Horse racing newsletter: Santa Anita has a four-day racing week – Los Angeles Times

Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome to our horse racing newsletter as we try and shake our post Triple Crown hangover.

It just doesn’t seem like a Friday newsletter without Jon White’s Triple Crown previews. No doubt he never expected it to last as long as it did, but yet, he came back every week with fresh insights on the road to the three Triple Crown races. Can’t wait for his return.

OK, on to a little news before we give you a shorter than normal newsletter.


–McKinzie, the horse, is being retired and will stand next year at Gainesway Farm near Lexington, Ky. He had a great career winning eight of 18 starts, including four Grade 1s. Expectations were so high at the start of his career but an injury took him off the Derby trail and he was eclipsed by stablemate Justify. Post Derby, his performances had uneven results, running at the highest levels.

The horse was named after Brad McKinzie, one the best people in racing. He was instrumental in turning Los Alamitos into a daytime thoroughbred track. It will be sad to see Brad’s namesake retire, but maybe through his career as a stallion the name will be around a lot longer. Check out this story by Claire Crosby of Bloodhorse. Just click here.

–An advisory council was named to find the members that will try and bring the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act to fruition, once it passes the Senate and is signed by the President. The first thing the group, which has the overused and meaningless label of blue-ribbon, should do is figure out that horse racing is two words, not one. Then they have to come up with the people who will make up the governing body.

The group is made up of Len Coleman (co-chair), Dr. Nancy Cox (co-chair), Katrina Adams, Dr. Jerry Black, Gen. Joseph Dunford, Frank Keating, and Ken Schanzer. The name that stuck out to me is Dunford, who was the former head of the Joints Chief of Staff. I don’t know if he knows anything about horse racing but he sure knows how to deal with conflict. For more on who they are, check out this from the Paulick Report. Just click here.


Santa Anita Preview

Friday’s nine-race card at Santa Anita is pretty unspectacular with a 12:30 p.m. start. Four of the races are on the turf and there are two allowance/optional claimers. The feature would be the eighth race, a 1 1/8-mile turf allowance/OC worth a total purse of $59,000.

North Country Guy is the 3-1 first choice from trainer Richard Baltas and jockey Mario Gutierrez. He is four-of-25 lifetime with seven seconds. Last out, he was seventh in the Del Mar Handicap at 1 3/8 miles. There are two second favorites, at 7-2, with Maestro Dearte (Peter Eurton, Umberto Rispoli) and Border Town (Richard Mandella, Flavien Prat). Maestro Dearte is two-of-13 lifetime and has never raced higher than the allowance level. Border Town is two-of-nine lifetime and ran at a grade stakes level once, finishing sixth.


Here are the field sizes, in order: 9, 6, 8, 9 (2 also eligible), 8, 10 (2 ae), 10, 8, 13.

Golden Gate weekend preview

Here’s our weekly look at the best racing going on at Golden Gate Fields. 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.

“Friday’s main event is the eighth race. The morning-line favorite is Slam Dunk Sermon, coming off an easy win at this allowance condition three weeks ago. Foothill, who broke his maiden in a California-bred maiden special at Del Mar on the turf, draws the undesirable rail post in this six-furlong sprint but should be listed as a major player. Recent starter allowance winner Ready for a Fight, Pleasanton allowance winner Take Me for a Spin and class dropper Darnquick also figure to get bet in the field of nine.

“The last leg of the Stronach 5 wager is the third race on Friday, a maiden special weight for 2-year-old routers on the grass. Dyn O Mite exits a pair of poor efforts in Grade 1 races down south for trainer Keith Desormeaux and is well spotted for a maiden win. Three starts ago, he routed on grass for the first time and ran second behind American Pharoah (G1) second place finisher Rombauer. Mr. Pickles makes his second start routing on turf and could take a second forward with that angle in mind. He has plenty of turf and route pedigree, which is a positive, and last time out ran second behind a lone leader who was handed an easy lead and never stopped. These two horses are the two I selected to put on the XBTV “All Star Stronach 5 Ticket.”


“Our feature race on Saturday kicks off the late Pick 5 in the fifth race, a first-level allowance on the turf for 3-year-old fillies. Impressive maiden winner Scherzo is likely to get play after a 2 ½ length win against older filly and mare maidens to kick off her career in the United States. The Manny Badilla trainee was acquired in July after two races in Europe and has been well regarded since she arrived here in the states. Mylittlerunaway, the possible favorite, comes off a second-place finish against older allowance horses last month and put up some better than looked efforts at Del Mar over the summer. Malibu Jane makes her first start for Jonathan Wong, moving up north from Southern California, while Reiwa is the “other” Wong entrant. Stretch out sprinter Smokin Hot Bobbie and Rev Ree round out the field.

“Lastly, our marquee race on Sunday is the third, an allowance at a mile for 2-year-olds. California-bred filly I’m So Anna, coming off a second-place in the Generous Portion Stakes for trainer Steve Sherman on Aug. 30, faces the Simon Callaghan-trained Tacoflavoredkisses in what should be an interesting matchup. Tacoflavoredkisses was last out third in the I’m Smokin Stakes for California-breds at Del Mar. He broke his maiden at Del Mar two starts ago. The eighth also catches the eye: a mile and seven eighths (that’s right) marathon on turf.”

Frank Mirahmadi’s SA pick

SIXTH RACE: No. 9 Comradery (8-5)

Comradery has shown ability in his two U.S. starts, and last time it took an absolutely perfect trip (and ride) for odds-on favorite Lane Way to deny him at Del Mar. Despite his outside draw and the presence of a Bob Baffert runner who will get plenty of support, Santa Anita Park’s Jon White makes him a solid favorite on the morning line. He should loom large for the powerful combo of Hronis Racing, John Sadler and Umberto Rispoli.


Sunday’s result: Ekklesia ($17.80), the fourth choice in a field of five and highest-priced winner on the Santa Anita card, was prominent throughout, headed by the top two choices at the top of the stretch, then fought back gamely under strong handling by Juan Hernandez to prevail by a neck.

Frank Mirahmadi is the track announcer at Santa Anita Park.

Ciaran Thornton’s SA pick

SEVENTH RACE: No. 6 Leprino (8-1)

Leprino won last out under the first-time ride by Umberto Rispoli. Rispoli leaves to ride Hidden Promise who he won on last out as well. That is a John Sadler horse and Rispoli has been the regular rider Sadler so the jockey change is not a bad thing. In fact, it means we get a better price that we might have on this class raise. Friday, Tyler Baze hops on. Leprino has as much speed as the top choices as well as a great closing kick so this 8-1 morning line is a nice value for us.


Sunday’s result: Donut Girl drifted out to 60-1 and tracked in third into the turn. There was no catching the favorite who won but ‘Hoop outran those giant odds to surge late and run third paying $14.60. Make a note of this horse next time when running against lesser. Third at 60-1 on the class jump, that was an impressive result.

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

Los Alamitos weekend preview

Los Alamitos is the only track in California racing at night. So, let’s turn things over to marketing and media guru Orlando Gutierrez, who will tell us about things going on at Los Alamitos. Orlando, the floor is yours.


“Zoomin For Spuds will look to earn a record tying fifth berth to the prestigious Champion of Champions when he joins a strong field of older horses in the 60th running of the Grade 1, $125,000 Robert Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship on Sunday night. Nine starters are expected with the winner getting a provisional berth in the Dec. 12 Champion of Champions.

“Zoomin For Spuds won the Champion of Champions as a 3-year-old in 2016 and has been a part of the 440-yard classic every year since then. If he is able to earn a spot in the Champion of Champions, he would join the great Refrigerator, the event’s only three-time winner, and 2008 winner Jess You And I as the only horses to run five times.

“Zoomin For Spuds, an Idaho-bred gelding by Zoomin For Bux, is also tied for sixth place at Los Alamitos with 12 stakes wins. A 13th woulld tie him with Flight 109 for fifth-place all-time. Jose Nicasio will ride Zoomin For Spuds.

Ed Allred’s Chocolatito will also be part of this strong field and already has a berth to this year’s Champion of Champions after winning the Grade 1 Vessels Maturity on July 5. The Scott Willoughby-trainee also won the Kaweah Bar Handicap and was fourth in the Grade 1 Go Man Go Handicap in his most recent start on Aug. 31. For his career, he’s finished in the top two in 12-of-17 starts.


“The newest top runner in the older division at Los Alamitos is the Valentin Zamudio-trained Eagle Coast, who will make his local debut in the Los Alamitios Championship. He arrives after winning the 2019 Grade 1 Rainbow Derby at Ruidoso Downs and the 2018 Hobbs America Futurity at Zia Park. He won his only start this year at Sunland Park in February. Bail Czech, who has been in razor sharp form this year with a victory in the Spencer Childers Handicap and a runner-up effort in the Go Man Go, leads the rest of the field.

“The weekend starts on Friday night at 6 p.m. with the running of the $15,000 Whataway To Go Handicap for fillies and mares at 350 yards. Allred’s Grade 1 stakes placed mare Hot Little Kiddy will head the field while facing California Breeders Debutante Stakes winner All Prettied Up and five other good looking runners. In her previous start, Hot Little Kiddy finished third in the Grade 1 Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap on Sept. 20 and before that she was second to Tequila Sangria in the Flight 109 Handicap on Aug. 9.

Keep an eye on Ashley Garcia’s All Prettied Up, who was an easy ¾ length winner in the Debutante and then ran a solid fourth when facing the boys in the Sgt Pepper Feature Handicap on Aug. 29. Suite Expectations is another solid filly always with stakes aspirations. The Apollitical Jess filly ran third in the $400,000 Los Alamitos Oaks this spring and two outings ago she was an impressive allowance winner here.

The Whataway To Go is named after the 1969 AQHA champion 2-year-old filly, who enjoyed an unbeaten seven-race campaign that year. Her nose win in the Kindergarten Futurity over Spencer Childers’ Nutter Brother is considered one of the most memorable quarter-horse races of that era.


“Looking back at last week’s stakes races, 14-1 longshot Jess A Little More won the Grade 2, $140,000 PCQHRA Breeders Derby for trainer Danny Montes and jockey Ruben Lozano, while Monopolist won the Grade 2, $375,000 PCQHRA Breeders Futurity to give trainer James Glenn, Jr. his richest ever stakes win. For young rider Oscar Andrade Jr. this was his first futurity victory at Los Alamitos.

“As for the 16th annual Los Alamitos Equine Sale, a pair of six-figure Favorite Cartel yearlings were the high seller at the two-day sale. Legacy Ranch purchased the filly Glass Ceiling for $110,000 on the first day of the sale. Allred bought Cleared To Fly also for $110,000 on day two of the sale. A total of 237 head sold for $5,153,800 with the average sale price for the 204 yearlings being $21,474.”

Chris Wade’s Friday LA pick

FOURTH RACE: No. 5 Racing N Lace (5-1)

She has shown ability in both of her much-troubled efforts while facing winners in her two most recent starts after breaking her maiden 82 nights ago. In her most recent outing, the filly broke slowly and outward at the start to bump a rival several times. Racing N Lace lost over a length of ground as a result, but the runner kept on trying despite racing in close quarters late. The filly showed quickness in her career debut so I will give her a good look while hoping that she can benefit from a clean journey.


A final thought

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

Santa Anita Entries for Friday, October 9.

Santa Anita, Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, California. 9th day of a 18-day meet.


1 Mile Turf. Purse: $55,000. Maiden Special Weight. 3 year olds and up. State bred.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Mamba Cool Abel Cedillo 120 Philip D’Amato 6-1
2 River North Alexis Centeno 113 Jeffrey Metz 20-1
3 Chipper Flavien Prat 120 Mark Glatt 4-1
4 With Due Cause Tyler Baze 120 Mike Harrington 8-1
5 Luvluv Umberto Rispoli 120 John W. Sadler 8-5
6 Carmelita’s Man Juan Hernandez 120 Dean Pederson 2-1
7 Trevor T Jose Valdivia, Jr. 124 Patrick Gallagher 20-1
8 Gee Gee Whiz J.C. Diaz, Jr. 120 Michael S. Wilson 50-1
9 Ultimate Mystery Ruben Fuentes 124 Vann Belvoir 30-1


1 Mile. Purse: $22,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $12,500.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Impression Tiago Pereira 122 Peter Miller 6-5 12,500
2 Pubilius Syrus Juan Hernandez 122 Vladimir Cerin 4-1 12,500
3 Vodka Twist Abel Cedillo 120 Steve Knapp 8-1 12,500
4 Autumn Day Tyler Baze 122 Ryan Hanson 6-1
5 Bitter Ring Home Geovanni Franco 122 Cesar DeAlba 10-1 12,500
6 Blame It On Kitty Flavien Prat 122 Doug F. O’Neill 5-2 12,500


6 Furlongs. Purse: $20,000. Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $10,000.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Bounty of Gold Alexis Centeno 117 Jonathan Wong 5-2 10,000
2 Stormin Ranger Edwin Maldonado 124 Adam Kitchingman 5-1 10,000
3 Give Me a Hint Jessica Pyfer 112 Peter Miller 4-1 10,000
4 Sybil’s Kitty Ricardo Gonzalez 122 Richard Baltas 6-1 10,000
5 Senoradiablo Tiago Pereira 122 Manuel Ortiz, Sr. 20-1 10,000
6 Just Grace Abel Cedillo 122 Robert B. Hess, Jr. 5-1 10,000
7 Takes a Village Geovanni Franco 118 Reed Saldana 5-1 10,000
8 Mama’s Kid Assael Espinoza 122 Sal Gonzalez 6-1 10,000


1 Mile Turf. Purse: $55,000. Maiden Special Weight. Fillies. 2 year olds. State bred.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Sideways Suances Tyler Baze 122 Jeff Mullins 12-1
2 Warrens Candy Girl Drayden Van Dyke 122 Craig Anthony Lewis 7-2
3 Renegade Princess Edwin Maldonado 122 Peter Eurton 20-1
4 Miss Ever Ready Umberto Rispoli 122 Brian J. Koriner 3-1
5 Steinway Tiago Pereira 122 Jose Hernandez, Jr. 20-1
6 After Midnight Juan Hernandez 122 Carla Gaines 6-1
7 Big Stretch Abel Cedillo 122 Philip D’Amato 6-1
8 St Helena Mario Gutierrez 122 Mike Puype 10-1
9 Big Andy Flavien Prat 122 Blake R. Heap 5-2
Also Eligible
10 Stars of Bluegrass Drayden Van Dyke 122 Andrew Lerner 10-1
11 Princess Sadie Flavien Prat 122 Doug F. O’Neill 8-1


6 Furlongs. Purse: $57,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $20,000. State bred.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Rinse and Repeat Tiago Pereira 124 Lorenzo Ruiz 10-1 20,000
2 Preaching Trainer Juan Hernandez 124 Carla Gaines 4-1
3 Agamemnon Tyler Baze 118 Ronald L. McAnally 12-1
4 Quick Finish Umberto Rispoli 124 Dan Blacker 3-1
5 Handsome Cat Jose Valdivia, Jr. 120 Steven Miyadi 10-1
6 Fratelli Flavien Prat 122 Andrew Lerner 5-2
7 Principe Carlo Edwin Maldonado 124 J. Keith Desormeaux 5-1 20,000
8 Offshore Affair Victor Espinoza 124 Carla Gaines 6-1


1 1/8 Mile Turf. Purse: $55,000. Maiden Special Weight. 3 year olds and up.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Oculus Heriberto Figueroa 120 Anthony K. Saavedra 30-1
2 War Path Abel Cedillo 120 Bob Baffert 5-2
3 Temple Secret Ricardo Gonzalez 124 Neil D. Drysdale 15-1
4 My Indy Tiago Pereira 124 Samuel Nichols 15-1
5 Juror Tyler Baze 120 Sal Gonzalez 12-1
6 Frasard Flavien Prat 120 Leonard Powell 4-1
7 K P D Day Victor Espinoza 120 Alfredo P. Marquez 10-1
8 Huge Bigly Juan Hernandez 120 Mark Glatt 8-1
9 Comradery Umberto Rispoli 120 John W. Sadler 8-5
Also Eligible
10 A. P. Pharoah Juan Hernandez 120 Peter Miller 5-1
11 Silent Musketier Tiago Pereira 124 Samuel Nichols 15-1


6 Furlongs. Purse: $38,000. Claiming. 3 year olds. Claiming Price $40,000.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Hidden Promise Umberto Rispoli 124 John W. Sadler 3-1 40,000
2 Self Taught Tiago Pereira 122 Steve Knapp 12-1 40,000
3 Promise Nothing Jessica Pyfer 112 Rafael Becerra 6-1 40,000
4 Annie’s Boy Edwin Maldonado 122 Jose Hernandez, Jr. 12-1 40,000
5 Tizhotndusty Drayden Van Dyke 122 J. Eric Kruljac 6-1 40,000
6 Leprino Tyler Baze 122 Reed Saldana 8-1 40,000
7 Drippin Sauce Flavien Prat 122 Jonathan Wong 5-2 40,000
8 Howbeit Abel Cedillo 122 Doug F. O’Neill 5-1 40,000
9 Go Time Alexis Centeno 115 Jorge Periban 15-1 40,000
10 Shootin Money Geovanni Franco 122 Philip A. Oviedo 30-1 40,000


1 1/8 Mile Turf. Purse: $59,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $62,500.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Kazan Tyler Baze 122 Javier Jose Sierra 12-1
2 Zestful Edwin Maldonado 124 Mark Glatt 4-1 62,500
3 Maestro Dearte Umberto Rispoli 122 Peter Eurton 7-2 62,500
4 North County Guy Mario Gutierrez 122 Richard Baltas 3-1
5 Border Town Flavien Prat 122 Richard E. Mandella 7-2
6 Untamed Domain Tiago Pereira 122 John W. Sadler 8-1
7 Musawaat Juan Hernandez 122 Mike Puype 12-1
8 Marckie’s Water Abel Cedillo 124 Peter Eurton 6-1 62,500


6½ Furlongs. Purse: $22,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $16,000-$14,000.

PP Horse Jockey Wt Trainer M-L Claim $
1 Baby Gronk Jorge Velez 124 Jeffrey Metz 15-1 16,000
2 Big Cheddar Mario Gutierrez 124 Antonio Garcia 20-1 16,000
3 Surfside Sunset Assael Espinoza 122 Dean Greenman 30-1 14,000
4 Indy Jones Jessica Pyfer 112 Val Brinkerhoff 10-1 14,000
5 Next Flight Ricardo Gonzalez 120 Steven Miyadi 12-1 16,000
6 Bedrock Edwin Maldonado 120 Jeff Bonde 12-1 16,000
7 Nesbitt Alexis Centeno 115 Art Sherman 5-1 14,000
8 King Parker Flavien Prat 122 Craig Anthony Lewis 4-1 14,000
9 Etterbay Ucklay Jose Valdivia, Jr. 124 Ronald W. Ellis 6-1 16,000
10 Sorriso Abel Cedillo 124 Mark Glatt 8-1 16,000
11 Nietzsche Ruben Fuentes 120 Vann Belvoir 30-1 16,000
12 You’reright Again Heriberto Figueroa 120 Lloyd C. Wicker 15-1 16,000
13 Convex Umberto Rispoli 120 Michael W. McCarthy 3-1 16,000