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.
Off to the races
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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 Californiapick4.com, 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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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|
|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.
|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.
|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|
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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|