitty||Abel Cedillo||124||Craig Dollase||5-2||12,500|
|4||R B Eye||Evin Roman||124||Vann Belvoir||4-1||12,500|
|5||Gryffindor||Edgar Payeras||124||Richard Rosales||5-1||12,500|
|6||Super Classic||David Mussad||114||Ruben Gomez||12-1||12,500|
|7||Brazilian Summer||Jose Valdivia, Jr.||124||Matthew Chew||10-1||12,500|
5½ Furlongs Turf. Purse: $33,000. Starter Optional Claiming. 3 year olds. Claiming Price $40,000.
|1||You'reright Again||Eswan Flores||122||Lloyd C. Wicker||5-2||40,000|
|2||Bad Beat||Evin Roman||120||Adam Kitchingman||7-2|
|3||Mosienko||Joel Rosario||117||Robert B. Hess, Jr.||3-1|
|4||Jaxon's Goldie||Abel Cedillo||120||Doug F. O'Neill||4-1||40,000|
|5||Shootin Money||Tiago Pereira||122||Philip A. Oviedo||7-2|
|6||Baltimore Beecho||Edwin Maldonado||122||Jorge Periban||8-1||40,000|
6½ Furlongs. Purse: $55,000. Maiden Special Weight. 3 year olds. State bred.
|1||Bernie's Big Boy||Evin Roman||122||Marcia Stortz||20-1|
|2||Rawhide Rawlins||Assael Espinoza||122||Steven Miyadi||5-1|
|3||Tallemark||Mike Smith||122||Bruce Headley||5-1|
|4||Stir the Pot||Joel Rosario||122||Steve Knapp||5-1|
|5||Fantasy Game||Abel Cedillo||122||Steven Miyadi||4-1|
|6||Audace||Umberto Rispoli||122||Mike Puype||5-1|
|7||El Diablo Rojo||Jorge Velez||117||Craig Anthony Lewis||8-1|
|8||Lightning Fast||Agapito Delgadillo||122||William Spawr||5-2|